Racha - Georgian Switzerland

Photo Gallery, People About Georgia | | 11915

Author: Михаил Голубев

The summer of 2013 I spent in Racha - a mountainous region of Georgia, which is not very well-known among travelers. When it comes to mountains in Georgia, first names that come to mind are Svaneti, Gudauri or Bakuriani. But this time, let me tell you of Racha. Detailed information about this land, it's maps, routes, etc, you can find in my LiveJournal.

After the long road. Cities give place to grim mountains covered with forests.

 

High in the mountains...

Mountains and clouds.

 

Layered rocks on the slopes of Chakhuri north pass. All the peaks around are built of layered rocks like this.

View from the Chakhuri north pass. Strangely shaped rocks and peaks stand above the sea of clouds.

Have not seen anything like this in Caucasus!

At the base of these mountains there is a small glacier. We'll be going there.

This peak drew our special attention. Rock seems to be crumbling layer by layer during the centuries, so now the even areas make steps of different shape and height. Rusty colors add some flavor to them.

Another panoramic view of rocky ranges in upper reaches of Chkhauri valley.

To the left there is a 2B level pass,  by the way. I did not dare to go there, but the rocks were gorgeous.

View from the opposite side of the valley. Can't say much, the place is amazing. I will return there, for sure. Just to set a tent here is excellent enough. Sadly, we contemplated this beauty just for few hours, from pass to pass.

Alpine meadows of Racha.

More of the layered rocks.

Illustrated "textbook" of geology.

Alavidze peak and Geske pass. Rocks- gouged by the geological processes.

One last view of Chkhauri summits.

During my more than 50 trips to Caucasus I haven't seen anything like this. Racha and its southern range are amazing.

Going down from the pass to Udziro lake. Rocks are "smiling".

The lake itself. Not very spectacular in the evening. Morning will be better.

Large body of purest water with mirror surface. Impressive.

The next day.

Our camp. In the background stand the mountains of greater Caucasus. This is a lake of rare beauty.

Racha.

Leaving the shale range. Ahead of us are the giants of greater Caucasus.

Long walk on trails, alpine meadows, screes and we are closing to summits of Caucasus main range. Tbiliza Massif (4400 m) and its glaciers. Sunset.

Western branch of Bubis glacier and Bubis-Tbiliza massif. We are going a bit to the left, through the Bokos-Bubis pass (level 2A).

Small plateau of glacier snow, below the Bokos-Bubis pass (level 2A).

Green mountains are left far below. We walk on a fresh show. In the distance, beyond the Mamisoni range - dark summit of mount Khalats.

Khalats peak.

Panoramic view of sunset with colorful summits of Karaugom. Approximate altitude 3800 m.

Double peak at sunset.

Plateau in the upper part of Bokos glacier. Naming here is tentative, because one kilometer north and this plateau becomes the upper part of Karaugom glacier in Russia. These are the broadest fields of glacier snow in Caucasus after the Elbrus.

Wet trail of avalanche in the foreground, view from the slope of LGU pass. In the distance are ranges where the first photos of this journey were shot.

Overnight camping on a snow field in summer is not that cold. When the only ground at the campsite is snow, you have to set tents on a snow. During the summer snow is dense, easy to dig and shape. Mats are good insulation. Put some additional padding and the bed is ready.

But we came here not to sleep, we came to see these spectacular sunsets.

35.Sunset in Racha.

In the foreground, on the striped slope between the striped rocks - our route from Chiori pass to the lake. Keen eyed reader can find it on the photo. From the distance it may seem small, but it's fairly large, about 150x150 meters. Interestingly, no streams flow in or out from the lake, but the crystal clarity of the water proves the opposite.

We are leaving the kingdom of snow. Fantastic alpine meadows unfold before us again. In the distance to the left there are rocky mountains from the first stage of our journey (Chkhauri, Udziro), and to the right - totally wild and unexplored area of mount Shoda (3609 m). We still have a slow descent on mountain trails ahead of us, and then on the dirt road to village Chiora. There we will be preparing for the third part of our route.

Clickable panorama of area around mount Chiora, Tsikhvarga (to the left) and Burjulu (to the right).

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This dirt road serves the Georgian tourists, who come here with off road vehicles to see these vews. For us it's just a lovely addition to wonders, seen up there.

Summit of Burjalu and flowers.

Entering the remote village Gona, between the forest covered mountains.

Idyll.

Ahead of us unfold the mountains of main range, covered with snow and glaciers. To the left there is mount Tsiteli and the glacier of the same name.

To Gona we will return on our way back. But before that, we went to mountains, into the Domburuli valley.

Our way is blocked by these rocks and waterfall.

Hardships of route, two days of bad weather and lack of time forced us to leave the plans of traversing the MIET pass, and hang out in the Domburuli valley.

A minor ledge on Domburuli river.

Camp site in the Domburuli valley. View from the tent. Although we sat in the tents under the rain for two days, living in the middle of the bouquet was still better than office and smog.

 

Route to Dombistsveri pass (1A). The stream cut through the snowfield created by avalanche.

Going up. Two streams of Tsiteli glacier unfold before us.

And the pass itself. It's not very high and is covered by grass and flowers. View on Tsiteli glacier.

Domburuli river.

Tsiteli glacier beyond the rocks and forests.

Back to the village Gona. It has about ten living houses. Half of them are more like our summer houses. But I wish I had a summer house in a place like this. Just to breathe this air and to drink this water and to admire these views, is enough to make one healthier.

Village Gona, Racha. In the distance can be seen mount Tsiteli.

In the distance can be seen the shale range, similar to those in the beginning of our journey.

Summit of mount Shoda (3609 m) zoomed.

Created by the same layered rock. The summit is clearly a plateau, with accumulated glacier snow and a minor tongue. The mountain is unexplored, as are the routes going to it through the untrodden valleys. All that is told by the locals.

And now we say our goodbye to Racha and go home full with unforgettable emotions and desire to come back without fail.

Source: Русское фотосообщество №1

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