Adventures / Summit Fever

Climb Mount Kazbek (5054m)

Tackle the highest mountain in Eastern Georgia and trek one of the wildest routes in the Caucasus

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Trip Ref #9252

Adventures / Summit Fever

Climb Mount Kazbek (5054m)

Tackle the highest mountain in Eastern Georgia and trek one of the wildest routes in the Caucasus

DURATION

6 nights

LOCATION

Georgia

ANNUAL LEAVE

5 days off work

SEASON

Jun-Sep

GROUP SIZE

Up to 12 people

MEETING POINT

Tbilisi International Airport, Georgia

ACCOMMODATION

Mountain hut · Guesthouse · Hotel

DIFFICULTY

Tough

This route is not for the faint-hearted with steep ascents, glacier crossings and a final tough climb to the summit of this mammoth peak.

Climb the visually stunning Mt Kazbek – a dormant stratovolcano made from hardened lava

Trek through the wilderness and across the hiker’s paradise of the Kazbegi National Park

Follow a less-travelled route into the Caucasus, including steep ascents, glacier crossings and an epic final climb to the summit

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Daniel, September 2022

    Overall a fantastic trip with great guides. The ascent up Mount Kazbek is spectacular but not to be underestimated, given the high altitude and glaciated terrain! My group's ascent was unfortunately hampered by challenging weather conditions, but I had a great experience nonetheless. Most of the trip was spent staying at Altihut which is a very comfortable, though the night spent at Meteo hut is much more basic. It was great to spend some time in Tbilisi at the end of the trip, sampling some of its night-life and exploring the old town.

    Karina-Fabiola, July 2022

    Georgia is absolutely beautiful, their people (the guides were great and very helpful), their food, their mountains, I totally recommend this trip!!! Unfortunately a few of us in the trip didn't make it to the summit due to pretty harsh weather, but I would like to try to do it again soon. I personally found it harder than climbing Mont Blanc which I did about 2 years ago. Expect not to have a shower for about 6 days (until you get back to Stepantsminda) as there are no shower facilities at any of the 2 mountain huts (of course you can always use wet wipes to clean yourself but def. not showers). At Meteo Station expect super basic accomodation, only toilet outside in the cold a few metres away from the hut which was basically a whole in the ground, there is a tap to get water (very very cold) coming from the glacier to wash hands, drink, etc... there are no changing rooms or anything like that, so hardly any privacy (dorms/rooms were mix). The rooms are super small, there is hardly any space left to leave your backpacks and equipment, specially if you are in a group of around 6 - 8 people (we were 8). Although it was hard, I would def. like to go again and hopefully summit next time.

    Joel, September 2022

    Amazing trip to an amazing country. It’s a tough trip with weather playing a key role in the success but the guides were excellent by providing training and support to help you get to the top.

    Viola, July 2022

    Great trip overall. We didn't make it to the summit due to the weather. You don't see/learn a lot about Georgian culture or get in contact with locals, so if you're interested in that, you better extend your trip.

    Sam, July 2022

    Superbly organised trip, and the local guides were brilliant.

    Simon, July 2022

    Armenia is a wonderful experience of culture and landscape, everything was very smooth and enjoyable. Bagging the north peak of Mount Aragats was both challenging and fulfilling, an accomplishment to say the least. Our guide, Levon, was excellent in every way. He even spent his own time socializing with our group in the evenings. This experience has only added to my desire to go back!

    Rory, July 2022

    Amazing trip! Couldn’t recommend enough. The guides were great. However, don’t underestimate this trips toughness!

    Nick, August 2022

    Absolutely fantastic trip that was really made by the professionalism and friendliness of the guides. I’ll definitely be coming back to Georgia at some point in the future.

