CLIMB KAZBEK & GEORGIAN CULTURE
SUMMITING KAZBEK & EXPERIENCING GEORGIAN CULTURE :: 13 days / 12 nights:: 3, 4, &5 Star Options Available
If you’ve got two weeks to spare, this is a great way to spend them! This adventure trip gives you the climbing experience of summiting Mt. Kazbek in Georgia, as well as the full cultural experience of touring this country’s beautiful land. This is the best of both worlds for those who are both adventurers as well as avid learners. Why choose between adventure & culture when you can have both on the Climb Kazbek & Georgian Culture tour?
DAY 1: ARRIVAL TO THE CAUCASUS
Welcome to Georgia (the country!)! We’ll pick you up at the Tbilisi international airport and transfer you to your preferred 3, 4, or 5-star hotel tonight in Tbilisi. Georgia’s capital comes alive in the evening so make sure to explore this evening while you have the chance!
DAY 2: TRANSFER TO STEPANTSMINDA
We’ll pick you up this morning from your hotel in Tbilisi, then take off for the scenic, 3-hour drive to Mount Kazbek, the 3rd highest mountain in Georgia. Your guide will brief you on the history of the Georgian people along the way, among whom you will be spending the next week. Upon completion of the breathtaking drive to the foot of Mount Kazbek at 5,700 ft (1,700 m) you will check into your hotel and enjoy some free time to explore the area and take in the views around you. You will meet with your guide today, rent any needed gear, and go over the plan for the next 6 days, and a successful Kazbek ascent!
DAY 3: ACCLIMATIZATION HIKE
Today you get to meet Mount Kazbek up close and personal. You will take a 20-minute drive up to the famous Gergeti Church with its incredible panoramic views of the Caucasus range and Kazbegi valley, and then start your ascent on foot to lower base camp at 10,170 ft (3,150 m). As riveting as you will find Kazbek itself, perhaps the surrounding Caucasus range, stretching into Russia and beyond is even more so. The hike today is 4 hrs. of ascent as well as doubling your elevation, not to mention the significantly colder weather.
DAY 4: BASE CAMP
You’ll continue up majestic Kazbek today to the upper basecamp at 3,650 meters elevation (12,000 feet). There’s a good chance that altitude sickness may start kicking in tonight, so don’t be surprised if it does, this is acclimatization doing its work on your body. After two straight days of big elevation changes & uphill treks, you’ll be ready for bed tonight after dinner!
DAY 5: ACCLIMATIZATION/TRAINING
Wake up with excitement today, as it is your final day before your Kazbek ascent. You’ll get acquainted with the first leg of the summit day climb, up to 4,100 meters, as well as do some necessary technical skills training with your guide: how to use an ice axe, getting used to your crampons, climbing with a rope, etc. Turn in early tonight, as an early wake-up call awaits for your epic summit day tomorrow!
DAY 6: SUMMIT DAY
It’s Summit Day! You have got a 12 to 14 hour climb ahead of you, and so will start your climb in the dark between 2:00 and 3:00 am. Team is a beautiful thing as you work together with your group up the mountain. The early morning hours of your climb is quite the surreal experience with a line of climbers ascending Kazbek, lit up by a highway of head lamps. Your climb will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination, with altitude sickness, extreme cold temperatures, and unpredictable weather all real possibilities, but it will all be worth it when you reach the top. Take in the view of the Caucasus Mountains arrange at the summit of 16,581 ft (5,054 m). Once you have a quick celebration of your success, prepare for your 5-6 hour descent back to base camp. Dinner never tasted better than it will tonight.
DAY 7: DESCENT/RESERVE DAY
Descent day! Gather your things and head back down to Kazbegi this morning. You’ll cover 16 km (10 miles) in 5-6 hrs. and then explore iconic Gergeti Church before the final transfer down to Stepantsminda. After 5 days on the mountain, you’ll be ready for a hot shower tonight. In case there was inclement weather on Day 6 (yesterday’s planned ascent), today will be your summit day up Kazbek.
DAY 8: EXTRA DAY
In case your group needed to use its reserve day and summit Kazbek on Day 7, today is your descent day back to Stepantsminda. If you successfully summited on Day 6, and descended Kazbek yesterday, then you have a free day today to explore the Kazbegi region: treks, exploring the local Caucasus markets, paragliding, 4-wheeling, etc. You’ll have a final tasty mountain dinner tonight, before heading back to the big city tomorrow for some cultural touring.
DAY 9: TRANSFER TO TELAVI & CULTURAL TOURING
Although you’re saying goodbye to Mt. Kazbek this morning, phase two of your trip begins today, as you explore Georgia’s wildly diverse culture and history, starting with Mtskheta, the spiritual center of Georgia. After lunch, you’ll head east to the Kakheti region, Georgia’s very own “wine country”, where you’ll spend the next two nights in Telavi.
DAY 10: KAKHETI & TELAVI TOURING
We like to call this part of Georgia the “Tuscany of the East” for its similar landscape and focus on wine. Speaking of wine, you’ll visit a wine cellar today and learn all about Georgia’s unique methods of wine-making, especially how they differ from European wines, both in taste and in the making process. Georgia’s unique clay vessels that store wine underground truly show its uniqueness in wine-making history and in the world today. Have you settled on a favorite Georgian food yet? Whether it’s the cheese bread (khachapuri), meat dumplings (khinkali), soup (kharcho), or something else, we’re sure Georgian cuisine will have landed in your favorite foods’ list by the end of your time here.
