For many years the main base for the ascent of Elbrus was the futuristic and badly run down Priut 11 (Refuge of the Eleven) details. This met its sad end in a fire in 1998. A ruined fuel hut just below the burnt out Priut has now been cleaned up, rooved and converted to a smaller and less grand version of the old priut. It can accommodate about 60 people in small bunk bedded rooms. Facilities are basic but a degree of cleanliness has been established and a caretaker helps maintain "standards". Bookings should in theory made in advance though casual arrivals are welcome if any room is available. Better book - in bad weather the conditions outside of the hut can be quite hostile.
After three days of storms clearing skies herald good weather for the following day. Many groups start walking very early even at 2am. If you are slow this is fine but a fast group can arrive at the Saddle at 6am where temperatures can easily be minus twenty. Start later if you are fast!
Elbrus lies just to the north of the main Caucasus Ridge and so provides superb panoramic views of the ridge. On a clear day it is possible to see all the 5000m peaks including Kazbek - 200km away. Just right of centre of this picture lies twin summitted Ushba.
Not too many luxuries here! On a warm day water runs down the glacier but often it may be necessary to melt snow. The bunk spaces are fitted with simple mattresses and cushions but it is best to bring your own sleeping bag. In the summer the hut is quite warm inside and a three season bag should suffice.