Although Everest is the first name that comes to mind when the majority of people think of mountains or peaks, Mount Elbrus is one of the highest mountains in the world. Mountains have become popular tourist attractions--where people go to climb some of the most elevated areas in the world. Mount Elbrus holds the title as the highest mountain in Europe, making it a very popular travel destination.
The main aspect that most people judge mountains by is their sheer height. Mount Elbrus towers above most structures, as its peak is 18,506 feet in height. That makes it the tallest mountain in Europe. The mountain is part of a range that formed through the collision of the Arabian tectonic plate--which is moving northward--with the Eurasian plate.
Mount Elbrus is located within the Caucasus Mountains that are in Russia and near the Georgian border. This region is considered to be the border region between Asia and Europe. The southern parts of the Caucasus Mountains are considered to be in Asia, while the northern parts are considered to be in Europe.
Elbrus is the source of several rivers. At the base of the mountain, the permanent icecap feeds several glaciers that give rise to rivers, including the Malka, Baksan and Kuban rivers.
The mountain has several summits. The lower of the two was climbed first in 1868 by climbers Douglas Freshfield and C.C. Tucker. In 1874 the higher summit was reached by British explorer Crauford Grove.
In 1936, a very large group of inexperienced climbers performed an ill-fated expedition. Many of the group suffered fatalities due to slipping on the ice and falling to their deaths. The mountain was also occupied by over 10,000 German soldiers during World War II.
A massive cable car system that could take people as high as 12,500 feet was built from 1959 until 1976. The cable system allows easier access to mountain peaks for novice climbers and non-climbing tourists--helping to contribute to the popularity of Mount Elbrus.
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