Mount Elbrus

Facts about Mount Elbrus

We found 19 facts about Mount Elbrus

Caucasian, Russian and European tallest peak

Elbrus is an old stratovolcano with an almost symmetrical structure. It is considered dormant, as no eruption has been recorded for about two thousand years.

Although Elbrus is not active, volcanic gases escape from its slopes and hot springs gush out. The possibility of a potential eruption does not deter tourists who are eager to climb the peak.

There have been many ideas for conquering the summit, and some have even been realized. In addition to the classic hiking expedition, the summit has been attempted on horseback, quad bikes and even by car, the wreckage of which can still be seen on the slopes of the mountain.

Mount Elbrus
Elbrus is the highest peak in Europe. It has an altitude of 5,642 meters (18,510 feet) above sea level.

It is located in southern Russia in the Republic of Kabard-Balkaria, not far from the border with Georgia.

It belongs to the Seven Summits.

Although some classify Elbrus as an Asian peak, which would give the title of Europe's highest peak to Mont Blanc, most scientists consider Elbrus a European peak.

It is in Russia, northwestern Caucasus.

It is located 11 km from the Russian-Georgian border.

It is a dormant stratovolcano.

Elbrus was formed about 2.5 million years ago and its period of most violent eruptions ended about 700,000 years ago. The last eruption took place around the year 50 AD.

It has two peaks.

Both are dormant volcanoes and the western peak is higher, but the height difference between the western (5642m) and the eastern (5621m) is small. The peaks are about 3 km apart.

Elbrus is considered by climbers to be very dangerous.

The climb itself is not technically difficult. The problem is the harsh and changeable weather and strong winds, which can surprise less experienced climbers.  

Between 15 and 30 climbers die on Elbrus every year. The main cause of tragedy is inadequate equipment for the conditions and poor organization of the expedition.

The best months for climbing are July and August.

Conditions are the most stable, although at higher altitudes the weather can change in an instant.

In winter, the temperature on Elbrus can drop to -50 °C (-58 °F).
Elbrus is covered by twenty-two glaciers.

Some of them are 400 meters thick. Glaciers on Elbrus give rise to the Baksan, Kuban and Malka rivers.

The glaciers at the top of the mountain are shrinking at a staggering rate.

The area of the glaciers is shrinking by 1% per year, according to a recent study. If the melting rate continues, ice volume could drop 40% or more by 2050.

A cable car can transport the mountaineers half way to the top.

Its first section reaches the shelter at 3708 meters above sea level, the second section reaches 3850 meters.

In 1986 the National Park "Prielbrusye" was established in the area of the mountain.

The protection of the unique nature of this place was the main goal of the establishment of the park.  Steppe wolves, golden jackals, red foxes, eurasian lynxes, wild boars and syrian bears can be found there.

Glaciers cover 11% of the park.

The eastern, lower peak of the mountain was first climbed by a local mountaineer, Killar Khashirov, on July 22, 1829.

Khashirov was the guide of a scientific expedition of the Russian Imperial Army led by General Georgi Emanuel.

The western summit of Elbrus was conquered by British climbers on July 20, 1874.
Crew members were  Frederick Gardiner, Craufurd Grove and Horace Walker.
There was once a flag with a swastika on the top of Elbrus.

It was placed there by mountaineers on the orders of a German general during the war for the Caucasus in 1942.

It is said that Adolf Hitler, upon hearing of the flag's placement, flew into a rage. He considered such initiatives futile and irrelevant to the war effort.

The flags were removed in February 1943 by Soviet mountaineers.

The top of the mountain has also been reached by car.

In the 1990s, a Russian, Alexander Abramov, decided to drive a Land Rover Defender to the top of Elbrus. At first, the expedition did not pose any major difficulties for the ten-member team, but from an altitude of 3800 meters it became necessary to use the winch frequently. Despite the hardships and the unpredictable weather conditions on Elbrus, the expedition was successful. After 43 days, on September 13, 1997, the car reached the top of the mountain.

During the descent, the driver lost control of the vehicle and the expedition was forced to abandon it. Parts of the car can still be seen on the slopes of the mountain.

The eco-friendly hotel LEAPrus3912 was opened on the southern slope of Elbrus. It is located at an altitude of 3912 m a.s.l.
The construction was completed in September 2013 and began accepting guests a month later. The hotel is located on the route most frequently used by climbers.
RedFox Elbrus Race. Starting from 2008, every year in June and September a series of running tournaments take place on Elbrus.
Runners can compete on three routes:
  • Elbrus SkyRace 7.36 km long,
  • Elbrus SkyMarathon 12 km long
  • Elbrus Vertical 1 km long.
The first run on Elbrus took place in 1990. The rivalry was between Soviet and American mountaineers.
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