Pyatigorsk, Russia

North Elbrus

Experience the North Caucasus with your heart


If a challenge is something you cannot live without – welcome on board! This is one of our longest, yet, ultimate hiking tours in the Caucasus mountains. You are going to spend 7 days seeing nothing else but the rocks, rivers, and Europe’s highest mountain Elbrus. The trek goes all the way around Elbrus so that you can see it from different perspectives. Moreover, we will get to the northern basecamp from where the path to the peak starts. This is one of the tour’s highlights and the highest point (3750 m), called Ullukol glacier.

Is this trip for me?

Yes, if apart from the good physical shape you have some experience in multiple-day hikes with a backpack on your shoulders. You should be prepared that there is no chance to give up on this trail (turn back/stay/escape, etc.) However, if this is your dream – just start preparing now! Nothing is impossible!


Age: 18 to 30-something
Russian Visa
Equipment: download as PDF

Physical rating
Service level

Group size: 5-15 people

Dates:         expected in 2021

Places left:

Price p.P.:   33’900 RUB

What does your tour coordinator say?

If you’ve ever dreamt of flying to Mars I bet you imagined the red surface and no flora. The North slopes of Elbrus look exactly like that which is so contrasting to the white cover of the mountain itself. Incredible!


Full itinerary


Our program begins in the afternoon with a city tour around Pyatigorsk. It’s a relatively small city so it will take us 4-5 hours to see its most beautiful places and get to the top of Mount Mashuk (988 m). The hike is highly recommended as a part of your acclimatization, although, the views are inspiring as well! Moreover, during the tour you’ll have a chance to taste the mineral waters that come to the surface or even bath in them. Feel truly local! The evening program is optional so either you can join the group for a walk or take more time preparing for tomorrow’s departure to the mountains.

  • No meals included
  • Overnight in a hostel

Early in the morning we get picked up by a private bus and driven to a place where the food packages are distributed. There you can leave all the items that you won’t need for the hike and pack the food and some shared equipment instead. Say goodbye to civilization – we’re back in a week! The bus brings us to the village of Verhniy Baksan from where our hike starts. Nothing difficult to expect from this day – just take your time getting used to the weight on your shoulders, walk slowly, breath, and enjoy the first mountain views!

  • Bus ride: 130 km, 3 hours.
  • Hike: 4 km. Verhniy Baksan (1550 m) – camp #1 (2250 m)
  • Height increase: +700 m. 
  • Meals included: lunch snack, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

This is the day of your first ‘real’ hike so get more energy at breakfast and let’s go! By the way, in the mountain we wake up with the first ray of sun in our valley, around 6 a.m. That’s because the weather is changing all of a sudden in the afternoon and our aim is to make it to the next camp before it starts raining. Today our destination is Syltranköl Lake. We won’t swim there but get to the spot with the best views of it.

  • Hike: camp #1 (2250 m) – Syltranköl Lake, camp #2 (3200 m)
  • Distance: 4 km. Height increase: +950 m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

The landscapes you’ll be viewing during these days are a great reminder of nature about the volcanic past of the Elbrus mountain and, therefore, all this area around it. No forest, no grass, but just the red and black stones and rocks. By the way, since the biggest part of the hike we’re going down, we’ll teach you a new sport there which we call “rock sliding” – it’ll be fun! 

  • Hike: Syltranköl Lake, camp #2 (3200 m) – via Syltran Pass (3440 m) – camp #3 by Kyrtyk river (2400 m)
  • Distance: 9 km. Height increase: +240 m, -1040 m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

Although today the distances and altitudes don’t seem to be so harsh it still depends on the weather! If we’re lucky with that the hike will be pretty quick and with great views from all sides. But hoping for the best be prepared for the worst! Keep your raincoat in an easy-accessible pocket and don’t get too disappointed by not seeing much around – there’s still something else that brought you to the mountains, right? 

  • Hike: camp #3 (2400m) – Kyrtykaush Pass (3240m) – camp #4 by Islamtchat river (2840m)
  • Distance: 8 km. Height increase: +840 m, -400 m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

This day is probably the most difficult one during the tour. Not physically, but mentally, especially if this is your first multiple-day hike. We can totally understand that so don’t be shy saying us that you need help or support! You can also find more strength in nature around you: today’s views of Elbrus are truly incredible and so much rewarding! 

  • Hike: camp #4 (2840 m) –Islamtshat Pass (3150 m) – camp #5 by Birdjaly-Su (3200m). 
  • Distance: 7 km. Height increase: +360 m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

Congratulations – today we’re on the way back to civilization! We’re heading to the Emmanuel’s glade and “Silver Spring” in Djily-Su valley. We’ll set our tents just in the slopes of Elbrus so the best morning views are guaranteed! There’s a camping site here that is well-known among hikers who are willing to get to the top of Elbrus from the North face. Therefore, a few basic cafes and even a sauna will be available. The hike itself is pretty easy as we only go downhill and our backpacks are way lighter. But be careful with your knees.  

  • Hike: camp #5 (3200 m) – camp #6 by «Silver Spring» (2550 m).
  • Distance: 8 km. Height increase: -650 m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

Today is the hike which was, perhaps, your main motivation to join the tour. We assure, you won’t regret it! Our plan is to reach the highest point of 3750m and touch the blue snow of Elbrus. That is a true Caucasus experience you’ll remember for long! Just be ready for a really long and exhausting hike but also some unknown and cool spots like Hitler’s hidden aerodrome, or the “Stone Mushrooms” plateau. 

  • Hike: camp #6 (2550 m) –  Ullukol glacier, 3750 m – plateau “Stone mushrooms” (3200 m) – return to camp #6
  • Distance: 16 km. Height increase: +1200 m, -1200 m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

We go home! Just a few kilometers of an easy walk are separating us from the bus and then a few more from Pyatigorsk. Our farewell dinner is in the evening and you’re more than welcome to join it! 

  • Hike: camp #6 (2550 m) – valley of mineral springs Djyly-Su (2350 m)
  • Distance: 3 km. Height increase: -200 m
  • Bus ride: 120 km, 3 hours
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: hostel (*upon request, not included)

Tour impressions


  • In Djily-su camping site all the services such as cafes or sauna can only be paid in cash (RUB).
  • There are water sources all anong the way as well as at our camp sites, so you only carry your standard water bottle to drink.
  • The camping sites we are staying at are complitely wild that means there’s no shower/bathroom available. 
  • We usually return to Pyatigorsk at around 4 p.m., so in case you’re taking a bus/train 6 p.m. should be your earliest departure time; for a plane from Mineralnye Vody airport it’s 8 or 9 p.m. (mind our farewell dinner though 😉 )

Do you still have any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us and also have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.