Despite not being home to the tallest mountains in the world, Europe is still home to some high mountains and great ski resorts. So, if a person wants to reach the tallest peak in Europe, where would they go? Take a look at the highest point in Europe! Find out where it is located, when people first climbed it, its elevation, and what wildlife lives in the area.
What is the Highest Point in Europe?
The highest point in Europe is Mount Elbrus, a mountain in Russia with a total elevation of 18,510 feet or 5,642 meters. This mountain is found in the Caucasus Mountains, a range found where Asia and Europe meet. Specifically, the mountain is in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.
Mount Elbrus is a dormant volcano with two summits, one to the west and one to the east. The western summit is taller and has the aforementioned elevation of 18,510 feet. Meanwhile, the eastern summit is slightly shorter at 18,442 feet tall. The volcano is considered dormant, and it has not erupted for about 2,000 years.
Mount Elbrus attracts many climbers as well as people interested in the Mt. Elbrus Ski Resort. The resort has about 14 miles of ski slopes along with the second-highest gondola in Europe. Using the ski lifts, people can travel as high as 12,621 feet on the mountain.
Most climbers attempt to summit the mountain in the summer months. However, about a dozen people die on the mountain attempting to climb it each year. The climb itself is not considered one of the most difficult. However, the brutal winter weather takes a toll on climbers, suddenly stranding them in cold temperatures, snow, and high winds.
Where is Mount Elbrus Located on a Map?
Although many people may look for the highest point in Europe in one of the Western countries, they will not find Mount Elbrus there. Instead, this mountain is found in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. This Russian republic is near the border between Europe and Asia. If one were to travel a little farther south from the mountain, they would reach Georgia and then Turkey in short order.
The Caucasus Mountains where Mount Elbrus is located are bordered to the west by the Black Sea and to the east by the Caspian Sea. So, the highest point in Europe is in a transitional area in terms of landmasses and cultures.
Who Was the First Person to Reach the Top of Mount Elbrus?
The highest mountains tend to attract people that want to climb them first. Mount Elbrus has two summits, and two different people were the first at each.
The eastern summit, the shorter of the two, was the first one climbed. On July 10, 1829, a man named Khillar Khashirov first climbed the eastern summit. His surname is alternatively spelled Khillar Khachirov in some sources. A group of men led by Florence Crauford Grove first climbed the western summit in 1874.
Climbing the mountain is dangerous work, and many people fail to climb the mountain each year. As previously mentioned, upwards of 30 people die while attempting to summit the mountain each year.
How Does Mount Elbrus Compare to Other European Mountains?
Mount Elbrus is the tallest mountain in Europe. However, that does not mean it is the tallest mountain in the world. In fact, no European mountains appear in the top 20 highest mountain peaks in the world. So, let’s take a look at the tallest mountains on other continents and see how they compare to Mount Elbrus.
|Mount Elbrus||Europe||18,510 feet|
|Mount Denali||North America||20,310 feet|
|Mount Everest||Asia||29,032 feet|
|Mount Kilimanjaro||Africa||19,341 feet|
|Mount Aconcagua||South America||22,837 feet|
Each of these selected mountains is taller than the highest point in Europe. The tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, is over 10,000 feet taller than Mount Elbrus.
The Tallest Mountain in Western Europe
Some people make a distinction between the tallest mountains in Eastern and Western Europe. The highest point in Europe is in the eastern part of the widely accepted boundaries of Europe. However, anyone seeking the highest point in Western Europe would find it at Mont Blanc. This popular mountain has an elevation of 15,778 feet.
This mountain is located in France, and its name translates to “white mountain.” Mont Blanc is the tallest mountain in the Alps, and it is a popular destination for climbers. Like Mount Elbrus, rescue services are frequently called to aid people that become stuck on the mountain while climbing. People also use the mountain for winter recreation such as skiing.
What Wildlife Lives Near the Highest Point in Europe?
Few animals are found near the actual summit of Mount Elbrus. However, many animals live in the lower elevations of the mountain range. Some of the animals in the Caucasus Mountains include:
- Red foxes
- Caucasian red deer
- Caucasian goats
- Rock pigeon
- Brown bears
The animals in the mountains are varied but also have the potential to be dangerous. Bears, wolves, lynx, and foxes roam the area. With the right preparation, though, travelers can safely avoid any harmful interactions with these animals and others.
The highest point in Europe is located near the border with Asia. Mount Elbrus is a towering mountain and a tempting place for climbers to visit. However, inexperienced climbers, and some experienced ones, regularly become stranded on the mountain or even succumb to harsh weather conditions.
Of course, the mountain is much more than a place to climb. The area offers many opportunities for skiing and other winter recreation. That’s not to mention the chance to document some of the unique wildlife in the region. Anyone that goes to this mountain should do everything they can to remain safe from animals and the challenging weather.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/_curly_
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.