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Climbing Mountain Shkhara - a classic route

Climbing the peak independently is only recommended for experienced mountaineers. Beginner climbers should only plan to climb the peak with an experienced guide.
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti

The highest peak in Georgia, Shkhara is located in Mestia municipality, on the border between Georgia and Kabardino-Balkaria. Shkhara is the third highest peak in the Caucasus mountains, after Dykhtau and Elbrus, with a height of 5203 meters. To the north of the mountain sits the Bezeng glacier, while to the south lies the Shkhara glacier.

Shkhara is one of the most difficult summits in Georgia: all route classes qualify as 5a or 6a, without any routes of medium difficulty.

Along the route you will find stones, crevasses, snow cover, steep rocks, narrow passages, steep rocks, and slippery slopes.

Day One

The route starts in Ushguli community and begins with an 8-kilometer drive in an off-road vehicle from Ushguli to the Shikhara glacier. The road ends at an altitude of 2359 meters above sea level. From here, through the glacier, you reach the first camp, which is located in the rocky massif at an altitude of 3500 meters. The vertical ascent is 1141 meters. To reach the second camp, you need to cross five ropes.

Day Two

From the first camp, you proceed to the second camp, which is 4300 meters above sea level. The vertical climb is 800 meters. You cross the route tied to a short rope.

Day Three

The third camp is located at 4800 meters above sea level. The vertical climb is 500 meters. The section is difficult as you need to overcome icy and rocky terrain. The time required is approximately 6-7 hours. 

Day Four

From the third camp you will leave for the summit at dawn. After crossing 403 verticals, you will arrive at the peak of Shkhara. After a short wait at the summir, you descend via a different route, because the route up becomes dangerous during the day due to melting snow and rock falls. You descend back down the southern ridge to the Namkvami glacier and camp on the plateau. The time required is approximately 7-8 hours.

Day Five

You descend from the plateau to the southern ridge, to Namkvami glacier. You return to the highway through the glacier.

In case of bad weather, you will need to consider two additional backup days.

Additional Information

It is recommended to climb Shkhara mountain between mid-July and the end of September.

The starting point of the route  is 55 km from the center of Mestia. An off-road vehicle is required to reach it, which can be rented at Mestia bus station.

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