Mount Kazbek, 5047m, is one of the highest and the most beautiful peaks of the Caucasus.
The four hour drive to the Kazbegi region from Tbilisi takes us through the beautiful Aragvi Valley, then over the Jvary Pass, 2380m. From the small town of Kazbegi, 1700m, mountain paths lead across alpine pastures full of flowers past the superbly located outstanding viewpoint Gergeti chapel. Crossing the grassy Sabertse Pass, 3150m, we get to the Gergeti Glacier which leads to the Betlemi high mountain refuge situated on the southern slopes of Mount Kazbek.
It is better to spend a day for acclimatization and exploring the area. If the weather is good it is possible to climb Mount Ortsveri, 4365m. An alternative is to visit Betlemi, a hermit's refuge at over 4000m in a carved cave a short way up a cliff (easy roped climb).
For the ascent of Mount Kazbek we set off in the early hours. Despite of the lack of technical problems on this mountain, one should always remember the great height of this peak with its propensity for dangerous changes of the weather. The route leads us to the Maili Plateau 4500m, where we will use crampons to climb NW snow icy slopes to the saddle at 4900 m. It will be necessary to fix a rope on the final section and climbers can easily reach the summit. The summit provides fantastic views of the Caucasian peaks stretching westwards to Elbrus for 200 km. We descend to the refuge in the evening hours. Our expedition finishes by walking down to Kazbegi and driving to Tbilisi.
GRADE AND QUALIFICATION
In spite of its technical ease, Kazbek is a serious mountain. On a scale of 1-6, the grading of Mt. Kazbek equals to 2. Although no advance mountaineering experience is required for the ascent of Kazbek, you will need to be familiar with the basic use of crampons and ice axes and you should be in good physical condition. We have only a few days for acclimatization before we ascent the summit. We do not make any rock climbing, although the final sections of the mountain will be climbed on icy slopes with some rocky sections of about 35-40 degrees. We make every effort to help you realize your summit ambitions. Personal kit must be carried including your sleeping bag and mat. A limited number of porters can be hired at an extra charge to carry personal equipment where necessary. We would like to have some information about your climbing experience.
WEATHER, EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHES
The best season for climbing of Kazbek is between late June and late September. Although, mountain weather is variable. The temperature can change from +20°C (afternoon) to 20°C below zero at night. Storms and snowfall could be encountered at any time. Warm and wind-proof clothes are necessary for the ascent including both inner and outer waterproof gloves/mittens, duvet jacket, fleece and thermals. Double boots are useful on Kazbek but would not be comfortable for the first walking day. We would also like you to take a lightweight harness with 2 screw gate karabiner. If you are already a hiker or backpacker you will probably have much of the clothing and equipment required. A three season sleeping bag and a 60 liter rucksack should be adequate. It will be possible to leave some luggage at the Hotel in Tbilisi during the trip. A detailed equipment list will be sent with confirmation of booking.
ACCOMMODATION, TRANSPORT AND FOOD
All accommodation is included in the trip cost. In Tbilisi we are based in hotel**. We offer double occupancy accommodation. At the camp we use 3 persons double skinned tents. Single rooms and tents are available on extra charge.
All the transport is private. Depending on the group size we use a bus or minibus.
We provide three daily meals during the program. In Tbilisi we offer varied and tasty food, usually a mix of national and European. On the trek we provide dried and canned food as well as cheese, milk, meat. We use lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Breakfast consists of oatmeal, porridge, muesli, eggs, bread, butter, jam/cheese, tea/coffee, chocolate. Lunch includes meat, tinned fish/caviar, rice, vegetables, fruit, tea/coffee. Dinner includes soup, main course with meat, dessert and tea/coffee.
We try to cater vegetarians but we cannot provide the same standard as expected in the West. We suggest that vegetarians take their own protein supplement if this is likely to cause a problem. Please, inform us about your dietary needs in advance.
HEALTH MATTERS AND DOCUMENTS
An emergency medical kit accompanies the trek. We nevertheless recommend that you carry your own personal first aid kit. A suggested list of contents as well as more general health information is included in your pre-departure information. No special inoculations are required but we recommend that your tetanus inoculations are up to date and that you consult your doctor for other cover such as typhoid.
Insurance is not included in our services. You must be insured before you come on a holiday. You must be insured against medical and personal accident risks, including rescue and repatriation. In the case of emergency evacuation you accept the responsibility of compensating us for transportation expenses.
There exists an excellent opportunity to combine the ascent of Mount Kazbek with the Elbrus Ascent — 8 days itinerary. See Mt.Elbrus and Mt. Kazbek page.