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!
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
Summit selfie at the top of Mount Elbrus
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
Watching the sun rise from up high on the glaciated slopes of Mount Elbrus
David and Matthew descending from high camp after a successful summit of Mount Elbrus!
Mount Elbrus north route summit!! Congratulations to our team of climbers for making a safe and successfully ascent of the tallest mountain in Europe. Listen to our audio dispatch below, Garrett Madison checking in after reaching the summit with David and Matthew. Photos and complete expedition recap will be posted shortly. Onward and upward!
Garrett with David and Matthew at high camp at the north side of Mount Elbrus, roughly 12,500ft. Our team did a acclimatization hike today. Plan to rest tomorrow and then go to the summit tomorrow night. Hopefully summit the morning of the 12th then return to high camp that day. Descend back to base camp on the 13th, everyone is doing well and excited to make the summit ascent!
Pictures to come!! Onward and upward!
Yesterday we reached the Mount Elbrus summit at 6:45 AM, the highest mountain in all of Europe. We had fantastic conditions, very calm winds and almost no clouds in the sky, allowing us to see for miles around!
We began our summit push in the dark using our headlamps at 2:45 AM and passed a few teams as we made our way up the snow covered glaciers, eventually reaching the saddle between the east and west peak around 5:30 AM. The sunrise was spectacular! Then we continued up to the west peak (highest) and to the summit. We had it all to ourselves for about 30 minutes, enjoying the 360 degree views of the Caucasus mountains, then another climbing team reached the top and we took a few photos together. Accompanying the climbers was a wolf dog, who was very friendly! On our way down we used our skis / snowboard, a fun way to quickly descend part of the peak. We descended back to our hut and now have reached the village of Terskol, and are planning a few fun activities here today. Tomorrow we will head back to Moscow!
Greetings from 12,870 ft. on Mount Elbrus! We are currently at our mountain hut for the night. We had a great day riding the lifts up from the village of Terskol, where we spent the previous night, after an acclimatization hike on the local trails. Today we climbed to 15,000 ft. on Mount Elbrus to continue our acclimatization strategy and we skied down which was very fun and saved a lot of time. Conditions were great for skiing and snowboarding. Our newly constructed mountain hut on mount Elbrus is very clean, has wifi, nice bathrooms, and we are served 3 meals a day. We feel a little spoiled but we appreciate this level of comfort in the mountain. Tomorrow our plan is to continue our acclimatization in preparation for a summit attempt in the following days. The weather forecast looks promising so we hope for good conditions in the days ahead.
Garrett Madison, America’s premier Everest climber and guide, began guiding professionally in 1999 on Mount Rainier. As Expedition Leader, he has personally led over 60 climbers (clients) to the summit of Everest since 2009, more than any other guide. In 2011, Garrett led the first expedition in history where climbers succeeded in the Everest – Lhotse combination, reaching the summit of two 8000-meter peaks in less than 24 hours (while personally guiding one climber peak to peak in 21 hours). He has since repeated this ‘double header’ combination in 2013 and 2018 and is currently the only climber in the world to have done so. Garrett holds the record for guiding climbers (5) in reaching the summits of two 8000-meter peaks within 24 hours.
In 2014, Garrett led the first successfully ‘guided’ ascent of K2, arguably the hardest and most dangerous mountain in the world. He reached the summit with 2 clients and 3 Sherpas on July 27, 2014, and again on July 22, 2018 with 8 clients, 3 guides and 15 Sherpas reaching the top. Garrett also regularly guides many ‘7 Summits’ expeditions during the year such as Mount Vinson, Carstensz Pyramid, Mount Elbrus, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, etc., as well as first ascents of unclimbed peaks. As an Emmy award winning producer, Garrett is regularly consulted on Everest and other film productions, including Sports Illustrated’s Capturing Everest.
Garrett Madison holds multiple high-altitude mountaineering world records, such as being the only person to climb Mount Everest and nearby Mount Lhotse in a day, 3 times. He is the only American to climb K2 twice, and personally has led more climbers to the summits of Mount Everest and K2 than anyone.
