Mount Kazbek, 5047m, is one of the highest and the most beautiful peaks of the Caucasus.
The four hour drive to the Kazbegi region from Tbilisi takes us through the beautiful Aragvi Valley, then over the Jvary Pass, 2380m. From the small town of Kazbegi, 1700m, mountain paths lead across alpine pastures full of flowers past the superbly located outstanding viewpoint Gergeti chapel. Crossing the grassy Sabertse Pass, 3150m, we get to the Gergeti Glacier which leads to the Betlemi high mountain refuge situated on the southern slopes of Mount Kazbek.
It is better to spend a day for acclimatization and exploring the area. If the weather is good it is possible to climb Mount Ortsveri, 4365m. An alternative is to visit Betlemi, a hermit's refuge at over 4000m in a carved cave a short way up a cliff (easy roped climb).
For the ascent of Mount Kazbek we set off in the early hours. Despite of the lack of technical problems on this mountain, one should always remember the great height of this peak with its propensity for dangerous changes of the weather. The route leads us to the Maili Plateau 4500m, where we will use crampons to climb NW snow icy slopes to the saddle at 4900 m. It will be necessary to fix a rope on the final section and climbers can easily reach the summit. The summit provides fantastic views of the Caucasian peaks stretching westwards to Elbrus for 200 km. We descend to the refuge in the evening hours. Our expedition finishes by walking down to Kazbegi and driving to Tbilisi.
There is an excellent opportunity to combine the ascent of Mount Kazbek with the Elbrus Climb - 8 days itinerary.