The green valley marked out by the Adil-Su river, surrounded by a series of tall snow-capped
pyramids, opens out south of the town of Elbrus.
An asphalt road rises gradually for six kilometres up to the Dzhantugan alpine base, from which one gains access,
to the Southwest, to the bivouacs on the Kashkatash glacier and, to the Southeast, to the Dzhantuganskoe plateau. An hour's walk on the moraine, going up the Kashkatash gorge, takes you to the Ryxhikh Skal (Red Rocks) bivouac, which is the starting point for the routes up Mt. Germogenova (3,993 m). Another hour's walk on the glacier and you. reach the upper part of Kashkatash, which is closed oft to the Southeast by the impressive Mt. Ullu-Kara (Great Black Mountain, 4,302 m), Volnaya Ispania (Free Spain) Peak (4,200 m), and Mt. Bzhedukh (4,270 m), where there are beautiful snow and ice routes. Between Mt. Ullu-Kara and Volnaya tspania is the Kashkatash pass, which leads to the Lekzyr to glacier in Svanetia.
It takes one hour trekking along the moraine of Kashkatash glacier, which overhanging Dgan-tugan camp, to get "Ryzhie skaly" ("Red stones") bivouac, where easy the route comes on Germagenov peak (3993 m) (2B) by West crest. One hour trekking more by glacier and left side of icefall, and we get to upper platuae Kashkatash, formed by West face of Ulukara (4302 m) (6A route), Free Spain peak (4200 m) (5B routes) and Bzhedukh (42780 m) (3B route) arround. Here for climbing could be recommended Volnaya (Free) Spain peak (4200 m) - which is small rock pyramid, standing on icy pedestal. Four routes of 5 B difficulties could be chosen for experienced climbers and takes for climbing up and down one day long with bivouac on Kashkatash plateau.
Volnaya (Free) Spain peak.
"Zelionaya gostinitsa" ("Green hotel") place.
It takes only one hour of easy trekking up from the base of Dzhan-Tugan camp to the east along Adil-Su valley, where you can reach the vast and green plateau populated by a lot of sheep; here, next to the lovely lake, is the Zelionaya Gostinnitsa (Green Hotel) bivouac with two huts for 5-7 persons each.
This plateau is dominated by the various mountains arround: from easy, splendid for spring ski-tour, snow slopes of Gumachi (3805 m) (1B) (Cloth-covered Mountain, 3.800 m) and the peaks of Mt. Via-tau, middle difficulty - white pyramid of
Djantugan (2A-3B routes)
and high class steep ice North-east face of Ulukara (5A) and rock tower of Bashkara (4241 m) North face (6A routes).
The easiest and classical route is made on Gumachi peak. In April and may it is possible to make ski tour ascent with following descent also by ski. The way is coming upon glacier in right part (with moving up), turning small ice fall. But from the slopes of Dzhan-Tugan Plateau some times there are ice and stones fall - no need to come too near. With the time being, to July and especially to august, all snow, covered the glacier is melted and it takes a lot of time to find way in crevasses labyrinth. Rope, crampons and ice screws are necessary to be use for protection. The route is coming through the border of Dzhan-Tugan plateau and then by easy rock to the top. It is good view around from this point with all Caucasus like in the palm.
In spring the splendid Zelionaya Gostinnitsa plateau, which faces the Adir-Su river valley through Gumachi pass and the Dzhantuganskoe plateau through Lozhniy Gumachi (False Gumachi) pass, is an ideal area for alpine skiing, while the northern slopes of Mt. Dzhantugan are considered among the loveliest and most interesting for extreme skiing.
The Route up Mt. Gumachi (3,805 m, I B)
This is an easy climb in a splendid setting that is often done in the winter with skis and in the summer as a training route before tackling the climb up Mt. Elbrus. Start from the Dzhan-Tugan camp,
taking the path along the ancient moraine up to the Zelionaya Gostinnitsa refuge.
Then go to the Dzhan-Kuat glacier - which is articulated in three wide ledges and three small plateau - crossing it on the right-hand side without getting too close to the eastern slope of Mt. Dzhantugan so as to avoid the danger of ice and snow slides.
Often in summer, especially in July and August, the snow that usually covers the ice has melted and finding your way through the crevasses may take quite some time. In summer you need rope, crampons and ice screws. In spring the entire route can be covered by siding up to the Lozhniy Gumachi pass (3-4 hours). A flat area makes helicopter landing possible for those who like to ski pulled by helicopters. From Lozhniy Gumachi pass you can go up the easily negotiable ridge that leads to the summit of Mt. Gumachi. The view of Mt. Elbrus and the mountains of Svanetia is breathtaking.
Ski-tour, ski-alpinism, ski-extreme, heli-skiing...
All photos are Copyrighted and could not be reproduced without written permission.