Elbrus expeditions. Trekking and ski-touring in the Mount Elbrus area. Caucasus Mountains, Russia. Mt Elbrus climb. gb@geographicbureau.com phone: +7 812 2305794 fax: +7 812 2304576 Postal address: 197110, P.O.Box 162, St Petersburg, Russia

Over 25 years experience

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Mt Elbrus training programme

Although technically Mt Elbrus is easy accessible summit physically it is demanding mountain and we cannot overemphasize the importance of physical conditioning. It is of utmost importance to be in good physical condition when attempting a high-altitude mountaineering adventure. Climbing a mountain is tough work, and you can't expect to just get up one day and make it to the top of a substantial peak. It takes hard work, perseverance and an unbeatable will to climb mountains. You are being unfair to yourself and the rest of the group if you start the trip saying to yourself "Elbrus is easy - I can do that" and it turns out that you cannot because you are not used proper training for that. For high success chance and to enjoy the trip you should prepare for this trip before you come.

Nothing prepares you for mountain walking as does mountain walking itself. We suggest you begin your training program at least two months before the departure. Start slowly, without the weight of a pack, adding weight as you increase your training pace. Take a long hike (4-5 hours) several times with a weighted pack (up to 15kg) up and down hills. The Elbrus route in general is within the capabilities of any normal healthy and fit individual used to hill walking. However, it is best to get in shape before you go: jogging in the park, cycling, using stairs not lifts, swimming, games and exercises that expand the lungs and build oxygen-carrying capacity, muscle strength, and endurance. If possible, try to take at least two longer hikes of 6-10 hours with 1000m of altitude gain. Speed is not important, but consistency and quality of your workout are. Long, slow distance work is better than quick, short workouts. Close attention should be paid to how well you hydrate before, during, and after exercise. Due to the environment at high altitude your body will use more fluids than normal. Several days before your departure, rest and drink plenty of water.

Break in your boots. This seems simple but breaking in your boots can save you a great deal of time and pain. Having well broken-in boots is critical to making it to the top of any mountain. The best way to break in boots is to wear them. Wear them around the house, wear them to work, and, most importantly, wear them on a few short climbing excursions before your attempt at the summit. If your boots are constantly giving you blisters, you can treat your feet with moleskin, or you may just need new boots.

Know your equipment. Practice using everything you bring for the trip before you get out in the wilderness. Although no advanced mountaineering experience is required for Mt Elbrus climb, it is essential to be familiar with the basic use of crampons and ice axes before the trip.

Refuse to quit. Climbing Mount Elbrus to the top is as much psychological as it is physical. Your body will be tired, and it may become painful, but if you put one foot in front of the other you will make it to the top.