However, there seems to be very limited information on how to book any of the huts on the South side, eg Barrell Huts. Some people have said that booking is in-person, but this seems a bit risky to leave that to chance if it turns out to be full.
If anyone has been up Elbrus in peak times, how likely is it that the huts will be full, if likely then we might carry a tent as a back-up.
Also, is there a place at Garabashi where you can leave large bags on the summit day?
Any info on these huts would be greatly appreciated
There are a lot of huts up there, I'm sure the local guide agencies would arrange booking for you. In my experience, English is not widely spoken by the hut guardians (I wanted to find out if the huts were open out of season) and most contact is done by asking around in Terskol. So if you want to guarantee a spot I'd advise contacting one of the local guide companies and they can book it. You can leave bags at the huts, they are mostly very close to the top of the lifts, except the higher huts at ~4000m. They are all fairly similar in price so unless you want a shorter summit day, the Garabashi huts should do the job.