Climbing Mt. Elbrus

Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Russia, is also the highest mountain in the Caucasus Range in southern Russia near the border with Georgia. Mount Elbrus with 18,510 feet (5,642 meters) of prominence is the tenth most prominent mountain in the world. This makes it the tallest mountain in Europe and one of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains in each of the continents and elite climbers aspire to summit all of them.

The name of Mount Elbrus is derived from Alborz, which in turn comes from Harā Bərəzaitī, a mountain in Persian mythology. This translates to “High Sentinel.” Elbrus also has other names in other languages including Mingi Tau which translates to “Eternal Mountain” or “Like a Thousand Mountains” in Turkic; Yalbuz or “Ice Mane” in Turkic; and Oshkhamakhua or “Mountain of Happiness” in Circassian.

Its origin is volcanic, and though it has long been extinct, it still retains its gently sloping, conical shape, with twin cones rising on its summit. The west summit at 5,642 meters (18,510 ft) is slightly higher than the east at 5,621 metres (18,442 ft). Mount Elbrus is perpetually snow-covered with an icecap and 22 glaciers that feed three major rivers—Baksan, Malka, and Kuban.

While it can be a dangerous climb, it is considered among the easiest of the Seven Summits. The mountain’s easy accessibility and gentle slopes attract many climbers from around the world. The typical climbing season is May to September. It takes most climbers less than a week to summit, which is short compared to the other Seven Summits. The summit provides spectacular views of the entire Caucasus and a beguiling mountaineering experience even for aspiring climbers. As the highest point in Europe and one of the Seven Summits of the World, Mt. Elbrus makes it onto most mountaineers’ bucket lists.

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