In addition to leading high-altitude expeditions worldwide throughout the year, Garrett consults on mountaineering equipment product testing for Mountain Hardwear and speaks professionally to groups about his mountaineering experiences.
Leading 7 expeditions to Mt. Everest and having observed hundreds of climbers in challenging situations on the mountain, Garrett Madison has identified which techniques work, and more importantly which techniques do not work, in scaling the world’s highest Peak. Garrett articulates his strategy for success and survival on Everest and touches on the following topics:
Garrett Madison’s presentation will engage your audience like never before as he recounts real-life events that have shaped his strategy for success on Everest, with stunning video and photo content that will bring you directly to the mountain.
”What a great presentation! Everyone was riveted during your talk! The images were outstanding and your message really resonated with everyone. Several people told me that this was the best dinner speaker ever. I think you inspired some future mountain climbers!”
– Tom Balistreri, President MUHS Fathers Club
Mt. Elbrus is the highest peak in Europe, and is a non-technical climb but requires good physical conditioning and use of crampons on the hard snow slopes. We begin our adventure in the old capital city of St. Petersburg with a city tour of this beautiful European city, then transfer to the Baksan valley where we spend several days acclimatizing on the mountain slopes before making our ascent of Elbrus. Our itinerary is well thought out as we have ample time for acclimatization and weather delays. The summit provides amazing views of the Caucus mountain range. This is an excellent peak to train on if you are intending to climb in the Himalaya or Alaska ranges.
We regularly organize custom programs for private groups. We are happy to accommodate your program dates, as well as other specific requests related to the itinerary, amenities, and group size. Please contact us if you would like to know more about custom programs.
Day 1. Arrive in St. Petersburg usually in late afternoon. You will be picked up at the airport and then arrive at the hotel in St. Petersburg for a nice dinner with the team.
Day 2. City tour of St. Petersburg with Russian guide. This marvelous city offers many spectacular sightseeing opportunities. We will tour the famous museum Hermitage, with many important paintings. We also tour the Aurora Navy vessel, the ship that fired the fist shot starting the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. We stay in a St. Petersburg hotel.
Day 3. Fly from St. Petersburg to Mineralnyie Vody airport. Travel by bus to the Baksan valley, arrive in our hotel and conduct our gear check. Overnight stay in hotel. The hotel is situated in the edge of 60 mile Baksan valley, almost on the slope of Mt. Elbrus. In the village of Terscol we have some equipment shops and rentals options, as well as a few internet cafes.
Day 4: Acclimatization day hiking through the Baksan Valley and tour the Cheget Cupola.
Day 5. We take the ski lift and go for an acclimatization hike to Mt. Cheget (3470m). From here we have a perfect view of Mt. Elbrus, as well as our climbing route.
Day 6. Ride ski lifts up to huts (3720m), hike up to 4500m. We have dinner in the huts and enjoy the fantastic view. Overnight in huts.
Day 7. Acclimatization day and climbing skills review. Afterward we make final preparations for the summit attempt the following day.
Day 8. Summit day! We awake early for an alpine start and depart camp before dawn. We climb to the summit of Europe’s highest peak and then descend to our camp and sleep in the hut.
*We do have the option to use the snow cat that can bring us up to 4550m if desired.
Day 9. Descend from the huts to the hotel. Celebration dinner and BBQ over a recap of our successful summit day.
Day 10. Extra day in case of bad weather. We have the option for short hikes if this day is free.
Day 11. Fly from Mineralnyie Vody to Moscow.
Day 12: Tour of Moscow and free evening.
Day 13: Depart Moscow for USA.
Mount Elbrus Climb: $5,950
July 19 – August 1
August 1 – 14
• All domestic flights
• All American and Russian guide fees
• All hut fees
• Park entrance fees
• All group equipment such as tents, stoves, etc.
