This majestic mountain rises high above Mirdi valley in the Caucasus Main Ridge, in the Western Caucasus, only 25 km. West of Elbrus. It's steep and even overhanging walls leave a vivid impression. Kirpich is covered with snow roof and has large couloir (called TIE for it's shape). The sight of the mountain from Mirdi valley is amazing in it's grandeur. Kirpich's neighbor on the West is graceful Mirdi-Bashi, on the East is tower shaped summit of Dalar (the second highest mountain in the region and one of the most beautiful). There are many various routes starting from the easy snow ascent ( Dalar Pass and further by the edge of the roof) to the extremelly tough walls above Mirdi Glacier. There are two glaciers on the Russian side of Kirpich, Mirdi and North Dalar. Both have plenty of crevases which are especially visible in August-September and can be dangerous. On the Georgian side there is spacious South Dalar Glacier.
Geography :: Weather conditions :: Flora
Uzun-Kol Climbing Camp situated in Uzun-Kol valley 1 km from the confluence of Kichkeni-Kol with Mirdi. Uzun-Kol is one of the tributaries of Ullu-Kam (Ullu-Kam is an important tributary of Kuban River). Uzun-Kol is quite close to Elbrus and from most summits and passes one can see it 15-20 km away.
Climate in Uzun-Kol is mild and area receives precipitation from the Black Sea. The periods of good weather (once I experienced two weeks of clear sky) give way to heavy rains and even snow falls on high peaks.
Uzun-Kol surrounded by forests mostly consisting of pine and birch. However, Mirdi valley is scarcely forested and trees are abundant only from confluence with Kichkeni-Kol to kosh (small house used by Hurzuk's people in summer when cattle goes to high pastures). There are plenty of berries and mushrooms in July and August.
Approach to Uzun-Kol
Today most of people go to Uzun-Kol through Mineralnie Vodi(2 hours flight from Moscow), then by bus to Karachaevsk (town at the foothills of Main Caucasian Range) and finally(road goes along beautiful Kuban river) by local bus to Hurzuk. It is better for foreigners to arrange ride (from Minvodi) through the Direction of Uzun-Kol Climbing Camp in order to avoid any uncomfortable situations. From Hurzuk snow mountains are already quite close dominated by massive Chat-Bashi. To the left Elbrus is seen in the head of Ullu-Hurzuk valley. From Hurzuk there are 10 km. to the confluence of Ullu-Kam with Uzun-Kol, there is a quarry here and border military post (all documents can also be arranged by Uzun-Kol climbing Camp).
Otherwise it is a big hussle as are many procedures of this kind in Russia. At this point Uzun-Kol turns down south, as Ullu-Kam proceeds further East, towards Elbrus(16km from quarry). Unpaved road leading to Uzun-Kol passes through the very beautiful forested valley with views of Trapezia and spurs of Chat-Bashi. After 8 km - Climbing Camp Uzun-Kol. In Soviet times it was one of the best Camps of this kind in the Caucasus. Well directed by Pavel Zaharov for 30 years it was mecca for many Russian climbers, climbers from former Socialist countries and Michael Warbourton(USA) climbed difficult Dalar's North face in 1976 (in pair with Valentin Grakovich).
Today when central government doesn't finance alpinism in Russia, the camp is privately owned and far from the glory of it's old good days. Still it is operating and every summer there are climbers and tourists from around Russia. It is in no way similar to Terskol, Azau, Dombay and other well-developed resorts. There are only 10 chalet style structures and wild nature all around.
Camping :: Local People