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International Ushba climb 2002

Central Caucasus,
Climbing Ushba from the South

(author A. Trubachev)


Russian-Georgian climbing Ushba in 2002, dedicated to the anniversary of Michael Hergiani was developed by the climbing and mountaineering in the program AlexClimb Sport With No Bounds with the support of Russian Federation of Mountaineering and Mountaineering Federation of Georgia. Sponsor of the expedition was the company "Alpine-trade", to provide equipment and equipment from manufacturers such as: TREZETA, LOWE ALPINE, CAMP, EDELWEISS, PETZL, CHARLET MOSER.

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti

August 13, 2002 ended the expedition, conducted jointly under the "Sports Without Borders" Mountaineering Federation of Russia and the Mountaineering Federation of Georgia. The main objective of the expedition was the Russian-Georgian Ushba ascent to the city and setting up on top of memorial plaque Hergiani Michael - the man who was devoted to the anniversary of the ascent.

Despite the fact that due to the fierce resistance to the Russian frontier, we had to abandon the previously announced traverse the array Ushba and use a fallback - all together to rise to the top of the South from G. Hergiani (5b), despite the severe weather conditions - consistently bad weather and a huge amount of snow (as of the route it was winter ascent) - despite all this, the expedition can be called very successful. We deal with all the tasks.

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti Speaking of problems, I mean not only the sports side of the event. Of course, Ushba for any climber is very serious and the desired goal, and we are happy that we were able once again to visit the top of it, but that's not the point. The main thing is that we made the ascent together. And from this perspective, the legendary Ushba - the most beautiful mountain Caucasus, his heart, becomes a kind of symbol of union and break all the barriers of friendship between the peoples of Russia and Georgia.

Russian Georgians went to the mountain, climb, suddenly hears Russian: "CPA! CPA!" - Russian does not understand anything of what they croak? Turning his head in all directions, surprised. And suddenly, bang, right on the head with his stone. Then lies in a hospital doctor and complains: "While - says - these Georgians croaked, I just did not carry head with a stone ..." (in Georgian "quasi" - stone).
dramatic episode

This joke told by David Chapladze on a rocky shelf after crossing the glacier Gul, made us smile. Indeed, some of the difficulties associated with language, we have had. In our Svan-Georgian-Russian company, climbing route G. Hergiani South Ushba, the main language of communication was a Georgian - language we Volodya Yanochkinym not owned. And when we started to talk Swans - experienced problems understanding even Georgians - Svan language is very different from Georgian. But, despite this, everyone knows each other. Maybe help feeling seriously tasks entrusted to us - it's not just climbing, but a kind of political action, in which we have no right to fail. And maybe it is - that same feeling of telepathic communication, which sooner or later comes to any serious backpacking person. One way or another, but I had to go to the monolingual teams where understanding was far less than we have on this ascent.

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti "STONE !!!" - Is already shouting in Russian and so expressive that, probably, I would have understood even in Chinese. Quickly, without looking up, throw Lookup - stone is not visible - means no options, press in the rock, trying to merge it into one, be as small as possible, to remove a backpack all the limbs. More second, and I hear this gem - as it bounces off the rock inflection at which I pretend that I'm not there, then the rebound falls into the gully wall, then ... terrible blow on the head knocks and throws me aside. Still got. I was lying on his side, his eyes dark, in the mouth - the salty taste of blood. It seems to be alive. My first thought - whether neck intact after such a blow? It seems intact. Ten minutes coming to myself, I understand how I got lucky again. In my head throbbing ache, before the eyes - bright circles, dent in the helmet - if he was not on the helmet, it could have ended much worse than a concussion. Thank you, old PETZL, did not disappoint. And I still doubted what helmet to take, new PETZL ECRIN ROC or her old, battered Cassidy - thank God, chose a new and no mistake.

Once upon a time, on Elbrus I met an old man Balkars, who rose to live on Shelter 11. Knowing that I ascended Ushba, he told me the legend that the most dangerous thing - it is to climb Ushba second time. Ushba pretty well applies to climbers podnimayushimsya on it for the first time, "they say, watch what I do not want you here once more to climb." Those who dates back to the third or more times - already veterans, Mount respects them. And in the second ... - splashes out their anger on the mountain of the brave who dare for the second time to encroach on its holy of holies - the top. So the old man warned me Balkar: if once lucky enough to go up to this amazing mountain, the second time you should not tempt fate. But then I thought that at one time my acquaintance with Ushboy will not do - she is too beautiful for that, too eye-catching.

And here I am again here, on the slopes of Ushba. And at the very beginning of the route, I remembered the words of the old man. It so happened that all of our team for the second time when I go. The others - who in the third, the fifth one, and some veterans in the eighth ... ... I had to take the rap for all.

