Travel guide to the top of Gara-Bashi station (Mount Elbrus)

By dangerousroads

Gara-Bashi station is a ski lift at an elevation of 3.883m (12,739ft) above sea level, located in the highlands of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic of Russia. It’s one of the highest roads in Europe.

Gara-Bashi station (Mount Elbrus)


Where is Gara-Bashi station (Mount Elbrus)?

Tucked away on the southeast slope of Mount Elbrus, between the Black and Caspian Seas, just 20 km from the Georgian border, Gara-Bashi is the highest ski lift in Europe. Near the lift are the Garabashi (also known as Botchki) huts. These huts are en route to the ascent of Mount Elbrus, the highest point in Europe in the Caucasus Main Range. The huts resemble grain silos lying on their sides. They are sparsely furnished and comfortably sleep six climbers each. The track ascends to the cable car and chairlift system. From the upper ski lift station, it is about 50-60 meters to the Barrel Huts, a group of 11 huts. The huts belong to the municipality of Terskol, the last town in the Baksan Valley at the foot of Mt Elbrus. Near the huts is the Terskol Observatory (at 3.092m above sea level). Some snowmobiles can climb up to 4.486m (14,717ft) above sea level.

Is the road to Gara-Bashi station challenging?

Set high in the western Caucasus mountain range, the road to the summit is entirely unpaved and brutally steep, with gradients reaching 33% in some sections. It is suitable for 4×4 vehicles only.

How long is the road to Gara-Bashi station (Mount Elbrus)?

The track is accessible only on certain summer days. Starting at Terskol, the road to the ski lift is 10.5 km (6.52 miles) long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.695 meters, with an average gradient of 16.14%.

Conquering Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe

Alexander Abramov, a Russian adventurer, aimed to conquer the summit of Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak at 5,642m (17,919ft). Seeking an original approach, he undertook the challenge in a fully equipped Land Rover Defender. Despite facing harsh conditions, including glaciers and challenging terrain, Abramov and his team successfully reached the summit on September 13, 1997, setting a Guinness World Record for taking a vehicle to such heights. The journey, spanning 45 days, involved overcoming snow, ice, and mechanical issues. Although the Land Rover was left at the summit, the team’s safe return marked a remarkable achievement in extreme off-road exploration.
Pic: Olegs Boroviks