Mt. Laila Introduction
Mt. Laila is a rather impressive peak, standing 4,008m tall. It is one of the highest mountains in the Svaneti mountain range, but it is also the easiest peak to climb in the Svaneti region. The name “Laila” interestingly originates from the local Svan language, which translates to the flames of a fire. This could refer to the sun illuminating the ice on top.
Mt. Laila is a wild and remote mountain with a wide beautiful glacial environment. Because of its remote location, Mt. Laila makes for a truly interesting and unique climb. During your experience, you will camp in a local sheperd’s hut, above the lush pine forests before reaching the basecamp at the foot of Laila glacier, a widespread glacier that spreads 6km across. During the climb, you will trek across the iconic Chishdi pass (3228 m), the highest trekking pass in Svaneti, which offers stunning views of the highest peaks in the Central Caucasus. From there you will also have a magnificent view of Europe’s highest peak, Mt. Elbrus.
When reaching the peak with our certified local GMGA guide, you will be stunned by the view of the highest peaks of the central Caucasus surrounding. The incredible energy from mighty peaks of Mt. Ushba, Mt. Shkhara, and Mt. Tetnuldi will be indescribable; a true reward after the climb.
Mt. Laila is for climbers with intermediate mountaineering skills. It’s ideal for learning and refining your climbing technique. Don’t underestimate the rigor of Mt. Laila, although it’s the easiest peak to access in Svaneti region, it still has deep crevasses and icy steep slopes which needs caution and previous climbing experience to maneuver. With our GMGA certified mountain guides, and a fully planned itinerary beforehand, you will not need to stress the logistics of climbing Mt. Laila and fully be able to enjoy the adventure and thrill of climbing a wild and untouched peak.
When to Climb Mt. Laila:
The ideal time for climbing Mt. Laila classical route is from June-October. In this time frame, the weather proves to be more stable and the temperatures are mild. Also in this time, we are able to enjoy trails clear of deep snow, and the crevices become fully visible. When the crevices are visible, this makes the route much safer as we can carefully avoid them.
A general mountaineering experience will be great and useful, but its not required. During your trip, your experienced guide will lead instructions on all necessary techniques for climbing the summit.
When climbing high altitudes, you should be physically fit as it takes a great amount of endurance and mental strength. To prepare for the climb, you should practice hiking mountain trails or trail running. Climbing Mt. Laila will be more enjoyable the more fit you are. Get motivated and start to train now so you will be ready to take on the adventure with us
Meeting day with your local GMGA guide. You will have an introduction and briefing about the plans for the days ahead. Weather conditions will be discussed at this point also. The guide will check to make sure you have all adequate equipment and clothing for climbing Mt. Laila. You should reserve this day for renting any necessary equipment you might need.
The climb to Laila begins. You and your guide will be transported to Tviberi village (1,300m) , which will take around 40 minutes from the hotel. From here we will begin trekking through pine forests towards the Shepard’s hut at 2,200m, where we will camp for the night. If necessary, we will be able to take a horse from the starting point to transport cargo to the hut for an extra fee. The trekking will take appx. 3 hours to the hut.
After an alpine morning at the hut, we ascend towards Chishdi pass (3,100m), where we can see stunning panoramic views of iconic Central Caucasus summits. We will then descend from the pass to the foot of the Laila Glacier at 2,850m. Here will be the basecamp for the climb where we will setup the camp and rest. Appx 4 hours to reach the camp from the hut.
Summit attack. Early morning rise and breakfast. We will make the summit in about 6-7 hours and afterwards descend to the basecamp, where we rest for the night. We will have climbed 1,170m to the summit this day.
Descent day. We will descend the same way we climbed. First we need to ascend up to the Chishdi pass (3,100m) and descend all the way down to Tviberi village, from where we will be transported to Mestia.
Harness – Mountaineering or climbing harness with 2 screw karabiners and 60cm sling. Harness should be able to fit with your mountaineering jackets on.
Helmet – Standard climbing helmet.
Alpine Climbing Boots – Shoes should be waterproof, insulated, and with a solid sole. Preferably, semi-automatic or automatic crampons should fit the boot. (B2 or B3 crampons). The boots should be designed for alpine mountaineering and ice climbing.
Overboots / Gaiters – Gaiters are essential to avoid getting the boots wet. Protecting you from getting wet and from hitting your trousers with crampons.
Crampons – Crampons should be automatic or semi-automatic. Designed for ice and mixed climbing. 12 point steel with anti-balling, which is preventing snow sticking
Ice Axe – Designed for technical mountaineering and for ice climbing. With adze and sharpened picks. 1 pair needed.
Trekking Poles – Telescopic to suit your size and for different terrain.
Backpack (40-50L) – This size bag is recommended because larger is unnecessary and leads to excess weight. Recommended to bring a waterproof cover in case of rain.
Headlamp – Fit to size.
Eye protection – sunglasses for mountaineering that fit face snug and tight. Should be 3-4th category
Waterproof Shell Jacket (1)
Down Jacket (1) – Light-medium weight preferably. Hooded or without hood is fine.
Mid Layer Jacket (1) – Fleece Jacket to put on top of thermal layer.
Thermal Base Layer Shirt (1) – Can be a synthetic or wool layer. Should be long sleeve, preferably ¼ or ½ zipper for ventilation.
Waterproof Shell Trousers (1 pair)
Thermal Base Layer Underwear/Leggings ( 1pair) – Can be synthetic or wool.
Beanie hat, buff, balaclava – Gear to keep the head and face warm.
Water Proof Insulated Gloves or Mittens – 1 Pair. For the summit
Trekking Gloves – 1 pair. Should be warm, but not bulky. Only for trekking and on the base camp.
Socks – Lightweight and medium weight mountaineering wool socks. (3 pairs)
Base Camp Slippers – Comfortable slippers for tent and basecamp wear.
Comfortable trekking trousers (1 pairs) – For leisure wear in base camp and for trekking
Basecamp kit and toiletries – Includes toothpaste and toothbrush. Deodorant. Soap. Baby wipes or wet napkins. If you wear contact lenses, bring lenses solution, contact holder, and bring extra lenses incase of losing a pair.
Microfiber towel – Used for drying hands and face. Body size is not needed, as there is no shower at the basecamp.
Mess kit – Bowl and utensils for base camp and climbing meals
Sleeping bag – Suitable for -15 Degrees – -10 Degrees Celsius
Sleeping mat / pad – Rollable or inflatable.
Reusable water bottle – Up to 1 liter. Water bottle should be light and with you to keep you hydrated on trekking days.
Thermos – Up to 1 liter. Thermos will be used in base camp and taking to the summit, which will keep liquids warm.
50+ SPF Sun protection – SPF for lips and face.
Batteries – Extra batteries for headlamp.
Any personal medication