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti all started with parapet hook. We walked quietly to himself Svan insurance for a nice easy rocks third sg Then it began to snow and rain and had to deploy the rope, and soon we started hanging rail. Railings are known to exist in order to use them in promotion. Knowing this, I, without hesitation, grabbed the rope to climb with the help of her little rocky forehead. Rope suddenly leaned easy for me, and I with her flew down. Of course, all very sorry when it happened - even tried to catch me, but in vain.

Now I fully understand this common affliction associated with my fall - because the rope on which I flew, linked five more people and was no longer in any way attached - in short, if I miraculously clung to something five meters below - that fly would have to be in friendly company. Lucky ... But to experience the euphoria of such tremendous luck prevented Vladimir Yanochkin, who immediately began to grumble, curse and remember long forgotten safety rules - say, two hooks must be on the rails, the old need to interrupt, etc. In some ways, of course, he was right. But not only that two hundred meters above the stone rolled down on me, which I wrote - absolutely indisputable fact, although Yanochkin still claims that "the stone type, he fell." But as the stone is not only fell, but was, I have no doubt that there has not been without a skilled, experienced hands.

But I digress. Meanwhile Ushba continued angry. Half an hour after intsendenta with a hook on the sidelines when I'm creeping by, a huge plate (500 kilograms), quietly lying two meters above me, decided that it was time. Knocking me, it split into two parts, and rushed down to where the fun galloping, dodging small stones Lev Sarkisov, Volodya Yanochkin and Gela Otarashvili. When the stones have been proved that all alive, and most of all hurt me again. Zhumar fastened to the railing rope, I almost hung on a broken lanyards JANE (and then saved me PETZL) and fill with blood from the vicinity of a torn right hand. Left hand me something very crushed - I was afraid at first that I could not work, but nothing happened.

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti It was the second in a row in case the so-called luck - and I'm not a little scared, because knew perfectly well that soon to be third. Even decided to take a picture, for which he was cursed Lёvoy Sarkisov, who was in a hurry to see me with a pharmacy. Very soon I got a stone on his head, and then have all noticed that on this day, I take special care of the mountain. But God loves a trinity - this is known. More such adventures, fortunately, was not. Aside from all this action adventure - climbing steadily in bad weather on a difficult route, because of the huge amount of snow is in very poor condition, a group of eight people had not skhozhennyh. But the problems were serious, objective - noble and Ushba relented, empty. Even among the clouds appeared and waved us goodbye snow flag when we were leaving. But this is the end, but I still did not say anything about the beginning, which was no less interesting.

It all started in January this year, in Teberda, where we held an open Championship of Moscow on ice climbing. There, at the same table was a whole galaxy of famous "Ushbistov" - Edward Vikentievich Myslovsky - President of PAR, Bogdan Feodosevich Sodovsky who went traverse Ushba already in 1953, Vladimir Dmitrievich Kavunenko generously signing handwritten books, Vladimir Yanochkin, Vladimir G. Kolomytsev. There have been many stories and memories of past mountaineering exploits, among which the most interesting related to the conquest of Ushba. And boil in my soul righteous indignation - how is it used to go, friends, conquered, and now ?! Scary Swans stripped of all? Border somewhere passes? And that Ushba now only surreptitiously can walk from pograntsov nykayas and hiding from Svan - and they both can rob ?! And why not go in spite of all, in the open, so that everyone knows?

Back in Moscow, I decided that the idea is worth it to take her seriously. The initiative was immediately Support Mountaineering Association of Georgia, and then I started to solve a purely organizational problems. Firstly, it appears that such mountains as Ushba in Russia. So I was told by the Federal Border Service (FPS). Border runs along the Great Caucasus Range, Shhelda - Shchurovsky and Ushba, it turns out, all on the Georgian side. And you have nothing to do there, guys. Officially get permission to climb on the Russian side is almost impossible, since this is due to cross the Russian border. I originally planned to traverse Ushba with descent in Svaneti, but despite the overwhelming support (FAiS Moscow, AFD, State Committee), Russian Federal Border authorization has been received. As well as the prohibition.

At first, I wrote a letter to the head of the department of border controls Russian Federal Border Service, Lieutenant-General Alexander Konstantinovich Shaykina, and after a while got the answer: the question of crossing the Russian border group of Russian climbers is the checkpoint is not within the competence of the Federal Border Service of the Russian Federation. Pretty vague wording, simply put - evasion. Then there was a meeting of heads of pograndepartamentov Russia and Georgia, which, among other issues, the question of holding our expedition. And there was even reached a verbal agreement. Now I have written a letter to the FPS Director Colonel General Konstantin Totsky, who, I was told on the phone in his waiting room, has agreed to host our event. Soon I received an official response. The letter was again signed Shaykina, and its wording is almost no different from the previous one: the question of crossing the Russian border group of Russian climbers is the checkpoint is the sole responsibility of the Government of the Russian Federation. In short, the children to go to Putin (or away), and we do not expose your ass going.

