Seven Summits: Mount Elbrus

Seven Summits: Elbrus

The "Seven Summits" are the seven highest mountains in each of the world's seven continents. Climbing all seven peaks is regarded in mountaineering circles as a formidable achievement. The first person to climb all of the Seven Summits was American businessman, rancher and mountaineer Richard Bass, who achieved this in 1985.

Although lists differ slightly as to which mountains make up the Seven Summits (due to controversies over the boundaries of the various continents), they all include seven of the following ten mountains.

Vinson Massif
Puncak Jaya
Mount Kosciuszko
Mont Blanc
Mount Wilhelm

But what do you know about these seven mountains that make up the Seven Summits? In a series of articles called "Seven Summits", I want to explore these beautiful, enigmatic, and sometimes dangerous mountains. First up - 10 facts about the highest mountain in Europe - Mount Elbrus!

1) Europe's Tallest?

With a summit of 5,642 metres (18,510 ft), Elbrus is widely considered to be the highest mountain in Europe. This is contested by some however, because Elbrus is in the Caucasus mountain range, which has historically been considered a natural barrier between Europe and Asia. Those who would place Elbrus in the continent of Asia rather than Europe maintain that the highest mountain in Europe is Mont Blanc.

2) It Takes Two

Mount Elbrus actually has two summits, and both of them are dormant volcanic domes. The taller of the two summits is the west summit (5,642 metres). The east Summit is only slightly smaller (5,621 metres).

3) First Foot

The first recorded ascent of Elbrus' highest point (its west summit) took place in 1874 by a mainly British expedition including a Swiss guide. The climbers were F. Crauford Grove, Horace Walker, Frederick Gardner, and Peter Knubel.

4) Persian Name

Although there are numerous theories on the origin of the name Elbrus, many believe the name is Persian in origin, and implies height, peak and elegance.

5) Ice Anyone?

Elbrus has a permanent ice cap. This ice cap feeds a whopping 22 glaciers! The glaciers, in turn, feed into the rivers Kuban, Malka and Baksan.

6) What A Legend!

Elbrus is a key feature of one of the most famous Greek myths - the legend of Prometheus! According to the myth, Zeus chained the titan Prometheus to Elbrus by way of punishment for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humankind.

7) Symbol of Evil

During World War II part of the Caucasus region was occupied by the Nazis. In August 1942, the Nazi flag was raised on Mount Elbrus, and thus the highest mountain in Europe was used as a propaganda tool for Hitler Fascism.

8) Quick About It

The record time for the full ascent and descent of Elbrus during a race is 4:20:45, set on 7 May 2017 by Swiss-Ecuadorian mountain guide Karl Egloff.

9) Wild Country

Mount Elbrus is located in Kabardino-Balkaria, a federal republic of Russia, located in the North Caucasus. According to the 2010 Census, the population of Kabardino-Balkaria was 859,939. The capital of Kabardino-Balkaria is the charming city of Nalchik.

10) Golden Youth

On June 18 2017, a nine-year-old Indian girl called Dhanashree from Surat in Gujarat became the youngest person known to have climbed Mount Elbrus.

Bonus: Seven Summits Wall Art

For adventurers, Elbrus is one of the most alluring and enigmatic locations in the world. Along with the other Seven Summits it offers a challenge that many climbers find hard to resist. With our Seven Summits posters we hope to inspire people to be adventurous and rise to their own challenges. Check out our Seven Summits Wall Art Collection and let us know what you think!

Seven Summits Collection

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