/ Climbing in the Caucasus - Georgia

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Rob_Hill42 13 Jun 2019

3 of us are going to the Svaneti area of Georgia next month, planning to climb some easier peaks, as well as some trekking.  Travelling initially to Mestia, where we'll stay overnight before going up into the mountains.  We'll be taking limited climbing gear, OK for routes around PD standard.  Our previous experience in the Swiss Alps is up to AD / AD+.

Struggling to find any information on routes, so any pointers to sources of information, or recommendations on peaks / routes, would ve very welcome.

Thanks, Malcolm

JStearn 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob_Hill42:

Hi Malcolm, PM if you want some route suggestions/info. Alexclimb.com has some route descriptions but most are technical (many of the routes are on the Russian side of the border). A lot of routes will depend on what sort of gear you are bringing (ice rack etc), you will need to bring it all or pick stuff up in Tbilisi. There is no gear available in Mestia. Let me know and I can recommend some routes. 

Cheers,

James

Lawrencerunner 15 Jun 2019
In reply to JStearn:

I did Kasbek in 2015 by the normal route which is a glacier crossing followed by some Scottish 1 snow. Info is hard to get but there were plenty of people in the area who helped. We used Georgia (Caucasus) 1:400,000 Adventure Map & Svaneti, Kazbek, laminated, GPS-compatible (its on Amazon).

The whole country feels very safe and friendly. We did a peak opposite Kazbek which was ridge at about scottish 2 I left my map there so I can't remember the name. It was a case of look at a line and go for it.

Good luck its an ace place. Loads of Poles, Iranians and Indians climbing there feels very different from the alps.  

Just checked I think Kazbek is some way from Mestia, we did go there too but did not get anything done.

Lawrence

Post edited at 12:47
JStearn 15 Jun 2019
In reply to Lawrencerunner:

Kazbek is a good option, the SE face is more interesting than the normal route. It's at least 2 days' travel from Mestia though. For a PD route, Layla is a good option from Mestia. Tetnuld is a harder option, I think AD+. There are maps available in Geoland store in Tbilisi, but only 1:50,000 scale so you are best off downloading a decent map app.

Lawrencerunner 16 Jun 2019
In reply to JStearn:

We tried Tetnuld at the end of the trip, its pretty tricky and I thought we were out of our depth we never summited, beautiful area though.

Lawrence

JStearn 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Lawrencerunner:

Do you know what route and what grade would you give it? What were the difficulties?

Lawrencerunner 19 Jun 2019
In reply to JStearn:

We were attempting the standard ridge which goes right to left as we look as the main face. We got shut down on the glacier crossing, huge bergshrund and massive crevices made progress very slow going .  We'd already down 2 big peaks by that point and I'd had enough. 

There was a nuts guy from Poland happily walking around unroped. 

Lawrence

kerry cooper 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob_Hill42:

if you are flying into Tbilisi how are you getting into the mountains? be careful of the south Ossentian borders, it would probably invalidate your insurance if anything happen whilst there. The FCO take a firm stand on advice against all travel to that region. Probably just as easy to fly into Batumi though? Also be very careful of getting too near the border, there are army bases everywhere and you are not made welcome if you even step foot over the border, even on Kazbek for example. 

That said, georgia is beautiful and the people are nice, the language is impossible to listen to or read! The food is amazing and the wine is even better! 

Rob_Hill42 22 Jun 2019
In reply to Lawrencerunner:

Hi Lawrence, many thanks for your reply.  Good to know what you thought of Kazbek.  We thought of that as an option if we want to move on from Svaneti, though it sounds like its a lot busier.  We've got a couple of maps from Stanfords, and will see what else might be available in Mestia.

Malcolm

Rob_Hill42 22 Jun 2019
In reply to JStearn:

Thanks, good to know the Alpine grade you reckon for Tetnuld.  Sound like that would be pushing it for us, unless we get a guide, especially with the altitude.

Malcolm

Rob_Hill42 22 Jun 2019
In reply to kerry cooper:

Hi Kerry, many thanks for the warning. we've been told we need to get a permit locally, when we arrive, if we're going within 5 or 10km (I can't recall which) of any border.  We're flying in to Tbilisi, train to Zugdidi, then bus to Mestia.

Malcolm


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