Ski adventures

  • ski Caucasus

    General description


    ELBRUS The Caucasian ridge stretches for 1200 km from East to West, from the Black sea to the Caspian. Its width reaches 180 km. The chain separates Russia from the Caucasian region.The Greater Caucasus is traditionally divided into three regions: West Caucasus, Central and East Caucasus. The borders of these territories go along meridians that cross mt. Elbrus (5642 m) in the West and Kazbek (5033 m). It is between these two giants that the major part of the most beautiful mountains lies. The central valley along which flows the river Baksan has many side valleys, leading to the most famous and beautiful peaks of the Caucasus, such as Donguz-Orun (4492 m), magnificent ridges of Shkhelda (4300 m), Tchatyn (4368 m) with the well-known «rhomb», the legendary Ushba (4710 m) and of course mt. Elbrus (5642 m), the highest summit of the Caucasus.

    It is easy to reach mt. Elbrus region from Mineralnie Vody airport, which is connected by a network of roads with valleys on the northern slopes of the Caucasus.


    Mt.Elbrus, a two-peaked ice giant, crowns the panorama of Central Caucasus. It is at least 1000 m higher than its neighbors. Its two peaks have two volcano craters, which make the Eastern peak a little lower than the other (5642 and 5621 m).The Eastern peak still has an enormous crater 250m in diameter. All the massif is covered by a gigantic ice-cap. Therefore from Persian language the name of the mountain is translated as «Snow Mountain». Cabardin and Balkan people, local folks of these lands, call it «Mountain of Happiness».

    An ascent of mt. Elbrus along the normal route, that is the most popular one in the Caucasus. It gives a possibility to reach a great altitude by technically simple route. Nevertheless it requires full acclimatization.

    The following plot includes skitour for enjoying mountain ridges and valleys intended to acquire necessary acclimatization. There is a possibility to change or cut down the suggested program of acclimatization, but taking into consideration the specific climate of the region, we find it necessary to spend certain time on the place before the summit attempt.

  • Kola Peninsular


    The Khibiny Mountains

    The Khibiny mountains (an old Saami name) are located in the centre of the Kola Peninsula, 80 km north from the White sea and 120 km south from the Barents sea. This is a horseshoe-shaped plateau composed of alkaline rock, nepheline syenite, which was crystallized about 380 million years ago from magmatic melts of gigantic volcanoes, like the Kilimanjaro in Africa. Volcanoes got extinct ages ago, and were exposed to erosion and glacier flattening. However, 10000 years ago when the glacier disappeared, the massif began to grow again. The top of the massif furrowed with glacial scars, is rising now about 1000 meters above the surrounding hilly plain covered by a thin layer of sand, clay and peat-bogs which covers underneath metamorphic rocks of about a three billion years old.

    Vast valleys with the Kola greatest lakes - Imandra (180 km long and 30 km wide) and Umba (45x12 km) adjoin the mountains from the west and east. The highest tops are found in the western area of the massif, and the highest point is Chasnachorr (1191 m). There are a lot of rivers and lakes in the mountains, multiple streams drying up in autumn and being born in snow melting. The greatest mountain lakes are the Maly Vudiavr and Bolshoi Vudiavr, they are located in the southern part of the Kukisvum valley at the altitude about 315 meters over the sea level.

    Khibiny mountains at Kola Peninsular

    The Khibiny mountains are located north of the Arctic Circle, so during the short summer period the sun is not hidden below the horizon but starting from mid-December till early January the sun does not appear in the sky. Owing to the warm Gulfstream washing the North coast of the Peninsula, the climate of this area is not severe, however, spring comes to the mountains as late as at the end of May - the beginning of June; in deep canyons and northern slopes snow never melts at all. Summer comes in late June, and tundra is covered with a multicoloured carpe of flowers. Northern summer is short -just at the beginning of September the mountain slopes are getting red-yellow and the tops are covered with snow. The air temperature in the mountains falls sharply and winter comes already at the end of September-the beginning of October. Winter is not frosty here - an average temperature in January is as low as -13 °C but winter lasts over seven-eight months.


    The higher to the mountains the poorer the vegetation world is getting: thick pine-, fir- and birch-woods of the foothills change at the level of 200-250 m into dwarf forest, then at 300 meters - into tundra (arctic prairies) and on the flat Khibiny tops dominate arctic stone deserts. Despite the severe conditions, about 2000 vegetation species grow there, there is a great variety of mosses and lichens. The animal world of the Khibiny mountains is also rather diverse - one can see here a reindeer, elk, brown bear, glutton, lemming, white hare, raven, thrush, partridge, snow-bunting. In cold crystal-clear water of the Khibiny rivers and lakes you can find salmon, grayling, sig, pike, perch, and char.