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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Jul 282011
Mt. Elbrus

Mt. Elbrus from the north

I am off to climb the highest peak in Europe. A quiz to see if you can name which mountain most often noted as Europe’s highest but are mistaken according to cartographers and politicians.

Mont Blanc at 15, store 782 feet is the highest peak in Western Europe thus leaving Elbrus, check 18, 510 feet/5,642m in Southern Russia nestled between the Black and Caspian Seas the highest is all of Europe.

So why the controversy? Well Russia is actually in both Europe and Asia. Western Russia, including St. Petersburg and Moscow, are claimed by Europe while the sparsely populated areas to the east are noted in Asia.

Elbrus, in the Caucasus mountain range, is an inactive (I hope) volcano and serves as a regional ski destination with it’s 22 glaciers. It actually has two summits. The east is 18,442’/5621m and the higher west 18,510’/5642m.

Elbrus Base Camp

Elbrus Base Camp

It can be climbed from both the north and south faces with the south being by far the most popular given you can take a chair lift to 12,800 feet and a snow cat even higher before you even begin climbing!! I will not be taking this route.

I am climbing the longer north side to see that part of rural Russia and experience more of a climb. A last minute change of plans has me climbing with AlpIndustria Adventure team out of Moscow.

I fly into Moscow then to Mineral’nyye Vody then drive to Kislovodsk for the night. We will take a four hour drive across dirt roads to our base camp at 7,381/2250m on day 2. From here we will take acclimatization climbs up to 15,091’/4600m and move to the high camp at 12,467’/3800m over the next four days.

The summit attempt should be around August 11th or 12th with a long ascent day of 5,975′. Of course as always, the weather has the final say on these mountains and Elbrus is famous for harsh, cold weather.

Back to the geography discussion, exactly what is Europe and Asia?; Well it is mostly an arbitrary distinction. The Ural Mountain serve as the border. Apparently in the founding days of Russia, Peter the Great leaned more towards Europe than Asia thus building the alliance. Today, Russia is clearly unique being neither European nor Asian except when it comes to mountains! Of course at one time Russia also claimed land in North America but that was sold 🙂 Oh, and I have summited Mont Blanc three times so I have it covered either way!

I will be posting updates as usual as well as using the SPOT GPS tracker so please follow along. This climb is worth $111 for a penny a foot I climb from base camp to the summit. I hope you will donate to one of our benefactors.

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Climb On!
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Comments on/from Facebook

  12 Responses to “Highest in Europe: Here I Come!”


    Best of luck on your Elbrus climb, Alan! I hope the climbing is both safe and interesting. By the way, which routes have you climbed on Mont Blanc? I climbed the Bosses Ridge from the Tete Rousse Hut a couple of weeks ago. The views were incredible and the route wasn’t crowded at all.

    All the best,


    A great journey!…following every step



    Alan have a good trip to the Caucasus, so soon after the hard Denaliclimb. – Chapeau!. Our Edward Bekker team reached the Western Summit 5642m, the 18th of July; also from the North because the road to the Southroute was closed by the authorities.
    It was an adventurous trip – the weather was not that good – but it was a wonderfull experience. Good luck and climb on.


    Have done Elbrus north side last year. If you want to know more check out my webpage

    Good Luck Alan.


    Great, Alan, welcome to Europe! The Western summit of Elbrus is actually higher 😉 have a good climb!


    Definitly Mont-Blanc Alan !

    Have a good time and climb safe.



    stay safe and on your feet


    We are following your world tour avidly… Good luck and Stay safe !
    Graham and the gang in sunny Blackpool, UK


    so if things go well, you might be back when I’m in Fort Fun!


    Sounds like an interesting cultural experience to go along with your climb.
    Climb on!


    Right. That is why I am not doing the chairlift, etc and climbing from the north. 🙂


    The south face with the chair lift and the snow cat doesn’t sound like much of a climb. And I do appreciate that the climb to the summit is the most difficult part of any climb.

    Anyway, have a safe Journey and a great climb!