    Gerald, July 2022

    What an incredible way to experience a very under-rated part of the world; Georgia is absolutely stunning - sweeping mountain landscapes, fantastic food (maybe less so in the meteo station as others have mentioned) and a challenging climb to the top of Kazbek to cap it off! Our guides were top-class - we had Bekar, Gua and David who did a brilliant job. Our first summit attempt ended abortively after the weather soured, but we were fortunate to have been able to make a second attempt using our reserve day. If you're looking for a true intrepid expedition experience with lots of physical challenge in good company, this will definitely fit the bill.

    Jennifer, July 2022

    The trip of a lifetime - absolutely beautiful landscapes, a great group, incredibly experienced guides, and excellent organisation. A few words of advice for anyone embarking on the trip in future: - Food: would recommend making the most of the stop in Stepantsminda to stock up on snacks; worst case you can stock up at the Meteo Station but this is only advisable if (1) you are not allergic to Mars or Snickers bars and (2) you are willing to pay 10 GEL for said Mars or Snickers bars. Food in the huts is generally good although the vegetarian offering leaves something to be desired - Equipment: follow the packing list to the letter - e.g. make sure your gloves are heavy duty and your sunglasses are suitable for mountaineering. Day one meeting point is a well-stocked outdoors shop in case you’re missing anything - Fitness: the trip requires a decent level of fitness, endurance and sure-footedness (the terrain alternates between scree, icy glaciers, and snow) All in all a very memorable trip, and one that has inspired me to return to Georgia one day for round two!

    Included

    Guides

    English speaking, internationally-certified IFMGA mountain guides

    Accommodation

    4 nights in mountain refuges, 1 night in a guestouse and 1 night in a Tbilisi hotel

    Meals

    Munch on tasty food throughout

    Transfers

    To and from the airport and everything in-between

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Travel insurance

    Personal expenses

    Some equipment

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Tbilisi Airport or Your Host's Base in Tbilisi

    Any time before 08:00 (Airport) or at 08:30 (Host's Base) on Day 1

    Ends

    Tbilisi Airport

    Any time on Day 7

    Transfers

    You should plan to arrive at Tbilisi International Airport (TBS) before 08:00 on Day 1 (as there will be a briefing at the host's base at 08:30) and can depart at any time on Day 7. If you've supplied your arrival and departure details in advance, your host will provide free arrival and departure transfers to coincide with your flights.

    There are also plenty of taxis at the airport all day and night and the fair is a maximum £15/$20 for a car which fits four.

    If you want to arrive before Day 1 or depart after Day 7 - your host is able to arrange pre /post-trip accommodation on your behalf. See Optional Extras for details. If arriving early - you'll meet the group at the host's base in Tbilisi on Day 1 at 08:30.

    Travel options

    There is a direct flight between London Gatwick and Tbilisi with Georgia Airlines.

    Day 1

    Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2 – Day 4

    Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 5

    Guesthouse · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 6

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 7

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    Georgian cuisine is renowned for its mix of eastern and western flavours, aromas and colours and the food on this trip will be a delicious mix of local Kazbegi and national cuisine, often cooked using produce that's grown or reared by the guesthouse owners. It can be slightly spicy and consists mainly of meat, vegetables, cheese and fruit. There are, however, plenty of traditional dishes without meat so vegetarians can be well catered for. Lunches will be picnic style in the wilderness.

    If you have any special requests, let your host know in advance and they will do their best to accommodate them.

    What is the accommodation like?

    The Mountains

    You'll stay in two mountain refuges - the Altihut (3014m) and Meteo Station (3653m.) The Altihut is newly built and offers simple, clean and comfortable accommodation serving hearty Georgian meals. There is heating and running water but showers are not currently available. Meteo Station meanwhile is a basic high altitude hut from the Soviet time and there is no running water here. Both nights will be in mixed dorms.

    Stepantsminda

    You'll stay in a comfortable guesthouse in Stepantsminda (1882m) in a twin share room.

