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an urban-type settlement in Kabarda-Balkar ASSR under the jurisdiction of the Tyrnyauz city soviet. El’brus is situated on the upper course of the Baksan River of the Terek basin. The Andyrchi Tourist Center is located in the settlement.
(in Kabardin, Oshkhomako; in Balkar, Mingitau), the highest mountain in the Greater Caucasus, in the Bokovoi Range.
Mount Elbrus is an extinct volcano composed mostly of andesites on a high base of granites and schists. It is formed by two peaks—the western one with an elevation of 5,642 m and the eastern one with an elevation of 5,621 m; between the two peaks is a deep saddle that has an elevation of 5,325 m. Elbrus is covered by a cap of ice and névé, which is the source of 54 glaciers on the slopes of the mountain; the largest are the Bol’shoi Azau, the Irik, and the Terskol. The glaciers now cover a total of 134.5 sq km. Near Mount Elbrus, on the upper course of the Baksan River, Moscow State University maintains a laboratory for the study of avalanches and debris floods.
The eastern peak of Mount Elbrus was first scaled in 1829 by the Kabardin K. Khashirov, who was the leader of a Russian expedition. The western peak was first ascended in 1874 by British mountain climbers under the leadership of F. Grove and the Balkar guide A. Sottaev.
During the Soviet period, the region surrounding and including Mount Elbrus has become a site of popular mountain-climbing competitions, the largest of which had 2,400 participants (1967). The area is also a major center of skiing and tourism. As of 1978, it had six tourist centers—near the settlements of Terskol, El’brus, and Tegenskii; in addition, there were eight mountain-climbing camps and various mountaineers’ shelters, including the shelters on the northern slope of Mount Elbrus (the Shelter of the Eleven and the 105th Picket), on Lake Donguz-Orun, and in the valley of the Iusenga River. Ski lifts have been built on Mount Cheget up to elevations of 2,719 m and 3,040 m; reversible tramways run from the Azau glade (2,340 m) to the Staryi Krugozor and Mir station, which are at elevations of 2,970 m and 3,450 m, respectively. At the Staryi Krugozor stations is the Museum of the Military Glory of the Defenders of Elbrus and the Caucasian Passes During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45.
REFERENCERototaev, P. S. K vershinam. Moscow, 1977.
N. A. GVOZDETSKII