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Caucasus & Elbrus
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Caucasus, Elbrus Region

Access

From the bus station at Mineralnye Vody airport, private mini-buses depart on an on demand basis for Terskol. If there are too few clients they sometimes does not run at all. Taxis are always available, ensure it is an licenced taxi and be sure to fix the price (USD50-100 - negotiable).

Private buses are also available in front of hotel near the airport and in front of railway station in Mineralnye Vody. The local N11 service links the airport to railway station.

There are two bus stations in Nalchik: intercity and local. From the intercity station there are buses to Terskol at 9.40; 11.50; 13.35; 15.45. The schedule is not strictly adhered to. It is possible to rent a car or mini bus to Terskol at the intercity station. These buses also provide the only public service within the Baksan Valley.

Food

Choice of food in Terskol is very poor but some basics are available: chocolate, fruit and vegetables (more expensive than in the towns). It is better to buy food in markets at Mineralnye Vody, Nalchik or Tyrnyauz. The market in Mineralnye Vody is situated by the railway station; in Nalchik, 10 min. walk from the "Alpinist" hotel; in Tyrnyauz in the town centre.

Accommodation

Many hotels are poorly managed, run-down and offer poor services. Alpine camps offer similar services but accommodation is in huts or tents with communal washing and toilet facilities. For private individuals it is not easy to contact the area from the outside and accommodation is best found on arrival in the valley. Prices are negotiable, Alpine Camps (Alpbaza) offer rooms for several dollars a night, hotels are more expensive. Several of the Alpine Camps have now good quality accommodation available. Further enquiries could be addressed to KabBalkAlpinist kabbalkalpin@yandex.ru who might answer and might be able to help with your logistical enquiries.

The following hotels are recommended: Wolfram Hotel (in Terskol); Alpine Base Jantugan in Adylsu. In Adyrsu: Alpine Camp Ullutau.

Mountain Rescue and Medical Facilities

There are two rescue posts in the Elbrus Region: at Terskol (tel. 86638-71489) and at Shkhelda Alpine Camp. It is possible to hire a radio here for contact with the rescue service. The cost is about $5 per radio, per day. It is necessary to have personal insurance when climbing in the area.

 The head office of the rescue service is in Nalchik: Tel: 86622 93-244 / 93-284.

Individual climbers are recommended to report to the nearest rescue centre. The staff are generally helpful and give good advice, some speak English.

There are first aid points in Terskol and at the Cheget hotel. The nearest hospital is in Tyrnyauz. 

Visas

A visa is required for entry into Russia. You need to obtain a visa application form from the Russian Embassy. This must be completed and submitted together with: It is as simple as that! Please note regulations in some countries vary. 

Permits

Three are required:

1. The Elbrus Region is a border zone between Russia and Georgia and foreigners require a permit to be in any area south of the Baksan. This is obtained at the military head office of the border rangers in Nalchik. You should also be registered at their local posts: in the Baksan valley at the Alpine Base Baksan; in the Adyrsu valley near the Alpine Camp Ullutau.

Pogranotryad in Nalchik issues permits at Kabardinskaya street 192. Passes are issued between 9.00 and 13.00.  if you want to have a go make sure you have the following documents:

This sounds easy but Russian bureaucracy will probably force you to stay in Nalchik for a few days if you try it as a foreigner. It is best to do it through an agency.

2. Prielbrusie National Park permit. No strict system exists for obtaining this permit. Prices are negotiable. Park offices are located in Elbrus village.

3. Foreigners have to be registered in OVIR (Visa and Registration department) in Tyrnyauz. Generally hotels arrange registration. Last year the "official" fee was $30 per person. If OVIR officials catch an unregistered climber the fine can be very high - but negotiable.


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Comments and updates are most gratefully received. Please email us using email link above.
© Andrew Wielochowski 4/9/2014. From the "Map & guide to Elbrus and the Upper Baksan"