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Do you know these 29 giants from the Caucasus

The Caucasus is a mountain range between the Black Sea in the west and the Caspian Sea in the east. The mountain range consists of the Great Caucasus in the north and the Small Caucasus in the south. It covers Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In this article, we introduce you to the 29 highest peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. Why 29 of all places? Simply because Armenia should also be represented. And Armenia's highest peak in the Caucasus only makes it to 29th place. In the list you will also find 2 mountains from Azerbaijan, 15 from Georgia, and 21 from Russia.

The 29 highest mountains in the Caucasus

1. Elbrus (5,642 m)


The biggest mountain of the Caucasus is also the biggest in Russia and probably the most famous peak of the whole region: the Elbrus. At a height of 5,642 metres, it overlooks Mont Blanc by more than 800 metres and the Matterhorn by more than 1,100 metres.

The Elbrus is mainly located in Kabardino-Balkaria, but partly also in Karachay-Cherkessia. It is only a little more than 11 kilometres to the border with Georgia.

Elbrus in Russia

The mountain is of volcanic origin, but the last eruption took place about 2,000 years ago. The Elbrus consists of two peaks which are 1.5km apart. The west summit (5,642m) is 21 meters higher than the east summit. At Elbrus, there are 22 glaciers covering an area of 145 square kilometres with ice.

The first people to make it to the highest point of Elbrus were three Englishmen who climbed the mountain in 1874 under the leadership of the Swiss Peter Knubel. Today, the mountain has a fairly well-developed infrastructure. Every year, around 17,000 people try to climb the summit between May and September. Although the ascent requires a high level of fitness, it is not particularly difficult from a technical point of view. Nevertheless, 15 to 30 mountaineers die every year – mostly due to poor equipment, poor preparation or the lack of a mountain guide.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: none

2. Dykhtau (5,205 m)


Dykhtau, also located in the Great Caucasus, is the second highest peak in Europe behind Elbrus. Together with Koshtan Tau, the fourth highest peak in the Caucasus, it forms the «Brothers of Bezengi». The two mountain peaks are only 6 kilometres apart, the ascent of the Dykhtau is part of the «Seven Second Summits». This challenge is based on the «Seven Summits» and is about climbing the second highest summit of each continent.

Dykhtau in Russia

As with the Elbrus, a Swiss mountain guide was involved in the first ascent: Heinrich Zurfluh from Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland. He climbed the Dychtau for the first time in 1888 with Englishman Albert Mummery.

The Dychtau lies in the Russian region of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: none

3. Shkhara (5,201 m)


The Shkhara belongs to the Bezingi massif, a 12km long, glaciated mountain range. Among mountaineers it is considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb in Europe. It was not until 1888 that the summit was climbed for the first time – by a British-Swiss team.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: none

4. Koshtan Tau (5,152 m)


The Koshtan rope lies in Kabardino-Balkaria and near the Russian-Georgian border. Its summit is only 6 kilometres away from that of Dykhtau, which is, however, about 50 metres higher. This also explains the translation of Koshtan Tau, which in English means «paired mountain».

The first ascent of Koshtan Tau may be written on the banner of a team around Herman Woolley.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: none

5. Jangi Tau (5,059 m)


Like the Dychtau and the Koshtan Tau, the Jangi Tau lies in the Bezingi Massif in the North Caucasian Kabardino-Balkaria. Its summit is not far from the border with Svaneti, a high valley in the northwest of Georgia.

Its flanks are covered by thick glaciers, among which there are sleeping volcanoes.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: none

6. Kazbek (5,047 m)


Although Kazbek only is the third largest mountain in Georgia, it probably is the most famous in the country. Not only because of the myths surrounding it. Prometheus (Greek mythology) is said to have been chained to this mountain after he stole the fire from the gods to give it to the people.

Kazbek is an extinct volcano covered by several glaciers. One of its glaciers forms the origin of the Terek, a river that flows through North Ossetia, Chechnya and Dagestan and flows into the Caspian Sea 623km later.

