Mount Elbrus & Caucasus
Elbrus Tour Map
Normal Route Map
Elbrus East Map
Elbrus via Kupol
Mount Elbrus, 5642m.
The West Summit, the highest point of this twin-summited, massive, glaciated volcanic dome, is also the highest point in Europe. Asia and the border of Russia with Georgia lies along the main ridge of the Caucasus about 10km south of the summit. The East Summit, 5621m, lies about 1500m to the east and is separated from West Summit by The Saddle, 5416m, an icy and windswept broad gap. The remains of the Saddle Hut are just visible several hundred metres south of the gap itself and are testament to grand plans that had been made to develop the route to the summit.
The Priut of the Eleven, a grand and futuristic metal clad, three storey building, located at 4120m, now also is just a distant memory, only its charred ruins can be seen a few metres from the newly constructed Diesel Hut. This itself was built on the ruins of the fuel store once used to power the generators for the Priut 11. The much grander plan to build a cable car station at the site of the Priut never got off the ground and nobody remembers when the radiators that formed part of the steps up to the Priut where ever used as they were intended.
Over 70 glaciers flow down from the icy dome of Elbrus whose glaciated area covers about 130 square kilometres. Neither summit is particularly difficult and ascents could be attempted from a variety of directions but few ever venture off the standard route up the main summit which utilises the cable way and chairlift system leading to the Garabashi Barrels (huts located at 3800m) from where it is a short walk up to the Diesel Hut. Access difficulties, bad weather and extensive crevassed areas make other routes very serious propositions. In bad weather conditions the wind chill effect can take temperatures down to -50°C. It is worth bearing in mind that every year many people die on the mountain, some say that if you are successful on Elbrus you could well be able to tackle Everest.