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6 miles

Elevation Gain

4925 ft

Route Type



Added by Rachel Davidson

Hike up Cheget Peak (11,815 ft.) for the best views of the highest peak in Europe, Mt. Elbrus. Often used as an acclimatization day before an Elbrus climb, also features a convenient ski lift to shorten or lengthen your day.

Cheget Peak isn’t just one of Russia’s premier ski and snowboard destinations; it’s an awesome acclimatization climb to the European peak of the Seven Summits, Mt. Elbrus (18,510 ft.).

The Baksan Valley is remote, even for Russia. From the small Mineralnye Vody airport, it’s a three-hour drive to the valley proper, which hosts a number of villages with lodging, restaurants, and gear shops. You might be able to catch a bus to the valley, though these can be unreliable, so it’s recommended to arrange travel ahead of time.

The trailhead for this hike lies at the end of Cheget Village (around 6,890 ft.), at the base of the ski lift. Here’s a local site that has some additional information on Cheget Peak. You have the following route options:

  • Take the ski lift up to 9,800 ft., for a total hike of 2,000 ft. of elevation gain.
  • Hike the trail from the village, for a total hike of 4,925 ft. of elevation gain.

If you are hiking from Cheget Village, you’ll start on a wide path to the left of the ski lift behind Hotel Cheget. If you choose to take the ski lift up to shave off a couple thousand feet, you’ll wait until 9am (or until the lift operator decides to show up to work – this is Russia, after all). Either way, be wary of the weather and plan your timing accordingly.

The trail up to the top of the ski lift consists of basic switchbacks and is easy to follow. Above the ski lift, you should be able to follow a faint climber’s trail that continues steadily up to the top. I did this without a guide and without any sign of other hikers on the mountain and found the summit easily. If the weather is good, you should be able to see the two towering summits of Mt. Elbrus looming in the distance.

From the top, you’ll see a few more peaks stretched out along the ridgeline just ahead of you, but your climb stops here.  Soak up the views of Elbrus to your northeast – most photos you’ll see of the mountain were taken from Cheget Peak.

As mentioned above, Cheget is one of the most popular mountains in the valley for Russian tourists so there will be plenty of foot traffic on the mountain during the summer, though few – if any – will be heading for the summit. Ice axes and crampons should be carried, though may not be needed in mid-late summer season.

Some significant red tape to this climb: Pay attention to local news and be wary before climbing Cheget Peak since it lies on the border between Russia and Georgia. You’ll actually be walking past giant Border Patrol signs along the hiking trails towards the main ski area. This SummitPost article from 2013 notes that the entire mountain was closed for the season due to border issues. Always carry your passport with you; you should be prepared to show identification and visa information at any time. 

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Hike and Climb Mt. Elbrus