Social Icons


Monday, March 8, 2010

Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus is an inactive volcano located in the western Caucasus mountain range, in Kabardino Balkaria and Karachay Cherkessia, Russia, near the border of Georgia. The tourist attraction of Mount Elbrus is explained in world tour guides. Mt. Elbrus highest peak is the highest mountain in the Caucasus, in Russia, and in all of Europe. Mt. Elbrus west summit stands at 5,642 metres or 18,510 ft the east summit is slightly lower at 5,621 metres or 18,442 ft.

Mount ElbrusThe name Elbrus is a metathesis of Alborz. The name Alborz is derived from that of Hara Barazaiti, a legendary mountain in Persian mythology. Barazaiti is the reconstructed ancestor of modern Persian boland and Barz/Berazandeh. Hara may be interpreted as watch or guard, from an Indo-European root protect. In Middle Persian, Hara Barazaiti became Harborz, Modern Persian Alborz, which is cognate with Elbrus. Other names of Mount Elbrus are Mingi Taw a Karachay Balkar, Mingi Taw means an eternal mountain or Thousand Mountain, Jin-Padishah a Turkic name of Perso-Arabic origin and Yalbuz ice mane.

Elbrus stands 20 km or 12 miles north of the main range of the Greater Caucasus and 65 km or 40 miles 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. Russia is just off the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is responsible for many of the world's volcanic and seismic activity. Elbrus sits on a moving tectonic area, and has been linked to a fault. Apparently, Elbrus has a "deep" supply of magma that resides underneath it.

The volcano is currently considered inactive, as no eruptions have ever been recorded. Elbrus' last eruption was probably as recent as the Holocene, according to the Global Volcanism Program, and took place between 0 and 100 AD. Evidence in the form of several lava flows on the mountain which look fresh and roughly 260 square kilometres or 100 square miles of volcanic debris has been analyzed. The longest flow extends 24 kilometres or 15 miles down the northeast summit, indicative of a large eruption. There are still more various signs of activity still present on the volcano, including solfateric activity and hot springs.

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. Note in bad weather the chairlift section may be closed, also note the chairlift ride is 15 minutes long and can be very cold. The majority of groups take the cable car system from Azau roadhead to Mir Station from where either a 1 hour walk or a chairlift takes them to Garabashi - The Barrels. Above it may be possible to hire a snow cat to go to the Diesel Hut site of the burnt Priut Hut or higher to Pastukhova Rocks. Walking this takes 90 minutes to the hut and almost 2 hours more to the rocks. The walk to the Saddle takes another 3 to 4 hours and from there to the summit, a further 5 to 6 hours.

Mount ElbrusMount ElbrusThere are no major difficulties on the route, however after strong winds icy sections may be exposed and a fall could result in a slide. Particular care should be taken on the traversing ascent from the Saddle. The Saddle hut is a ruin that offers no shelter. There are few crevasses of any size or danger if you stick to the route but only 50m off the route you could be in dangerous terrain. A longer ascent route starts from below the cable-way Mir station and heads west over glacier slopes towards the Khotiutau pass. Some distance before reaching this the south spur of the Kiukurtliu Cupola is climbed to a broad glaciated saddle behind pt.4912 top of the SW spur. Now a rising traverse north is made to attain the easy northwest spur by which the summit is gained. This expedition involves 3 nights camping-bivouacs; parties also need a rope, axe and crampons. Kiukurtliu route details

Climbing Elbrus from other directions is a tougher proposition because of lack of permanent high facilities. 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. A hut built long ago on the north side of the lrykchat pass is now wrecked, and in any event the vertical interval calls for at least 2 camp-bivouacs. Three permits are required to visit Mount Elbrus. They are: Border Zone Permit, Prielbrusie National Park Permit and OVIR Registration. All of these permits are generally arranged in advance by agents.

Mount Elbrus is said to be home to the world most awful outhouse which is close to being the highest privy in Europe. The title was conferred by Outside Magazine following a 1993 search and article. The outhouse is surrounded by and covered in ice, perched off the end of a rock, and with a pipe pouring effluvia onto the mountain.

No comments: