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Gveleti Waterfall Beginners Ice Climbing Course

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  • 2 Days
  • 1:4 Guide Ratio
  • Technical Difficulty: Beginners
  • Available January-March

Located in the stunning Darial Valley, just a 20 minutes drive from Stepantsminda or a 3-hour drive from Tbilisi, is the magnificent Gveleti Waterfall, home to the best ice climbing in Georgia. This impressive frozen waterfall stands 60m tall and is accessible by just 20 minutes of trekking through a scenic trail. Gveleti offers lines of all difficulties, making it the perfect spot to learn ice climbing for the very first time.

We designed this course for those who want to discover the thrilling and fast-evolving sport of ice climbing. Our 2-day course is an intensive instruction course, with a lot of fun. You will learn all the necessary skills to start climbing on ice with confidence and with safety, supervised by your IFMGA/GMGA professional guide at all times. Absolutely no previous experience is required for joining us here! Your guide will provide quality instruction on basic ice climbing skills, proper climbing technique and movement, rope work, ice protection, and ice safety. You’ll also learn how to use technical equipment such as ice axes and crampons on ice routes grade 3-5.

Our 2 day ice climbing course will be based in Stepantsminda, a beautiful mountainous town in the Eastern Caucasus. We are happy to arrange transport and accommodation during and after course also, completely customized to your needs. Please contact us so we can design the perfect itinerary for you.

Course Outcomes
  • Learn how to use crampons and ice axes effectively (how to anchor your ice axes and crampons as precisely as possible)
  • How to use ice screws and different systems of protection (placing and retrieving ice screws, other methods of protection, and building belays on ice)
  • Abseiling & belay methods
  • Safety procedures

Experience Recommended

You should have previous experience climbing with crampons and using ice axes, this can be with alpinism or ice climbing.  This course is the next level up from our beginners ice climbing course (or any of our alpine summits or alpine courses).

Fitness Levels recommended

You should be physically fit, as spending a full day in cold environments can be physically exhausting. You can prepare by doing some hiking, trail running, swimming, or cycling.

Course Itinerary (Customizable)

Arrival Day

Meet your guide at the meetup location in Stepantsminda the night before the course starts, where you will have a brief introduction and the guide will check all your gear. This will allow time to rent any necessary gear.

Day 1

At early morning, we will drive to Darial Valley, which is about 20 minutes from the hotel.  We will start the approach to the frozen waterfall which will take us 20 minutes trekking through a trail. Your guide will instruct you on learning the basic ice climbing techniques and ensuring you know how to use all the technical equipment.  

Day 2

We will head back to the waterfall and put all our previous learned skills to use on this day. Your guide will supervise as you effectively use your ice axes on various climbs. You will learn how to belay your climbing partner on this day as well. After a long day of climbing, we’ll drive back to the meeting point.

Equipment Needed for the Course

Technical Gear

Harness – Mountaineering or climbing harness with 2 screw karabiners and 60cm tape 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 climbing. 12 point steel with anti-balling, which is preventing snow sticking.

Technical Ice Axes – with adze and sharpened picks. 1 pair needed

Trekking Poles – not necessary, but if you prefer to bring for 30 minutes of trekking

Personal Clothing & Gear

Headlamp

Eye protection – sunglasses for mountaineering that fit face snug and tight. Should be 3-4th category

Waterproof Shell Jacket 

Down Jacket – Light-medium weight preferably. Hooded or without hood is fine

Mid Layer Jacket – Fleece Jacket to put on top of thermal layer

Thermal Base Layer Shirt – Can be a synthetic or wool layer. Should be long sleeve, preferably ¼ or ½ zipper for ventilation.

Waterproof Shell Trousers 

Thermal Base Layer Underwear/Leggings 

Beanie hat, buff, balaclava – Gear to keep the head and face warm.

Water Proof Insulated Gloves or Mittens

Trekking Gloves – Should be warm, but not bulky

Socks – Lightweight and medium weight mountaineering wool socks.

Other Essentials

50+ SPF Sun protection SPF for lips and face.

Thermos – Up to 1 liter

Reusable water bottle – Up to 1 liter

Pricing Options

  • Group of 1 — 600 EUR per person
  • Group of 2 — 300 EUR per person
  • Group of 3 — 200 EUR per person
  • Group of 4 — 150 EUR per person

*Please contact us for pricing on groups larger than 4 people

Price Includes

  • 2 days with GMGA certified local mountain guide (English and/or Russian speaking)
  • Transportation from Stepanstminda meeting point to Ice Climbing site and back
  • Ice Climbing Group Equipment

Price Excludes

  • Accommodation (can be arranged, please contact us)
  • Transportation to meeting point in Stepanstminda (can be arranged, please contact us)
  • Alcoholic beverages and snacks
  • Meals
  • Equipment rental fees
  • Personal clothing and gear
  • Travel insurance