- Mountain structure
- Fire-breathing mountain
- Go out or not?
- History of the study of Elbrus
- Fighting for the mountain
- The highest point of the Caucasus
- Elbrus today. "Shelter 11" and other interesting places
The highest mountain in Russia, a monument of nature, one of the largest extinct volcanoes in the world, the “Mecca” of Russian and not only mountain pilgrimages and just a very, very beautiful mountain - this is the minimum set that comes to mind when you talk about Elbrus. This ice beauty hides under its ices the hot breath of the fiery abyss - after all, Elbrus, in fact, is an extinct volcano. Or just asleep? There is still no consensus among volcanologists.
To the question which mountains are the highest in Russia, any student will answer: “The Caucasus”. This is a chain of mountain ranges stretching in the south-west of the country. And Elbrus is the highest point of these mountains and, accordingly, in Russia. The highest mountain in the Lateral Range of the Greater Caucasus is located. At the same time, in the border area between Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria.
In addition, Elbrus is one of the highest mountains on Earth, in Russia, which is also a volcano at the same time, ranking fifth in honor, behind only the volcanoes of Aconcagua (6.96 km), Lullaigliaco (6.723 km), Kilimanjaro ( 5, 895 km) and Orizabe (5, 700 km).
From a geological point of view, it is an extinct volcano, with two peaks 5, 621 kilometers (lower) and 5, 642 kilometers (upper), connected by a so-called “saddle”, elevated 5.3 kilometers above sea level. Both of its peaks are typical volcanic cones. There is also a third cone (in the west of the mountain) - it is much lower and, by virtue of its antiquity, is almost completely destroyed by weathering.
Like many other volcanoes, it consists of a rocky foundation rising 3.7 kilometers above sea level and the actual volcanic cones formed by the eruption of lava, which adds about two kilometers to Elbrus.
The snow line of the mountain is located at an altitude of 3.5 kilometers. Only snow, ice and bare, frozen, icy rocks are above this mark.
As already mentioned, Elbrus is the largest and highest mountain in Russia, at the same time capable of spewing lava flows. But is it a sleeping volcano or an extinct? Strictly speaking, volcanoes are considered extinct only in those cases if historical records do not contain any information about their eruptions. In the case of Elbrus, things are a little different. The last eruption was around the fifties of the New Era.
The periods of maximum activity of our volcano are, according to scientists, 220, 100 and 30 thousand years past.
Go out or not?
Despite the fact that the sleeping Elbrus volcano has not erupted for almost two thousand years, we have no reason to consider it completely extinct. Moreover, geologists believe that the volcano is located on the ascending branch of development, and therefore, quite possibly, will declare itself. Let's hope that more than one millennium will pass before this point.
History of the study of Elbrus
Despite the fact that for the first time in historical annals the highest mountain in Russia appeared already in the so-called “Book of victories” describing the campaigns of Tamerlane - it indicates that the great commander was climbing the mountain to pray, Elbrus underwent serious scientific study only beginning since the nineteenth century.
In particular, the coordinates and (quite accurately) the height of the snow-covered volcano were determined by the Russian research scientist Vishnevsky V. K., and the first research expedition took place in 1829. It was attended by several Russian scholars, in particular Lenz and Meyer, accompanied by local guides and a Cossack detachment of a thousand people.
Despite all the efforts made, the scientists did not manage to climb to the very top - this turned out to be possible only by a young conductor acclimatized to the mountain conditions - Khashirov K. It is interesting that another conductor who participated in this expedition was Sottaev A., later 9 times conquered the top of the mountain, and the last time he did it in the one hundred and twenty second year of his life
Fighting for the mountain
Mount Elbrus is not only the highest mountain in Russia, not only the subject of the steady pursuit of thousands and thousands of climbers from around the world, but also a real monument to Russian history, a monument to its greatness and unconquered courage. Few people know how fierce the fighting went for this mountain in the Great Patriotic War, at first partially captured by the fascists, and then liberated by the Soviet troops.
Hitler paid much attention to the capture of the Caucasus Mountains, which are of major strategic importance for the retention of adjacent territories. Mount Elbrus, among other things, the Nazi leader attached great esoteric significance. He believed that with the seizure of this peak, and at the same time of the whole Caucasus (the highest mountains of Russia), the USSR would lose some of its spiritual power.
To capture and hold the highest mountain in Russia, the elite units of the Wehrmacht were identified - a kind of "mountain special forces" of Hitler - the Alpine arrows "Edelweiss". The military operation of the Nazis in 1942 achieved success, the height was captured, as a sign of this by German climbers flags of fascist Germany were installed on both peaks of Edelweiss.
The battle between units of the NKVD and the Nazi mountain riflemen, which took place on September 28, 2003 in the area of the so-called “eleven orphanage” (height 4.13 kilometers), rightly entered the history of World War II as the most high-altitude fight. Until now, climbers sometimes find the sad consequences of those events - frozen corpses of fallen soldiers.
However, military success soon changed Hitler, and the German fascist military units in the winter of 1942/43 were knocked out of the occupied places, and in February 1943, the Soviet climbers, removing the enemy flags, hoisted the red flags to the highest points of the mountain.
The highest point of the Caucasus
Elbrus attracts the views of climbers around the world. There are climbing routes of varying difficulty climbing.
Rather flat in the lower part, the slopes above 4 kilometers acquire a significant slope - up to 35 degrees. In terms of climbing, the eastern and southern slopes are more accessible.
Elbrus today. "Shelter 11" and other interesting places
Currently, both on Elbrus itself and in its surroundings, tourism infrastructure is actively developing.
On the southern slope there are two pendulum cableways - Elbrus-1 and Elbrus-2, with a length of 1.9 and 1.8 kilometers, respectively (ascent time of 12 minutes), the Elbrus cableway, raising tourists to a thousand meters in the same 12 minutes, and the VL-500 towing road, which in 5 minutes overcomes 500 meters of the road.
At an altitude of 4.2 kilometers, the famous “Shelter of the Eleven” was rebuilt (after a fire) - a place claiming to be the highest mountain hotel. Just below is an equally interesting shelter, called “Barrels”.
In 2008, Elbrus by voting took an honorable place among the seven wonders of the Russian Federation.