Mount Elbrus: Facts About the Highest Mountain in Europe

Here are some facts about Mount Elbrus.

  • Mount Elbrus is a volcano located in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia. At 5,642 metres in height, it is the highest mountain in Europe.

  • It actually consists of two summits, one about 40 metres higher than the other. The higher peak was first climbed in 1874 by a British expedition led by F. Crauford Grove.
  • Although it is a volcano, it is dormant and there is no record of it ever erupting. However, there are about 260 square km of lava fields and volcanic debris on the mountain.
  • Mount Elbrus is one of the Seven Summits, the name given to the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.

Mount Elbrus

  • The name Elbrus probably comes from a legendary mountain in Iranian mythology.
  • One of Europe’s highest outhouses, or toilets, is located on Mount Elbrus. It is covered in snow and ice and perched at the end of a large lump of rock.
  • In 1956, a group of 400 mountaineers climbed Mount Elbrus at the same time.
  • About 30 climbers die on the mountain each year, making it one of the deadliest.
  • A cable car built in the 1960s takes visitors to a height of 3,800 metres. From there it is a simple climb to the summit and there are several refuges, or mountain huts, offering shelter.
  • In 1997, a Russian team tried to drive a Land Rover to the summit. They used a winch and chains to pull it the last few metres to the summit and constantly had to replace the parts.
  • Mount Elbrus is important in Greek mythology. It is the place where Zeus imprisoned Prometheus and sent an eagle with long wings to eat his liver.
  • The Elbrus world race first took place in 1990. It is a series of winter sporting events on and around the mountain and in 2014 attracted over 350 athletes from 16 countries.

What next? Discover more mountain facts by visiting our mountains resources page.