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.
By elevation Shkhara is
# 2 out of 199 in Cherek District # 4 out of 475 in Kabardino-Balkaria # 1 out of 277 in Samegrelo-Upper Svaneti # 1 out of 224 in Mestia Municipality # 1 out of 1724 in Georgia # 4 out of 24823 in Russia # 2 out of 171 in Kabardino-Balkarski Nature Reserve # 4 out of 4326 in the Greater Caucasus # 4 out of 7939 in the Caucasus
By prominence Shkhara is
# 2 out of 199 in Cherek District # 3 out of 475 in Kabardino-Balkaria # 2 out of 277 in Samegrelo-Upper Svaneti # 2 out of 224 in Mestia Municipality # 5 out of 1724 in Georgia # 87 out of 24823 in Russia # 2 out of 171 in Kabardino-Balkarski Nature Reserve # 12 out of 4326 in the Greater Caucasus # 15 out of 7939 in the Caucasus
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