Georgia (the country) – Albeit brief, I beloved my climbing journey to Georgia. I spent my time exploring the remote Svaneti area with snowy peaks, impressive glaciers, and inexperienced valleys. Right here, high in the mountains, the isolated and proud Svan individuals nonetheless managed to keep their historic traditions, tradition, and language. Because of warring mountain clans between the ninth and 13th century, defensive stone towers have been constructed for cover. These austere towers are nonetheless an unimaginable sight. Hiking in wild Svaneti has been nothing in need of superb. Listed here are some of my experiences and ideas!
How to prepare trekking Svaneti?
- If in case you have them, convey trekking poles. Nevertheless, these will not be wanted for the Mestia-Ushguli section.
- Convey proper climbing footwear in your Svaneti Mestia trekking.
- Download the MapOut software and obtain your routes beforehand. MapOut labored rather well! Very detailed maps with altitude strains.
- Ask around in your guesthouse for the present weather state of affairs and whether or not passes are closed.
- Convey some food and snacks from residence (gels / power bars / nuts).
- Take a simple, thin rain coat with you.
- In the event you convey a paper map, think about to put plastic on it.
- Take a look at the luxurious website Caucasus Trekking. I used this website in the preparation levels for my Mazeri-Guli hike, the Mestia-Ushguli hike and the Gergeti glacier hike. Dependable and helpful info. I would really like to refer you to this website for a more detailed trekking description.
Scary as shit, but made it! The move wasn’t actually open as you possibly can see.
The place to find a mountaineering buddy for Svaneti?
You can attempt the Caucasus trekking web site, take a look at one of many Facebook teams like Trekking the Caucasus or ask round in Svaneti Mestia. I observed that the majority of people in Mestia was truly not trekking and solely few individuals went camping. Many individuals did day hikes or went to Ushguli by automotive. I used to be fortunate to discover a fantastic mountaineering buddy in the guesthouse, who was interested in doing the identical sort of trekking. Wouldn’t rely on being so fortunate although!
Enjoying a soup and a beer with fellow hikers.
Day 1 – Hiking Mazeri by way of Guli Cross to Koruldi Lakes
The first day is the hardest one. In complete, we climbed close to 2000 vertical meters in about 12 hours. You start the hike in Mazeri village. Here, you’ll find purple and white markers, displaying you the best way. After a short rocky street up, you will soon cross by means of a inexperienced meadow with small flowers, cows and horses. Mount Ushba is in your left aspect. After this, you cross the ruins of Gul village and then a number of hundred meters more up and also you reach the windy Guli move. Ensure not to take the path to the glacier! In our case, the Guli cross itself was still largely coated in snow (June), which made it very troublesome to discover our means down. I feel we had to cross about 20 snow banks.
After that, there is a lengthy street winding on the aspect of the mountain leading to the Kuraldi lakes. The last 30 minutes contain mountaineering uphill on the primary street. Don’t underestimate this part. You continue to want to hike fairly a couple of hundred meters up to get to the lakes. For us, this was undoubtedly the toughest part of the day. We arrived at the lakes simply earlier than dark. Nevertheless, it was all value it. The Kuraldi Lakes have been lovely and we have been the only ones there. There’s a picket shelter (with only two walls) for cooking which provides a little bit of protection from the wind. It gets very cold at night time, so be sure to have the right gear.
- Complete time climbing: About 10-11 hours
- Vertical ascent: About 1900 meters
- Vertical descent: About 600 meters
- Maximum altitude: 2946 meters
- Backpack weight: 15 kilograms
- Distance: about 25 km
Tenting at the Koruldi Lakes.A well-deserved break on prime of the Guli Move!
Day 2 – Hiking from Koruldi Lakes to Mestia
At present, it was principally a hike downhill. The primary half was on the primary street once more, after that we hiked on small paths with friendly massive Georgian mountain canine. We handed by a picket shelter and after that, we finally reached the well-known Cross and consider point. From the Cross, it was only 1-2 hours via the forest to get back to the town. Sadly, it started to pour, so we decided to stay one night time in Mestia.
- Complete time climbing: About three hours?
- Vertical ascent: ?
- Vertical descent: About 1500 meters
- Distance: 11 km’s
Day 3 – Hiking from Zhabeshi to Adishi river
Fortuitously, the weather obtained better. We took a short reduce and lifted a number of kilometers by automotive. In complete, we hiked > 8 hours on this third day. Slightly bit after noon, we reached the gorgeous Zhabeshi and Cvabiana villages with traditional Svaneti towers, the place we stopped for lunch. Most people choose to keep here.
