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Elbrus sightseeing

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My collection of routes to Elbrus is here

What attractions tourists can visit in the Elbrus region and what excursions can be combined with climbing Mount Elbrus?

To fully appreciate a mountain route, it is not enough just to climb the mountain. To understand better and feel the mountains, you need to get acquainted with the culture and life of the local people living in this mountainous region, touch their past and present, get close to their culture.

Mount Elbrus - first acquaintance with the Caucasian Patriarch
Mount Elbrus - first acquaintance with the Caucasian Patriarch

It is very important to 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 mountain climbing. Expanding our horizons, we begin to look at the snow peaks in different way, respect and love them not only for the beauty of their outlines. But also for the strength they give to the people, for their harsh and unbending nature, for the inner qualities feelings that mountains provoke in a person.

For centuries, the inhabitants of the Caucasus mountains have preserved their original traditions and customs
For centuries, the inhabitants of the Caucasus mountains have preserved their original traditions and customs

Mount Elbrus is located on the territory of the Kabardino-Balkarian and Karachay-Cherkess Republics, and also partially on the territory of the Stavropol Krai. Depending on the route you choose to climb Mount Elbrus, you can also plan to visit the sightseeing attractions. That part of your climbing program gives you a chance to become more familiar with the culture and customs of the local people, whose culture is tightly connected with its proximity.

Elbrus, view from the Southeast
Elbrus, view from the Southeast

Let's start with the most popular route to Mount Elbrus from the south. How can you diversify your climbing program if you go to the Elbrus summit from the south side and the Baksan Gorge?

National Museum of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic.

The main museum of the KBR republic is located in the center of Nalchik town. This museum gives a complete view of the culture and customs of the peoples living in this area - Kabardians and Balkars. Numerous exhibitions are dedicated to contemporary national art, to the past and present of this small but very beautiful and diverse part of the Russian Federation. Museum address: Nalchik, st. Gorky, 62

Organized tourist excursion to the KBR Museum, Nalchik
Organized tourist excursion to the KBR Museum, Nalchik

The Mountaineering and Hunting Museum of V.S. Vysotsky in Tegenekli

This sightseeing location is practically the only museum in the region dedicated to the development of mountaineering in the Elbrus region. As well it is dedicated to the personality of one of the legendary cultural figures of the Soviet era, artist and popular singer Vladimir Vysotsky. A whole generation of climbers and mountain lovers grew up listening to the songs of this author.

Vladimir Vysotsky in the famous movie of the soviet Era - Vertical
Vladimir Vysotsky in the famous movie of the soviet Era - Vertical

The amazing characters he played in the old soviet movies about mountains and climbers, the most famous of which is “Vertical” 1967 (this movie was filmed in the Elbrus region) have not yet lost their brightness and relevance.

The museum location is: Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Elbrus district, Tegenekli village, Balkarskaya street, 3a

Museum of Vladimir Vyostsky in Tegenekli
Museum of Vladimir Vyostsky in Tegenekli

Museum of WW2 Defense of the Elbrus Region

At the altitude of 3500 meters, not far from the Station Mir (World) 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 fierce battles between the Soviet Army and the German invaders, took place in this area.

The southern side of Mount Elbrus was at the center of the battels; traces of this relatively recent war can still be seen on the slopes of Mount Elbrus. The museum's thematic exhibition tells in detail about this historical period

Echoes of 70+ y.o. war on the slopes of Elbrus
Echoes of 70+ y.o. war on the slopes of Elbrus

Unfortunately, the main attraction of the Elbrus region has not been preserved until today - the highest mountaineering hotel of the former USSR - Shelter 11, built in 1938 at an altitude of 4050 m. The Shelter 11 building, which survived the Second World War and hosted scheduled tourist groups for more than 50 years, burned down due to incompetent management, negligence and violation of basic safety rules.