    Tbilisi

    You'll spend your final night in Georgia's capital city Tbilisi, in a twin room in a hotel close to the old town. The actual hotel will depend on availability but it will most likely be either the Old Metekhi or GTM Kapan, both of which are on Metekhi Rise with views over the river.

    If weather conditions prevent you from attempting the summit on Day 4, you will spend another night in Meteo station or the Altihut on Day 5 and return to Tbilisi on Day 6

    Upgrades

    For solo travellers looking for their own space it is possible to request a private room upgrade for the final night in Tblisi (subject to availability). See Optional Extras for prices.

    Day 1

    Hike to the Altihut (3014m)

    Hiking

    3hrs · 7km · 800m up

    Join your host at their HQ in Tbilisi for a full briefing and equipment check. If you need anything, including mountaineering helmets, B3 boots, crampons, walking poles, harnesses and carabiners, these can all be hired in advance through your host and collected at this point. Drive to Gergeti Trinity Church (2150m) and after a short but steep climb to the ridgeline, continue towards the Altihut, your home for the next few nights.

    Day 2

    Arsha Pass (3800m)

    Hiking

    4hrs · 6km · 800m up · 800m down

    Fuel up with a champion's breakfast and then test your legs and lungs with an acclimatising hike up to the Arsha Pass. Enjoy the views from the top over Sno Valley, the Chaukhi Mountains, Stepantsminda and the Truso Valley and then return to the Altihut for another comfortable night in the mountains.

    Day 3

    Betlemi Church (3930m)

    Hiking

    5hrs · 6km · 900m up · 300m down

    Continue acclimatizing as you head for one of the world's most unusual places of worship, the high altitude Betlemi Church, built at a whopping 3930 metres above sea level. Settle into your next mountain refuge, Meteo Station and prepare for the big day tomorrow.

    Day 4

    Summit day

    Hiking

    11hrs · 9km · 1400m up · 2040m down

    Rise before the sun and providing the weather is on your side, summit Mt. Kazbek (5054m). You’ll follow a tough route along narrow paths, over a snow and ice-covered mountain flank and through the middle of a glacier, ending in a final, challenging 100m climb to the top. Take a moment to catch your breath – both for the altitude and the incredible view and celebrate with your fellow hikers. The descent is arguably more challenging, but your guides will be on hand to help you every step of the way and the thought of a well-deserved beer back at the Altihut will give you the extra drive you need.

    (If weather conditions prevent you from attempting the summit today, you can relax, reserve your energy and prepare for an attempt tomorrow).

    Day 5

    Reserve day or descend to Stepantsminda

    Hiking

    4hrs · 16km · 100m up · 1130m down

    If yesterday’s summit was successful, you’ll descend to Stepantsminda and spend a day at leisure - you've earned it. From this lovely valley town, you can look up at the silhouette of the Gergeti Trinity Church where your adventure began and admire the towering snowy cone of Mt Kazbek. Explore the town, take a trek around the surrounding valleys and then celebrate over dinner with your new-found friends or just catch up on some much-needed sleep.

    Day 6

    Return to Tbilisi

    Head back to the city this morning. The physical adventure might be over but there’s still plenty to explore in the fortified town of Tbilisi, including the Narakali fortress that stands guard over the town, winding lanes, hidden bazaars, wine merchants, cafes and restaurants. As the sun sets, sit down with your team for the last supper of the expedition.

    Day 7

    Home to tell the tale

    Spend your last few hours absorbing the magic of Georgia and perhaps pick up a bottle of the legendary local wine before heading back to the airport in time for your flight home.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    What's available to hire?

    The following items are essential for this tour and are available to hire through your host - please request items in advance of your arrival in Tbilisi. However, if you prefer to bring your own equipment then that's fine too.

    • 35-litre backpack (Salewa)
    • Crampons (Petzl 10-point)
    • Ice axes
    • Climbing helmet (Salewa)
    • Harness
    • 2 x carabiners (1 locking, and 1 clip-in)
    • Mountaineering boots (Salewa Vultur Evo GTX, Sizes EU38-45 available)
    • ...(See Optional Extras for prices)

    What do I need to bring?

