is a mountainous country stretching along borders of Europe and Asia in
the limits of Russia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The highest, axis part of
upland region expanding on 1100 km between Black and Caspian Seas in the North-West-
South-East direction is called Great Caucasus.
Great Caucasus mountains are
rather young by geology. The tectonic uplands, the relief is exposed by
intensive destructive influence of glaciers, rivers, wind erosion. Mountainous
summits composed by firm rocks have peak, fortress and pyramid forms.
The areas of soft rocks are presented by round forms with flat tops
and sheer slopes.
There are various of profiles
of river valleys from wide trough-formed made by ancient glaciers to narrow,
This area has rather high seismic. The
main part of Great Caucasus upland region is formed by two almost parallel and
just the same by altitude ridges: Glavny (Main) or Vodorazdelny (Watershed),
and Peredovoy transforming into Bokovoy (Side) on the East. Glavny ridge
stretches as unbroken mountain range, but Peredovoy and Bokovoy ridges
are alternating mountain mass parted by diametrical river plains.
A number of wavy mountain ridges descending
to the plain the nearest of which named Scalisty (Rocky) and Pastbischny
(Pasture) ridges consisting of hollow from the East and steep to the South.
The southern slope of Great Caucasus on the whole is shorter and steeper
than northern especially in the eastern part. It expands by side
ridge-spurs: Khahetinsky, Khartlinsky, Rachinsky, Svanetsky, Khodorsky, Chhaltssky,
Great Caucasus is divided into three parts:
Western Caucasus, Central and Eastern ( with conventional borders by meridians
crossing Elbrus and Khazbek).
The climate of Great Caucasus is determined
by its southern situating, by proximity of Black and Meditaranian seas,
and also by considerable mountain ridges altitude. Great Caucasus is a barrier
on the way of mass motion with damp, warm air from the West. More precipitation
is on the southern slopes, maximum quantity- in the western part where in highlands
drops out more than 2500 mm per year(most of all in our country). There
is the precipitation quantity to the east 600 mm per year. The northern
slope of Great Caucasus on the whole is drier than southern.
In Great Caucasus mountains which are on
the not so extensive area are presented by large set of climatic zones
with expressed belts according to the altitude: Black seaside damp
subtropics, chilly-continental (to the East till sub-desert) climate with hot
summer and short and cold winter on Caucasus- forward plains; temperate continental
climate of mountains-forward with considerable precipitation (especially in
the western part) and much-snowy winter ( in Krasnaya Polyana (Red Field) area
on the rivers Bzyb and Chhalta snowy cover reaches 5 m and even 8 m).
There is cold and wet climate in the alpine glasslands, winter lasts for 7 months;
average temperature of August, the warmest month is from 0 °C to +10 °C.
There is so-called nival belt higher it where the average temperature
of warmest month isnt higher 0 °C .
The precipitations here is snow or hail.
At foothills January average temperatures
are 5 °C in the North and from +3 °C to +6 °C
in the South: on the altitude 2000 m 7-8 °C; on the 3000 m
altitude -12 °C; on the 4000 m altitude 17 °C.
At foothills July average temperatures are +24 °C in the
West; in the East till +29 °C; on the 2000 m altitude
+14 °C; on the 3000 m altitude +8 °C; on the
4000 m +2 °C.
In Great Caucasus the snow-line height
raising from West to South fluctuates in the limits of 2770-8900 m
over sea level. Its average note is different for northern and southern
slopes. In Western Caucasus it accordingly 3010 and 3090 m, in Central
- 3360 and 3560 m, in Eastern 3700 and 3800 m.
Great Caucasus the modern covering with
ice total square is 1780 sq. km. The number of glaciers 2047, theirs
tongues descend to absolute peaks: 2300-2700 m (Western Caucasus), 1950-2400 m
(Central Caucasus), 2400-3200 m (Eastern Caucasus). The larger covering
with ice part is the its northern side. The distribution of covering with
ice square between northern and southern sides is: Western
Caucasus 282 and 163 sq. km.; Central Caucasus -835 and 385 sq. km.;
Eastern Caucasus 114 and 1 sq. km.
