Having finished up our climb together on Carstenz Pyramid, Peter, George and Alexander Hillary set off for Europe and the heights of Elbrus next. Peter mentioned a new hut ono Elbrus – and curious about it, I discovered something much different than where climbers have stayed in the past.
Mt. Elbrus huts having a very checkered history. From being bombed during WWII, to burning down while climbers rappelled out the windows (Pruitt 11), to more recent option to stay in ‘the Barrels or the ‘Diesel Hut’. It isn’t really a night one would aspire to when reaching for the heights
The potential for fuming stoves, echoing snorers inches from you inside a metal chamber and the inevitable long-drop or worse, short drop toilet: often a failed exercise in high altitude breathe-holding.
With sights set on the summit, particularly a 7 summit, getting that last nights sleep before setting off for the top is often something only to be dreamed of. And if the accommodation is deemed adequate, who doesn’t appreciate a warm hut, a good meal and a view of the mountain for that celebratory team dinner after a successful ascent.
In 2013, the Leaprus Hotel was installed on Elbrus, an Italian design of prefabricated fiberglass that wouldn’t look out of place in the European Alps. With room for 49 climbers, two sleeping/living pods, a restaurant pod and a toilet/shower pod, it has all the potential to make that climb of Elbrus just a bit more comfortable.
From an insulated shell, underfloor heating and snow melting for water, with the technology all controlled by Satellite, the real challenge may be in keeping all the latest gizmo’s up and running. Lets hope the borscht stays fresh and the cleaners and hut wardens are taking their jobs seriously, often the real challenge in these far flung places.
If you want to check the weather, one of the better webcams on the 7 summits is below the hut at Mir Station, the top of the new Gondola you can take up the lower section of the mountain.
At current prices, a night at the Hotel will run you about U.S. $110.00, all meals included.
Your other options will be far cheaper, and depending on season and the owner’s whim, can vary from the aforementioned Barrels (mice included free), or Diesel hut, to the relatively newer ‘National Park’ huts.