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What sights are there on Elbrus on the way to the top?

In order to truly appreciate the mountain route, it is not enough just to climb the mountain. To better understand the mountains, you need to get acquainted with the culture and life of the people living in this region, to get closer to their past and present. Understand how these people relate to the mountains, how they look at the mountain peaks. This invaluable experience cannot be separated from the experience of climbing the snow summits, and expanding our horizons, we begin to look differently at the rugged sky line, respect and love mountains not only for the beauty of their outlines, but also for the strength that they give to us, for the harsh and unyielding character that mountains bring up in our souls.

Mount Elbrus is located on the territory of the Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkess Republics, as well as partially in the territory of the Stavropol region of Russian Federation. Depending on the route on which you plan to climb this mountain, you can also plan your visits to the attractions that will allow you to get acquainted with the culture and customs of the peoples living at the foot of Elbrus. Let's start with the most popular route to Elbrus from the south - how can you diversify your climbing program from this side?

  1. National Museum of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. The main museum of the republic, located in the center of Nalchik. Gives a complete picture of the culture and customs of the peoples living in this area - Kabardins and Balkars. Numerous expositions are devoted to the contemporary national art, the past and present of this small part of the Russian Federation. Address of the Museum: Nalchik, Gorky street, 62;

  2. The V.S.Vysotsky’s Climbing and Hunting Museum in Tegenekli is practically the only museum in the region devoted to the development of mountaineering in the Elbrus region, as well as the personality of one of the legendary cultural figures of the Soviet era - Vladimir Vysotsky. A whole generation of climbers and mountain lovers grew up on the songs of this author. And the amazingly played by this actor characters of the soviet films about mountains and climbers, of which the most famous is “Vertical” of 1967 (this film was shot in the Elbrus region) - still have not lost their brightness and relevance. The museum location is: Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Elbrus district, Tegenekli village, Balkarskaya street, 3a;

  3. Museum of the Defense of Elbrus. At an altitude of 3,500 meters, not far from the Mir station of the Elbrus pendulum cableway, in a separate building there is a museum dedicated to the dramatic pages of the history of the Elbrus region - the events of 1942-1943, when the fierce battles of the Soviet Army and German invaders were conducted in this area. The south side of Elbrus was at the center of hostilities, so far traces of this relatively recent war can be seen on the slopes of Elbrus. The thematic exposition of the museum tells us in the detail about this historical period;

  4. Unfortunately, the main attraction of the Elbrus region, the highest mountain climbing hotel of the former USSR, Priyut 11, built in 1938 at an altitude of 4050 m, has not been preserved to date. The legendary building, which survived the Second World War and hosted the planned tourist groups for more than 50 years burned out due to negligence and violation of elementary fire safety rules.

In addition to the cultural and historical sights, visitors of the Elbrus region also can enjoy the unique natural sites that this mountainous region is rich of. The Chegem waterfalls are especially popular - a group of three waterfalls up to 30 m high beautifully located in a narrow gorge. Blue Lakes are several lakes of karst origin. According to the local legends, these lakes literally have no bottom! According to recent studies, the estimated depth of the lower Blue Lake is more than 300 meters, with a circumference of about 180 - this is, in fact, a vertical shaft that goes into the abyss, filled with transparent water of a bluish tint.

If you climb Mount Elbrus from the north or west, you can add to your climbing program visiting museums in Pyatigorsk. Among the many cultural attractions of this city, you can opt for the following sites:

  1. Pyatigorsk Regional Museum. A very diverse exhibition dedicated to the culture, natural and historical attractions of Stavropol and Kabardino-Balkaria. Museum address: Pyatigorsk, st. Bernardazzi, d. 2;

  2. Museum-reserve of M.Y.Lermontov. The museum is dedicated to the personality of the famous Russian poet M.Y. Lermontov, whose life and work were inextricably linked with the Caucasus. The museum gives a complete picture of the life and work of the poet, as well as of the lifestyle of the southern Russian province in the 19th century. Museum address: Pyatigorsk, st. Lermontova, 4;

  3. Pyatigorsk Museum of Stone Antiquities. This museum was opened in 1850 and is dedicated to a variety of historical eras, which left their mark in the North Caucasus. Museum address: Pyatigorsk, st. Kirova, 17.

Among the natural attractions of the northern side of Elbrus, you can distinguish the hot springs of Djaly-su, where one can relax in warm thermal baths, unique stone sculptures - “stone mushrooms” - volcanic remains formed as a result of erosion - compressed columns of volcanic ash of uneven density. For many millennia, wind and weather created on the slope of Elbrus a real “Stonehenge” from stone statues with flat “hats”. Also, many visitors of the Elbrus region are attracted by the legends of the mysterious “German airfield” - a large, perfectly flat meadow located at the foot of the northern slope of Mount Elbrus. This name came from the times of the Second World War, when German air fighters supposedly landed on this field. However, the local historians do not have accurate information about the use of this place for military or any other purposes.

For all the climbing programs of the MCS AlexClimb Mountaineering School, which we organize in the numerous areas of the Caucasus and other mountain systems, an essential element is getting familiar with the cultural and historical features of these areas. This “highlight” allows participants to get a complete picture of the places they have visited, broaden their horizons not only through the “vertical meters” and extreme sports, but also become spiritually richer by touching cultural values created under the direct influence and inspired by the presence of the mountains.

Text — Alexey Trubachev, founder of the MCS AlexClimb mountaineering and climbing school.

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Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.