Kazbek in Georgia

At the foot of Kazbek, on the Georgian side, lies the village of Stepantsminda. Together with Goristsikhe, Gudauri, Kobi, Sioni and Sno, it forms the municipality of Qasbegi. Through Stepantsminda and east of Kazbek runs the Georgian Military Road, currently the only passable border crossing between Georgia and Russia.

The ascent to the summit, first made in 1868, isn't particularly difficult technically.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: none

7. Pushkin (5,033 m)


The Pushkin peak belongs to the Bezingi massif in Kabardino-Balkaria and, at 5,033 meters, is the seventh highest peak in the Caucasus Mountains and the smallest five-thousand-metre peak in the region.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: none

8. Katyn Tau (4,979 m)


Another representative of the Bezingi massif is the Katyn Tau. It also lies on the border between Kabardino-Balkaria (Russia) and Svaneti (Georgia).

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: none

9. Gistola (4,860 m)


The 4,860m (15,940ft) high Gistola lies in the Georgian region of Svaneti and is the sixth largest mountain in the country. Its slopes are covered with ice and snow all year round. The mountain is a popular photo subject. It was first climbed by a Georgian group in 1937.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: Mont Blanc, the largest mountain in the Alps, is 50 metres smaller than Gistola.

10. Shota Rustaveli Peak (4,860 m)


We have now got to know some giants of the Caucasus, which are located on the border between Svaneti and Kabardino-Balkaria. With the Shota Rustaveli Peak, another one is added. With its height of 4,860m (15,940ft) it just makes it into the Top 10 in the Caucasus. Its slopes are largely glaciated.

It owes its name to the famous Georgian writer and poet Shota Rustaveli, who worked in the 12th and 13th century. One of his most famous works is «The Knight in the Panther's Skin».

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: Mont Blanc, the largest mountain in the Alps, is 50 metres smaller than Shota Rustaveli.

11. Tetnuldi (4,858 m)


Mount Tetnuldi, located in the Svaneti region, is one of the most famous peaks in Georgia. From a height of 3,000 metres, the 4,848 metre high mountain is glaciated. The first ascent was made in 1896 by Douglas Freshfield from England.

In Mestia (Svaneti), one of the two ski resorts is named after the mountain – the Tetnuldi ski resort opened in 2015.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: Mont Blanc, the largest mountain in the Alps, is 48 metres smaller than Tetnuldi.

12. Jimara (4,780 m)


The 4,780m (15,680ft) high Jimara is the twelfth highest mountain in the Caucasus and the second highest in North Ossetia-Alanya, the Russian region in the North Caucasus. Its southern part is in Georgia, only about nine kilometres from Mount Kazbek.

Similarly large mountains in the Alps: Mont Blanc, the largest mountain in the Alps, is 30 metres higher than Jimara.

13. Ushba (4,710 m)


The 4,710m high Ushba, together with Kasbek and Shchara, is one of the most famous mountains in Georgia. This is mainly due to its special double peak shape. It lies in Svaneti, in the northwest of the country and is bordered by the Russian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Mount Ushba in Georgia

Ushba is considered as the most difficult peak of the whole Caucasus by many mountaineers. This is partly due to the unpredictable and changeable weather in this region. Ushba was first climbed in 1888 (north summit) and 1903 (south summit) respectively. The north summit is slightly higher than the south summit.

Comparison with the Alps: Ushba would be the second highest mountain in the Alps after Mont Blanc.

14. Dumala Tau (4,682 m)


At 4,682 metres, the Dumala Tau is number 14 in the Caucasus. It is located in Kabardino-Balkaria close to the border to Swaneti (Georgia).

Dumala Tau is almost 50 metres higher than Dufour Peak (the highest point in Switzerland).

15. Uilpata (4,649 m)


The peak of Uilpata lies in the Russian region of North Ossetia-Alanya, more precisely in the Alanian National Park, the highest point of which is 4,649 metres high.

Comparison with the Alps: Uilpata would be the second highest mountain in the Alps.

16. Tikhtengen (4,618 m)


The Tikhtengen is a 4,618m (15,151ft) high mountain located on the border between Kabardino-Balkaria (Russia) and Svaneti (Georgia).

