After some meetings in Tbilisi, the eastern part of the Greater Caucasus was the first destination. The aim was to get a second impression of Gudauri and to see Stepanzminda and Mt. Kasbek. Mt. Kasbek is a rewarding challenge with 5'047 meters. It is the third highest mountain in Georgia and the seventh highest peak in the Caucasus Range.
Mt. Kazbek is associated with Prometheus, who was chained on the mountain in punishment for having stolen fire from the gods and given it to mortals.
Gudauri and the Jvari Pass had quite a bit of snow. In particular the month March is known for great skiing conditions as I lerand. Temperatures are low and the snow base is high. Following the famous Georgian Military Highway north to Stepanzminda the snow base becomes thinner. However, Mt. Kasbek is a famous peak for ski-mountaineering. Including two overnight stays at the Betlemi hut (3'653m), an old meteo station, the ascent is possible within three days.
This is definitely a tour for 2017! First skiing the backsides of Gudauri and then climbing Mt. Kasbek. That would be a great season final for next year I am already looking forward to.
It was time to retrieve the weather station from the Sanalia Bowl. For the past 4 months it has recorded data to temperature, wind and snow conditions.
Unfortunately the findings are not convincing. There is too much wind in this bowl, blowing away all the precious snow all too often. However, it was an attempt. We will find a place which suits our expectations better.
It was great to be finally in the bowl with good snow conditions. It was worth the hike of around 4 hours. A perfect run through the steep trees rewarded for the sweat ...
The weather station is now stored in Ozurgeti. In autumn we will build is up again in another promising area. Apart from the data connection (SIM card problems of the provider) the station delivered a lot of useful data.
The road up to Goderdzi Pass was once again a challenge. I have learnd that it will take two more years before the road is paved. Already in January we really struggled to get up there. This time we had to wait at a gorge where a truck came of the the road and had to pulled out by a second truck.
For the last two days of the trip I drove up to Goderdzi Pass to say hello to Vaja and George and hear about their season. I also wanted to see the resort in perfect spring conditions. It was cold and some fresh snow made for some great runs.
At the beginning of the last day I was the only skier at the lift for two or three runs. Then I decided to hike up the range to the north to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Afterwards I had a beautiful run down through untouched snow between the wooden huts and the trees. A nice end for the exploration season in Georgia in 2016.