Mountains of the other dimension
Guidebooks recommend the beginners to start their journey with the panoramic pass Dyshevtsek, situated to the left of well-known Bilag waterfalls. But in fact the Bilag valley is much narrower and steeper, and the narrow pass between two cliff s is 500 meters higher than it was described in guidebooks. Th e bottomland of the stream, that we were moving along, was converging and fi nally brought us to the cascade of impassable waterfalls. We decided to put off the searches of bypass till tomorrow morning and settle in for the night.
In the morning we examined the area. The best way was to climb a little higher and then move along the steep mountainside, clinging onto the cliff s, trees and bushes.
Yes, we had become estranged in our own Caucasia. Everything is more extensive here, than in Altai, never mind Ural and other mountainous areas. It may take the whole day to cross 3 km as you’ll have to overcome buffling descending, steep rise, and a couple of fast flowing rivers.
Everybody has to help each other, or the hospitality of Alania
The path to Kazatavtsek pass starts in the Dzinaga village. An elderly salesman of the only local shop hung a big padlock on the door and decided to accompany us to the pass.
– I’ll show you the way. Few tourists visit us now, they used to be more. Everybody has to help each other, have they?
Sardion river is a new obstacle. Fast turbid water flow brings stones and snags. We were walking along the bank, trying to find a suitable place for crossing the river. Then a man appeared on the other bank of the river. He waved his hands to us, disappeared and came back again, riding on horseback. It took Mukharbeck about 2 hours to carry us over the river one by one, and then he fed us with an excellent dinner. Happy and satiated, we crossed the Songutidona valley and went out to the Rodina pass. We passed over a beautiful waterfall hidden in the deep canyon, then a deep glacial lake. The world of ice and eternal snow was above us. We stayed overnight on the pass col. The altitude was 4000 meters over the sea level. It was unbelievable but a small lake covered with light ice was alongside. Fresh starry morning came and we went on with our not easy: 2,5 kilometres of steep slope without any flat places to have a rest, without any sources of water and with jeopard of rockslide. But, as the story goes, there's a silver lining to the cloud – approximately in 6 hours we were staying on the path, wich was coming down to the Tsej.
Going Karmadon paths
The Genaldon valley joining Kazbek and Vladikavkaz had been disfi gured by the glacier in September, 2002, which killed 140 people. The traffic hadn’t been restored yet, the tunnels had been blocked with mudflow, the road had been partly destroyed. The foot part of the root started in the Tmenikay village. The altitude here was 1700 over the sea level.
The first obstacle after the warm springs was a stormy river called Left Karmadon. There was no bridge, only some pieces of wood tied together laid on the bank. At last, not at the first dash we managed to throw the end of the woods on the other bank and cross the river. The Maili glaciers leaded us to the bottom of Kazbek. The situation here was changing all the time because the glacier was moving down. Our guide Sasha Zelenskiy, experienced in mountain-climbing, said, that each time we would have to search a new way up to the top of the mountain.
The whole next day we spent climbing up to 4100 meters. It was almost flat plateau covered with fresh snow and blown with the winds. There are some specially-equipped places for arranging tents, wind-proof walls made of stones. We had dinner and decided to get to the top at 4.00 AM. The alarm clock woke us up at 2.20. It was awfully cold, the wind was blowing and the snow was falling down. But you might see the stars, and the moon was illuminating the mountainsides!
The snowy top of Kazbek
First we were climbing over the stony mountainsides, then we put climbing-irons on and rase to the bottom of Spartak plateau covered with ice. We passed around Spartak plateau and started to climb to the pass between two Kazbek peaks. One-two, one-two, one-two… pause… One-two, one-two, one-two… On the right, we saw a group of alpinists going from the Georgian side. Soon our ways crossed: 4 Georgian energetically went past us. We should get over a gently sloping snowy ridge to get to the top. We were lucky: the snow was a little melted and we managed to make steps in it. 11.55 – the top! 5033 meters!
The top of Kazbek is a hill fully covered with snow. Th ere are no rocks, no pebbles, no even sticks seen from under snow. The view from the peak is also commonplace – there’s nothing but wadded clouds in half a kilometer below our route. Three Poles ascended to the top of Kazbek after us. They also came from the Georgian side. At the urgent request of our guide Sasha we abseiled bound up with each other. It was uncomfortable, a rope stretched and pulled down or simply didn’t let us go.
Snow became limp, it was much more difficult to continue our route but it was such a trifle in comparison with our triumph: everybody of eleven participants of that stage of the expedition climbed to Kazbek!
the leader of expedition
UMMC «Mountainuos Alania»