Elbrus: the history of explorers



The first successful climbing to one of Elbrus tops was in 1829, during expedition headed by general Georgy Arsenievich Emmanuel,Caucasus commander of front line. It was a scientific expedition of Russian Academy of sciences and it started from Piyatigorsk. Academic Adolf Kuoer, physician Emiliy Lens, zoologist Eduard Minetriye, founder of Russian entomological community, botanic Carl Meyer, artist-architect  Josef Bernardazzi  participated in it. Extra service of expedition consisted of  650 soldiers and 350 cazaks and local guides as well.


Directly in climbing participated Cupher, Lens, Meyer, Minetriye, Bernardazzi, 20 cazaks and guides. But lack of experience, bad equipment made participants turn back. Only four persons Emiliy Lens, cazak Lisenkov and guides Hachirov and Sottaev  went on.

At the height of ,5300 Lens and two guides had to stop. Killar Achinov, cabardi or carachaev guide reached top the first at 11,10 July, 1829. That event was celebrated with gun fire in the camp where general Emmanuel watched all through spyglass.
And here are memories of Adolf Kupfer,the head of the group. ” we spent night at the feet of Elbrus, on the depth of large black stones with holes full of snow water. Night was cold, I woke up several times to admire the beauty. It remained in my memory and consisted of 3 tones: silver stone and moon, blue sky and deep black colour of rocks and night shade. All of those tones and surrounding silence were incredible. It was the most charming picture in my life.”

” closer to top Elbrus consisted of naked rocks, in the shape of stairs making climbing easier. But all of us, Meyer, Menetiye, Bernardazzi felt so  tired that decided to rest  1-2 hours and continue our way.
Several kazaks and cherkess accompanying us followed our example. We found a wind free shelter under one of the rocks,space without snow.”

” We all moved on directly or tracking depending on way difficulty,  admiring panorama. We were in ahurryvto reach top and it made us exhausted, so we had to stop on every step and recover. It was hard to breath, blood boiled, lips burned, eyes suffered from the the brightness of snow,we fe!t sick and it was impossible to overcome it.” Cuper was sorry about it.

So after reaching the height of 4600  most part of the group failed to go on. Lack of adaptation, equipment and skills of climbing told on them.
Despite great wish to continue climbing, they had to turn back. They could hardly descend.

Academic wrote:” Descending was hard and dangerous. Snow fell under our feet. There were holes allowing us to see gaps below. Cazaks and cherkess tied up each other to help. I was weakbfrom tiredness and leaned on two men to walk faster.and on the downhills I lied on burka carried by cherkess. Everyone thought of himself, how to overcome faster the difficulties.
That glorious day four of us went on: Killar Hachirov,  Ahiya Sottaev, Lisenko kazak, physician Emiliy Christianovich Lenz.

Lens remembered:” at the height of 13575 Paris feet others stopped tired.!after a short rest I went on climbing vertically on the wall, then by snow from one rock to another. Kazaks left me and stayed with others, four men were ahead. It is impossible to describe what I felt standing alone on the snow  top.there was silence around me, dark blue sky,almost black, where I saw Moon in the afternoon. and cracking snow were horrible and I shrugged. My little body climbed to giant rocks and tops and I felt body weakness and spirit strength simultaneously. The way was becoming harder and snow softer after 9 hours of climbing, I fell down to my ankle Magomet Dudov was lying like dead when I was getting alone through rocks. I shook him, lifted, gave some dry bread and allowed him to descend to others and drink some ROM, he left.

I got to the end of canyon and top covered with snow. I was too tired to go on,so only Killar Hachirov continued the way.
Elderly Ahiya told:”  Killar with biheaded stick headed the group showing the way. Kazak Lens and I followed him. Killar left his baggage and walked easier ahead. kazak followed his example and Lens stayed with me. Killar collected pyramids from stones putting his head on top to prove his record. A cloud appeared and we heard gun shooting below, Russian chief ordered to fight to let everyone know that a man had reached the top. We could not go on due to soft snow under feet. Kazak was still climbing, and Killar was descending. He caught up with us and I put him on burka and carried  down.


The hero’s were waited down guessing who managed to climb the top and whom general Emmanuel  bag seen through spyglasses.
On the following day awards were given out and victory was celebrated. The following inscription was carved on the rock:’ 1829, 8-11 july. The tent headed by general of Emmanuel”.

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