Svaneti Region, Georgia

Georgian Greater Caucasus Trek

Discover Georgia's breathtaking panoramas wtih a 14-day guided tour. Pre-placed stashes and pack horses allow us to hike light, and eat well. Welcoming, family-run, guesthouses will host you, serving delicous local cuisine - a fusion of east and west, washed down with Georgia's unique wine made in the Qvervi method. For 3 nights you will be in tents on high-altitude ridges with views of spectacular mountain scenery.

Explore Georgia's north-eastern Svaneti culture which in it's own right is worth your visit - a unique alphabet, vibrant visual arts scene and soaring clifftop monasteries dot the landscape. 

Luckily for us, Georgia also happens to sit beneath and amongst the unfathomable scale of the Greater Caucasus' mountain faces and glaciers. Roaring whitewater squeezed into deep gorges, blooming alpine meadows, and an extensive network of trails makes Georgia a prime trekking territory.

We have planned this intinerary so you can camp in the mountains with just your hiking gear. Porters or horsers will carry your equipment between campsites. Please pack lightly for camping and avoid bringing uneccessary items. If you have extra luggage, we can arrange to have it transferred to your final stop in Svaneti. 

Our itinerary is suited to competent and experienced hikers:

  • Trek 92km over 9 days
  • Over 7400m of elevation gain
  • Average 10-12km per day with rest stops and cooked lunch
  • 3 night's camping 
  • 1 day riding horseback

Day Itinerary

  • Arrive in Kutaisi, sightseeing. 

     

  • Today we have a 8-10 hour drive to Mazeri Village, with a stopover at the world's 6th highest dam along the way.

     

  • Horseback riding to 40m Shdugra waterfall, Georgia's largest and most powerful. Continue trekking to Ushba glacier, then return on horses.

    8km, 600m up and down. 

  • Short transfer to Svaneti's main village of Mestia. Visit a local musuem. 4x4 drive to Koruldi lakes, at 2700m. Sunset hike higher up to the ridge viewpoint at 3320m, right in front of Mt. Ushba, the two-horned 'Matterhorn of the Caucasus'. Drive down to Mestia.

    6km, 600m up and down. 

  • Chairlift to Zuruldi at 2300m followed by a scenic hike along it's ridge. Descend to the charming Tsvirmi village with ancient churches. Short transfer to Iprari village, visit of an ancient church. 

    10km, 300m up, 770m down. 

  • Hike to Mt Chkhunderi (3036m) and continue along the panoramic ridge towards the Bezengi wall above enormous glaciers.

     12km, 1450m up, 1080m down 

  • Cross the Khalde glacier and ascend Karetti pass, we trace the ridge towards Lagem Pass. Spend the night in a tent, in front of the imposing Mt. Shkhara (5193m).

     15km, 1100m up, 1200m down.

  • Hike to Shkhara glacier and camp by Nuamquam alpine lake.

     6km, 700m up

  • Ascend Vakhusti ridge and then traverse along it until reaching the medieval Svan village of Ushguli with it's distinctive Svan towers.
     10km, 700m up, 950m down. 
  • We have a rest day in Ushguli, climb the Svan towers, visit the ethnographic musuem or the 9th century Lamaria Church. Optional horseback riding. 

  • 10 hours scenic drive to Kazbegi via the Zagar pass and Kutaisi.
  • We take a short drive to Juta village. Hike towards the Chaukhi range known as the 'Georgian Dolomites' - and climb Mukhadze peak for the best views of Kazbek.
     13km, 1170m up, 1170m down.
  • A short drive to the iconic Gergeti Trinity Church and hike to Kazbek glaicer viewpoint. Farewell dinner and transfer to Tbilisi.

     12km, 960m up, 960m down

  • Flight back home.

2024

Dates

Price

Sun 07 Jul
- Sat 20 Jul
£1775 Book
Flexible From £1,775 PRIVATE GROUP Enquire

The price includes:

  • 9 days of guided trekking
  • 9 nights B&B guesthouse accommodation (twin-share)
  • 3 nights wild camping including breakfast/dinner 
  • 1 night 3-4 star hotel in Kutaisi (twin-share)
  • local transfers
  • 1 day of guided horse riding (optional) 
  • chairlift and musuem in Mestia 
  • Rental tents, medical kit and emergency satellite communication



The price does not include

  • flights to/from Kutaisi (preferred) or Tbilisi. 
  • Snacks whilst trekking 
  • Dinners at guesthouses
  • insurance
  • rental of trekking poles, sleeping bag, trekking mat, and other trekking gear, if needed. 

  • Base Layer Top and Bottoms – a few base layer tops, usually long-sleeved is best, wool base layers form Ortovox are good as they offer good wicking properties and dry quickly. For your legs, a couple of pairs of long or ¾ length bottoms are best.

    Mid-layer fleece tops – a couple of fleece type jacket or tops that can be worn between your base layer and outer layers. The “Layering” approach offers the best heat retention and flexibility in warm and cold weather.

    Insulation Layer - a down or Primaloft jacket is a good item to have ready to wear in the event of cold weather, it can live in your rucksack as a spare layer and can come in very handy for sudden changes in the weather.

    Lightweight softshell type trousers - you want to wear a lightweight softshell or similar material on your legs, these types of trouser offer good protection from snow/ice as well as abrasion on rock and are comfortable to move in.

