Have you already decided to conquer the peak? Now you must decide which season is the best for it and what is necessary to climb the mountain successfully. Unlike some more difficult mountains, you don't need any special skills or experience to climb Mt. Kazbek. If you are a beginner and you are fit or you like walking in the mountains, then with the help of a professional guide you will succeed.
What is fitness?
It means that you must be able to move 6-8 hours a day with your backpack for 5 days. On the day of ascending you will need to walk 12-14 hours, though in your backpack you must have only equipment and water.
What should I do for fitness?
We advise running 3-4 times a week as far as you can, ride a bike and walk a lot. You must inform the guide if you have any chronic diseases such as asthma or cardio disease. It will mean you won't be able to climb the mountain. Acclimatization is important to climb the mountain. For this one day and night is enough, but sometimes when the members move up 4700m or higher, they get a headache, though after some time it usually passes. Sometimes members take some pills for acclimatization which can also help. The best way for acclimatization is a one day walk and being active when you are in the base camp.
How many days does the expedition last?
Usually to go up Mt. Kazbek takes 5 days (going from village Stepantsminda and coming back to Stepantsminda):
Day 1- going from the village to the base camp.
Day 2 - acclimatization and training day.
Day 3 - the day of the peak
Day 4 - an extra day in case of bad weather.
Day 5 - the day of descending.
What will the weather be like during the expedition?
It's impossible to predict the weather, because in spite of the forecast given by the weather bureau when you climb the mountain the situation is a little different. So, for the beginners, we can choose the summer season, because it's not so cold then. We plan our tours for the whole year and you can join the planned expeditions or you can choose date and time. Expeditions start by going from Tbilisi to Kazbek. After a 3-hour journey when you pass Gudauri and Cross Pass, we arrive in the village Stepantsminda.
From Stepantsminda our tour starts. Before going out we always check the equipment of our group members or rent some if needed. Before the beginning, the guide gives information about the details of the tour. After staying the night in Stepantsminda we move to Sameba (Trinity) monastery and then to the base camp, setting off at 7 am. You will see the oldest and the most beautiful Sameba Monastery, which is at 2300m above sea level. The monastery is 30 minutes’ walk from Stepantsminda and from there we travel to the base camp.
The base camp is 3700m above sea level and takes 6-7 hours to get there. We set off slowly with some breaks. The longest break will be after approximately 3 - 5 hours, when we move from the track to the peak - the half-hour lunch break. After lunch, we walk to Sabertse.
Sometimes groups get tired or want a more gentle tour and so choose to stay the night at Sabertse. This adds an extra day to the tour. Generally, we move on from Sabertse (3000m) and after 1-1.5 hours walk, we come to the glacier. After that, we move up the 30- degree rise, which, after a few hundred meters becomes less steep. On the ice-stream crampons and rope are not usually necessary, however, when it's wet weather or the ice is slippery we use crampons.
At this section of the mountain, a rope is not needed because the path bypasses the crevices. Sabertse to base camp typically takes 2 hours. At the end of the ice-stream, we rest before the last rise, which is 35 degrees steep and not pleasant. After 20-30 minutes we enter the base camp. The base camp is a building is called "Bethlehem Hut"(cabin). It is a former meteorological station building that was built in the 1930s and was used as the meteorological station during the Soviet period.
Today it is privately owned and is the shelter for mountaineers and guests. In the camp, it's possible to stay inside the building as well as in a tent. Near the meteorological station, there are always about a hundred tents. Cafe "Mkinvartsveri" is on the first floor. It has been there since 2019. Here you can have tasty, high-quality meals and also alcoholic as well as nonalcoholic drinks. The staff of the cafe is always friendly and hospitable.
The temperature in the base camp is typically from +3°C to +10°C during July and August, though the temperature can go down to -8°C degrees. We usually get to the base camp around 3-4 pm and after the guests settle, they can have a rest, enjoy beautiful views and take pictures. In the evening after dinner, the guides hold a briefing when they inform you about the plans for the next day. Also, the guides will assess physical fitness and readiness for the great tour.