Straight from head guide, Mark Tucker, here is the full recap of summit day on Mt. Elbrus:

We got pretty lucky with the weather — except for it trying to blow us off the summit ridge! And then after we descended the fixed lines (that are installed annually to protect against a fall on the steep terrain) we hit some white-out conditions, but just for a bit. Aside from that, I guess you could call it a beautiful day on the mountain!!! Which it was.

We started with a bit of help from a snow-cat at 02:00 AM moving up the lower part of the climb.

After a few hours of climbing, we were welcomed by a beautiful warming sunrise. We were fortunate to witness the very unique sight of the mountain’s shadow being cast on the horizon by the rising Sun. The beautiful hues of pinks, blues, and greys were enough to take your breath away. Or was it because were were working so hard at 17,000’? 🙂

The team did a fantastic job taking care of themselves and climbing strong. On the last bit to the top, the wind was blowing so hard that the team gathered even more strength to crawl to the summit! We hunkered down for a quick couple of photos.

Everyone did an awesome job heading down safe, healthy and yes, a bit tired!

Just in, tons of photos from the Mt. Elbrus summit day, enjoy…

Exciting news of the Elbrus Summit in this quick text-only update from Lead guide Mark Tucker. More details and PHOTOS to follow:

  • 16 of us left high camp at 2am
  • 16 of us literary crawled to the tallest point in Europe due to high winds
  • 16 of us are now in the forest of Cheget 7000’

I call it a nice day!!

Congratulations to the entire team for 100% success on reaching the top of Europe – Mt. Elbrus (5,642 m / 18,510 ft) and descending safely to the lush valley below.

Seven Summit: Mt. Elbrus

Lead guide Mark Tucker just provided this expedition update via phone from the comfortable LEAPrus huts on Mt. Elbrus:

The team is in bed for some final rest before the summit push in about four hours! Weather is looking good with just some clouds down below in the valley. Everyone is fired up for the summit climb and ready for the alpine start. We will check in again soon.

LEAPrus huts

Life is good here at 3,900 m / 12,800 ft! We made an easy departure from our hotel with a great breakfast filling our stomachs! After the short transfer to the lift system and following the same drill as yesterday, but this time loaded with lots more gear for our stay at the luxurious LEAPrus huts. At the top of the lifts, a snow-cat was waiting to take us up several more meters to the wonderful accommodations that are shaped like a giant barrel on it’s side.

After a nice lunch, we were off for another training hike. Just a little over 4,267 m / 14,000 ft. we turned back towards the huts while continuing our training and briefings to prepare for the summit day ahead.

Weather was perfect and the team is in top shape!!

It was a nice day in the mountains! After breakfast, the few missing pieces needed to form complete climbing kits for some of our team members were tracked down. In Terskol, nice equipment is available for hire and the next thing you know it is getting put to use!

We took the day to make a dry run for tomorrow’s training program. Three ski lifts up and you are at 3,658 m / 12,000 ft. and it’s acclimatize on! Hey, never walk when you can ride! Top of this chain of lifts puts you right on the lower flank of the upper mountain, a perfect place for a few hours of snow school. The team is in fine shape with a nice introduction to snow travel and well trained for tomorrow’s move up. It’s really nice to run through the drill and tighten up the process and techniques to make for an easier day going up – knowledge is power!

The old adage of climb high, sleep low could not have been done better. The team is in good shape and spirits are high!!

[ small sized pictures of big sized adventure! ]

The 2018.07 Elbrus expedition team today had a timely and smooth flight from Moscow to Mineralnye Vody, grabbed some supplies at a local grocery, and hit the road via bus for Terskol – at the base of Mt. Elbrus.

Along the way they enjoyed fresh made chicken sandwiches (Wolfgang Tuck style!) while avoiding herds of milk cows roaming down the middle of highway!

Cleaning up before dinner was quite the experience! There was no hot water!! Flooding in the valley knocked out the natural gas supply. All was forgotten as the team shared a wonderful farm to table dinner. The stunning alpine glow at sunset highlighted the amazing view of the Caucasus mountain range.

The Kremlin

Head guide Mark Tucker reports:

The Elbrus 2018 team arrived in Moscow yesterday after a tiring day of travel. As most of the team is still adjusting to the nearly 12 hour (!) time change, we kept things simple with a little round of introductions and a brief discussion of the days ahead.

After a very nice breakfast buffet, we meet with our local tour guide and started our Moscow tour by bus. Then onto Red Square, catching as many sites as we could squeeze in — of course St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. Last stop the famous Kremlin Armoury, a must if you can. The amount of wealth and history displayed under one roof is mind boggling!

A nice celebration dinner in honor of Madison Mountaineering’s K2 team summit of the second tallest mountain on earth. Top it off with some Borsch and Beef Stroganoff and you are feeling pretty good.

Packing up for the early flight to the south which will get us closer to Mt Elbrus. Everyone is doing great and looking forward to heading to the mountains tomorrow!

Jeffrey Glasbrenner and I are now up at the high camp at 12,700′ in the luxurious LeapRUS huts. Fine dining and great views! Today we rode a Jeep up to the hut and then climbed to 15,200′ for acclimatization and are now enjoying a great dinner! We will do another acclimatization hike tomorrow then go for the summit of Mount Elbrus on the 27th, fingers crossed for good weather!

Garrett Madison


luxurious LeapRUS huts



On July 12th we were blessed with near perfect weather and climbing conditions when we reached Mount Elbrus North Summit in Russia, the highest peak in all of Europe at 18,506′, and one of the ‘seven summits’ on Earth.  David, Matthew, and myself began our climb from our high camp at 11 PM on July 11th, as the elevation gain from high camp to the summit of Mount Elbrus is 6,200′, a big summit day!  With a slight breeze we made our way up the glaciated slopes of Mount Elbrus in the dark using our headlamps, up to Lenz Rocks at 15,000′, then onward up the glacier to the saddle which is in between the East and West (highest) summits of Mount Elbrus.  We continued on up the West summit to the highest point in all of Europe at 9:30 AM, had unobstructed views as far as the eye can see, it was truly a magnificent day.  We then descended back down and reached our high camp in the early afternoon.  The following day we descended back down to base camp where we had a nice dinner and shower and slept in our comfortable cabin.  Yesterday we drove from the base camp on Mount Elbrus back to the town of Pyatigorsk and had a celebration dinner, now we are heading to St. Petersburg for some sightseeing and then home.  It has been a wonderful trip!

Note: This was a ‘North Side’ climb of Mount Elbrus, whereas our regular and other recent programs on are on the ‘South Side’ of Mount Elbrus.  Madison Mountaineering has led successful expeditions on both sides of Mount Elbrus, and as a boutique mountaineering guide service we strive to develop customer expeditions for intrepid climbers!



Garrett and Matthew gazing at Mount Elbrus from the hotel in Pyatigorsk

Mount Elbrus North Summit


Summit selfie at the top of Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus North Summit


Garrett and our driver Yuri enjoying dinner in base camp


Matthew and David on the approach to high camp


Matthew and David on the summit of Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus North Summit


Watching the sun rise from up high on the glaciated slopes of Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus North Summit



David and Matthew descending from high camp after a successful summit of Mount Elbrus!

Mount Elbrus North Summit