Climb Shkhara (5203m) is the highest mountain in Georgia, boasting a substantial wall that spreads 12km across. The immensity of Climb Shkhara is undoubtedly demanding from onlookers to the horizon. As you gaze to the nine different peaks of Mt. Shkhara, you become immediately transfixed with its dominant presence. Climb Shkhara represents one of the most wild and difficult mountains of Europe. This is a tenacious mountain full of difficulties and challenges which requires expert climbing skills and perseverance. Taking a professional and IFMGA/GMGA certified guide is essential to taking on this expedition. Majority
Majority of the routes are on the South face of Mt. Shkhara, accessible from the peculiar village of Ushguli. Ushguli province has been inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list since 1996. The settlements in Ushguli Province are the highest point of human occupation in all of Europe.
Here symbolizes a society existing completely barricaded from the modern world. The village houses and medieval towers scatter across the landscape with Climb Shkhara overlooking from beyond. Time seems to stop, or rather go backwards in this magical region of Svaneti. Climbing Shkhara will deeply connect you to the essence of wild mountaineering. As we describe it here, it gives Shkhara no justice. Climbing this mountain is an unexplainable experience which is only understood when climbed.
Shkhara has a very big history of climbing, from the very first ascents to the climbers taking on the challenge to this day. All the routes to reach the summits of Shkhara prove to be tough, and it is no small feat. However, in the same breath to say it’s difficult, we can say its even more rewarding to reach the tallest point of Georgia. The first successful ascent was by a British led Expedition in 1888, soon making way for the Georgian pioneers to establish new routes. The route The Alpine Project will guide you through is the Beknu Khergiani Route, which was first climbed in 1937 and goes directly to the main summit. Objectively, there is less dangers present on this route than others, and is of the most climbable routes available.
The ideal time for climbing Mt. Shkhara via Beknu Khergiani Route is from July until the first weeks of August. Before this time frame, there is heavy snow, making it too difficult to climb. After this time frame, the mountain becomes too dry and there is danger of rock fall. This time frame proves to be the most stable and most safe to climb Beknu Khergiani Route. However, this mountain has a microclimate and attracts bad weather more frequently than others. This is a large aspect of what makes this mountain difficult.
The classical route is the Beknu Khergiani Route and is is technical alpine snow, rock, and ice climbing. You should be able to climb on 6A grade difficulty on rock with mountaineering boots and M5 grade difficulty on mixed terrain. Mt. Shkhara summit requires a tough psyche from climbers, meaning you should not be easy to mentally break. This climb will challenge you physically and emotionally. In addition, you should be acclimatized before the climb. (For this, we can offer a climb Mt. Tetnuldi in Svaneti prior to your Mt. Shkhara summit.) This is a very wild climb, there is no huts. Because of this we will be making the camps and carrying the equipment.
You must have an extremely good fitness level with experience climbing expert to advanced level mountains.
Driver meets you in airport (TBS or KUT) and transports you to hotel in arrival city (Tbilisi or Kutaisi). Check in and rest for the evening. If you prefer to go directly to Svaneti (depending on your travel time and arrival time), driver will transport you to Ushguli (Svaneti) straight. (7 hours driving from Kutaisi, 11 hours driving from Tbilisi). If travel and weather conditions allow it, there is an option to fly from Tbilisi to Svaneti. In this case, we will plan accordingly.
Early breakfast in hotel. Driver will meet you in hotel and transfer you to Ushguli (Svaneti). Check in to hotel where you will meet your IFMGA/GMGA certified local guide. You will have an introduction and briefing about the plan 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. Shkhara. This day will be reserved for renting any necessary equipment. Rest for the night (Breakfast)
Free day in Ushguli to enjoy the sites and landscapes. You can take the chance to witness everyday life in this unqiue village.
Early breakfast. Check out of hotel. The driver will take you from the hotel with the guide to 2,300m altitude, where the trekking begins. We will reach the Base Camp at 2950m, which will take about 4 hours. Set up the basecamp, dinner and rest. (Breakfast, dinner)
Ushguli altitude: 2100m
Trekking starting point: 2300m
Base Camp altitude: 2950m
Vertical gain trekking: 650m
Travel time trekking: 4 hours
Early breakfast. Cross glacier and climb moderately difficult pitches of rock with a 20m section of 6A difficulty climbing. Set up camp 1 at 3500m.
Early breakfast. Climb mixed terrain on rocks, ice, and snow with a 10m section of M5 grade difficulty. Reach 4,300m and setup camp.
Reserve day in case of bad weather
Reserve day in case of bad weather
Climb mixed terrain on rocks, ice, and snow until 4780m and set up camp 3.
Climb mixed terrain on rocks, ice and snow up to M4 grade difficulty. Reach summit and descend down to Camp 3
Descend to Camp 1.
Descend to Mestia. Driver will meet us and transport to hotel.
Day 13. Cultural tour in Mestia.
Checkout from Mestia. Driver will transport you from Mestia to Tbilisi or Kutaisi
Departure day. Driver will transport you from hotel in Tbilisi or Kutaisi to airport.
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.
Main luggage bag (up to 80L) – All gear can be packed here and extra items which is not needed on trekking day. The horse will take this directly to the basecamp as to alleviate weight from your other bag.
Backpack (35-50L) – This size bag is recommended because larger is unnecessary and leads to excess weight. Recommended to bring a waterproof cover in case of rain. This bag will be on your back during trekking to the basecamp and for the summit.
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
*Please contact us for pricing on groups larger than 3 people