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Climb South Ushba

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  • 9 Days
  • 1:1 Guide Ratio
  • Technical Difficulty: Advanced - Expert
  • Available July - August

To climb South Ushba is to experience a world famous and legendary peak in the Caucasus region. Its iconic double summited shape attracts climbers from around the world to discover its magic. The feat to climb South Ushba should not be underestimated, and one should not attempt to summit South Ushba without expert mountaineering skills and practice. This mountain demands great attention and strength from climbers, and should be taken seriously. To climb Mount Ushba South summit, it is essential you take a GMGA guide with you, as we do not recommend climbing South Ushba without a local certified mountain guide. This mountain will truly give you the experience of wild and untouched mountaineering. Our tour will be based in Svaneti, Georgia, one of the most remote regions of Georgia and Europe.  Before climbing South Ushba, you should be properly acclimatized. We can recommend to climb Mt. Tetnuldi, a less demanding mountain, also located in the Svaneti region and perfect for acclimatization. 

The best time to climb South Ushba (on the Gabrieli Khergiani route) is from July until the first 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 Gabrieli route.  Ushba’s microclimate attracts bad weather much more than surrounding peaks, and this is a large aspect of what makes this climb difficult. 

We also offer tours to climb North Mount Ushba, the more difficult peak of the mountain. 

Experience Recommended

The classical route to the South Summit is technical alpine snow, rock, and ice climbing. You should be able to climb on 5.7 grade difficulty on rock with mountaineering boots. Ushba South 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 Ushba summit.) This is a very wild climb, there is no huts. Because of this we will be making the camps and carrying the equipment.

Fitness Levels recommended

You must have an extremely good fitness level with experience climbing expert to advanced level mountains. 

Itinerary 

Day 1

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 Svaneti straight. (5 hours driving from Kutaisi, 9 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.

Day 2

Early breakfast in hotel. Driver will meet you in hotel and transfer you to Mestia, 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. Ushba. This day will be reserved for renting any necessary equipment.  Rest for the night (Breakfast)

Day 3

Early breakfast. Check out of hotel. The driver will take you from the hotel with the guide to the village Guli, where the trekking begins. We will load the horses with our equipment and head to Base Camp 1 at 3000m, which will take about 6 hours. Set up the basecamp, dinner and rest. (Breakfast, lunch box, dinner)

Mestia altitude: 1500m

Guli altitude: 2050m

Base Camp altitude: 3000m

Vertical gain trekking: 950

Travel time trekking: 6 hours

Day 4

After early breakfast, we will start trekking and climb the snow couloir up 300m. After this, the moderate rock climbing will begin, where we will climb several more small couloirs. We will reach Camp 1 at  4300m and we will set the tents up. Dinner and rest (Breakfast, dinner)

Base Camp altitude: 3000m

Camp 1 altitude: 4300m

Vertical gain climbing: 1300m

Travel time climbing: 8 hours

Day 5

Summit day. Early breakfast. We will start our climb with moderately difficult pitches and reach the ridge heading to the main wall of Gabrieli route. Here we will climb 2 pitches up to 6A grade difficulty (the crux of the route). We will then climb the ridge up to the summit with moderate rock climbing (there will be a small sections of snow here). Ascent will take around 8 hours. After reaching the summit we will descend the same route we climbed down to Camp 1, taking around 5 hours. Dinner and rest. (Breakfast, dinner)

Camp 1 altitude: 4300m

Mt. Ushba South Summit Altitude: 4700m

Vertical gain climbing: 400m

Travel time climbing: 7-8 hours

Descent time: 5 hours

Day 6

Reserve day in case of bad weather on summit day. If we are unable to leave the camp and attack the summit, we will spend this day resting in the camp and reserving our energy to summit the next day.

Day 7

Reserve day in case of bad weather on summit day. If we are unable to leave the camp and attack the summit, we will spend this day resting in the camp and reserving our energy to summit the next day.

Day 8

After breakfast, we will descend to Base Camp and rest overnight. (Breakfast, dinner)

Day 9

After breakfast, descend to Guli village. Driver will meet us and transfer to Mestia. Check into hotel and rest for the night. (Breakfast)

Day 10

Departure day. Check out and transfer with driver to departure airport (TBS, or KUT)

Equipment Needed

Technical Gear

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). They should be summer alpine mountaineering boots, which is appropriate for scramble and rock climbing, ice, and mixed climbing. They should have the ability to use crampons effectively.

Overboots / Gaiters – Gaiters are essential to avoid getting the boots wet. Protecting you from getting wet and from hitting your trousers with crampons.

Crampons – General 12 points mountaineering crampons. Steel with anti-balling, which is preventing snow sticking.

Ice Axe – General mountaineering ice axe, suitable to your size. 1 single axe needed. Any tethers or straps should be removed.

Trekking Poles – Telescopic to suit your size and for different terrain.

Personal Gear

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.

Other Essentials

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 

Mobile Phone

Equipment Provided

Ropes

Equipment for climbing and crevice rescue

First Aid Kit

Basecamp shelter (tents)

GPS

Cooking Gear

Pricing Options

  • Group of 1 — 4550 EUR per person
  • Group of 2 — 4550 EUR per person
  • Group of 3 — 4550 EUR per person

Price Includes

  • 8 days with IFMGA/GMGA certified local mountain guide (English and/or Russian speaking)
  • All vehicle transportation during trip from arrival to departure.
  • Hotel Tbilisi or Kutaisi (1 night)* Mestia Guesthouse (2 nights)* Basecamp tents (4-6 nights) *
  • Breakfast in hotels
  • Breakfast and dinner on the mountain/base camp
  • Lunchbox on first trekking day
  • Some provided equipment (check equipment provided)
  • Tents for basecamp nights provided (to be carried by the group)
  • Cooking gear (to be carried by the group)

Price Excludes

  • Airline tickets
  • Travel insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages and snacks
  • Lunches during the trip except first trekking day
  • Dinners while staying in hotel (guide will provide local recommendations for best restaurants and Georgian cuisine)
  • Equipment rental fees
  • Personal clothing and gear