EUROPE’S HIGHEST CREVASSES
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Spectacular crevasses which should enable geocachers climbing Mount Elbrus to ‘log’ a cache in an environmentally friendly and educational way. The earth cache was created in 2007: logs of visits to the summit made before than date can be made retrospectively, providing photographic evidence or detailed account is provided in the log.
GLACIERS AND CREVASSES
Glaciers form where conditions are such that the annual snowfall exceeds annual snow melt (solid to liquid) and snow ablation (solid changing directly to vapour). As the snow accumulates the weight of it compresses the lower layers of snow into ice which, although solid, can “flow” slowly downhill, scouring and plucking rocks from the ground beneath it. When the ‘river if ice’ goes over hills or steep drops, the upper surface cracks and splits. These splits are known as crevasses and can drop several hundred feet down into the glacier. If you can see them at the surface, they are not too dangerous but it they are covered and concealed by a “bridge” of smooth snow they are extremely dangerous. To travel safely on glaciers a group really needs to be roped together and have the person in front probing the ground with an ice ace or long crevasse pole to test the solidity of the snow surface.
Fortunately from the south there is a relatively (but not entirely) crevasse-free route up to the summit of Mount Elbrus, at 5,642 m Europe’s highest mountain. However, there are huge and dangerous crevasse fields on either side. Although the ‘safe’ route is marked with ice-blasted twigs and branches, these are not always easy to see, especially in “whiteout” conditions when the ground, sky and horizon merge into one white landscape so the ascent can be dangerous. However, the route to the Barrels and Priut Huts is relatively straightforward.
To ‘claim’ this particular Earthcache, geocachers need to post a picture of crevasses looking up to or away from Mount Elbrus or a picture from inside one (should they be that brave or unfortunate!)
The co-ordinates given are for a hut that most will certainly have visited. There is a large ruined building close by (bombed by the Russians during World War II because they thought it was occupied by German soldiers trying to gain control of the Caucasus oil and gas fields). To confirm that you have actually got to a height of around 4,500 m you also have to e mail me the name of the ‘alternative’ town that is written in large letters on the ruined walls and state the direction that most of the crevasses run.
There is a lot of rubbish & debris discarded on the lower parts of the route so any ‘tidying’ geocachers might be able to do would be a bonus.
The remains of the Diesel Hut have now been tidied up and the large piece of graffiti that I saw saying
has apparently disappeared.
So instead of answering the original question visitors to the co-ordinates are asked to comment in their log on the state of the buildings.
Many thanks to everyone who has posted such great photos (recent and old) of their climbs. Makes me want to go back
Jenc hc jnez!