This year's winter won't let up. At the beginning of March, we once again went for a week to Upper Svaneti. New snow supply and immediately after that, wonderful sunshine - what more do you want? Brilliant conditions in the Caucasus, as we saw on our own skin. March provided epic approaches and equally good downhill runs - mainly in Mestia and Ushguli. A strong group of over a dozen people, dividing into smaller ones, explored the surrounding massifs on climbing skins, but also using the Hatsvali and Tetnuldi ski lifts.

Guli Pass on the horizon, Koruldi under the snow with phenomenal Ushba in the background

The first day on the spot and fell the slopes under the Koruldi lakes, a slightly cloudy, lack of rest after the journey and total lack of acclimatization didn't allow to go higher than 2350m. We have climbed up directly from Mestia in a very limited group of several people, without any additional transport to the characteristic cross overlooking the village and further we descended eastern slopes to the 4x4 bus waiting for us. Good reconnaissance and check of skills and equipment in unprepared, very diverse terrain.

The next days - Ushguli and surrounding spots

The access road looked good and that's why we went to Ushguli village (about 2100 m above sea level), which is considered to be the highest village in Europe. After the accommodation we started to plan the next days on skins. We could see a much thicker snow cover already under our place of residence. That's good! Implementation of the plan to climb the Gvibari Pass (2943m) and the descent with its northern exhibition was again a hit. Untouched by the sun, loose snow caused a lot of fun. The next day the team decided to conquer the southern regions of Kareta Mountain, whose ridge directly connects with the highest peak of Georgia - Shkhara. The approach road runs along the glacial river flowing from under the massif, whose wall we could see all the time. We reached the altitude of about 3000m from where we descended to the valley in very decent conditions. When one of the groups was playing on the slopes surrounding Ushguli, the other one was climbing at the foot of Tetnuldi. 

Epic finish

Although on the last day most of the group was heavily exploited, a few people found the strength to return to the Koruldi region and finish the trip with a stomp. A few numbers; 1,800 meters up, a pass at 3,350 meters, an almost one-hour descent through the northern shows, straight to the Chaaladi Glacier. After 1700 meters descending without taking off our skis, we were picked up by an agreed off-road car and in the late afternoon we reached Mestia. Tired but happy, we finished our week-long adventure in Upper Svaneti. To sum up, one of the best trips this winter. Several thousand meters of elevations and the same number of downhill runs, a dozen of skiers and splitboarders, lots of smiles, decisive progress of skills. 

March ski tours in Svaneti

26 March 2019