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti Negotiations with FBS lasted for several months, until the day of departure of the team. As a result, we had to use a backup plan and go through Georgia. And I tell you, we have not lost anything. Quite the contrary.
Here we go

So, on July 25 the team of Moscow mountaineers international program "Sports Without Borders" left Moscow to Vladikavkaz. Until we got Vlad lossless. Even heavy hangover is not marred joy at the sight of snow-capped mountains on the horizon. In high spirits at the train station we took a taxi and an average speed of 50 km / h went to the checkpoint "Lars" (Kazbegi). As we approach the border mood was sour. The car stopped several times "people with striped sticks" and machine guns, only the official status of our team, to some extent guarded us from taxes. The apotheosis of the two or three kilometers to the border has become a barrier and booth with a window, which was a small place. There's traffic police officer (!) Collected 100 rubles each passing because their passports checked. As we said the driver, who was driving us - a mandatory procedure, without it, do not miss. In the window, on my request to issue a receipt to me unintelligible answer, from what I understand, that this "duty" is clearly not provided by the rules of crossing the border, and resolutely refused to pay. Next was the checkpoint and customs. Not to stand in the common queue (very long), we chipped in 50 rubles and stood in the "underworld" of all, which stood for 6 hours. Mess this move is going terrible and reigns over all feeling of powerlessness, helplessness in front of people, which the State has the power here, and to control this power could not. That turned chaos. Our. Native. Russian.

But we crossed the Georgian posts in 10 minutes. And without taxes. Love the motherland, your mother!

Probably is not necessary to go into a discussion about what the hell do I need this border, which has never been here ?! Why these bullying people who do not have nothing to do with politics, living in peace and friendship with their neighbors? It is unlikely that these questions will be answered by those who really has to do with it. Too important things they do, too serious questions solved. People that they - they run the country ...

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti in the village of Kazbegi we were greeted by our Georgian friends. I'm not going to repeat here what we have answered the question about the reasons for our delay, but the gala dinner in a warm and friendly atmosphere and subsequent placement in a most interesting museum climbing them. Ya Kazalikashvili drowned all the unpleasant experiences of the day.

Early the next morning, a crimson glow of dawn, at its top, we were greeted by Mkinvartsveri (Ice top) - Kazbek, the mountain on which two days later, together with the Georgian team, we made an acclimatization ascent trainer. All members of the Russian team for the first time rose to Kazbek - and all were very pleasant experience thanks to the weather, excellent condition of the route, friendly atmosphere. I want to note that the Georgian climbers maintained in good condition at the shelter Kazbek - former HMS. There comfortably decorated with a housing several rooms, a kitchen with a gas supply of food. In short, you are welcome! And everyone is welcome there, honestly. Successful ascent of Mount Kazbek allowed us to get acclimated enough to commit our main climbing Ushba.

And now it's time to move on to the most important part of our program - and Svaneti Ushba.

At five o'clock in the morning on August 3rd, two cars, we have the whole team (now the Russian-Georgian) departed from Tbilisi to Mestia. It took about 15 hours, and now from the observation platform on the slope we admire the panorama of the place and reigning over the village gloomy Ushboy.

I felt a strange feeling before this picture. On the one hand, together with the decrease of the moon was visible a clear trend towards worsening weather - and Ushba generally known for unstable weather conditions. On the other hand, I knew perfectly well what is at stake - it is not just climbing. We are expected to win - the right to fail, we do not have. Well, this game will be broke.

The first and most impressive of Svaneti - deserted. In small villages that we passed - not a soul in the place in the main square of the city - just a few onlookers staring at us - have not been here for such curiosities as we ...

It turned out that we can not leave the road the next morning - not all participants Svan team gathered in a place Afi Gigani riding on a donkey from a distant village and a bit delayed - and we decided to dedicate the next day exploring the local attractions and cultural activities. It was a day of surprises. We visited the museum of Michael Hergiani - great! No dust on the exhibits, everything works - light music. The museum is maintained in perfect condition - we got pleasure from his visit. Then there was a feast in the house Naso Hergiani - sisters Misha. Many warm words were said at this table about Russia, about mountain climbing, about Misha and about us. Mountains - this is the life of these people - heavy, full of hardship, and at the same time proud and independent. Here, he treasured the memory of the national hero Misha Hergiani, he lives here, as if it was not the 30 years ...

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti Well, we all gathered, now in the way. The day we rise to gulskih overnights, perform sad assignment given to us in a place - fasten a memorial plaque for the two guys crashed on Ushbe last year.
Just on that route on which we are going to go up ... then put the base camp. There will be a support group, beginners. A day here will rise Zaur Chartolani with a large group of young people Svan - they will alpiniada. Meanwhile, we went upstairs - where from time to time, in tears clouds briefly displayed a formidable bastion Ushba - a majestic sight, a very nice (for those who are not going there to climb ...).

