Climbing Elbrus is considered one of the easiest peaks among the Seven Summits. However, this mountain did not seem to be really easy for us. Therefore, we recommend taking a guide with you for your own safety. A guide is important if you go to the top of Elbrus for the first time.
Guide costs are inexpensive. This peak is the cheapest of all Seven Summits. The whole program costs 112,000 rubles (about $ 1,750) for two people. This included the work of our guide and of one porter. We gave additionally about $ 100 (about 6,500 rubles) for tips (although it is not usual to give tips here). The main amount also included expenses for food, tents during acclimatization trips, hotels, transportation (from Vladikavkaz and back to the airport in Mineralnye Vody) and numerous bureaucratic papers. There were just me and Steffen in the group, so in fact, the guide was our personal guide. This allowed us to be very flexible and change the program according to our needs and wishes.
We were satisfied with our guide, he knew the whole area very well, he told interesting stories, took great pictures of us, listened to our desires when choosing a hotel or changing the program and he took care of all organizational and bureaucratic issues. He also taught us how to walk in crampons, and how to use an ice axe and a rope as well as how to walk safely. During the ascent our guide helped Stefan to descend, who already suffered a little from the lack of oxygen. Stefan walked very slowly and the guide patiently followed him and secured him with the rope. In general, we are very happy with the guide!
The rental of additional equipment (ice axes, crampons, summit jackets, etc.) cost about 10,400 rubles (approximately $ 160). It is inexpensive, but the quality of the equipment was not the best. It is better to come with your own equipment. A list of the necessary equipment can be found here.
Total expenses for us two amounted to 112,000 + 10,400 = 122,400 rubles ($ 1,900) for the entire program and additional 10,000 rubles ($ 150) for tips and other expenses. In fact, you can find programs even cheaper and spend less than 100,000 rubles for two people ($ 1,500).