Gudauri is the best developed ski area in Georgia. Conveniently located on the Georgian Military Highway, the former post station offers an ideal starting point into the Great Caucasus.
Since the 80s, modern lifts open up the southern slopes up to an altitude of 3'279m (Sadzele) and offer an interesting playground for freeriders. Even more interesting is the easy-to-reach backside. To the north extend several impressive mountain flanks with superb powder descents.The runs end at the road beyond the Jvari Pass. It needs a transfer to come back. With just a littlebit of hicking some remote runs can be accessed which are rarely skied.
The descents require safe technic in alpine alpine mountains. To find the best conditions, we may also do shorter climbs (up to an hour - 400 hm).
With 5'047 meters Mt. Kazbek is the third highest mountain in Georgia and due to its geography it is ideal as ski-touring peak in particular. According to legend, Prometheus was chained to a rock on this mountain, for the wrongdoing of giving fire to mankind.
We start our climb at the Gergetis Sameba (Holy Trinity) Church on 2'170m above Stepanzminda. In the afternoon we reach the Bethlemi Hut at 3'653 meters above sea level. The former weather station will be our base for the next 2 days.
On the first day we take a moderate ski-tour to improve our acclimatization. The second day is reserved for the summit. We have to master grueling 1,400 vertical meters and then we are on the 5'047m high peak of Mt. Kazbek. If weather conditions do not allow to do an attempt that day, we can wait one more day and try it again.
Depending on the weather, an adjustment of the travel program can occur at any time. The conditions on site, alpine dangers and the composition of the group can lead to adjustments. The local mountain guide knows the conditions on site and has much experience in the mountains of the Greater Caucasus. He shall take the relevant decisions on the spot.
The last night should be spent in the vicinity of the airport. Since many flights arrive at night and fly back in the morning, possibly an additional night might be necessary. Optional days for skiing or sightseeing can be appended. Offers and tips we give gladly.
The quality of services in Georgia does not match central European standards yet. We are trying to implement higher quality standards in Georgia and we see quite our special strength in this task. However, we cannot guarantee this standard yet - but that's what makes the special charm of a trip to the Caucasus at this time ...
Minimum: 8 participants.
Bookings possible from October 2016 onwards.
Please consider that for a secure expedition every participant is in need of a reserve to overcome difficulties. The guide has the right and the duty to adjust the composition of the group and the program in the interest of safety, if the requirements are not met by the individual group members. As a co-guide accompanies the group, it is possible to breakdown the group temporarily (for example, if not all group members reach the summit). However, the goal is, however, to stay together.
Mt. Kazbek lies on the state border of Georgia to Russia. Stepanzminda is the last major town on the Georgian Military Road before the Russian border. Since it is the main transit through the Caucasus, the road is in good condition and is kept open the whole year.
The Jvari Pass (2'395m) on Georgian side between Gudauri and Stepanzminda represents a natural barrier, which may be temporarily blocked as any high-altitude pass (avalanches).
West winds drive intensive cyclones over the Black Sea during the winter months. In the mountains relief rainfall causes high amounts of precipitation which turn in the winter into loads of snow in the high ranges.
Gudauri is located in front of the main range of the Caucasus and therefore gets much precipitation. In particular, March proved to be a good month for freeriding. Stepanzminda in contrast lies behind the Jvaripass and receives less precipitation. Accordingly the snow base is lower. However, for climbing Mt. Kazbek these are good conditions.
There are some further interesting maps available on meteoblue. Have a lock at "Wetterkarten".