Waking up in the morning, the first look I throw on the mountain - it is in place, in all its glory, illuminated by the rising sun. The sky is clear, only near the top of a small cloud swirls. By noon it will grow, will close the sky and begin to pour rain. Everyone understands that a few hours later the weather changed, and we'd better be higher at this time. Pretty quickly gaining 200 yards, turn the glacier and start to climb the rocks. Weather clearly spoiled. Trying to economize time, we go with Svan insurance (Go, Vano, I see you) - moreover, it is not a joke, but quite normal for Svan style of walking. But when it began to snow and rain, the group began to talk about the railing. Just then, and there was a dramatic episode, I described above.

On that day, we were able to climb up the long ridge of snow beneath the wall and put there the assault camp. In the morning, it was found that out of our tent from the snow sticks and rack edge opponent's tent. Ironically, the place chosen by us, it was exactly the place where a year ago have lost their tent guys. She remained on the ridge - its broken and covered with snow ... From the next day was treated wall provesheny railing. A day later, on the eve of proveshennym railing, we went on the "roof" Ushba, and a lobby system, and then went out on the ridge to the summit. Weather we are not spoiled, practically otsustvovala visibility, strong winds, a huge amount of snow is very difficult to work. At the top of the barrel so that we could not even deploy the flags of Russia and Georgia, who carried specifically for this. But the main problem is, nevertheless, was made - a group climbed to the top, where a plaque installed. Kudos to Volodya Yanochkinu courageously pierce two holes for bolts and threatened to strengthen spending the night on the cold rock a steel plate. Really did not want him, probably to drag her down ...

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti sun went down when we were at the top of the gully. "Well, it will have to spend the night" - thoughtfully suggested Afi Gigani. This idea did not inspire our team. There was a terrible wind and snow, significantly colder. Hanging overnight in such weather conditions at an altitude of 4500 - very, very dubious pleasure. Majority of the votes, we decided to continue to work in the dark, and fortunately, in the pockets of some individuals have found several squirrels Lantern TIKKA. This allowed us lucky find, though not fast, but still go down to the tents, so desirable for us in this hour.

Positive emotions from the assault left me very little, it seems that I can think of only one tolerable moment - is when, after 17 hours of continuous operation, at three o'clock in the night, in the dark, we went down to the high camp, where I got my clothes in warm dry sleeping bag and fell asleep - that's all the lyrics.

But the bottom we were met as heroes. The next day, again in the dark, by the light of lanterns, we went down to flatten out the glacier to the base camp at the bottom of shots rang out. We even decided to extinguish the lights, fearing that shoot at us. But the precaution was unnecessary. It was a salute. Then we gave flowers. Then there was a grand total base camp construction and triple "hurray" conquerors Ushba. Then a gala dinner, congratulations, impressions, stories. And then - a strong, deep sleep - so sleep alone on the grass after a long and difficult climb.

The next morning, a few hours we went down to the maser. There again - congratulations, toasts, wishes. Only a few hours later, we still managed to get away and go to a place where we have been waiting and worrying. And in the evening, in the concert hall space in a gala evening and a concert. Gathered a huge number of spectators, the hall was full of not just - not enough places, people were (and it's deserted at first place!). Were youth dance groups, national choir. Children read poems. And yet it was so closely linked with mountaineering, mountain-named Misha Hergiani that became clear - it is an integral part of the rich culture of this unique people, is the air breathed by these people, and there is still hotly and violently beating heart of the national the hero, the great climber Michael Hergiani. At the end of the festive evening all of us awarded commemorative medals and souvenirs head of government Svaneti Irakli Japaridze. Then he showed a film about the old Tiger rocks, and then, at the table, clinked glasses for a long time and says toast. In Svaneti was a holiday.

Caucasus, climbing Ushba from Svaneti So ended this journey. Of course, you realize that the main thing here was not climbing. Mountain - a symbol entourage. The main thing - is to communicate with people, recovery of lost connections, establish friendly relations. Svaneti - a beautiful, hospitable country, and I will be happy if our action will bring little benefit to these people, so friendly now needs help and support.

Airplane us point the finger and waving newspapers - indeed, our faces adorned the front pages. Just read failed, it was the Georgian!

On behalf of all members of the expedition, on behalf of the organizing committee of the "Sports Without Borders", I want to warmly thank all those without whose help and participation is unlikely to be held on our expedition.

This Beno Kashakashvili, Givi Kartvelishvili, EV Myslovsky, VN Shataev, YP Tinin, BF Sodovsky, Abramov, as well as all those who are at different stages of the project have provided invaluable assistance and support.

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.