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Russia opens rescue shelter on Elbrus
26 Oct 2010
The Russian Mountaineering Federation reports on the opening of a rescue shelter on Mount Elbrus:
The built Rescue Shelter Red Fox 5300 is first in Europe and second in the world as for the altitude, it was opened on the saddle of Elbrus. The route to Elbrus is the most popular one, every year more than 7000 people ascend the summit.
Though the route to Elbrus is not considered to be technically difficult it is physically exhausting and dangerous enough. Only small part of Elbrus climbers has mountaineering experience and the necessary qualification for ascents. Many people climb it alone without guides’ services. Every year about 2-5 persons die on Elbrus mainly they are frozen when they go down in bad weather.
In order to save mountaineers’ lives a group of enthusiasts supported by the Russian Mountaineering Federation and partner firms decided to build a rescue shelter in the place of crossing the most popular routes to the summit. The project started in 2007 and for two years the area, geology, weather and climate were being studied, the project was developed.
The important project peculiarities are the high altitude, the necessity of placing the station on ice due to the absence of safe foundation, strong winds (the wind velocity in the place of the station can be up to 80 m/sec) and a big amount of falling snow.
Taking into consideration all these peculiarities it was decided to build the station in the form of hemisphere raised on the blocks above the snow; a manhole on the floor served as an entry. The foundation was made of wirework deepened into ice and filled with stones, it is called gabion. The hemisphere made of triangles provides the construction with solidity and firmness. The low shape and the absence of the angles reduce snow and wind pressure. The station was designed by the American firm “Natural Spaces Domes” which has a great experience in designing and building dome constructions in different parts of the world.
The main station constructions were made in Russia. The load was delivered with the help of helicopter Mi-8, it landed on the eastern summit of Elbrus. After that the load was descended to the saddle.
Opening Ceremony of Rescue Shelter Red Fox 5300 took place on September 1st, 2010. More than 80 volunteers from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Germany took part in the building of the shelter.
Results: Start of operation. Saved lives. For the first months of its operation several lives have been saved in the station. The RMF has reliable information about some mountaineering groups from Russia, Germany, Poland who could use the station in emergency.
Plans: The RMF supported by the Government of the Russian Federation is going to build dozens of shelters on the territory of Central and Western Caucasus. Rescue Shelter Red Fox 5300 is situated on the saddle between the Eatern and Western Elbrus summits. In this place the routes to the Eastern and Western summits part, and not far from it there is a route to Elbrus from the North.
Rescue Shelter coordinates:
Attention! If you are going to use Rescue Shelter Red Fox 5300 please inform the rescuers from Elbrus search and rescue team about it.
Rescue service coordinates:
Please take your garbage away and close manholes on leaving!