Again, we went via some pastures and forest. After that, we reached the broad foremost street with the Tetnuldi ski resort to our proper. We lastly reached the village of Adishi and decided to hike another hour on to the Adishi river to set-up camp. As we speak’s trekking was lovely. Every part was green, plenty of wild flowers, child animals, sounds of birds, glaciers, and large snow-capped mountains around us.
- Complete time climbing: > Eight hours
- Vertical ascent: About 1200 meters
- Vertical descent: About 800 meters
- Distance: 15 km
RIVER EMERGENCY – At Adishi river, there was an emergency state of affairs. It’s usually recognized amongst hikers that Adishi river could be very dangerous to cross (especially with excessive water levels). Subsequently, in the mornings, Adishi villagers assist hikers to cross the river with their horses. This service is usually booked from individuals who keep in Adishi. There was a solo hiker woman, who got here from the other path and tried to cross the wild river to get to Adishi at the end of the day. She fell in and was even carried away with the ice-cold glacier stream for almost 500 meters. Fortunately two different hikers have been round, who acquired her out of the river. She had bruises throughout her body and face and was hypothermic. Once we arrived, that they had already put her in a number of sleeping luggage. We referred to as Nino’s Guesthouse and after about 2 hours assist lastly got here from Adishi village. They carried her to the village on a horse (at the moment it also started to pour rain), and from there they took her to Mestia. As a medical physician, I felt fairly helpless. There was nothing extra I might do then hold her warm. As a hiker, it exhibits how necessary it’s to hike collectively (which I don’t all the time do :S) and to be properly ready and informed.
Attribute Svan towers.Adashi village in Svaneti.
Day 4 – Hiking from Adishi river to Ushguli
As we speak, we did two days in in the future. From the river, there’s a steep, winding path leading in the direction of the Chkhunderi Cross (2655 meter). After reaching the move, it gets easier and you’ll have beautiful views on the Adishi glacier. In our case, there were a couple of big ice blocks on the street, which we had to climb. Here, we additionally met some other hikers, and all of us had a drink on the Khalde village. Here yow will discover one cafe with a terrace, serving soup and beer.
Most individuals keep in Iprali village, which has a couple of decent-looking guesthouses, but we determined to head straight to Ushguli by way of the ‘forest trail’. The primary part was by means of meadows, after that it turns into a slippery steep path via the forest hill slopes. The previous few km’s to Ushguli are on the primary street. In Usghuli, we stayed in a cute family-run ‘Nato’ guesthouse, which served scrumptious food and had a scorching shower (beneficial!). Because of its geographical location, most meals in Ushguli is regionally produced.
- Complete time climbing: About 10 hours
- Vertical ascent: About 1500 meters
- Vertical descent: About 1500 meters
- Distance: 28 km
Ushguli is the very best inhabited village in Europe (2200 meters above sea degree). It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Website
Food in Usghuli.These big ice blocks have been blocking the best way!
Day 5 – From Ushguli to Mestia
We spent the morning in Ushguli, enjoying the view on Shkhara glacier, visiting the home of a well-known local Svaneti painter Fridon Nijeradzes, and climbing into one of the watch towers. After that, we took a shared taxi again to Mestia on a really windy street.
House of well-known Svaneti painterridon Nijeradzes!
My keep in Nino’s Guesthouse, Mestia
Nino’s Guesthouse in Mestia is a popular guesthouse ran by a woman referred to as Nino Ratiani. I can’t shortly overlook Nino. Not only does she run a superb enterprise, but she additionally helped us tremendously throughout an emergency state of affairs in the mountains. A woman, who was climbing alone, fell into an ice-cold glacier river and we have been far faraway from something. I referred to as Nino, whose number I had on my telephone and she or he contacted the native authorities and the nearest village. She was very apprehensive and sweet and I’m very thankful for her assist.
I enjoyed staying at Nino’s Guesthouse. The veranda in entrance of the house is an effective place to meet different vacationers. There’s a mix of older vacationers (additionally groups sadly) and backpackers. They serve breakfast and a dinner buffet. Though the dinner buffet did not sweep me off my ft, I assumed it was good worth for cash. The complete guesthouse employees is pleasant and welcoming. The rooms are clean and cozy. It’s a few five-minute walk to city. There are also plenty of other lodges in city! You may examine booking.com or another web site to examine some Svaneti Mestia lodges.
