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Mount ELBRUS The Highest PEAK in EUROPE

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Mount Elbrus

Have you ever wondered what is the highest peak in Europe? If you want to meet him, you will have to travel to Caucasus since it is the Mount Elbrus. It has a height of 5642 meters, although to be exact we should call it a massif.

For, beside this elevation or Western Elbrus has the so-called peak Eastern Elbrus at 5621. Curiously, they are followed in height by another peak of the Caucasian cordillera, the Mount Shkhara. And, after them, we have to travel to the chain of the Alps to find the fourth, which is the Mont Blanc, at 4810 meters above sea level. As for the fifth, it shares an alpine location with the previous one, but in its case in the Swiss part, since it is the dufour peak, with 4634 meters above sea level. But now we will get to know this Russian colossus better, which is the highest peak in Europe.

Geographic location

Mount Elbrus

View of Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe

Mount Elbrus is located on the western slope of the Caucasus mountain range which, together with the Urals, marks the border between Asia and Europe. It belongs to the Russian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria and is located about sixty kilometers from the city of Kislovodsk famous since the 19th century for its medicinal waters.

To give you an idea of ​​the dimensions of Elbrus, we will tell you that its permanent ice cap preserves twenty two glaciers in which three rivers are born: Malka, Kuban and Baksan. On the other hand and out of curiosity, you should know that the local name of this mountain is Mengi Tau which means “the mountain of a thousand mountains”.

But the most important thing, if you like mountaineering or simply visiting the mountain ranges, is that it is a magnificent landscape of snow-capped peaks, slopes populated by immense virgin forests, calm lakes and mighty rivers.

The weather or when to visit the highest peak in Europe

Climbing Elbrus

Mountaineers climbing Elbrus

If you are planning to travel to the region of the highest peak in Europe, it is very important that you take the weather into account as it can play tricks on you. In winter, the top records temperatures below 50 degrees below zero. However, the valleys are warmer and this can lead to heavy snowfall and rainfall. As for the latter, they can easily exceed 1000 millimeters.

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For its part, in summer, about half of the days are sunny. However, the winds make the weather conditions not good at all. In fact, above four thousand meters there are conditions of arctic blizzard which almost completely obstruct visibility. In short, if you plan to climb Elbrus, you must keep in mind that the weather will not bring you any ease.

A little history of Mount Elbrus

khillar khashirov

Monument to Khillar Khachirov

Geologically, this mountain was born, like all the Caucasus, from Collision of the Arabian-Eurasian plates, which led to large earthquakes in the region. Mount Elbrus began to form about ten million years ago due to volcanic eruptions. They covered an area of 260 square kilometers with fragments of tuff, rhyolite, rhyodacite and ignimbrite. Thereafter, uranium-lead eruptions continued until about seven hundred thousand years ago.

On the other hand, more poetic is what the mythology tells of Elbrus. According to this, on the mountain he was chained Prometheus the titan who stole fire from the gods to give it to men, because Zeus. But more historical rigor have the first two ascents to the peaks.

The first to arrive in the East was the guide Khillar Khachirov at the head of a scientific expedition Imperial Russian Army sent by him General Emanuel. According to the Julian calendar, it was July 10, 1829. On the other hand, the arrival at the top of the West was later, more precisely in 1874. The new achievement was due to a British group led by Florence Crauford Grove which also included Frederick Gardner, Horace Walker, Peter Knubel and guide Ahiya Sottaiev. They even published a book about their action with maps and photographs of the route they took.

Already during the Second World War, the German army occupied the area of ​​Mount Elbrus for a few months. The commanding general even sent an expedition to the summit, which apparently angered Hitler as unnecessary.

Subsequently, a system of cable cars reaching a height of almost four thousand meters. However, the ascent to this colossus of the Caucasus by the classic route is not, technically, difficult. The biggest problem you are going to face if you want to do it is the weather which, as we said, makes it very difficult to climb to the top even in summer.

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Greater complexity covers the northern route. It offers less infrastructure than the previous one and you will have to camp at 4800 meters above sea level. In addition, weather conditions are even less predictable and ice and snow abound.

