Climbing Elbrus, Russia and Elbrus Ski Touring

Elbrus climbing tours



At 5,642m Mt Elbrus is the highest point in Europe (and one of the 7 summits - the highest points on each of the continents). Elbrus is in the heart of the mighty Caucasus Range which runs for over 1200kms from the Black Sea in the West to the Caspian Sea in the East. The mountain itself is about 1000m higher than any of the neighbouring mountains and so dominates the landscape like almost no other mountain. Mount Elbrus is a dormant volcano located in the western Caucasus mountain range, in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay–Cherkessia, Russia, near the border of Georgia. Mt. Elbrus's peak is the highest in the Caucasus, in Russia. While there are differing authorities on how the Caucasus are distributed between Europe and Asia, many sources agree that Elbrus is also the highest mountain in all of Europe,or the highest in western Asia, narrowly exceeding another volcano, Mt. Damavand in the Alborz range in Iran. Mt. Elbrus (west summit) stands at 5,642 metres (18,510 ft); the east summit is slightly lower at 5,621 metres (18,442 ft).

Other names Uashhemafe – the mount of happiness, or the blessed mountain (Circassian) Mingi Taw – a Karachay–Balkar (Turkic). Mingi Taw means an eternal mountain or Thousand Mountain.

Geographical setting Elbrus stands 20 km (12 mi) north of the main range of the Greater Caucasus and 65 km (40 mi) south-southwest of the Russian town of Kislovodsk. Its permanent icecap feeds 22 glaciers, which in turn give rise to the Baksan, Kuban, and Malka Rivers.

Elbrus sits on a moving tectonic area, and has been linked to a fault. A supply of magma lies deep beneath the dormant volcano.

Eruptive history of Elbrus

the volcano is currently considered inactive, as no eruptions have ever been recorded. Still Elbrus was active in the Holocene. According to the Global Volcanism Program the last eruption took place between 0 and 100 AD. Evidence of recent volcanism includes several lava flows on the mountain, which look fresh, and roughly 260 square kilometres (100 sq mi) of volcanic debris. The longest flow extends 24 kilometres (15 mi) down the northeast summit, indicative of a large eruption. There are still more various signs of activity still present on the volcano, including solfataric activity and hot springs. The western summit has a well preserved volcanic crater about 250 m in diameter.

History of Elbrus

Satellite picture of Mount ElbrusThe ancients knew the mountain as Strobilus, Latin for 'pine cone', a direct loan from the ancient Greek strobilos, meaning 'a twisted object' – a long established botanical term that describes the shape of the volcano's summit. Myth held that here Zeus had chained Prometheus, the Titan who had stolen fire from the gods and given it to ancient man – likely a reference to historic volcanic activity.

The lower of the two summits was first ascended on 10 July 1829 (Julian calendar) by Khillar Khachirov, a Karachay[9] guide for an Imperial Russian army scientific expedition led by General Emmanuel, and the higher (by about 40 m—130 ft) in 1874 by an English expedition led by F. Crauford Grove and including Frederick Gardner, Horace Walker, and Swiss climber Peter Knubel. During the early years of the Soviet Union, mountaineering became a popular sport of the masses, and there was tremendous traffic on the mountain. On 17 March 1936, a group of 33 inexperienced Komsomol members attempted the mountain, and ended up suffering 4 fatalities when they slipped on the ice and fell to their deaths. The Wehrmacht occupied the area surrounding the mountain from August 1942 to January 1943, during World War II, with 10,000 soldiers of a Gebirgsjäger (Mountain Troop) division. A possibly apocryphal story tells of a Soviet pilot being given a medal for bombing the main mountaineering hut, Priyut 11 ( "Refuge of the 11"), while it was occupied. He was then later nominated for a medal for not hitting the hut, but instead the German fuel supply, leaving the hut standing for future generations. When news reached Adolf Hitler that a detachment of mountaineers was sent by the general officer commanding the German division to climb to the summit of Elbrus and plant the swastika flag at its top, he reportedly flew into a rage, called the achievement a "stunt" and threatened to court martial the general.

From 1959 through 1976, a cable car system was built in stages that can take visitors as high as 3,800 metres (12,500 ft). There is a wide variety of routes up the mountain, but the normal route, which is free of crevasses, continues more or less straight up the slope from the end of the cable car system. During the summer, it is not uncommon for 100 people to be attempting the summit via this route each day. Winter ascents are rare, and are usually undertaken only by very experienced climbers. Elbrus is notorious for its brutal winter weather, and summit attempts are few and far between. The climb is not technically difficult, but it is physically arduous because of the elevations and the frequent strong winds. The average annual death toll on Elbrus is 15–30, primarily due to "many unorganized and poorly equipped" attempts to summit the mountain.

Mount Elbrus should not be confused with the Alborz (also called Elburz) mountains in Iran, which also derive their name from the legendary mountain Harā Berezaite in Persian mythology.

How to come to Elbrus

The best route into the area is to fly to Mineralnye Vody airport (aka MinVody) or to Moscow (or St Petersburg) and take an internal flight to Mineralnye Vody airport (aka MinVody), which is connected by a network of roads with valleys on the northern slopes of the Caucasus. The journey time by road from MinVody to our first base near the Elbrus is about 4 hours. The route of overland travel in Russia: Mineral Wody - Terskol - Azau - Elbrus - Azau - Terskol - Mineral Wody.

requirements for climbers to Elbrus

Climbing routes Main article: Elbrus climbing routes The Normal Route is the easiest, safest and fastest on account of the cable car and chairlift system which operates from about 9am till 3pm. Starting for the summit at about 2am from the Diesel Hut should allow just enough time to get back down to the chairlift if movement is efficient. A longer ascent Kiukurtliu Route starts from below the cable-way Mir station and heads west over glacier slopes towards the Khotiutau pass. Climbing Elbrus from other directions is a tougher proposition because of lack of permanent high facilities. Douglas Freshfield always maintained that a route from the east up the Iryk valley, Irykchat glacier and over the Irykchat pass (3667m) on to snowfields below long rock ribs of the east spur would become the shortest and most used approach.

Technical complexity of Elbrus is not, but this is his craftiness, so as not uncommon here in bad weather, climbing Elbrus without experienced instructors can be very dangerous. Our guides are well aware of all the features of the route of ascent of Elbrus, the best way to prepare to climb Mount Elbrus was successful. For a well-trained, physically healthy mountaineers ready to test themselves, we offer a rapid rate of ascent to the summit of Elbrus West. Start from the airport of Mineral Waters on Friday and return to the airport Mineral Waters on Friday night. This can be a difficult challenge for you on Elbrus, so this program with a group of climbers on Mount Elbrus will work our best guides, the most thoughtful and experienced. Recommended listen to their advice during the ascent of Elbrus. After completing the climb, we suggest you to restore the physical strength massage, a real Russian banya and interesting program of excursions in the region of Caucasian Mineral Waters for two days.

Visa for climbing Elbrus

A visa is required for entry into Russia. This should be obtained prior to departure. Allow a minimum of 4 weeks for the visa application process. The cost for a single-trip tourist visa costs from 50 € to 100 € (Depending on the visa service, speed of delivery, etc).

Map Center Coordinates: Latitude=43.35221°, Longitude=42.43838°

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