Ascent of Mt. Elbrus (5642 m), Caucasus, Russia

July 11-23, 2003

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This story begins June 9, 2003 - 2 days before we plan to leave Denmark for Europe's highest summit, Mt. Elbrus (5642 m). On this date Carsten Jensen, who is the third member of our team rings to cancel his participation due to a broken leg endured whilst skydiving!! He had arrived in Moscow 1 week earlier than Lotte and myself to train for his 8-man skydiving team. Our small team was thus reduced to a micro-team, but Lotte and I decide to press on to Caucasus via Moscow as planned.....

Hotel "Rossia" in Moscow is Europe's largest and has 6000 rooms.

OK standard and super address just next to The Red Square and Kremlin.

This was unfortunate for Carsten, not least because he had organized all the logistics for the trip to the airport in Mineralnye Vody.

Lotte in front of the Cathedral on The Red Square

We meet Carsten in Moscow June 12 where he shows us his X-rays and gives us the gear he was carrying that we would need. We also get a bit of sight-seeing done. Really beautiful around The Red Square and Kremlin.

More buildings around the Red Square and Kremlin.

On Sunday, June 13 we fly south to Mineralnye Vody, which is the last city we'll see before the mountains in Caucasus. We had chosen not to hire a guide and were thus on our own, but knew the importance of getting the OVIR stamp in our visa.

When we come out of the arrivals hall we are met with a hoard of people yelling "Terskol, Terskol", which is the town at the foot of Mt Elbrus. Two men are particularly persistent and speak a little English after many attempts they finally understand that we need our OVIR stamp.

They tell us that we can get the stamp at the office for incoming tourists - this proves to be correct which is great as we avoid spending a whole day getting the stamp and we later get them to drive us to Terskol - byen ved foden af Mt. Elbrus. The trip takes 3 hours and costs 60 $ including a break at a supermarket - we had heard that shopping in Terskol was limited which also proved correct...

Our driver in front of his "taxi" he got his Lada to drive like a Limo!

I the background the departures hall in which the Office for incoming tourists can be seen.

We have no hotel reservations in Terskol and thus lead our driver to the only hotel we know: Hotel Wolfram. Luckily they have a room and it proves to be cheap (21$ per person for bed, breakfast & dinner!). We book the room for our whole stay regardless of the fact that we'll be on the mountain for some of the time.

Hotel Wolfram. OK quality (1-2 stars), especially considering the price....

On Monday, July 14 we made our first (and only) acclimatization trip. This took us to the top "Cheget" (3461m) which is easily reached via a ski-lift that takes one to almost 3000m. The last 500 height meters are reached within an hour.

Lotte in the ski-lift on the way to Cheget. In the background one can see Baksan Valley that ends in Azau, where the ski-lift to Mt. Elbrus starts.

A trip to Cheget is an ideal start of a Mt. Elbrus expedition, as the summit provide an excellent view of the normal route of the mountain.

Lotte studying the route to Mt. Elbrus.

In the background one can see Cheget - the aim of the day.

We eat our packed lunches on the top where we spend a few hours.


Lotte and Hans on the top of Cheget with the two classic Elbrus peaks between us.

(photo taken by an unknown American.....)

We meet a group from Belgium on the top of Cheget that convince us that we won't make the lift back down. We thus decide to follow them down the mountain via the beautiful lake Donguzorun.


Lotte with lake Donguzorun and Nakra-Tau peak in the background.





Mount Elbrus, Caucasus

Elbrus seen from the top of Cheget. It is the peak on the left we climbed.

Move the mouse over the photo to see points of interest and the normal route.

The summit of Cheget gives us the opportunity to see a panorama view of the mountain chain which includes the boarder between Russia and Georgia. Particularly the impressive north face at Dongusorun and Nakra-Tau gives us a great feeling inside - we must come back to climb them one day.....

Dongusorun and Nakra-Tau, Caucasus

Dongusorun and Nakra-Tau's impressive north face. Move the cursor over the photo to see points of interest and peaks....

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Last update: 17-12-2007

© Hans Bräuner-Osborne