Where Does The Mountain Dykhtau (Dykh-Tau) Rise?

Dykh-Tau pierces through the cloud cover over the Russian Caucasus.
Dykh-Tau pierces through the cloud cover over the Russian Caucasus.

5. Description

Dykhtau (or Dykh-Tau) rises to 17,077 feet in the Caucasus Mountains in the Russian Federation. The name means “Jagged Mountain”, and it stands as the second highest peak in the Caucasus. The first successful ascent of it was completed by A. F. Mummery and H. Zarfluh in 1888. Mount Dykhtau is topped by two peaks capped with snow and ice, of which the lesser peak rises to 16,900 feet. Both peaks are connected by a narrow saddle with very steep sides that has windswept ridges and walls. The main characteristic of this climb is its technical difficulty. The best time to climb is in the summer months of July, August, and September.

4. Historical Role

The Silk Road Route crossed the northern area of the Caucasus mountains where Mount Dykhtau rises alongside many other significant peaks of snow and ice. The name Caucasus means “Mountains Holding up the Sky”, and its topography features awesome peaks and large expanses of glaciers. The past of the Caucasus Mountains is as old as the earth, with references to the range in both the Judeo-Christian Bible and ancient Greek Mythology. Its rushing mountain rivers and rugged high altitude passes have witnessed extraordinary historical events. Alexander the Great's Wall, for instance, is located in the southeast end of Derbent. The Mamison Pass, situated in the Ossetian Military Road, and the Jvari Pass on the Georgian Military Road are also located near these mountain peaks.

3. Modern Significance

Mount Dykhtau is just one of the many glacier-covered mountains in the Caucasus Mountain Range in Russia. Tourists and mountain climbers often visit the Caucasus Mountains for their unique topographies and technical climbs. There are ski slopes with fresh powder for much of the year, and some of the hardest mountain peaks to conquer for climbers all year-round. Other peaks in the area are suffused with myths and legends that have great historical significance. The high altitude village of Ushguli is also located in the area, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pristine ice and snow from end to end that covers its lofty mountain peaks makes the Caucasus the place for an unforgettable climb.

2. Habitat

The Greater Caucasus Mountains in Russia is where Mount Dykhtau rises. The mountain range has many types of habitats that allow endemism to occur in both plant life and animal life. High, cool, mountain air and stable weather conditions are two characteristics of the area. Grasslands and steppes for grazing are common features of the foothills of the Greater Caucasus. Oak and maple forests occur in the lower elevations, while the higher altitudes have pine and birch forests. On the northwestern side of the Caucasus, fir and spruce forests thrive. At 6,600 feet the alpine region begins, while at 9,200 feet increasing numbers of glaciers dominate the landscape. Mount Dykhtau is a mountain of ice and snow that features a varied habitat and topography.

1. Threats and Disputes

Brigandage, revolutions, and wars all pose a threat to the simplicity and beauty of life in the Russian Caucasus Mountains. Mount Dykhtau is part of the Russian Caucasus, and as such is under Russian protection. All business and climbing permits are regulated and provisioned under Russian jurisdiction. In the past, trouble brewed as dissatisfaction increased with the government, as the area has been plagued with backwards management, highlighted by roads left in disrepair and disorganized public services. Foreign investment are essentially nil here, and public safety is near the bottom of the priority list. The illiteracy rate is very high among the people around Dykhtau, and unfortunately many see this as a result of the barbaric nature of the indigenous population, rather than as a result of the lack of access to educational opportunities. The political situation is unclear, and further complicated by local people's resistance to change.


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