The incomplete silk road
Recalled my memory of trans-central Asia journey in 2008, I feel very regard that I do not have a chance to visit Caucasus region. There were several reasons to stop me to visit those three countries. Firstly, there was a Russian invasion happened in Georgia, which seems not make any sense to visit Caucasus. Moreover, I entered Iran through Turkmenistan which may cause other visa issues. Therefore, I abandoned the idea in 2008.
However, the mountain of Caucasus region always call my name and I do keep thinking about to visit my top-list destination indeed. Therefore, I found a cheap airfare (170euro rounded), to do mountaineering in Georgia and Armenia (No Azerbaijan, where is expensive and less high mountains), for 30 days. The outcome is amazing and surprised indeed.
Mountaineering – Georgia and Armenia
In my perspective, Caucasus Mountain has several features to lead the rate of summit low.
- In the summer (JUN to AUG), is an Alps season. But, if you go to Georgia for this period, the average temperature will be 35 degree high….. And, all the snow maybe able to find upon 3000m, which mean you have no water, can find when you are approaching from the low level with heavy bag under the hot sun. This is very hard condition for alpinists.
- In May, we went to the mountains. But, I discover that the mountain is always have thunderstorm developed afternoon. And, I had three times experience that the thunderstorm just upon my head and tent. Very scared and threatened moment, especially solo alpinists. And, the lightning make early alpine start very difficult to process too
- The mountain range is super pretty because of remoteness and wilderness. However, the remoteness and wilderness really make other hassles condition for approaching the region and mountain too. Moreover, there is limited information from the region and the mountain information is always in Russian. Therefore, Well preparation can make the trip safe and increase the summit rate.
Anyway, we do summit two major peaks within 8 days trip. Then, I stay behind for 14 days to do some solo mountaineering. However, none of them get success due to the weather and avalanche condition. But, the wilderness of the mountain makes me peaceful…which is other experience in the region.
The culture of the region
Indeed, Georgian and Armenian people is the best people in the world. Everything I feel super safe in the city or in the mountain. Although I cannot speak Russian and Georgian, Everyone on the street is willing to help out. One day, I sit and read at the square, someone will buy me a free lunch and have chat with me. They all have very pure soul with helpful heart for everyone.
For food, is amazing and cheap. Maybe Georgia and Armenia was a silk road before. Some of food style is similar as Chinese food. By the way, the baker in Georgia is amazing. I cannot imagine that they can very tasty dessert and bread (salt and sweet both). I can say there is a heaven of food.
Georgian Dance : Video
By the way, the Georgian dance is breathtaking. Their ballet leg of the dance as fast as they are flying. If you have been the region, you should watch the dance.
Ushba (4690 m) is a beauty mountain; I can say it is a Matterhorn of Georgia. If I have a chance, I have to climb the peak.