To understand the features of the ascent on Kazbek, it would be logical to compare it with climbing Elbrus. On the one hand in the Kazbek easier, there is no volcanic gases in the atmosphere, and breathe a lot easier. The same gornyashka here usually begins only at a height of 4800 m - Elbrus she easily could "attack" even by 3600 (even with proper acclimatization schedule). Kazbek assault camp is located much closer to the top, on the day of the ascent will have to climb (from 4300 to 5033 m) just 700 meters. For comparison, storming Elbrus from the north is necessary per day to fly at 1900 meters (from 3740 to 5621). But on the other hand, on the way to the top Kazbek extends much more rugged terrain - there is a very steep slope with a lot of cracks. Therefore, almost all the time we move around in bunches. We should not forget about the rockfall ... In general, to be fun
The group meets in Tbilisi (TBS), in a pre-booked hostel. From the airport to the hostel the participants get their own by taxi or bus. If you would prefer to arrive in Kutaisi (KUT) or Batumi (BUS), then reload the backup of 4-6 hours, which would get to Tbilisi. Settled in a hostel can be a couple of hours to walk around the city. Instructor meanwhile engaged in the purchase of food and fuel for the ascent. In the evening the group meets together, the instructor distributes products, check the equipment, respond to questions. Incidentally, the campaign time in the hostel, you can leave the deposit of superfluous things (clean clothes, for example).
Early breakfast at the hostel. At 8 am for our van arrives. Leaving Tbilisi, and about 3 hours drive to s.Kazbegi (Stepantsminda). On the way to make a few stops for sightseeing: Ananuri fortress, an observation deck on the Georgian Military Road, mineral waterfalls. In Stepantsminda (altitude 1750m) transplanted from a minibus in jeeps that will take us to the picturesque temple Gergetis Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi (altitude 2170m). There we recruit spring water, a snack and get ready to go.
The relatively gentle climb to Sobertse Pass (2700 m) will get into shape and stretch their legs after a long drive. Kazbek itself was visible to us from the outset, but only after the pass we "show" magnificent glacier and moraine. Then gently traversuem to a height of 2800, boosting the small mountain creek (you can generally jump) and find ourselves in the "Green Hotel". This is a convenient, smooth place to camp, with a source of clean water (in the river, through which we skipped it muddy, almost black). To get to it you must cross a stream bubbling black - just to cross from shore to shore, from stone to stone. But something tells me that many of you this step will be remembered for a long time.
After an hour's walk along the deep canyon we finally set foot on the glacier Ortsveri. If you allow the instructor, in good weather it is possible to go without cats. An hour and a half cross the glacier diagonally, then desperately looking for how to crawl on the ground with him. Last spurt (up of course) and we have Meteostations (3660 m). Under the guidance of the instructor put a tent camp and strengthen the case of strong wind. After checking in at the lifeguard. Lunch.
After a short break we go into Radialka the rock (3915 m), hanging over the camp. Legends say that on top of it was once Bethlehem Monastery (Betlemi), but it's hard to believe - painfully harsh place. Who is a rock chapel of the original design (something, ships). We go down, have dinner, merznu - there may already be night frosts.
We have breakfast, dressed thermoses, take warm clothes and lunch snack - we go to the big 6-8 hours acclimatization. The camp does not turn off, tents remain in place. A couple of hours we propetlyaem in moraine labyrinths (keep up!), Then quickly looping smooth but dangerous rockfalls plot Hmaura wall. As a result, we leave on flat snowfields - a plateau of Kazbek (4300 m). Tomorrow we will have to establish here the assault camp to climb Kazbek. In the meantime, get used to the lack of oxygen, cold winds and fierce ultraviolet. Leisurely lunch, we take pictures and start the descent back to the weather station.
Today we bring up their tents on the plateau. Therefore we collect the camp and leave on the weather station unnecessary things, including rations for the return journey. Already familiar trails make our way to the plateau. There, under the supervision of instructors begin construction assault camp. Carefully buried in the snow and stretch the tent, building a wind-proof wall. In order to more or less normal sleep that night, after dinner, we need to have time to do another acclimatization. To do this, we will go forward on the path to the top at least to a height of 4500m. At night we watch the state of health, an exacerbation of altitude sickness immediately wake instructor!
The rise at 3 am. A light breakfast, a thorough "dressing" and about 4 am pushed forward to meet the dawn! About 5 to the top of the course of hours. Until the end, we go to the ligaments, as there are cracks and dangerous steep slopes along the way. Climbing up into the saddle Kazbek, we will climb a little bit more on the steep firn slope, next to the rock ledges. Follow all instructions of trainers, have patience and fight for the victory. After the descent from the summit (it will be around noon) collect tents and portable camp back to the weather station.
This is a spare day in case if you need additional acclimatization, or will the bad weather. We want to climb to the top, and not just to spend time or to play roulette with a tight schedule. If this day is used up, we can make a further ascent to the neighboring vertices, or go on a trip to Tbilisi.
Skipping cascading down to the village Stepantsminda. There are many unusual oxygen and unbearable heat. It seems to have to get used to this, too - quickly akklimatiziruemsya in the cafe with khachapuri :) Then another 3-4 hours and minibus dropped us off in very very hot in Tbilisi. Living in a hostel, a shower, clean clothes, and here we are on the way to the restaurant with national cuisine - it is necessary to adequately celebrate the completion of the expedition.
If you do not want to even walk in Tbilisi, it is possible to fly home. Though in the morning.