Issues to do in Mestia / Svaneti
- Benefit from the Svan cuisine
- Take a experience in the ski carry to enjoy the views
- Visit the Svaneti History Museum
- Hiking and trekking!
My keep at Nato Guesthouse, Ushguli
Nato guesthouse is a family-run guesthouse in Ushguli. They’ve 10 obtainable rooms, holding up to twenty individuals. Every evening and morning, delicious home-cooked Svan food is ready. The guesthouse was just lately renovated and appears lovely. Additionally they have horse out there for rental. In Ushguli, you’ll be able to visit the Usguli Ethnographic Museum, Fridon Nijeradzes Art house (famous Svan painter) and the Ushguli historical past museum. In winter, you possibly can go skiing!
How fit do I want to be to do this trekking?
My climbing buddy was very fit, and I used to be additionally fairly match on the time of the trekking. The weeks prior to the trekking, I exercised about 3 times every week in the health club. Since we have been additionally carrying our full gear with tenting gear, the trekking was at occasions robust. Especially for Mazeri to Koruldi Lakes, you need to be in a fine condition. Mestia to Usghuli is rather more straightforward, however nonetheless requires a primary degree of health.
On prime of the Guli Cross!
Fast Q & A
- The place to discover water? – We passed by a number of streams with clear glacier water. It was no drawback.
- What concerning the climate? – Like all the time, very unpredictable in mountains. Be sure to be ready for rainy days!
- What about food? – From Mestia to Usghuli, you should purchase Georgian meals in the villages. There are not any outlets though.
- Do I want to guide guesthouses beforehand? – We haven’t stayed in the village guesthouses ourselves, however in June it did not seem to be essential to e-book beforehand
- How chilly is it at night time? – In June, it was fairly cold at night time. Especially on the Kuraldi lakes. Close or under zero.
- Will I meet different hikers on the best way? – In our 4 days of climbing, we got here across about 10 hikers.
- Is the trail well-marked in Svaneti? – Yes, usually the marks are good!
- Is Svaneti protected for vacationers? – It seems to be a very protected place. No studies of harassment or pickpocketing or stealing.
Koruldi Lakes with a snowy seashore!
How to get from Kutaisi to Mestia
There are direct minibusses from Kutaisi to Mestia for about 25 GEL. They depart from behind marshrutka station behind the Mc Donalds. Be sure that to get a window seat, because the views along the best way are beautiful. Get there early (around Eight A.M.) to secure a seat in the first bus. After about 10 A.M. the buses depart when full. The bus stops for lunch at a small restaurant, where you will get absolutely delicious (!) Khachapuri, which is made in a means specific for this region.
How to get from Mestia to Mazeri?
The only approach is by taxi, as there isn’t any public transportation between Mestia and Mazeri. We arranged a personal automotive by way of Nino’s Guesthouse and paid 12.5 euro. You may also hike from Mestia to Mazeri (roughly 7 km). In your method, you will move Mt. Ushba (4710 meters), one of many highest Svaneti mountains.
Easiest method from Mestia to Tbilisi: Night time practice from Zugdidi to Tblisi
We arrived again in Mestia in the late afternoon and decided to take a shared van to Zugdidi (7 euro per individual, sharing with three other individuals). From there, we booked an evening practice again to vibrant Tbilisi (6 euro per individual). Plenty of issues to do in Tbilisi and would recommendation to spent at the very least two full days exploring the town.
These markings in Svaneti will develop into your good friend!
Costs of trekking in Svaneti
In complete, I spent 240 GEL (80 euro) throughout those 5 days from Mestia to Mestia. Listed here are some example prices.
- Taxi to Mazeri: 35 GEL (complete 70 GEL for one automotive)
- Keep in Nino’s Guesthouse, Mestia: 50 GEL
- Lunch: Eight-15 Gel
- Horse journey: 17 GEL
- Room and board Nato Guesthouse: 50 GEL
- Marshrutka from Ushghuli to Mestia: 30 GEL
–> Discover my detailed overview of prices of backpacking in Georgia here!
Pleasant mountain canine!
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I undoubtedly plan on returning to Georgia! Have you ever visited Georgia? What have been your favourite places? Or do you’ve any questions or recommendations concerning mountaineering in Svaneti?