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Gveleti Waterfall Intermediate Ice Climbing Course

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

Located in the stunning Darial Valley, just a 20 minutes drive from Stepanstminda or a 3-hour drive from Tbilisi, is the magnificent Gveleti Waterfall, home to the best ice climbing in Georgia. This site offers lines of all difficulties, making it a perfect spot for those who want to refresh their technique and learn new skills. We offer both beginners and intermediate courses in this location.

Our 2 day intermediate level course is specifically designed for those who have prior ice climbing experience and wish to further enhance their skills. (For beginners, check out our beginners ice climbing course here) For experience required, you do not have to lead your climbs, but you should be able to climb and follow up a grade 3. This course is led by our IFMGA/GMGA professional guides, who will instruct you on more advanced techniques so you can build your confidence and further grow your ice climbing knowledge. You will be lead on routes that you normally might not go on without a guide, all with the quality instruction and support of your guide along the way.

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. If you are interested to stay in stepantsminda after the course and try some more climbing, you can check out other stepantsminda activities here: Please contact us so we can design the perfect itinerary for you.

Course Outcomes
  • Familiarization with necessary ice climbing tools. (Ice tools, ropes, ice screws, crampons, clothes layering systems)
  • Belay and rappel techniques on ice
  • Dangers of falling on ice and risk management
  • Climbing techniques (ice axe swing, reading the ice to find good placement for tools, managing physical fatigue, footwork)
  • Lead Climbing on Ice (how to place screws, finding best routes and ice, rope technique, anchor and ice screw organization)
  • Descending and organizing ropes for rappels (including how to manage wet and icy ropes and techniques specific to winter mountaineering)

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.

Gveleti Intermediate Ice Climbing 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. The goal of this day is for the guide to show you different techniques. You’ll be instructed how certain equipment works. It’s important this day that you understand all the safety aspects as well. You’ll spend the day climbing and training.

Day 2

We will head back to the waterfall and put all our previous trained skills to use on this day. You’ll work on rope work, climbing techniques, and protection placement.  By the end of the course, you will be fully prepared to climb moderately difficult ice falls independently. 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