The Olympic torch was lit on Saturday at Russia’s highest point with less than a week to go before the opening of the winter Games in Sochi.

Two experienced mountain climbers lit the flame 5,642 metres above sea level on the western peak of Mount Elbrus, completing the last of four special projects in the biggest torch relay in Olympic history.

Alpinists Abdul-Khalim Elmezov and Karina Mezova had climbed the western peak of the mountain in the northern Caucasus at the end of October carrying the flame in a special lantern.

The Elbrus part of the relay had been planned separately “to ensure the best possible weather conditions for the climb,” organisers said on Saturday.

The Elbrus leg completes four special stages of the torch relay following visits to the International Space Station, the North Pole and Siberia’s Baikal Lake.

The torch will arrive in the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the Games opening ceremony on Friday.

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