2005 expedition to Elbrus


Current info about Russia can be found on http://www.waytorussia.net/.


Needed is:

  • Passport, valid for at least 6 months
  • Invitation of a Russian resident. Otherwise you cannot apply for a visa. Other words are: visa support or tourist invitation.
  • Voucher, describing the main cities/areas you are going to visit. It is a part of Visa Support
  • Visa
  • OVIR registration; every time you stay 3 days or longer in a city/area, you need to get an OVIR stamp from the local OVIR bureau
  • Permit for the border zone
  • National Park permit

Yury sent visa support and voucher to us.

OVIR registrations were taken care of in Bezengi Camp and the Baksan Valley.


The Russian currency unit is the Ruble. In July 2005 35 RUB equalled 1 Euro. 1 Dollar equalled about 30 rubles.

ATMs can be found everywhere in the bigger cities. Check your bank.


  • Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz, 2 round plugs. Just as in most European countries.
  • Mail to Western Europe takes 2-4 weeks!
  • Hardly anybody speaks English.
  • Take some time beforehand to familiarise yourself with the Cyrillic alphabet.

Baggage on international and domestic flights

As usual 20 kgms per person is allowed. The two of us had a total of 48 kgms, so 8 kgms excess baggage.
Our international flight was Swiss Air. They charge €28 for every kgm from Amsterdam to Moscow and vice versa. However at the time of checking in, they appeared to be very easy, both in Amsterdam and in Moscow. We did not need to pay anything extra, which made out trip cheaper by about 500 euros.

Local flights were handled by Siberia Airlines. They charged us every kilogram excess weight. However the fee is only 40-60 rubles per kgm, so that is less than 2 euros! No big deal.

Local transport

Transfer Domodedovo Airport to Moskou

Since we flew Swiss Air we landed on Domodedovo airport. This is the best airport in the Moscow region.

Transport to Moscow is possible with Airport Transfer service. A regular taxi costs $30-50, 90 minutes drive, if there is not too much traffic. Another option is the Aeroexpress, a kind of express train to the Paveletsky station in Moscow, 40 minutes, price 100 rubles, departure every hour. Connection with the metro (underground, tube), metro Paveletskaya, circle line.
However we had decided to hire transport from Yury Kolomiets. It costed a little over €30 from the airport to our hotel.

Transport in Moskou

Most convenient is the metro. There are no zones; all of Moscow is one zone. You can buy tickets for 1 trip, 5 trips, 10 trips. One trip is 5 rubles, 10 trips is 105 rubles. Moscow is famous for its beautiful metro stations like: Kievskaya (blue line), Komsomolskaya (circle), Mayakovskaya (green), Ploshchad Revolutsii (blue), Arbatskaya (blue) en Chkalovskaya (light green).

Mineralnye Vody to Bezengi Camp

On MinVody airport we met our guide and we were transported to Bezengi Camp. Quite a long drive, 5 hours, and the last hour was on a very bad dirt track.

Once you arrive in Bezengi Camp you need to register (OVIR). Therefore you need to hand over your passport, which you will get back a few days later. You really need to do this, because the stamp in your passport is very important.

In the Baksan Valley

In the vicinity of Terskol are cable cars and lifts. The lift in Cheget costed 70 rubles per person one way.

Elbrus area to Mineralnye Vody

Our guide brought us back to MinVody railway station.

Mineralnye Vody to Adler

We took the night train to Adler, Black Sea, to relax for a few days.

The night train from Nalchik to Adler stops in MinVody. Departure MinVody 21:15, arrival Adler 08:39. We had a 2-person compartment for a total of 105 USD. The staff in the train rents clean sheets and blankets for 80 rubles per set.