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Exploring the Caucasus Mountains

Ski Mountaineering in Georgia.

From Mestia town to 3,400 meters above sea level

Three mountains in seven days may seem extreme to some, but is in fact doable - with the right equipment and, most importantly, the right expertise.

Mestia is a town located in northwestern Georgia, at an elevation of 1,500 meters in the Caucasus Mountains. This is where six mountaineering experts started their week-long expedition, in February 2019.

The participants of the Klättermusen 2019 Georgia Expedition are all certified mountain guides by IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations) or GMGA (Georgian Mountain Guide Association).

 

The group spent seven days in the Svaneti Region climbing several summits with skis.

The expedition preparations began weeks in advance. Unpredictable weather and changes in the conditions are common, and everything needs to be considered and thought of.

Before heading towards the mountains, the gear was strapped to the roof of the car. The backpacks were filled with layers to put on, and skis were prepared for the rough terrain.

“The temperature dropped to -25°C some days. A warm down jacket and a wind stopper was crucial.”

- Ilia Berulava

The Caucasus Mountains stretch from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea and is the home of some of Europe’s highest peaks.

The Svaneti Region holds, among many peaks, the Mt. Ushba of 4,710 meters, Mt. Tetnuldi of 4,974 meters and Mt. Shkhara of 5,193 meters.

Because of sharp rocks and rough terrain, it wasn’t possible to reach the summit of all three mountains. But to climb and ski on all three peaks in a week was still an ambitious mission, especially considering the hard winds and low temperatures higher up in the mountains.

“The temperature dropped to -25°C some days. A warm down jacket and a wind stopper was crucial.”

- Ilia Berulava

The right equipment

For an expedition like this, the right equipment is key. Climbing Alpine style requires light and well-ventilated garments and hardware, while descending on skis is best done well-insulated.

 

Pieces like the Ull Ski Mountaineering backpack, Vale Levitend® Softshell Jacket, Jolner Ski Mountaineering Jacket, Andvare Cutan® Pants, and Alv Primaloft® Jacket are ideal here.