The Rainbow Summits Project


Mt. Elbrus

elbrusBackground Information:

In the Caucuses Range of Southern Russia, near the border of Georgia, the twin peaks of Mt. Elbrus rise 5,642m (18,510ft) and 5,621m (18,442ft) above sea level. The West Peak of this mountain is the highest in all of Europe. Though dormant, a well of magma lies beneath this volcano. 22 glaciers cover the mountain, which has a permanent icecap.

Climbing Information:

After Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Elbrus is one of the most climbed of the Seven Summits, especially from its south side, which has a cable-car and snow-cat to ferry climbers up to the Pastuhov Rocks (4,800m) on Summit Day. From the north side, the climb is remote and more difficult, requiring a 1,800m (5,905ft) ascent on summit day. Frequently discounted as technically easy, Mt. Elbrus claims 15-30 lives per year due to inexperience and ill preparation.

Fun Facts:

  • Like Mt. Kilimanjaro, it is one of the “Volcanic Seven Summits,” as it is the highest volcano in Europe.
  • There are hot springs near the northern base camp of the mountain.
  • Political instability has caused disturbances on the south side of the mountain (the easier route), resulting in the deaths of some climbers in recent years.
  • In 1956, 400 Russian climbers stormed the mountain at one time to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the incorporation of the local region into the greater state of Russia (then the USSR).
  • According to Outside magazine, Elbrus is home to the ‘world’s nastiest’ outhouse. It is also one of the Europe’s highest outhouses.
  • A Land Rover Defender was driven to the summit in 1997, setting a record as the highest X, in 1997. However, it crashed on the way down and what is left of the jeep remains 150m below the east summit.

Cason’s Climb:

Cason reached the summit of Mt. Elbrus via the north side at 1:42pm on Saturday, June 9th, 2012.

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A Visit to Magical Mushroom Rock Land

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Acclimatization

Day 2, June 4th, 2012: Base Camp to Mushroom Rocks Acclimatization Hike Today was our first realacclimatization hike, since the previous day’s hike actually was a decrease in altitude. We went up along the path towards High Camp before veering … Continue reading

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Arrival and some not-so-Hot Springs

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Acclimatization

Day 1, June 3rd, 2012: Kislovodsk to Base Camp, Hot Springs Acclimatization Hike As I wrote yesterday, I was given the choice of climbing the south side of the mountain with a guide but no one else or joining a … Continue reading

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Date: June 8, 2012 Category: Elbrus

Mount Elbrus (Russian: Эльбру́с, tr. El’brus; IPA: [ɪlʲˈbrus]; Karachay-Balkar: Минги тау, Miñi taw, IPA: [miŋŋi taw] ( listen)) is a dormant volcano located in the western Caucasus mountain range, in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay–Cherkessia, Russia, near the border of Georgia. Mt. Elbrus’s peak is … Continue reading

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South/North Switcheroo

Date: June 2, 2012 Category: Changes

Well, like all adventures, nothing is set in stone until it happens. I got a call yesterday from my guide company saying that the other people in my group had cancelled and that I had the option of either going … Continue reading

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Off to Russia…

Date: June 2, 2012 Category: Elbrus

Well I’m off to Russia now. I’ve got all my gear packed and ready to go for my Elbrus South Side ascent. It shouldn’t be too hard and, with good weather conditions, I’ll expect to summit in a week. I’ve … Continue reading

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