Reaching the Kazbegi summit at 5033m after jumping into a crevasse (August 2023)

We left Thor in Batumi and drove with Rosinante to Arsha to do some rock climbing (more in the next post).

After a couple of days Julip joined us. We had been in touch since I had met them in Turkey some months ago and we made the plan to climb the Kazbegi. The third highest mountain in Europe with a 5033 meters high summit!

The experience levels of us four were very different when it came to real mountaineering and none of us went higher than 3500 meters before. So we made the plan: parking near the Gargeti Trinity Church at 2100 meters, go up to the Bethlemi Hut at 3650 meters, sleep one night there, practice some rescue actions the next day at around 4000 meters and acclimate to the height, go back to the hut for another night and go for the summit very early the next day.

For me it was my first tour with crampons, ice axe, rope and all this stuff. I loved it!

This tour was absolutely amazing!

All of us had big backpacks with around eighteen kilos but the first part to the Bethlemi Hut went super good. Close to the Bethlemi Hut we had to pass the first glacier. I loved to put on the crampons and walk with them on this massive glacier. Water was rushing beneath the ice crust and sometimes above it and it was awesome to see the summit all the time.

At the Bethlemi Hut Julip built up their tent and Cindy and I put our stuff in the room we had rented. For dinner we had the food we had prepared in advance and the next day we went for proper mountaineering!

Racki and I did not catch a lot of sleep because from one o’clock on, another group of people sleeping in our room was preparing their start to the summit. But we were excited and decided to explore the path which would lead us to the summit the next day and to train rescue procedures at about 4000 meters.

We passed huge fields of rocks and when we reached the ice fields we put on the crampons, made our ice axes ready and attached us to one rope. We were walking close to the enormous cliff of the glacier. Because of the melting ice there were frequently rocks falling down the cliff and rolling towards us. Some were small but others were huge and exploding into several parts when hitting the wall or the ground. None came close to our path. But nevertheless it was a crazy experience because mostly I heard some ice cracking, turned my head to the cliff and saw the rocks flying.

After jumping over some smaller crevasses we reached about 4000 meters and looked for a nice big and deep crevasse to jump in and practice some rescue procedures. When it was my turn to jump into the crevasse, I hesitated. I checked the rope attached to my harness. And hesitated again. Rock climbing got me pretty much used to the harness and the rope and some falling. But the idea of jumping into a deep crack in the ice of an enormous glacier felt very different to me. But once I jumped, it was pretty comfortable and a nice experience.

After we finished our practice, we started our way back to the hut and after just a couple of meters one leg of the second of our group broke through the snow and ice and he got stuck. Just a second later the same happened to me. It was super easy to get going again but a nice finish of our practice.

Back at the hut we had dinner and went to bed early but Cindy and I could not sleep because it was always so noisy in the hut, in our room, and outside there was a group of puppies crying all night.

At about one o’clock we got up and prepared for our ascent to the summit and had some breakfast!

It was cold and dark. We put on all the layers of clothes we had and started. I was excited, high on expectations and felt absolutely adventurous.

We took the same path we had taken the day before and it turned out to be very comfortable to have taken it before. In the dark the enormous cliff of the glacier was invisible but the cracking sounds were much more present in the dark. Although they were less frequent because of the lower temperatures.

After overtaking two other groups, we passed our practice spot and continued. It was so magnificent and awesome! Attached to the rope we went up and up and had a good rhythm that was comfortable for everyone.

Cindy and I got cold feet and hands but it was all ok. The path got steeper and steeper and when the sun made it over the first mountains surrounding us, the view got absolutely astonishing.

After hours of climbing, we reached the plateau right in front of the summit. The path from there to the summit looked impressive and steep. After a short rest, we pushed on!

We used our ice axes to not lose grip and pushed on and on. When we were about one hundred meters away from our goal, the sun rose over the summit and her warm and bright light illuminated the snow. There we were standing. Together, attached to one another, alone as a group on the steep slope, standing on ice with our crampons and ice axes, tears in our eyes. Overwhelmed by the effort, the adventure, joy and love. This moment! I’ll never forget it. And I’m so happy to have experienced it with my lovely Racki and our good friends.

On the summit, at 5033 meters, we had a magnificent view! On top of the world, I’d say. And after congratulating each other, out of nowhere Lip started to make a marriage proposal to Ju. It was so beautiful and heartwarming! And we didn’t know that he was going for it.

What an experience!

After a couple of more minutes, we started to go down again. On the way my guts started to feel not good and a heavy diarrhea started. Not the best place for something like that. But it could have been worse if it had started before reaching the summit. On the way to the hut, we passed some other groups and it all went well. At the hut , Cindy and I decided to continue our way down because we did not want to spend another sleepless night and I was not looking forward to going through my diarrhea on the only improvised outhouse toilet for dozens of people.

After reaching Rosinante, Cindy and I were exhausted and tired. We felt like zombies but made it for some groceries and went back to our camp spot in Arsha.

This experience. We all did so well and the connection and communication between us during this whole adventure was so amazing and positive . It was awesome!

Here is our tour on Komoot: day one, day two, day three