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Mountain Climbing: Climb up Mkinvartsveri – Classic Route

Experienced mountain climbers are invited to climb Mkinvartsveri unassisted, however, for those with limited climbing experience, have a professional guide accompany you.

Characteristics of the Peak

Mkinvartsveri is located along the Georgian Military Highway in the Khokh Range of the  Stepantsminda Municipality, with its northern slope situated on the border of Russia. At 5,054 meters above sea level, Mkinvartsveri’s most popular route among alpinists passes through Georgian territory.  

The Suati, Mna, Devdoraki, and Ortsveri glaciers get their water source from the peak since it’s constantly snow-covered. 

The Betlemi Hut (Meteo Station) at the base of the peak, is one of the most important alpine bases in this region. You encounter scree, snow, ice, cracked ice, and a rocky ridge along this route.

Day One

The route begins at the end of the paved road, 2,179 meters above sea level in Gergeti Sameba. From there, take the footpath along the slope up another 800 meters. Continue, cross a small river, and come upon the Altihut mountain hut.

Spend your first night acclimatizing here, or, you can continue onward to cross the Gergeti Glacier, and arrive at Meteo Station. There, you will be registered and spend the night in a mountain climber accommodation, at 3,650 meters above sea level.

Drinkable water is available at the base and along the climb.

The total elevation gain on this day is 1,471 meters. 

Day Two – Acclimatization

Get yourself acclimatized by climbing up to the Betlemi Church, roaming around upper 3000 meters above sea level. Remain here for a little while, then return to the base where your guide will instruct you on how to use a rope, pick-axe, and crampons.

Day Three – The Peak

There’s an early wake-up call to leave the base at 2 am. You’ll encounter scree, large boulders, and cracks in Khmaura, the section from the base to the plateau. The top of the plateau has cracks and is permanently snow-covered.

From there, you will climb up the so-called “saddle”, a rounded area before the peak of the mountain, where you will leave any extra items before beginning your journey to the peak. You can stand on the peak for five to ten minutes, then you must make your way back down to Khmaura using the same route. Since the increase in temperature during the day can cause a rock slide at Khmaura, the route goes around Khmaura on the way back to the base, where you spend the night again. 

The elevation gain is 1,404 meters and it takes an average of 10 to 12 hours roundtrip.

Day Four

After some rest, take the same route back to Gergeti Sameba, descending 1,471 meters, where a car will be waiting for you. 

Additional Information

Climb Mkinvartsveri between the end of June and the middle of October for the best weather, but you can also plan a route up to the peak in the winter. 

Use any vehicle to travel the 8 kilometers from Stepantsminda to the start point.

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