The lovely Adir-Su valley develops to the north, almost parallel to the Adil-Su valley, in the southern basin of Baksan, comes to the north to Ullutau and Dzhajly camps 10 km after.
It penetrates the heart of the Greater Caucasus and leads to the great massifs of Mt. Ullutau (4,207 m), the western slopes of Mt. Adir-Su and to Mt. Cheget-Tau (4,102 m), which is connected to Mt. Gumachi (Adil-Su) to the west by a splendid snow-capped crest.
A sort of canyon about 300 meters wide lies between the Baksan and Adir-Su valleys. In order to cross over it, a cable railway able to carry vehicles has been built. Before undertaking the trip to Adir-Su, make sure that this telpherage is operating. The road about twelve kilometres long to the Dzhajlyk camp and the higher Ullutau camp is in poor condition and can be used only by off-road vehicles. The giant of the valley is the highly impressive Mt. Ullutau. On the top of the massif of snow and ice that runs almost horizontally at 4,200 m above sea level, three peaks stand out: the Western, Central and Eastern. The northern walls of Mt. Ullutau, consisting of 800 meter-high slides with rocky bastions, are considered extremely interesting sites for winter mountain climbing.
The 1989 Russian Winter Alpinist Championship was held here. The Eastern peak, conquered in 1903 by E. Rollestom, would be easy to reach by way of the route that goes through Garvash pass; but because of the danger of avalanches along the path to the pass and the length of the route itself, which makes it impossible to cover in one day, it is better not to take this route. The Mestiyskiy, Garvash and Koyavgan passes, which from the Adir-Su valley look onto the southern side of the Caucasus, offer a magnificent site for both winter and summer skiing. The most interesting routes from a skiing and alpinist standpoint are the climb up Mt. Mes-tiya through Mestiyskiy pass (3-4 hours from the refuge) and the crossing of the Adir-Su valley to the Adil-Su valley through the Gumachi or Koyavgan pass.
From the Adir-Su valley the little Kulumkol valley from camp Dzhajlik branches off to the east, leading to the northern slopes of the summit of Adir-Su (4,370 m), which has still not been climbed, as well as to Mt. Tiutiu-Bashi (4,460 m), Mt. Chegem (4,461 m), Mt. Ozernaya (4,081 m) and Mt. Dzhajlyk (the Summer Grazing Peak, 4,533 m), which is the most beautiful mountain m the valley; its western face, a jagged monolith rock tower rising up in centre of Adir-Su range drops down to west with vertical rock faces, inviting to climb (V. Lee route, 5B) rather difficult but lovely routes.
The climb up Mt. Ozernaya by way of the Lunomsu glacier north of the mountain, is on the other hand easy and can be negotiated in both summer and winter (IB rating - 4 hours for the ascent, 2 for the descent). Rope, crampons and an ice axe are necessary. The beauty of the countryside is impressive indeed: the small bivouac on the left side of the valley is called the Paradise Bivouac.
The Route up Mt. Adir-Su (4,370 m, 3B)
The usual route up Adir-Su was opened by J.G. Cockin and G. Wooley on the north-western ridge (3B). It is fairly easy to get to the summit with its extraordinary panorama that dominates the entire Bezengi and Adir-Su regions. Starting from the Ullutau camp, take the path up the valley, facing the impressive Ullutau massif, from whose hanging glaciers masses of ice break off from time to time with a great din. The route turns east, where large flowery pastures with sheep open up. The path then continues along the moraine and climbs up the Adir-Su glacier, at the centre of which there is a sort of rocky island with a green plateau where the Mestiyskaya refuge was built (3-4 hours). This is the starting point for the climbs up Mt. Adir-Su and for some routes up Mt. Ullutau as well. From the refuge, cross the glacier towards the base of the north-western ridge of Adir-Su, which has snowy and rocky terrain. The ridge leads to the summit, with rock passages that require protective pitons (2-3 hours). Rope, pitons, crampons and an ice axe are necessary. The same route is used for the descent (3 hours).
Mt. Ullu-tau (4207) group. North face.The North face of Ullu-Tau (4207 m) massif, poured by ice together with rock bastions frozen in, with 800 meters high is dominated all over the Adir-Su valley. It is a long, jagged crest between Mestiyskiy pass to the east and Garvash pass to the west that culminates in three main peaks - Eastern (4058 m), Central (4207 m) and Western (4203 m). This face plunges in long ice "chutes" towards the valley. It has rather difficult and interesting routes that can be taken in any season, because the risk of avalanches is rather low. The most famous and prestigious route was opened by V. Abalakov right in the centre of the North face. The descent along the ridge is dangerous, as it is extremely long, thin and filled with cornices: climbers usually prefer to avoid it by descending along the ascent route. The starting point for the climb up Mt. Ullu-Tau are Dzhaylyk or Ullu-tau camps. For well trained and well-equipped rope team almost all the routes can be done in one day from base to base.
To be continued...
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