Training For Elbrus Climbing

To get the most out of your Elbrus climbing experience and to fully enjoy the stunning panorama of the Great Caucasus Range from the very top of the highest peak in Europe, you need to be ready to overcome a number of factors.


Appropriate clothing, footwear and equipment; diet and rest time will reliably protect you from the cold, precipitation and other objective factors during the trip. There are only two factors that we cannot be protected from by technical means: physical efforts during the ascent along the slope of Mt. Elbrus and the effects of altitude. When climbing to high altitudes atmospheric pressure decreases leading to hypoxia, ie, the lack of oxygen in the body, causing the mountain sickness. Training at home before leaving for the mountains and proper acclimatization on Mt. Elbrus can help you to overcome physical discomfort and hypoxia.


3 months before the trip: endurance training

The aim of the training is to boost the aerobic capacity of the body, i.e., its ability to absorb oxygen from the air at low atmospheric pressure.

Endurance training will help you. The sooner you start preparing, the better the result will be. It is advisable to start training at least 2-3 months before the trip.

If you constantly do sport, change the character of your workouts and enlarge the number of exercises to enhance the endurance. To boost your endurance you can run, cycle, swim or ski.


1 month before the ascent: stabilizing workouts and the correct day regimen

A month before the trip you need to:


1. Switch to stabilizing workouts
2. Avoid stress
3. Get ample sleep
4. Eat healthy meals regularly
5. Avoid alcoholic beverages
6. Visit your dentist and doctor to cure dental or other lingering ailments. You should try to get to Elbrus
healthy and not to bring any pathogenic microbes and viruses from the city.

During workouts, you should run long and monotonously (at least 40 – 60 min. with the pulse rate from 120 to 150 bpm.). You should run regularly (at least 3 times a week), otherwise the workouts will not be effective. Use a heart rate monitor if possible. Run quickly, keeping the pace at which you can still talk to those who run next to you.


When riding a bike you should double the workout time. It is more difficult to modify your workout swimming, but focus here on your sensations and proceed from the fact that endurance training should be continuous. The pulse rate should not be less than 120 bpm., a short-term increase up to 150 -160 bpm., is desirable.


It is also necessary to do some exercises to strengthen your legs. To do this do the “gun” exercise – alternate squatting on your left and right foot. You can perform squats on a chair indoors, holding on to its back, or standing on the dais in the open air. It is desirable to reach up to 25-30 repetitions. You can abandon the lift and take stairs. 9 floors is a recommended workout.


The first stage of acclimatization

Upon arrival at Mount Elbrus, the next stage of training for the ascent begins – training adaptation to the altitude or acclimatization. The program includes an ascent acclimatization schedule, worked out in practice and based on the conditions of optimal terms and states. Implementation of the program outputs will provide you with the sufficient acclimatization to feel satisfactory during your climb to the summit of Elbrus.


At the first stage of acclimatization, which lasts for up to 3 days, a headache, dyspnea during active movement and some sleep and bowel disorders can appear. To combat these symptoms, you should have your habitual medications with you.


The second stage of acclimatization

The second stage of acclimatization begins on the 6th – 7th day. The body, by this time, is sufficiently prepared for the ascent of Mount Elbrus.

During the ascent of Mount Elbrus it is necessary to choose such a pace and rhythm of movement, so that the heart, breathing and legs worked in a harmonious rhythm, without impeding each other. After some rest, it is necessary to start moving at a slower pace than it would be desirable during the first 5-10 minutes. Half an hour later such a pace would be optimal.

During the summit day, you will have to go monotonously around 9-10 hours to the top, and then another 4 hours down. Adaptation to the altitude is achieved by alternation of ascents and descents.

Good preparation and relentless pursuit to reach the summit will certainly make your ascent of Mount Elbrus successful.