Mountaineering in West Summit, Mount Elbrus, Republic of Kabardino-Balkariya Russia

West Summit altitude:
5642 m/18510 ft
Best season for highest peaks:
Easter, May, Early June
13 days
Mount Elbrus or Adyge 'Waschhemaxwe' or Karachay-Balkar is a dormant volcano situated in the western Caucasus mountain range, in the Republics of Karachayevo-Cherkesiya and Kabardino-Balkariya, Russia, near the Georgian borders.

In Russia there is a huge wealth of mountaineering opportunities. The only place that is popular at the moment though is the area around Elbrus in central Caucasus. Mount Elbrus with a height of 5642 m/18510 ft is the highest mountain in Europe.

The Caucasus mountains get heaps of snow in winter and have some extensive glaciers. The adventure of mountaineering in Mount Elbrus meets many routes and each one of them has something unique to offer. One of the routes is West Summit with the beginning in Baskan Valley.

The valley sits at the foot of Mount Elbrus and is surrounded on all sides by the soaring peaks of Caucasus. While hiking in the valley, you adjust to the altitude and then move to Garabashi Hut at 12000 ft/3658 m, on Mount Elbrus’ flanks.

This route takes you up the broad flanks of Mount Elbrus south side to the West Summit, which is the highest point of the mountain. The ascent is a moderate snow climb, which presents small technical difficulty, but the altitudes you reach make mountaineering a challenging undertaking.

It is an ideal trip for mountaineers, aiming to build their experience on altitude, while climbing one of the Seven Summits. The expedition ends in St. Petersburg and it is the best way to end such an amazing adventure.

Bear in mind that you need an invitation from a Russian tourist organization and a special permit to travel in the Russian Caucasus.