Caucasus glaciers have diverse forms. Here
you can see grandiose and ice-falls with seraks, and ice grottos, tables,
mills, deep cracks. Glaciers take out lots of fragment material which accumulates
in the form of different moraines on sides and near the tongue of glacier.
Great Caucasus is rather inhabited.
On the 2000-2250 m altitude you can meet populated stations, industrial
and agricultural enterprises.
The main regional transport means is an
automobile. Qualitative roads with firm cover are constructed to the most of
stations, alpine grasslands have unpaved highways, in places of forest-falling
and geological prospecting tractor ruts. There are only three auto-roads in
force crossing Glavny (Main) Caucasus ridge: Voenno-Gruzzinskaya (Military-Georgian)
road (through "Cross" pass 2819 m), connecting Vladicaucasus
and Tbilisy; under Rokhsky pass the tunnel has made a hole
on which there is a modern highway; Voenno-Osetinskaya (Military-Osetinskaya)
road (through Mamisonsky pass 2819 m), accessible to high accessibility
autos and during warm season only. Through Great Caucasus watershed passes
are known long before through such passes as: Sanchara (2600 m),
Maruh (2740 m), Kluhor (2816 m), Donguzorun (3161 m), Tviber
(3580 m), Gezevtsek (3465 m).
Populated stations are connected by buses with
district centers, some of them by small aviation planes (Suhumy-Pshu, Mestiya-Khutaisy,
Telavi-Omalo, Mahachkhala-Bezhda, Tlyarata, etc.). Helicopters is a great help
in this region.
Railway roads turn round mountains-forward
of Great Caucasus. Short brunches go to finish stations in
cities of Maikop, Labinsk, Cherkessk, Khislovodsk, Nalchik, Vladicaucasus, Buynaksk,
Chiatura, Tshinvaly, Telavy that helps in up-approaches to the routs
beginning and departure after its finish.
Great Caucasus mountain-forward part
is well-mastered, agriculture and industry are well-developed.
There are a lot of towns here: Baku, Tbilisy, Khutaisy, Suhumy, Sochy,
Maikop, Cherkessk, Nalchic, Vladicaucasus and Mahachkhala.
Comfortable geographical position, the
proximity of country well-developed regions great cities,
the mountain-forward dense population all this makes Great Caucasus
one of the most visited by tourists mountain region. Here they have
mountain routs for any qualification groups and conditions for holding of all
tourist sport and teaching actions: competitions, meetings, gatherings,
schools, etc. The variety of landscapes and the abundance of historical and
cultural monuments make special beauty to Great Caucasus tracks. There
are hundreds of different mountain 1-6 complication category routs. The acquaintance
with wonderful land, its nature and history doesnt go apart with the
sport requirement execution.
The most complicated routs are in Central Caucasus
where there are about 20 of highest difficulty passes, 135 passes from 1A to
2A complication category and 82 passes from 2B to 3B complication category.
Great Caucasus high-mountain part has 170 1A-2A complication category
passes and 25 2B-3B complication category passes. Routs attract by high mountains
with thick vegetation and proximity of Black seaside combination. During last
time Eastern Caucasus with its wider territories approaches to the
main high-mountain passes, by the historical monuments abundance and by
specific nature. Here are 336 1A-2A complication category passes and 95
2B-3B complication category passes.
The best time for trekking, backpacking,
pass hopping, mountaineering and climbing in highlands from 1 June to 30 September,
moreover the most favourable period is from 15 June to 15 September. Today are
popular 1-2 complication category treks in mountains with altitude less 3000 m
in the first half of May just the same as mass climbings on Elbrus and Kazbek.
During winter period ( early spring and autumn too) in connection with unstable
weather, snowfalls and high avalanche danger in highlands are found only a few
experienced tourists groups.