Elbrus
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Answers about our tours and Elbrus region.

On this page we placed answers to the common questions related to our tours, to Elbrus region and to Russia. Answers to particular tour questions are available from corresponding tour pages and through the menu (to the left).

 

 

 


General questions about tours an area.

Regulations and paperwork.


General questions about tours and area.

What is about safety in the region? Does war in Iraq affect local situation?

It is safe region. There were never problems regarding terrorism in Elbrus area (Baksan Valley). MinVody is less safe because of airport
but normally no reason to stay there more than 10 minutes. Look at our web info site www.elbrus.org You can find there our common position about safety in region (F.A.Q. section), current events (in News section) and comments from us and from people in Forum section.

Elbrus area is a ski resort. Every season more than 50000 people come there and several thousands from them are foreigners. Last year our company had more than 500 customers for Elbrus climb tours. I estimate the total rise of travel industry (including foreigners) in the region as 15% every year since 1999.

About Iraq. Russia does not fight in that war and we see no effect on Elbrus region. The problem may be when Iraq collapses after war into new Afghanistan. In this case Russia and Europe may have problems in future but not now.

Same questions were about Afghanistan. We have problems in our country of course but these wars are not ours. Probably the most unsafe part of your tour route will be at a big USA airport, aircraft or other public place not in Russia and not in Elbrus region.

Is this region enough safe for women?

The region is just an ordinary region with rather patriarchal custom. Smiles and several compliments to a woman are not a sexual harassment there but no one will be aimed to kidnap a girl if she did not give a chance. Nothing special. If a woman behaves enough decently no one touches her. A woman must make just normal precautions like in any unfamiliar place - do not go alone along the road at night, do not take alcoholic drinks with strangers, be discreet with men in a local bar and so on.. Prudence is a key, if a woman behaves approachable she can count on success but can not count on respect.

What is the success rate on your trips ?

Customized groups have pretty high rate about 95% (this is because people in these groups are in better shape). The missing 5 % are mostly people run a short program because of weekly charter flight from Munich.
Regular scheduled groups have about 85%. It's quite understandable because 15% are girlfriends, unhealthy people, people of 60-70 age, and simply people without real motivation - they join a group just occasionally.

What is normally the best month for weather ?

More common view is that mid July - mid August is the best. It was so before (6-10 years ago), but now - I do not know. Last two seasons August was pretty rainy. I think June, July, August, September are about equal nowadays. It may be rainy in August and perfect weather in September. As for surface conditions I prefer June. It may be very wet in July (springs from melting snow) and icy, dirty and crowded in August.

Why do you provide limited range of services in cities (only 4 hotels)?

The problem is that we ourselves can not handle wide range of service in cities. We have nor enough clients nor agreements with hotels etc. That is why we will be forced to work through a specialized company not directly. This works ok during the low season but during the high season we have big delays with confirmations (probably hotel companies retain beds for their own use).

Can you tell me more details about the region? Any maps? Photos?

We support non-commercial info site about Mt. Elbrus - www.elbrus.org. You can find a lot of information there. There are photos and maps, comments and answers to many questions. Also you can find other people postings on Forum page of that web site.

What the weather conditions will be like at that time?

This depends of current weather. It's a mountain region so there may be snow storm even in July-August. Normally you can wear T-short or even a swim suite in the valley on a sunny day but a jacket may be necessary at night. And of course you need enough warm clothes for high altitude hikes.

Do I need a Down Jacket?

Not necessarily a 'down' jacket. Any really warm jacket combined with good windproof cover is ok. Be prepared for -10 Celsius.

Can you book a hotel for me and I will pay to hotel when (if) I arrive there?

No, sorry. If we book a hotel we must pay for it. That is why we need payment from you in advance.

I will require the city tour on the morning and the tour of the Kremlin and the Cathedrals that afternoon. Are the two tours
possible on the same day?

No problem. You will have city tour from 10 am pm. After this you can make a gap for lunch and rest and have a walking Kremlin tour then. About the exact time of the 2nd part you can discuss with your guide because most likely there will be same guide for both parts.

Do you provide international travel (airline) to Moscow?

No, sorry, we do not provide international tickets.

Do you speak English? I would like to discuss more questions with you by phone.

We discuss tours only by email. Elbrus tours are just a part of our business and people in our Moscow office have not enough information about these tours. Also using email allows us to prepare more informative messages and provides proper entries in our data base. We will be glad to answer any question by email. Do not hesitate to ask. You can call to our office and speak with somebody but anyway they will suggest to make all contacts in written form and ask questions by email. We are a small travel company we have a lot of mountain based personnel but we can not afford to have phone directory inquiries, sorry.

I'm a vegetarian. Do you provide vegetarian meals?

There are no special vegetarian meals. We just exclude meat from your menu. You will survive and will not be hungry, although range of meals probably will not be wide.

What about tips?

Tipping in Moscow is same as in Europe.Here below is about Caucasus.
Generally speaking it is not a must. However most people give tips to mountain guides. The amount and the way to give depends on what you think about a guide. Generally people collect money from the group and give to a guide in 'one piece' - it may be $5-$20 from each participant. (depends on number of guides and people in a group). However if a guide carried you from the summit on his shoulders and/or you feel special gratitude it is better to give a tip personally, in this case your personal amount should be more than $20.
Tipping cooks is also acceptable if you satisfied with their service. Do not give tips to drivers and in cafes. Avoid tipping people if you are not sure about their social status - some people may consider this offensive.

I want to go to MinVody directly from international airport without a stopover in Moscow. Is this possible?

Latest flight to MinVody goes from 'Vnukovo' domestic airport at about 7 pm. You have to arrive to airport at least 40 minutes before departure and it takes more than 1 hour to get from international airport to domestic airport. Also it takes about 1 hour to go through controls (sometimes even more than 1 hour). In other words your international flight MUST land in Moscow not later than 4 pm. Bearing in mind possible flight delays, traffic jams and lines for control gates (if some charter flights land same time) it is better to set your landing time not later than 3 pm.

Regulations and paperwork.

I can not get an insurance because our government (foreign department) is advising strongly against travel in the North Caucasus.

Because the foreign office advises you not to go there than your insurance company will not cover you for the clause about kidnap, civil unrest etc but you are still may be covered for all the other stuff - medical services, evacuation etc.

I have to apply for a new passport. I can I send you the new passport-number later, in some weeks?

Ok miss that space in form and send it to us when you have new passport. Note that for visa support we need passport number that is
why we can not send visa support to you until we have this detail.

Are there any discounts for travel companies?

Yes. There are discounts for travel companies and private independent entrepreneur-guides. Contact us for details.

Can I pay by Visa (Mastercard ...etc)?

No, not directly. We can accept only bank transfer (bank wire) or cash transfer (Western Union or MoneyGram). When you pay by WU or MG you can use your card.

I paid exact amount through my bank and ticked that I pay 'all fees' for the transfer. However you advise that you received 25 dollars less, how this may happen?

Some other banks may be involved in the payment (as intermediary banks). When your bank accepts the payment from you banker sometimes does not know how much money will be charged by them. Actually he must know but sometimes he does not.

I will be traveling in Russia a week after Elbrus tour. Can you give me proper visa support coverage?

Yes, inform us about your actual dates of arrival and departure and we will adjust visa support accordingly.

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