    Walking shorts or a pair of trousers with zip-off legs. Useful for walk-ins to huts on hot days.

    Gore-Tex Jacket - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable jackets. Best to have a lightweight jacket that can be worn in the event of wet or windy weather but is packable enough to fit in your rucksack. Your insulated ski jacket will be overkill and too hot and bulky.

    Gore-Tex Pants - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable trousers. Lightweight is important plus side zips for putting on over your boots and crampons. Used in cold, wet and windy weather.

    Sun hat and warm hat – bring a wide-brimmed sun hat or baseball cap plus a warm beanie style hat.

    Light, thin gloves – a thin pair of fleece or softshell gloves for warm weather are a must.

    Insulated gloves - You need to have a pair of waterproof warm gloves to wear on cold days.

    Gaiters – these are useful to wear to keep snow out of your boots.

    Socks - 3-4 pairs of medium weight socks usually mid-calf length is good.

  • There are 2 grades of boots for alpine trekking and mountaineering: B1 and B2

    • B1 boots are usually lightweight boots offering more flexibility when walking and are usually suitable only for trekking, easy glacier walking and Via Ferrata trips.

    • B2 boots are semi-rigid boots that are the best option for summer alpine mountaineering trips. There are leather and plastic/composite options. Leather boots tend to be more comfortable and breathable whereas plastic/composite boots are warmer and more waterproof.

    B2 boots are compatible with C1 and C2 crampons.

    Key features of a good alpine boot include Vibram soles, a reversed leather upper (which protect the best side of the leather from scuffing and abrasion and improves durability and water resistance) and ankle flex and a higher cut which give control, mobility and support.

    Boots can be hired in resort but to avoid discomfort we do strongly recommend that you have your own pair which needs to be well worn-in prior to your trip.

    Alpine huts supply hut slippers so that you don't need to take any other footwear apart from your boots. Boots are not allowed in the dining room or dormitories and must be left in the foyer.

  • These items are essential for all alpine mountaineering courses

    All items can be hired from Mountain Tracks or from sport shops in the Alps.

    • Climbing helmet
    • Ice Axe - General mountaineering / alpine pick 55-70cms long depending on your height.
    • Boot crampons - with anti-balling plates.
    • Climbing Harness – adjustable leg loops are useful for easy of putting on over your boots.
    • Adjustable trekking pole(s)

  • Rucksack - A simple and lightweight pack with a capacity of between 35-45 liters is recommended. You need to have one loop for carrying an ice axe on your rucksack.

    Lightweight sleeping bag liner – a silk or cotton sleeping bag liner is now compulsory in all mountain huts.

    Water bottle or Thermos – a water bottle or hydration system is needed.

    Head torch with spare batteries

    Penknife

    Personal first Aid Kit - Should contain:

    Plasters – of various sizes and possibly some adhesive wound dressings.

    Pain Killers – aspirin or Paracetamol/Nurofen

    Antiseptic cream or wipes

    Blister kit – compeed and elastic tape to hold it in place (essential)!

    (Note: Guides will have comprehensive first aid kits and are qualified in mountain first aid)

    Whistle

    Sun Glasses - minimum category 3.

    Ski Goggles – these can be very useful if you encounter strong winds and poor weather.

    Sunscreen and Lip Protection

    Ear Plugs - For noisy huts!!

    Camera

    Hold-all bag - for gear not required on trek. Will be left at first hotel and collected on return.

    Passport

    Money - You will need some cash for food and drinks. There are some ATMs and most hotels, shops and restaurants will accept credit cards, but most huts still accept cash only. You should allow about 30-40 Swiss Francs or 25-35 Euros per day for lunch and drinks (amount approximate and depends on consumption).

    Toiletries – Should contain:

    Toothbrush and paste - a mini one is ideal

    Soap

    Anti-bacterial hand cleaner

    Wet wipes – essential to try to maintain hygiene

    Tissues and toilet roll

    Small light quick dry towel e.g. a Lifeventure Soft fiber towel

    (Any other essentials you need but remember there are no shower facilities and generally no running water in the huts and you have to carry everything with you!)

    Alpine club card - If you're a member.

    Book, pack of cards and or Ipod/MP3 player – It’s nice to have something to read or listen to when you are in the huts or to challenge your fellow travelers to a game of card. These items are not essential but if you have space you might appreciate them.

Georgia.jpg

Svaneti Region

View map

Georgia, a country at the intersection of Europe and Asia, is a former Soviet republic.  Its capital Tbilisi is know for the diverse architecture and mazelike cobblestone streets of its old town.

Its population is around 3.75million (2015) and its official language is Georgian.  Its situated in the Southern Caucasus and it is a very mountainous country with peaks rising to over 5,000m.

Georgia has recently enjoyed a huge upsurge in foreign visitors. This is due in part to the country's famed hospitality, friendly people, cultural history and world-famous wine.

The Svaneti Region is in the mountainous Northwestern Georgia. Closest airport is Kutaisi. The entire region is a UNESCO world heritage site and is the home to the Svan people. 

  • Insurance

    It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.

    For UK residents Ski Club Travel Insurance may be a suitable option.

    For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
    If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
     

  • Travel to Georgia

    Kutaisi Airport has links to various European destinations, with fares from key hubs such as Vienna, Prague, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Memmingen, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin, and Frankfurt. 

    It is also possible to fly into Tsibilisi. We can then arrange a transfer (price upon request) to Kutaisi.  

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