Flora and fauna on Europe’s highest peak

grizzled

Brown bear on the slopes of Elbrus

As for the first, up to two thousand meters wide pristine pine, birch and ash forests in which different types of mushrooms and berries grow. For its part, in the highest meadows, you can see one of the most beautiful flowering shrubs in the region, the Caucasian rhododendron, which survives the winds thanks to the depth of its roots. And, if you keep going up, in the glacial and snowy areas, you will find lichens on the clean rocks.

When it comes to the wildlife of Europe’s highest peak, the forests we’ve talked about are home where they live brown bear, marten, wildcat, squirrel, mole, polecat or various types of deer. Chamois and different kinds of goats like the wild mountain or the Caucasus tour. There is no shortage of foxes, wolves and lynxes either. As for birds, you can find endangered species like the Caucasian grouse but also the saker and the peregrine falcon, the royal and imperial eagle or the bearded vulture.

Finally, when it comes to reptiles, there is an abundance of kaznakov viper and, with regard to amphibians, species such as the common newt, the green toad, the brown bat or the black frog.

How to get to Mount Elbrus

Nalchik

Nalchik, capital of the Kabardino-Valkary Republic

Whatever your point of origin, once you reach Moscow you will have to take another plane to get closer to Elbrus. The closest flights are the ones that drop you in Mineralnie Vody That is Nalchik. The latter is the capital of the Republic of Kabardino-Valkaria belonging to the Russian Federation. You can also make your journey by train, but it is much longer and heavier.

We advise you to bring exchanged currency because in these places it will be more difficult for you to do so. Once there, you will need a vehicle to get there. Terskol in the baksan valley, which is the point where the ascent of Mount Elbrún begins. Curiously, in the latter locality everything is easier, including understanding each other in English. The reason is that it is the point where all the foreign visitors who come to the region concentrate.

From there the normal thing is to go to the bottom of the valley, precisely to Azau, where you can take one of the cable cars that will take you up to about three thousand five hundred meters above sea level. A little higher is Diesel cabin from where you can already attack the summit in one day.

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What to see near Mount Elbrus

Kislovodsk

Spa gardens in Kislovodsk

If you are going to climb this mountainous colossus, you can also take the opportunity to discover some towns in the region. As we told you, Nalchik It is the capital of the Republic of Kabardino-Valkaria and has nearly three hundred thousand inhabitants. On Place de la Concordia, you will find the government house an imposing neoclassical building.

However, the main attraction of the city is its gigantic park: the Atazhukinsky Gardens. Here you will find many attractions, a zoo, auditoriums and other entertainment. But even more beautiful is the Orthodox Cathedral of Mary Magdalene, completed in 2012 and with clear Byzantine influences. Beside this, the other big religious monument of Nálchik is the central mosque.

On the other hand, the union with Russia more than four centuries ago is dedicated to the friendship arch and the monument to Maria Temryukovna daughter of a Kabardian prince and one of the Tsar’s wives Ivan IV, known as “the Terrible”. Likewise, the construction of the train station whose facade is adorned with ten columns and a tower ending in a needle.

For his part, the hippodrome It was inaugurated in the thirties of the 20th century and responds to the equestrian tradition of the region. Finally, in the outskirts of the city, you have the blue lakes whose deposits of hydrogen sulphide are due, according to legend, to a dragon which lives at the bottom and sheds tears, and the Gorges and waterfalls of Chegem. This last natural monument is made up of three waterfalls, each more beautiful.

We also talked about Kislovodsk, which belongs to the so-called Stavropol Krái, and its medicinal waters. In this municipality, we advise you to visit the saint nicholas cathedral, the mosque and the interesting museum-fortress. But above all, approach the precious thermal gardens and to Castle of Deception and Love, which is a hotel. All this without forgetting the Kurortny Boulevard and the imposing Temple of Panteleimon the Healer.

In conclusion, we showed you the highest peak in Europe. As we told you, it is located in the Caucasus region, within the gigantic territory of the Russian Federation specifically in the Republic of Kabardino-Valkaria, an extension of almost thirteen thousand square kilometers full of natural wonders. Don’t you want to know such a unique place?

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