Shkhara (Georgian: შხარა), is the highest point in the nation of Georgia. Located in the Svaneti region along the Russian frontier, Shkhara lies 88 kilometres (55 mi) north of the city of Kutaisi, Georgia's second largest city. The summit lies in the central part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, to the south-east of Mount Elbrus, Europe's highest mountain. Shkhara is the third highest peak in the Caucasus, just behind Dykh-Tau.
Shkhara is the high point and the eastern anchor of a massif known as the Bezingi (or Bezengi) Wall, a 12 kilometres (7 mi) long ridge. It is a large, steep peak in a heavily glaciated region, and presents serious challenges to mountaineers. Its North Face (on the Russian side) is 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) high and contains several classic difficult routes. The significant subsummit Shkhara West, 5,068 m (16,627 ft), is a climbing objective in its own right, and a traverse of the entire Bezingi Wall is considered "Europe's longest, most arduous, and most committing expedition."
The peak was first climbed in 1888 via the North East Ridge route, by the British/Swiss team of U. Almer, J. Cockin and C. Roth. This route is still one of the easier and more popular routes on the mountain. The first complete traverse of the Bezingi Wall was in 1931, by the Austrians K. Poppinger, K. Moldan, and S. Schintlmeister.
The Caucasus Mountains are a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region.
The Caucasus Mountains include:
The Greater Caucasus Range extends from the Caucasian Natural Reserve in the vicinity of Sochi on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea, generally trending east-southeast and reaching nearly to Baku on the Caspian Sea, while the Lesser Caucasus runs parallel to the greater range, at a distance averaging about 100 km (62 mi) south. The Meskheti Range is a part of the Lesser Caucasus system. The Greater and Lesser Caucasus ranges are connected by the Likhi Range, which separates the Kolkhida Lowland from the Kura-Aras Lowland. In the southeast are the Talysh Mountains. The Lesser Caucasus and the Armenian Highland constitute the Transcaucasian Highland. The highest peak in the Caucasus range is Mount Elbrus in the Greater Caucasus, which rises to a height of 5,642 metres (18,510 ft) above sea level. Mountains near Sochi will host part of the 2014 Winter Olympics.