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North Ushba

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, Georgia, Svanetia.
Climbing North Ushba by North East ridge, classic route (4a Russian grade). Season: June - September (Best time - 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 Georgia Svanetia, climbing North Ushba" - by well known route, accompanied by experienced guides. This will significantly increase the probability of success and safety of your climbing in Svanetia.

From the Svanetian Capital Mestia by a car you can get to Mazeri village. Go further by good dirt road up the valley of Dolra river to its confluence with the river flowing from the Ushba glacier. Climb the well-visible trail on the left side of the gorge, leaving the waterfall on your right. In the village, you can hire a horse - it will facilitate carrying of the cargo, but horses can reach only to the foot of the trail leading to the upper level of the valley of waterfall. Go over the waterfall river ford (in the morning the water in the river is much lower than in the evening), and continue moving towards the glacier. You can spend this night at the foot of the glacier (a lot of well protected camping sites, the distance from Mazeri village - 4-5 hours), or you can climb futher to the "Hunting Bivouac" - it's about another 2 hour  - this option will reduce the distance that must be overcame on the next day. Early start from this camping is recommended, as the top part of the glacier, overlooking Ushba pass is dangerous - possible snow avalanches and rockfalls from the Shkhelda massif. Climbing roped, keeping to the left side (in the direction of motion) of the glacier. Many technically complicated sections, seracs and crevasses. At the top of the glacier, carefully pass the specially crevassed central part of the glacier, clinging to the rocks of South Shkhelda - careful, possible rockfall. Passing this site should be done as fast as possible. The distance from the "Hunting Bivouac" to the Saddle of Ushba Pass - 4-6 hours. Futher continue the way towards the central part of the Ushba plateau - very carefully, many crevasses! The last camp on the Ushba route can be set under the big serac in the center of Ushba plateau, or you can set it at the foot of the Little Ushba.

The following morning start climbing the slope of the glacier in the direction of "Ushba Pillow" - the typical snow step adjacent to the slope of the North Ushba. Coming to the bergshrund, turn right and traverse the slope until the good snow bridge in the right-most visible part of the "Ushba pillow."  Climbing over the bergshrund continue up by steep (40-45 °, belay on the icescrews) snow/ice slope to get to the gently sloping upper part of the "Ushba Pillow" (1-1.5 hours from the camp on the Ushba plateau). Then by flan snow top of the Pillow move in the direction of the Nastenko rocks - obvious rock island below the main rock ridge. Climbing the rocks can be complicated by presence of hard ice (50 - 100 meters, 45-50°). Further, by easy rocks (I-II, 50-60°) climb up to the base of the "Snow Board of Ushba" - steep snow slope on the north side of the top of the dome of North Ushba. Good belay points on a rocky block. Further, climb up the moderate slope of "Snow Board" (300 meters, 30-45°) and get the rocky islands at the base of the summit ridge (belay on the icescrews and using the iceaxe). Good belay on the rocks, using the sling. Be careful with old rappel slings. Then climb along the jagged ridge with dangerous snow cornices, until you get to the Summit of Ushba. Must be very careful on the crest - there is very poor or no belay at all. Technically, the crest is not difficult, only in one place it becomes somehow hard - on rock bridge in the middle of the ridge (only 4-5 m of traverse, belay on pitons). The Summit cairn can be found on the opposite side for Ushba Summit snow dome, on the side of the Saddle of Ushba. The average time of ascent from the Plateau camp to the Summit of Ushba - 6-8 hours.

The descent the same way. Descent to the valley - on the day after Summit day. If the group is In normal physical condition, the descent is possible in one day to Mazeri village.


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.