Elbrus is an amazing two-headed mountain, where you can still find many virgin places to acclimatize. We recommend avoiding large group ascents with traditional acclimatization from the south or from the north, where you can encounter many tourists. It is better to choose a flexible program with acclimatization on Irikchat (trust us, it’s very beautiful and there are no tourists!) and with ascending from the east. In the Irikchat gorge, there is no such comfort as in the south, but on the other hand, you will definitely experience a real spirit of mountaineering without ugly cable cars, infrastructure, cheap cabins built from cargo containers and crowds of tourists.
We heard from our guide that the ascent from the north is more interesting than the ascent from the south, but the east still beats it all! The ascent from the east is a little more difficult due to the lack of infrastructure and people have to carry everything on themselves. In this case, you can combine the route from the east and from the south as we did. We took only the necessary things to Irikchat and left almost everything else in the hotel. Below is a map of our acclimatization and of climbing Elbrus.
On Elbrus, you can test your strength and see if you want to continue with mountaineering. This is a test to check how you cope with mountain sickness, how you endure discomfort, how you like it all. I hope that because of the relative easiness and beauty of Elbrus, many people fall in love with the mountains, want to conquer more peaks and start to be fond of mountaineering.
Below is a map of acclimatization and climbing Elbrus: