Central Caucasus

Mount Elbrus  Caucasus   Accommodation   Access   Facilities   Useful Contacts   Home

Shkhara Map

Shkhara from Ushguli (south)Shkhara from Ushguli (south)
Diagram: Normal Route
Shkhara from northShkhara (on right) from the Zanner Pass

Shkhara, 5201m.
The second highest summit in the Caucasus lies on the Main Caucasian Ridge overlooking the Bezingi Glacier to the north and the remote Ushguli village in Georgia to the south. It's ascent in 1888 by Almer, Cockin and Roth, was a great mountaineering achievement at the time. Their ascent route by the NE Ridge, graded 4b, is the most commonly used ascent and descent route. It finds one of the easier ways up the extensive and awe-inspiring Bezingi Wall starting from the Austrian Bivouac Hut in the Bezingi Glacier Basin. The ridge is gained from the right by crevassed snow-slopes to a level area just right of and below the point where the ridge becomes more defined (bivouac site). Now the ridge is followed on snow and ice up to the main NE Ridge of Shkhara which is followed over the East Top, 5050m, to the main summit. There is a good bivouac site below the East Top some 10 to 14 hours from the Austrian Hut, from this bivouac allow 3-4 hours to the main summit.

The ascent of Shkhara is actually easiest from the south, starting from Ushguli Village in Svanetia, however this has, till recently, been a rather inaccessible location so the mountain has been seldom climbed from this side in recent years.

Enlarge Map

ALW 5/06/13