The 4466,1m high Bazardüzü, in Russian Базардюзю (Bazardjuzju), is the highest peak of Azerbaijan. The mountain lies in the Caucasus range (Azerbaijani: Qafqaz Dağları ; Russian: Кавказ / Kavkaz) on the border between Azerbaijan and the Russian republic Дагестан (Dagestan). He is also just north of the Caucasus main ridge, the border between Europe and Asia, makinging Bazardüzü to a purely European summit. About 7km south-west of the summit is the most southern point of Russia. The southern side of the mountain belongs to Şahdağ Milli Parkı, the largest National Park of Azerbaijan. Vegetation is found only in the valleys at the foot of the summit where wide alpine and subalpine meadows spread exploited by sheep and goats. On the barren mountainsides live groups of East Caucasian ibex (Capra cylindricornis) and chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra).
Bazardüzü was first climbed in 1847 via the northeast ridge from the Russian Алексей Александров (Aleksej Aleksandrov). The mountain is extraordinarily independent, the prominence (Vertical separation) is about 2454m! Of all the Caucasus peaks he stands in relation to its prominence in second place after Эльбрус (El'brus). The rocks of the mountain are composed of shale porphyries. By the glaciers of the last Ice Age, the rock is heavily abraded where it is especially prominent on the northwest side. However, large parts of the mountain are heavily weathered with rubble and scree slopes. At the beginning of the 20th century were eight small glaciers up to one kilometer from the summit area, now most are melted. But the summit ice fields are still the bigest glaciers of the Eastern Caucasus.
The common route from the Azerbaijan leads from the south over a gravel back up to he uppermost northeast ridge and through him to the summit, the difficulty is F (facile). Another route is the full northeast ridge which is reached at point 3745m or lower in the saddle (P.3146m). The northeast ridge, if seen from the summit, at about 4100m a bend from the east to the northeast. The uppermost part of the ridge is partly snow or ice. The northeast ridge is the normal route from the Russian side and is also easily accessible from Azerbaijan. The difficulty of northeast ridge is PD (little difficult) , the slope is maximum 25°. For the ascent of the Russian side, a special permit is required because the mountain lies in a border region. If you want to climb Bazardüzü from Azerbaijan some documents are needed (Visa for Azerbaijan, Permit for the national park, Registraion by the frontier military troops). In addition, a guide is mandatory to enter in the national park.
The sign at the top of Bazardüzü / Базардюзю (4466m); highest mountain of Azerbaijan.
No public transport is existing from the Russian or Azerbaijan side to the villages near the mountain.
Route from Azerbaijan:
By bus from the capital Bakı to Quba. From there you can taxe a taxi to Xınalıq, the usually starting point to the mountain and enter of the Şahdağ Milli Parkı (National park).
Route from Russia:
From the capital of Dagestan (Махачкала / Makhačkala) by train or bus to Дербент (Derbent). From Derbent take taxi to the village of Куруш (Kuruš).
Normal route from Azerbaijan:
The starting point is the flood plain of the river Yatuxdərə at 2800m. You can drive to this place from Laza or Xınalıq with a 4x4 car over adventurous. About 5 minutes up the valley there is a small grassy area where you can stay (camp 1). Then you follow right (north side) of Yatuxdərə on a clear trail to about 3100m where the mountain stream must be crossed. If there is no snow bridge, it can be very tricky at high water level. Next, follow the pure seen trail, first through scree, then grassy area until 3250m where you cross a sidearm from the river Yatuxdərə. So, you reach a wide grassy area where you can bivouac (camp 2). The grassy area is crossed uphill until you reach a field with large stone blocks. This field is also crossed uphill. Above the stones you still follow a few hundred meters the Yatuxdərə before you have to cross the river at about 3350m. Now you’re on the beginning of the long south ridge with fine gravel. First, a bit steep, then flat again, but soon afterwards throughout 30 ° steep you walk up the scree slope. Of trails are clearly seen here. At about 4000m a small saddle is achieved with some small rocks. Then, as usual, you walk up again the south ridge where now no more tracks can be seen. At about 4300m the back flattens and you reach the wide East Ridge. The last meters you follow the East Ridge and cross a snow field - then you reach the highest point with the metal triangle.
A permit from the frontier military troops is strictly required. The permit must be applied previously applay by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Environment.
A permit to enter national parcs in Azerbaijan. For Bazardüzü you need the permit from the Şahdağ Milli Parkı.
A escort of an accredited mountain guide is mandatory. You can find a guide when asking for the permit for the national park.
You need a border zone permit from the FSB in Махачкала (Makhačkala). The permir is tightly controlled by the military when you travelling in the border area! The permit must applies at least three months previously.
When to Climb
Summer: July, August, September
You can camp everywhere, usually you climb Bazardüzü in two days with a camp between 3100 and 3500 meters altitude.
External Links1) Weather forecast
2) Routes (Russian)
3) Ministry of Ecology - Azerbaijan National Parcs
4) Hiking report (German)
Map from the former USSR: Топографическая карта К-38-108 (1:100000)