Thats how the mountain range in the region of Chaukhi is called, not being too distant of Mount Kazbeg. A place, where during summer time alpinists, climbers and hikers meet together. We heard, that the area is beautiful and has some interesting climbing to offer up to a height of 3800 m above sea level. No chance we could skip it!!
The preparation for our trip to the mountains already started in Turkey, where we bought a lot of durable food with a lot of energy, all what is needed for some exhausting time in the mountains. On the way to Juta we filled up our stock with pasta, tomato puree, chocolate, cheese, bread and some vegetable and fruit. In two days we drove to the village of Juta, where we found a good parking space and then headed to the basecamp.
The first day we were not that lucky with the weather, as the forecast predicted rain in the afternoon. With heavy backpacks we started in the morning and arrived with the best weather in the basecamp. We put up our tent, packed our stuff away and had a small nap. At around 2 pm, Johannes decided to walk again to Emma, to get more food and other things. As it normally is possible to do both ways in 2 hours and the weather still looked fine, he didn't want to loose time. Totally soaked up because of a thunderstorm, he arrived two hours later. After having changed his clothes, he got some hot tea from our neighbors, which had a big tent with them.
The next day we walked again down to Juta, to get our climbing gear. This time it was raining again, but we stayed for a while in Emma and when it stopped, we were walking back under the sun.
So let's start: the following morning we started at 6.30 am to the first peak together with Maryam and Tamo. After 2.5 hours of hiking, we arrived to the ridge, which we followed in easy climbing. The last 50 meters to the peak were a bit tricky. A group of Ukrainian climbers were not able to climb the part, so Johannes went first and belayed our group and all the Ukrainians. It was a nice day and made us wanting more, so we decided to climb another peak the following day.
This time we were the same including Elene. We started the same time, as Georgians don't like to get up too early. This time the peak had more or less the same height than the day before and was in the same range. First we had to walk on snowfields and before coming on the ridge, we had to climb up a steep, snowy couloir for around 200 height meters. It was exhausting, but the following climbing was worth it. Finding the way was not easy this time, but nevertheless we arrived to the peak and enjoyed the view while eating our lunch.
As the way down was different to the ascent, we tried to find it, but finally didn't. As we knew, we could follow the ridge and get to the same peak of the day before, we decided to do that. After 2 hours in a group of 5, climbing, walking, walking on short and long rope, we arrived to the second peak of the day. We just spent a few minutes on the top and then started with the descent. After 5 pm we arrived back to the basecamp all happy and tired.
Break – we needed a lazy day!!! The whole day we relaxed in the sun, enjoyed the mountains, the view and the nice temperatures. But this day too passed pretty fast. The next day Johannes started with Maryam to another peak. Planned was the peak of Javakhishili, which is with his 3733 a.s.l. the second highest peak of the range. Maryam apparently knew the way. So the two of them were walking on never ending snow fields and a steep, snowy couloir had to be conquered. Just after that the climbing started. With the halfropes and the use of friends, nuts and slings, they climbed up a wall. Old belaying points with old slings showed them the way. As it began to be less steep, they climbed on the long rope. Feeling safe and comfortable on the feet was the most important thing. After 7 long hours they arrived on the top and after a small snack started descending. Some parts they could abseil, others had to be walked down on the short rope. They were happy, when they arrived to the snowy couloir, where the easy part started. Down, Theres was waiting for both of them and they were happy and tired. The strange thing about it all was, that Johannes forgot to check on the map where they were and Maryam knew the way, on the wrong peak. After checking the map and looking at the pictures they found out, that they have been on the peak of Mount Asatiani, the highest peak in the range. So it became clear, why it took them so long to arrive on the top, as the peak is the one which is the farest from the basecamp. The Asatiani peak with his 3842 a.s.l. has a long way and taught them a lot!!!
After one week in the basecamp and now continuously bad weather, we decided to leave the Georgian Dolomites – for this time. Maybe we will come back to discover new routes. It is an amazing landscape and honestly, we were there at the right time. Not too many other alpinists around and when the sun was shining, many tourists and camper passed by. During some period more than 50 people were sleeping in the area.