• All breakfast and dinners while trekking and climbing (snacks not included)
• All accommodations and transportation in country during the program on regular itinerary
• City tours of St. Petersburg and Moscow
Costs Do Not Include:
• Wire transfer fee
• Russian visa
• Any expense in the event of early departure from the mountain
• Personal items (see equipment list)
• Option to upgrade to single room
• Bottled or alcoholic beverages
Please inquire about our cancellation and refund guidelines.
• Ice Axe: A 65 cm ice axe.
• Crampons: A general mountaineering crampon
• Climbing Harness: An alpine harness rather than a sport climbing harness
• Carabineers: 2 locking
• Trekking Poles: Adjustable poles
• Trekking Boots: comfortable trekking boots or mid top hiking shoes.
• Climbing Boots: A double plastic or insulated synthetic boot.
• Gaiters: To keep snow out of your boots
• Socks: Minimum 3 pair thick mountaineering socks and 3 pair liner socks
• Short Underwear: 1-2 pair of synthetic short underwear
• Long Underwear: 1-2 pair lightweight long underwear pants and shirts. 1 pair of heavy expedition weight long underwear.
• Trekking pants: Nylon pants worn during warm days.
• Soft Shell Jacket: A hooded jacket
• Soft Shell pants: For trekking and climbing
• Insulated Jacket: PrimaLoft or Down
• Expedition Down Parka: A hooded down jacket with 800 minimum down fill.
• Insulated Pants: PrimaLoft or Down, these should have full side zippers.
• Hard Shell Jacket: To be worn in wet conditions
• Hard Shell Pants: To be worn in wet conditions, these pants should have full side zippers.
• Headlamp: Bring extra batteries
• Warm Hat: A warm fleece or wool hat.
• Balaclava: to cover your face and neck on windy days.
• Sun hat: A baseball style sun camp.
• Buff: 1-2 of these to wear around your neck & face to block the wind, UV rays, dust.
• Glacier Glasses: wrap around style sunglasses with dark lenses
• Goggles: With dark lenses.
• Soft Shell Gloves: 1 pair
• Shell gloves with insulated liner: 1 pair
• Shell mittens with insulated liner: 1 pair
• Backpack: A 40 liter back pack.
• Sleeping Bag: Rated to at least -20 °F. Down is preferable over synthetic.
• Compression stuff sacks: for reducing volume for your sleeping bag and down jacket.
• Headlamp: Bring a spare set of batteries
• Sunscreen: SPF 50 or stronger
• Lip screen: SPF 30 or stronger
• Water bottles: 2 bottles with 1 liter capacity each
• Water Bottle Parkas: To keep your water from freezing
• Pee Bottle: 1+ liter capacity recommended
• Pee Funnel: For Women
• Knife: Optional
• Toiletry Bag: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, baby wipes, etc.
• Hand Sanitizer: 2 small bottles
• Hand warmers / Toe warmers: 1-2 sets of each for summit day
• Trash Compactor bags (3): To line stuff sacks and separate gear
• Camera: lightweight with extra batteries
• Travel Clothes: For days in St. Petersburg and in Moscow.
• Large Duffel Bag with lock: for transporting all personal gear during the climb, waterproof is best.
• Small duffel bag: To store items in the hotel
• Small Personal First Aid Kit: Athletic tape, band aids, Ibuprofen, Moleskin, blister care products, personal medications, cough drops.
• Water purification system: Steripen or tablets
‣ Acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude illness
‣ Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxin or Azithromycin for gastro intestinal or respiratory illness
‣ Ibuprofen for muscle soreness
‣ Pepto Bismol for loose stool
‣ Excedrin for headaches
‣ Anti-nausea medications.
• Climbing Snacks:
‣ Electrolyte Replacement Drink Mix: Bring a supply for 6 days.
‣ Energy Gel: Single serving gel packs such as GU, Clifshot, Powergel, etc.)
‣ Energy Bars: Power bar, Cliff bar, etc.
‣ Candy Bars: Snickers, Mars, Twix, Milkey Way, etc.