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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Riding in Style to the Peak of Elbrus

A joint team of Russian mountain climbers and race car drivers is determined to get to the top of Mount Elbrus, Europe's highest peak -- by car.


The extravaganza ride to the top of Elbrus, 5,621 meters above sea level, will be made in a Land Rover Defender 90, specially modified for the task. Once the summit is reached, the vehicle will be dismantled and taken down in pieces by a helicopter.


At a press conference Tuesday, organizers said the idea for the project was born about six months ago. Avtodom, the official dealer of BMW and Land Rover, picked up and developed the original concept.


On Oct. 18, the 10 team members will leave for Elbrus, located in the Caucasus Mountains. They will then stage a trial attempt to check the equipment as well as the strength of the climbers. During the trial run, participants will go only to 4,800 meters.


According to Oleg Bogdanov, a member of the crew responsible for the automobile, the climbing will involve various special technical appliances to prevent the car from sliding or rolling down.


Despite a list of sponsors including UVL Plus, the official distributer of Goodyear in Russia, ODL TV company, Castrol and EF Johnson, a firm specializing in radio and satellite communication, organizers said there is still need for further financial support.


According to Sergei Babenkov of Avtodom, it is still unclear whether there will be another vehicle, although the plan called for two. But the sponsors were enthusiastic. Castrol's Alexander Shilykovsky said, "Castrol already has its flag on the North Pole, and if this project succeeds, we will become literally the highest placed motor oil producer in the world."


Babenkov said a large representative package has been sent to Land Rover recently and project organizers are hoping from some support, though there has been no response yet.








As for the Guinness Book of Records, according to Viktor Kurilov, its representative in Russia, the whole justification and description of the possible record still has to be worked on and approved in London.


With the dates for the actual attempt still not set, the organizers say there are plenty of little things to adjust and prepare. They have promised that the whole trip will be filmed. A special web site is already set up on the Internet and will be updated regularly during the climb.





-- not all of them have previous experience in mountaineering





Meanwhile, there has been no response from Land Rover itself.


"We also will have to move mostly at night as the snow gets much harder then," he said.