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Shkhara from the North (Crab)

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.
Climbing Shkhara, Bezengi (5a Russian grade). Season: July - October (Best time - end of July - 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 Russia, Classics of Bezengi - climbing Shkhara" - by well known route, accompanied by experienced guides. This will significantly increase the probability of success and safety of your climbing in Bezengi region.

Approach to this route requires getting the border pass.
The route starts from the camp Bezengi. After crossing the moraine, go down into the clearing beneath the glacier (where you probably will be stopped to check documents). Along the lower path move towards the glacier. The trail goes on the left side of the glacier (the direction of moving) along mud piles. About an hour later the path (marked by cairns) turns sharply to the right to get the body of the glacier (N 43⁰05.701 'E 043⁰07.226'). Go up along the glacier 2.5 - 3 hours until you see on your traverse a large yellow stain on the left moraine (N 43⁰03.186 'E 043⁰04.039'). Here you must turn to the left, to get around the crevasses and get on the path going to the waterfall. The trail goes over the waterfall and then serpentine uphill to the left.
e about 1.5-2 hours on the trail toward the hut Jangi Kosh hut - the trail goes along the crest of the moraine and is clearly visible at any time. Overnight at the Jangi Kosh hut, or you can use one of the many equipped tents sites. Distance from the "Bezengi" camp - 6-8 hours.

Start from the hut early in the morning, for passing the dangerous area of the glacier before the sun begins to warm the snow. Cross the glacier in the direction of the glacier flowing from the North-East Buttress of Shkhara. Neither route nor trail can be expected in this area  - you should move quickly and accurately as possible - there is a good chancew of collapse of ice from above and avalanches. Ascending you should carefully seek the best pass over the wide crevasses - usually the middle part of the glacier is more secure.
At the top of the glacier to go to the left, climbing some quite steep ice steps (belay using the ice axe or snow stakes) reach the wide area  - so called "Pillow of Shkhara" - Here is the place for overnight camp. Distance from the Jangi Kosh Hut - approximately 5-7 hours.
After spending the night move towards the steep ice slope which goes to the base of the North East Ridge of Shkhara. Steep ice slope just in front of the Camp, climbing is not difficult, but requires careful belaying - ice screws or slings on the rocks on the right. The length of the steep section is approximately 300 meters. After reaching the long crest, follow its edge until the obvious extension at the foot of the Eastern Shkhara. Especially carefully climb the parts where the crest becomes very narrow - belaying here is virtually impossible. Overnight on the bridge at the Crest where begins East Shkhara Summit Dome. Distance from the "Pillow of Shkhara" approximately 5-7 hours.

From this camp continue climbing the steep ridge with snow carnices to the top of Eastern Shkhara - htat is about 2 hours (depending on the conditions of the ridge). From the East Shkhara Summit to the top of the Main Shkhara it is about two more hours of quite accurate ridge climbing. There are snow cornices, you should move very carefully. Belay using ice screws and iceaxes.
Descend the same route, with an overnight stay on the "Pillow of Shkhara" - it takes 2 days to the Bezengi camp.

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.