International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

Elbrus Climb

Russia  •  18,481'  •  5633m  •  Highest Peak in Europe

Elbrus Climb with International Mountain Guides

Elbrus Climb Frequently Asked Questions

This information should answer many of your initial questions and also guide you through the next stages of preparing for the expedition. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need javascript enabled to view it

What is the route like?

Elbrus itself is a relatively straight-forward glacier climb. Several thousand feet of glacial snow and ice can be expected. We will also do a couple of days of training and climbing in the Caucasus Mountains. These will involve glacial snow and ice and perhaps some rock scrambling. These are considered alpine climbs of an intermediate degree of difficulty.

How should I train?

Remember that good physical conditioning is always a necessity for high altitude climbing. All of these climbs involve several thousand feet of climbing and require 10-12 hours of climbing or more. Follow a conditioning program that will strengthen your legs, heart and lungs. Any hiking or climbing you can do before the trip is of great benefit. At home, I recommend stair climbing, bike riding and running hills. Conditioning is a process that should continue throughout the year.

What skills do I need?

Prior knowledge of cramponing, ice ax arrest and rope team travel are REQUIRED. Everyone must have these REQUIRED climbing skills.

Is a visa required?

A visa is required for entry into Russia. We will handle these arrangements in conjunction with CTT Destinations. The process begins with us requesting a Visa Invitation from Russia. Then, we need a visa application, passport and passport photo and visa fees from you. This application form and instructions will be sent to you as a separate attachment. The visa application will be handled as a group. Please send the required form, YOUR PASSPORT (copies can NOT acceptable), 1 passport photo as well as payment for the processing fee, to CTT Destinations directly. Let's get these items to CTT Destinations as soon as possible. We have tried to make this whole process as simple as possible. Call if you have any questions.

CTT Destinations charges $45 to process visas and $35 for Fed Ex return of your passport with the completed visa. That is a sweet deal. The Russian consulate charges $100 for the visa so with the Fed Ex fee it comes to a total of $180 per person. That is payable in a check to CTT Destinations.

Send those items as soon as possible to Pirjo's attention at:
    CTT Destinations
    38579 SE River St. #2
    P.O. Box 887
    Snoqualmie, WA 98065

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU FILL OUT, SIGN AND RETURN THE APPLICATION FORM, YOUR PASSPORT, A PASSPORT PHOTO AND PAYMENT OF $180 PAYABLE TO CTT DESTINATIONS SOON SO THAT WE CAN BEGIN PROCESSING OF YOUR VISA.

How do I get there?

All flight arrangements should be handled through CTT Destinations. They know our programs and it is so much easier when you work with them. Flights are typically in short supply so it is very important that everyone makes their reservations NOW. For help with your plans, we urge you to contact Pirjo at CTT Destinations: 800-909-6647 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need javascript enabled to view it

We will all meet in Amsterdam at the departure gate for our flight to St. Petersburg. Pirjo at CTT Destinations has the latest flight information. We want everyone on this flight if at all possible. Our return flight from Moscow will also be through Amsterdam. You are also responsible for your overnight in Amsterdam. CTT Destinations can easily make those arrangements for you.

CTT Destinations will also make the reservations for your flight from St. Petersburg to Mineralnye Vody to Moscow. They have all that flight information and will take good care of you. They are aware of the logistic difficulties that can exist within Russia and closely monitor all our connections.

Call CTT Destinations and ask for Pirjo.

What kind of insurance do I need?

We invest in insurance coverage for commercial liability and medical and disability insurance for our employees while participating on our programs. We cannot insure you for your personal needs, but we do expect you to be as fiscally responsible as we are. We require that you insure yourself against potentially expensive difficulties that may arise. First, Trip Cancellation Insurance may provide financial relief should you be forced to withdraw from the program before it even happens. Next, make sure you have adequate Travel Insurance for coverage should you have a problem during the trip. Medical care and evacuation in remote locations can be expensive. For more information, please see our page on Trip Cancellation and Travel Insurance.

We again remind you that no insurance of any kind is provided for trip participants.

What immunizations will I need?

No immunizations are currently required to enter Russia. It is recommended that you consider the following:

  • Tetanus/Diphtheria: There is no natural immunity to the tetanus toxin and since it is found throughout the world, immunization is a universal recommendation regardless of age. A combined tetanus/ diphtheria booster is available, good for ten years.

  • Hepatitis Vaccine: New vaccines are available for both hepatitis A and B.

Please consult your physician or local health department for their recommendations.

You should also ask your physician for a prescription for a course of the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin. Please consider this to be part of your required equipment.

We recommend that you visit the travel clinic at a major University Hospital or your local Public Health Department for the most up to date info on travel requirements, or check the Center for Disease Control Website at www.cdc.gov.

What's included in the expedition fee?

Costs Included in Trip Fee:
  • guide fees including our Russian staff
  • all sightseeing in Russia
  • double accommodations in hotels
  • shared accommodations in huts
  • group transportation
  • group equipment including stoves and fuel, ropes, cooking gear, group first aid kit, technical climbing equipment, radios, etc.
  • meals while climbing (except snack foods)
  • most restaurant meals in Russia.
Costs Not Included in Trip Fee:
  • international airfare and the flight to/from Mineralnye Vody
  • visa fees
  • excess baggage fees
  • personal equipment
  • items of a personal nature
  • hotels and meals in Amsterdam
IMG climbers on Mt. Elbrus
People always ask me, 'why would you want to spend your vacation huffing and puffing and suffering climbing a mountain'? and I tell them beside the obvious challenge and self-reward... it is a tremendous way, and an excellent excuse, to actively see the world with a purpose. How would any of them be able to meet and spend a couple weeks with people like Romalo and the Igors? To see and learn about their cities their country their culture and their people? To climb great peaks of the world, and not to mention to sit back with a couple of adult beverages while jumping back and forth from steamy sauna to a freezing cold pool with a bunch of buddies that were with you on a great adventure? We see so much more than just a tourist would see...
~Brian S.
IMG Elbrus climbers
As we reached the Pastukhova Rocks and above, the sun began to rise and we were not only treated to a beautiful sunrise, but could see from the mountains below just how high we were...
It was an exciting and memorable trip. Russia's a bit like the old Wild West, but we found the people like Americans, and found them to be very cordial and friendly. Our US guide, Phil Ershler, who is a world class climber and guide, manages a mountain to maximize group success. This is my third climb with him, all successful...
~John
As always, Phil had the logistics worked out to perfection, got us up and down the mountain in one piece, and took the time to pass on his lifetime of climbing and travel knowledge along the way. Absorbing the ups and downs of a two-week adventure like this must be a real pain, but Phil did so without missing a beat, allowing the rest of us to sit back and enjoy ourselves, which I believe we all did. I can't imagine the trip being planned out any better...
 
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