Shelter 11 on Mount Elbrus during the Second World War
Shelter 11 on Mount Elbrus during the Second World War

In addition to the cultural and historical attractions, guests of the Elbrus region also can enjoy visiting the unique natural sites that this mountainous region is rich in. Among the most popular sights are the Chegem waterfalls - a group of three beautifully located waterfalls up to 30 m high in a narrow gorge, and the Blue Lakes - several magnificent lakes of the karst origin.

Чегемские водопадыChegem waterfalls

According to the local legends, these lakes literally have no bottom! As a result of recent studies, was discovered that the estimated depth of the lower Blue Lake is more than 300 meters, with a circumference of approximately 180 - this is practically a vertical shaft going into the abyss, filled with clear blue water.

Lower Blue Lake - incredible, but this compact lake is more than 400 meters deep
Lower Blue Lake - incredible, but this compact lake is more than 400 meters deep

If you are going to climb Mount Elbrus from the north or west, you can add your program visiting of the museums in Pyatigorsk. Among many cultural attractions of this town, you can choose from the following sites:

Pyatigorsk Museum of Local Lore

A very diverse exhibition dedicated to the culture, natural and historical attractions of Pyatigorsk, Stavropol Krai and the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic. Museum address: Pyatigorsk, st. Bernardazzi, no. 2

Pyatigorsk Museum of Local Lore. The exhibition is dominated by the theme of the Second World War Museum-reserve of M.Y. Lermontov
Pyatigorsk Museum of Local Lore. The exhibition is dominated by the theme of the Second World War

Museum-reserve of M.Y. Lermontov

This 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 the lifestyle of the southern Russian province in the 19th century. Museum address: Pyatigorsk, st. Lermontov

Lermontov Museum
Lermontov Museum

Pyatigorsk Museum of Stone Antiquities

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

Museum of Stone Antiquities. From a subjective point of view, the exhibits are taken out of their historical context and have no historical value. But you can take a lookMuseum of Stone Antiquities. From a subjective point of view, the exhibits are taken out of their historical context and have no historical value. But you can take a look

Among the natural attractions of the northern side of Mount Elbrus, one can highlight the hot springs of Northern Djily-su, where you can relax in warm thermal baths, unique natural stone sculptures - “Stone Mushrooms” - volcanic remnants formed as a result of erosion - compressed columns of volcanic ash of uneven density.

Natural attraction of Mount Elbrus - stone mushrooms
Natural attraction of Mount Elbrus - stone mushrooms

Over many millennia, wind and harsh weather have created a real “Stonehenge” of stone sculptures with flat “hats” on the North slope of Elbrus.

As well, many visitors of the Elbrus region are attracted by the legends about the mysterious “German Airfield” - a large, perfectly flat part of Mount Elbrus slope.

German airfield on the northern slope of Elbrus
German airfield on the northern slope of Elbrus

The name "German Airfield" comes from the times of Second World War, when German fighter planes allegedly landed on this field. However, historians and local people do not have accurate information about the use of this place for the military or any other purposes.

For all mountaineering programs of the MCS AlexClimb School, which we organize in different areas of the Caucasus and other mountain systems, an integral element is getting familiar with the cultural and historical features of these regions.

Осетия, экскурсия в 'Город мертвых' после восхождения на Казбек (Дарга́всский скле́повый моги́льник)
Ossetia, excursion to the 'City of the Dead' after climbing Kazbek (Dargavs crypt burial ground)

Our approach to the composing of the climbing programs allows to the participants to get a complete view of the mountain regions they have visited. Participants of our climbing programs expand their horizons not only due to the “climbing vertical meters” and extreme sports. Also we invite everyone to become richer in spiritual way, touching the cultural values created under the direct influence or inspired by the close presence of mountains.

The author of the texts and photographs Alex Trubachev
Your professional mountain guide for Mount Elbrus and other mountain climbing routes in Caucasus

MCS EDIT 2024

 

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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.

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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.

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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.
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