Mount Elbrus towers over its surrounding peaks by nearly 3,000′. Standing proudly right at the edge of Europe, and usually accessed from the Russian side, Elbrus is a goal on many climbers’ lists. But as the tallest mountain in Europe, Elbrus is no easy feat.

What does it really take to reach the summit of the tallest peak in Europe?

Fitness

Elbrus isn’t a technical mountain (meaning that you don’t need any special climbing skills), but as one of the tallest peaks in the world, it’s a considerable challenge. Those who succeed are physically prepared. Training your strength and fitness well before your climb starts is one of the biggest keys to reaching the summit of Elbrus. Most people start their training at least 6 months before their climb, with training hikes, leg-strengthening exercises, and lots of cardio.

Glacier Skills

Although Elbrus isn’t a technical mountain, it involves a substantial amount of time on a glacier. Knowing how to rope up and safely travel across crevasse-filled glacial ice is essential. You’ll also need a few other skills, such as how to self-arrest with an ice axe, and how to use crampons.

Luckily, our Mount Elbrus Climb includes training on all the skills you will need, so even people without any technical mountaineering experience can complete this climb.

Acclimatization

The human body has a remarkable ability to adapt to high elevations, given enough time. Taking the time to slowly work your way up to the summit is a key component of a successful climb. Most Elbrus climbs start with acclimatization hikes, where you’ll spend time working your body at higher and higher elevations. Once on the mountain, you’ll need to follow the classic mountaineering wisdom of “climb high, sleep low.” It may seem slow and tedious to those who are anxious to reach the summit, especially when it seems so close, but having the patience to properly acclimatize is essential in safely reaching the summit.

The Right Gear

Staying safe and comfortable in extreme environments comes down to having the right gear on you and with you. The gear needed for Mount Elbrus climbs is standard for virtually any mountaineering venture. The right clothes will protect you from the elements, check out our Trek Tip Video

A Lot of Determination

Finally, after all of the other pieces come together, the final thing needed is a hefty dose of determination and drive to reach the summit.