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Gestola

In this section you will find the most objective technical information on the mountain climbing routes. All mountain route descriptions are based on the personal experience of our guides operating these routes. They do not claim for absolute accuracy, evaluation of the complexity of some sections can be subjective and depend on the season. All materials listed in that section are intellectual property and intended for informational purposes only, any commercial use or total or partial reproduction is possible only by written permission of the copyright holder. MCS AlexClimb School of Mountaineering and Rockclimbing takes no responsibility for any consequences of using the information provided on this page. Do not forget that mountain climbing routes can be deadly dangerous regardless of their complexity.

Caucasus, Russia - Georgia, Bezengi - Svanetia.
Climbing Peak Gestola. Season: June - September (Best time - August - September)

Information intended for evaluation purposes only. In order to avoid surprises and possible dangers and complications, we recommend to take part in the organized program of the MCS AlexClimb "Caucasus Bezengi climbing, climbing Peak Gestola" or "Climbing Peak Gestola from Svanetia" - by well known route, accompanied by experienced guides. This will significantly increase the probability of success and safety of your climbing in Svanetia. 

Peak Gestola is one of the most beautiful mountains of the central part of the Main Caucasian Range, not so known as Ushba or Dykh Tau, but not less interesting for climbing and not less attractive by the correctness of its forms. Peak Gestola is located directly on the border of Russia and Georgia, its summit is equally accessible both from the famous mountaineering center Bezengi (Kabardino-Balkaria) and from the rapidly developing mountain resort Mestia (Svaneti) in Georgia. If you look from the bottom of Bezengi gorge to the side of famous Bezengi Wall, the first mountain you will see is Gestola, the flawlessly correct snow triangle that closes the valley and separates the sharp rocky peaks from the deep blue sky. Literally, this is one of those mountains that you can see once and remember for all your life. The summit of Gestola, due to its simple and memorable form, has become a symbol of the whole Bezengi region, it is the most frequently photographed and pictured mountain of this region of the North Caucasus. Unfortunately, at the moment (2018), access to the summit of Gestola from Russia is closed - apparently, in the interests of state security, ascent to Gestola from Russia is prohibited.

If you look at Gestola from the side of Georgia, the first thing that catches your eye is its almost identical resemblance to the neighboring mountain Tetnuld - these two twin mountains are connected to each other by a long saddle, through which both mountains can be traversed in several days of quite tough climb. There are several routes to the Summit of Gestola of medium and high difficulty, there are no easy climbing routes to that mountain. Despite the obvious interest for mountaineering, there are relatively few ascents of Gestola peak done annually - this is justified by bureaucratic difficulties and bans on the part of Russia from where the access route is relatively easier, and as from Georgia all the climber’s attention is concentrated on the neighboring Mount Tetnuld, which is simpler technically and has more convenient infrastructure.

As mentioned above, the summit of Gestola is accessible both from Russia and from Georgia. Unfortunately, at the present moment (2018) there is a ban on climbing to the summit of Gestola from Russia, from where there is a simpler approach route to Gestola from the mountaineering camp Bezengi. You can get to the camp by car from Nalchik (3 hours) or Mineralnye Vody (5 hours), then the further way is obvious and does not present any difficulties. The approach route to Gestola from Georgia begins from the Jabeshi village (10 hours by car from Tbilisi) and goes through incredibly beautiful Zannery canyon. The route to Gestola from Georgia requires a good knowledge of the area - the trails marked on the old maps exist no longer and it is very difficult to find a way up the gorge to the Zanner glacier. The most of the problem is represented by the lower part of the approach, after getting to the left branch of Zanner glacier, there are no problems. 

With the two variants of approach - from Russia or from Georgia, there is only one route of ascent to the summit of Gestola. The classical route starts from the border pass of Zanner and goes via the adjacent Mount Lyalver. Climbing Lyalver is the crux part of all the Gestola climb. On the way up to the top of Lyalver you have to overcome technically difficult rocky pitches of moderate difficulty, on the unstable and loose slate rocks, with a high probability of rockfall. As a rule, the groups going to Gestola climb Lyalver with a full set of equipment for the bivouac, and set the camp in the saddle 4300 m at the base of the West Buttress of Gestola. If the group is sufficiently prepared and physically strong - it is possible to climb Gestola without the upper camp, from the bivouac near Zanner pass, but this is quite difficult physically. On the route you have to be very attentive to any signs of coming thunderstorm, it is noticed frequent lightning strikes the crest and the summit of Lyalver - in bad weather it is advised to be especially careful climbing this part of the route.

Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.
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