    BAGS

    • 65-70 litre rucksack to carry all your gear to Altihut
    • 35-litre lightweight day pack with ice-axe loops and rain cover - for beyond Altihut and summit day (easy to stuff in your main backpack when not in use)
    • Backpack rain cover
    • Drybags to line your rucksack/waterproof pouches for your passport and other valuables

    CLOTHES

    You'll experience a wide range of temperatures in the mountains, so we recommend packing layers that you can put on and take off to adjust your temperature. Temperatures at the summit at over 5,000m can reach -20°C: please bring suitable clothing and equipment (particularly for your extremeties).

    • Worn-in, waterproof, insulated mountaineering boots (these should be a stiff B2, or a B3 standard, compatible with crampons - check out our useful guide)
    • Warm fleece or mid-layer
    • 3-4 season down jacket with hood
    • Hiking trousers (including a pair of warm trousers for the summit)
    • Shorts
    • Waterproof hardshell jacket with hood (windproof, breathable, such as Gore-Tex)
    • Waterproof trousers or over-trousers (windproof, breathable, such as Gore-Tex)
    • Gaiters
    • Thermal bottoms (wool/merino or synthetic)
    • Long-sleeved thermal top (wool/merino or synthetic)
    • T-shirts
    • Warm hat/balaclava
    • Neck snood or buff
    • Wide brimmed sun hat/baseball cap
    • Gloves (pair of windproof lightweight gloves and a pair of insulated or over-gloves for summit day)
    • Trekking socks (some light/mid-weight wool/synthetic pairs, plus a pair of heavy duty mountaineering socks for the summit)
    • Trainers or sandals for guesthouses

    SLEEPING

    OTHER

    • Water bottle x 1-litre
    • 1.5 litre Thermos flask for summit day to prevent water from freezing
    • Headtorch (LED recommended)
    • Sunscreen and lip balm (high SPF, 50+)
    • Suitable UV blocking sunglasses (ideally wrap-around to avoid snow blindness)
    • Quick-dry towel
    • Toilet paper (for Meteo Station)
    • Personal toiletries
    • Earplugs
    • Trekking poles (foldable)
    • Energy/protein bars
    • Hand/toe warmer sachets
    • Camera
    • Mobile phone
    • Adaptor if you bring any electrical equipment for charging batteries and/or your phone (two pronged)
    • Personal medicine if required (please inform your guide in case of emergency)

    35L Backpack

    Payable Before Departure

    35L Backpack

    Per Person

    Carabiners

    Payable Before Departure

    Carabiners

    Per Person

    Climbing Harness

    Payable Before Departure

    Climbing Harness

    Per Person

    Climbing Helmet

    Payable Before Departure

    Climbing Helmet

    Per Person

    Crampons

    Payable Before Departure

    Crampons

    Per Person

    Gaiters

    Payable Before Departure

    Gaiters

    Per Person

    Ice Axe

    Payable Before Departure

    Ice Axe

    Per Person

    Kit Package 1: Boots, Harness, Crampons, Ice Axe, Carabiners

    Payable Before Departure

    Kit Package 1: Boots, Harness, Crampons, Ice Axe, Carabiners

    Per Person

    Kit Package 2: Harness, Crampons, Ice Axe, Carabiners

    Payable Before Departure

    Kit Package 2: Harness, Crampons, Ice Axe, Carabiners

    Per Person

    Mountaineering Boots

    Payable Before Departure

    Mountaineering Boots

    Per Person

    Trekking Poles (foldable)

    Payable Before Departure

    Trekking Poles (foldable)

