than 2,000 glaciers cover 1,450 km² in the Greater Caucasus Range,
which occupy only a tiny fraction of its total area. Some
seven-tenths of them occur on the cooler northern face, with a
concentration on the higher central slopes. The largest-notably Dykhsu,
Bezengi, and Karaugom glaciers on the northern face and Lekzyr and
Tsanner glaciers in western Georgia-are often seven miles or so long.
The desolate flanks of Mount Elbrus are streaked by many
glaciers. About 40 region glaciers have the square exseeding 5 sq. km..
and five of them (Dihsu, Bezengy, Karaugom, Lekzir and Tsanner) have
the square of approximately 40 sq. km each.
Bezengi glacier, at 18km (12 mi) long, is the biggest of them all,
a country in itself, a day trip, a wonderful beauty while the sky is
clear, and a potential nightmare when the fog comes. The Bezengi
glacier has withdrawn so much in the last 3 decades that the path that
made its way along the slopes above the glacier is all but gone by now
- once the ice retreated, the grassy slope lost its support and
gradually slid down, leaving a dangerously steep maze of rock and mud.
Ullu-Chiran Glacier is the lengthiest glacier in the
Caucasus, stretches 17 km down the canyon from the foot of this
mountain wall. Ullu-Chiran, which is the source of Kyzyl-Su River, is
located the Balk -Bashi Pass and gives beginning to
the Kyzylkom River. The glacier is formed, during last glacial
age and for 12 thousand years of existence was not exposed to
The Kundyum Mizhirgi glacier in the
neighbouring valley is almost as huge; its branch descends in four
giant steps from the slopes of Koshtan-tau
glacier is the one of the largest
glaciers in Caucasus. It is located in the Main ridge of the Big
Caucasus, in Urukh river basin (Northern Ossetia), to the east from
Digoriya. It has the length of 13,5 km. There is the source of the
There are the most giant glaciers on Bezengiyskaya wall, Elbrus and
Kazbek in that area.
The glacier table of Elbrus is more than 140 sq. km. 77
minor glaciers radiate from the Elbrus ice cap and some of them reach
400m in thickness. Among the most significant glaciers flowing from
Bolshoi (Greater) Azau glacier (area 23 sq.km, 9.28 km long)
is descended from a plateau Hotu-Tau. Large Azau is the largest
of Elbrus region glaciers, which length is more than 10 km.
Malyi (Small) Azauglacier (8.49 sq.km, 7.58 km long) flow is
broken as a waterfall. Waterfall Azau flowing down
the Maly Azau Glacier.
Other Elbrus glaciers: Garabashi (5 sq.km, 4.09km long),
Terskol (7.56 sq.km, 7.02 km long), Irik (10.19 sq.km, 9.31
km long), Irikchat (1.79 sq.km, 2.67 km long)
All the glaciers are in recession; during the last 100 years most
have retreated between 80 and 500m. Glacier snouts reach down well
below the snowline and give rise to numerous outfalls and rivers.
Lakes are mostly of glacial origin, small in area but often deep.
Northern Elbrus glaciers: Ullu-Malgan-Chyran, Ullu-Kol, Kara-Chaul.