The Tikhtengen would be the third highest mountain in the Alps.

17. Aylama (4,547 m)


The 4,547m high Aylama (or Ahlama) is two metres higher than the Dom and thus higher than the highest mountain completely located in Switzerland. It lies between the Georgian region of Samegrelo and Upper Swaneti and the Russian region of Kabardino-Balkaria. The higher slopes of the Aylama are glaciated.

18. Tiutiun-Tau (4,540 m)


The 4,540 metre high Tiutiun-Tau is located in the heart of Kabardino-Balkaria. It is five metres smaller than the Swiss mountain Dom.

19. Jailik (4,533 m)


At 4,533 metres, the Jailik is exactly the same height as the Liskamm, which is located between the Monte Rosa massif and the Matterhorn in the Alps.

20. Salinan (4,508 m)


The Salinan summit is located in Kabardino-Balkaria and lies far from the border with Georgia (Svaneti). If the twentieth largest mountain of the Caucasus was in the Alps, it would be its third highest peak.

21. Tebulosmta (4,499 m)


The Tebulosmta (Mta is the Georgian word for mountain) or in Chechen «Tuloy-Lam» is the highest mountain in Chechnya and the entire Eastern Caucasus. It is located a little east of Mount Kasbez. A part of the Tebulosmta is located in Georgia.

Only 3 square kilometres of its slopes are covered with glaciers.

22. Bazardüzü Daghi (4,466 m)


At 4,466 metres, Bazardüzü is both the highest mountain in Azerbaijan and the Russian Republic of Dagestan. At the same time, it forms the border between these two countries.

It was first climbed in 1847 by a Russian climber.

23. Shani (4,451 m)


Shani is the highest mountain in Ingushetia and is located on its border with Georgia. The next bigger village on the Georgian side is Stepantsminda. Shani is about 30 meters smaller than the Matterhorn in Switzerland.

24. Tepli (4,431 m)


Tepli is located in the south of Russia in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alanya. The summit is 47 metres lower than that of the Matterhorn.

25. Diklosmta (4,285 m)


The highest point of Diklosmta, which is also simply called Diklo, is at 4,285m (14,058ft). It is located in the Great Caucasus on the border between Russia (Chechnya and Dagestan) and the Georgian region of Tushetia, which belongs to Kakhetia.

On the mountain, there are several glaciers, some of which reach far down into the valleys (e.g. Pirikita).

26. Shahdagh (4,243 m)


With its 4,243m (13,921ft), Mount Shahdagh is the second highest mountain in Azerbaijan and one of seven four thousand meter peaks in the country. It lies in the Great Caucasus in the Qusar region and near the border with Dagestan (Russia). At the foot of the Shahdagh, caves were found which, according to researchers, must have been inhabited more than 9,000 years ago.

Shahdagh in Azerbaijan

27. Addala-Shukhgelmeer (4,152 m)


The Addala-Shukhgelmeer is the third highest mountain in Dagestan, a Russian republic in the northeast of the Caucasus Mountains. In the ranking of the highest mountains of Russia, it occupies the 40th place.

28. Dyultydag (4,127 m)


Like the Addala-Shukhgelmeer, the Dyultydag is located in Dagestan. Its peak is only 15km from the border to Azerbaijan.

29. Aragaz (4,090 m)


The Aragaz is an extinct stratified volcano in the highlands of Armenia. With its 4,090 meters, it is the highest mountain in the country. The Aragaz lies in the northwest of Yerevan and on the border of the two provinces Shirak and Aragazotn.

The Aragaz consists of four peaks. The one in the north is the highest. The western summit (4,080m), the eastern summit (3,916m) and the southern summit (3,879m) are smaller.

At an altitude of 3,200 metres, there is an observation station of the Yerevan Institute of Physics. The Orgow station is used for the study of cosmic particles.

If the Ararat in Turkey would be included, it would be on the 5th place with its 5,137m, but the Ararat is located a bit south of the Caucasus Mountains.

Author: MyCaucasus
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