    Per Person

    Additional Night in Tblisi - Single Room

    Payable Before Departure

    Additional Night in Tblisi - Single Room

    Per Night

    Additional Night in Tblisi - Twin / Double Room Room

    Payable Before Departure

    Additional Night in Tblisi - Twin / Double Room Room

    Per Night

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    What's the number?
    It works out on average at 254kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

    The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

    But what does the number mean?
    Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

    • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
    • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
    • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

    What are we doing about it?
    Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

    Want to know more?
    Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

    This trek is suitable for experienced hikers, although no previous technical mountaineering experience is required. You'll need to muster a high level of mental and physical strength to summit this 5054m peak, so a good level of fitness is required. This trek is suitable for those who exercise regularly and who have some recent prior experience of multi-day hiking, and ideally trekking at altitude. The summit day is a long and tough day involving approximately 11 hours of trekking and 1400m of ascent and 2040m of descent. You must come prepared for the cold on summit day, and with suitable equipment to deal with this. Although the route has been designed with acclimatisation in mind, the thin air at these altitudes will make this feel tougher. In terms of terrain, you will be walking on some narrow rocky trails and on snow and ice - crampons will be needed on multiple days of the trek. It's very important you bring or hire the correct equipment. You'll be roped up for the glacier traverse and the summit attempt for safety, as well as during any adverse weather. Your guide will provide some basic training on aspects such as the use of crampons, ice axes and walking in a rope team prior to the ascent.

    When you trek in the mountains, there's always the risk of getting altitude sickness, regardless of how old, young, fit or unfit you are. We would expect most trekkers to feel some mild symptoms of altitude sickness (headache, sleeplessness, heavy breathing) when over 3500m. Our guides are trained to identify the symptoms of altitude sickness so if any more serious symptoms are noted, there is a strict procedure regarding extra care or a rapid descent if needed. All of our trips have been designed with altitude best practice in mind so acclimatisation days have been built in.

    Your trip will be led by English-speaking internationally certified mountain guides to ensure your safety throughout. They will be assisted by 2 - 4 local guides depending on the size of your group. All of the guides are local residents of the Republic of Georgia.

    On this tour, there is a planned ‘summit day’ on Day 4, followed by a ‘reserve day’ on Day 5. Your guide will decide on which of these days to make your summit attempt based on the best weather window for doing so. Please note, however, that only one summit attempt is included in the price of the tour. It is common practice for guides in this region to charge an additional fee of €500 per guide (there is one guide for every three customers) for any additional summit attempts. An additional summit attempt will not be offered if your first attempt fails due to the physical abilities of your group. If however, your initial summit attempt is curtailed due to the weather closing in, and there is a brighter outlook for the reserve day, then it may be possible to make a second summit attempt (for an additional charge - paid locally to your guides).

    If everything goes according to plan and the weather is favourable on the planned summit day, you will descend as per the itinerary and enjoy some time in the beautiful village of Stepantsminda where you can explore the rich culture of Georgia.

    Mountain climates are notoriously unpredictable so it is essential to bring cold weather gear and layers to adjust your temperature as required. At low elevations the average daytime temperature from June to September is 20-25˚C, however, at 5000m the temperature will drop considerably. For every 1000m of ascent, the temperature can be expected to drop by approximately 6.5°C. From July to August the temperature at Base Camp is usually between 0°C and 10°C (although it's not unknown for it to fall to -10°C or colder). At the summit it's typically -10°C to -20°C (but in extreme conditions, it can be much colder).

    Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

    Any excess luggage can be safely left with your local host at the start of the trip. Any kit needed on the mountain will need to be packed into your main 65-70-litre rucksack, which will be carried to Altihut where it will be stored until your descent. Beyond Altihut and for summit day you will need to take only your 35-litre daypack. On summit day you can store any unnecessary equipment at Mateo Station and pick it up again on the way down - a 35-litre pack will be sufficient to carry your essentials for the push to the summit.

    We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

    For current advice about travelling in Georgia, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

    If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

    You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

    Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

    Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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