By Nick Butler at the Main Press Centre in Sochi

The Olympic Torch is held aloft when it was lit on top of Mt Elbrus in October ©Sochi 2014February 1 - A fourth "special challenge" in the Sochi 2014 Torch Relay has been completed after the Olympic Flame was lit on the top of Mount Elbrus, it was announced today, despite the fact the Ceremony actually took place last October.

With the Torch today passing through the Kabardino-Balkaria region where the 5,642 metre mountain is located, the scaling of the mountain - considered Europe's highest peak - was scheduled to take place today. 

But, in order to beat the onset of winter weather that it is claimed would have rendered the trip impossible, the climb - undertaken by local mountaineers Karina Mezova and Abdul Khakim Elmezov - secretly took place four months ago before being announced today. 

This was revealed by Games organisers when they described how the special "Elbrus" project was "planned separately from the main Olympic Torch Relay route in order to ensure the best possible weather conditions for the climb".

Just six days ahead of the Opening Ceremony here on Friday (February 7), the news marks the completion of the four "special projects" of the four-month Relay, following successful trips to the North Pole and outer space and to the bottom of the world's deepest lake at Baikal.

The fourth "special project" of the Torch Relay took place in October to avoid the harsh Winter weather ©Sochi 2014The fourth "special project" of the Torch Relay took place in October to avoid the harsh Winter weather ©Sochi 2014

Today's announcement also follows an interesting period in the Relay in which it has journeyed through the volatile Caucuses region in which the terrorist threat which has dogged the build-up to the Games originates. 

This led to several changes to planned routes to maximise safety, with the leg on Thursday (January 30) through the city of Vladikavkaz, which lies close to the South Ossetian region subject to a long-running territorial dispute between Russia and Georgia, was conducted entirely inside the Republican Spartak Stadium to reduce any possibility of disruption.

It is also possible that security fears encouraged the scaling of Mount Elbrus to take place in October due to memories of a 2011 incident in which three tourists were killed in terrorist attacks on a ski lift and minibus near the mountain.