DAY 11: SIGHNAGHI & TBILISI
It’s your final day in the mountains and foothills of Georgia, as we visit Signaghi and have lunch with a Georgian family, experiencing their home and daily surroundings. After lunch, you’ll also visit the Nunnery of Bodbe, where Nino was buried, who brought Christianity to Georgia in the 4th century. Depending on your taste and mood, you may be excited to finally enter the big city of Tbilisi tonight (i.e. finally no more driving! 🙂 ), or you may be sad to leave Georgia’s incredible mountain landscapes behind. Regardless, Tbilisi is a fantastic place to finish your Georgia tour on, so make sure to maximize every minute of your time in this bustling capital city!
DAY 12: TBILISI TOURING
Can you believe it? It’s your final full day in Georgia! Enjoy it to the fullest with a guided city tour visiting some of Tbilisi’s most iconic spots: ancient churches, historic baths/saunas, an Old City that rivals any of Europe’s oldest cities, and more. Tbilisi has something for everyone, so you’re sure to be charmed in your time there. The city is quite hilly and so many of the views from restaurants are very memorable. You’ll have a celebration dinner with your guide this evening including a fun Georgian dance & folk show while you eat.
DAY 13: DEPARTURE
We’ll transfer you to the Tbilisi International Airport this morning for your flight home. We hope to see you again soon! Nakhvamdis! (Goodbye in Georgian)
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What you’ll experience on “Climb Kazbek & Georgian Culture” tour
- One summit attempt (any departure from base camp on summit day or reserve day is considered a summit attempt)
- All transportation, including airport transfers
- Meals in Tbilisi & Telavi: Half Board
- Meals in Stepantsminda: Full Board on Days 2,7-8
- Meals on Kazbek: Full Board for Classic & Affordable Luxury Options
- Lodging in Stepantsminda/Tbilisi- 7 nights in hotels/guest homes
- Lodging on Kazbek – 5 nights in tents for Economic and Classic options
- Lodging on Kazbek – 1 night in mountain shelter for Affordable Luxury option (Day 3 at Alti Hut), 4 nights in tents
- Group expedition equipment (ropes, nylon slings (sewn loops), ice screws, ice crevice extraction system, communications, first aid kit, etc.)
- Professional and experienced English-speaking mountain guides with IFMGA or GMGA certification
- 1:3 Guide-to-Client ratio
- English-language cultural excursions in Tbilisi & Telavi
- Extensive pre-trip planning, customization, & customer service
- Horse porterage for Personal Gear (15 kg (33 lbs)/person)
- International airfare
- Tourist visa on a per-country basis ***not required for most Western countries)
- Rental of personal climbing gear (see required gear list)
- Additional services requested at hotel (spa/banya, etc.)
- Additional summit attempt with guide
- Meals while on Kazbek: Must provide one’s own Freeze-dried food for economic option
- Meals in Tbilisi & Telavi: Half-Board
- Any change to the program that requires extra expense (any departure from the itinerary will be booked by you at your own expense)
- Additional beverages at meals (non-alcoholic and alcoholic)
- Personal Insurance for climber (***required: Kazbek, Georgia, Mountain Climbing, Extreme Sports)
- Tips for guides, drivers & meals
Items marked “Rental” are available for rent at Mount Kazbek.
- Climbing Backpack (25-30 liters)
- Head lamp (with extra batteries) – Rental
- Climbing harness – Rental
- 2 Nylon slings/runners
- 2 locking carabiners – Rental
- Ice axe – Rental
- Crampons – Rental
- D2 Mountaineering boots – Rental
- Trekking poles – Rental
- Sleeping bag (-10 deg C) – Rental
- Insulated water bottle/Thermos– Rental
- Hard shell jacket (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
- Expedition Parka (heavy insulated “puffy”)
- Light/Mid-weight insulated “puffy” jacket
- Fleece hoodie/pullover
- Synthetic base layer
- Synthetic t-shirts
- Hard shell pants
- Synthetic trekking pants
- Insulated pants (fleece sweatpants)
- Synthetic/wool thermal long underwear
- Synthetic/wool underwear
Hands and Feet:
- Synthetic/wool hiking socks
- Synthetic/wool expedition weight socks
- Hiking boots/shoes
- Heavyweight gloves
- Mid/lightweight gloves
- Expedition weight mittens – Rental
- Helmet – Rental
- Sunglasses (100% UV protection)
- Personal first-aid kit
- Prescription meds (inhaler, EpiPen, etc.)
- Personal toiletries & sunscreen
- Gas Cooker (for boiling water & cooking freeze-dried food) – Rental
CLIMB KAZBEK & GEORGIAN CULTURE PRICING
|Tour Level||2 People||3-4 People||5-6 People|
Classic / Mid-range
*As a US based company, all prices are in US Dollars, per person. We accept payment in US dollars at the exchange rate in affect at the time of payment. Refer to our Payment Options document for further details on various methods of payment.
*Economic Pricing includes: 3-star hotels/guest homes in all locations, tents on Kazbek, and providing your own freeze-dried food for Days 3-7 on Kazbek.
*Classic Pricing includes: 4-star hotels in Tbilisi & Telavi, 3+ star hotel in Stepantsminda, tents on Kazbek, and meals included in mountain huts/at base camp.
*Affordable Luxury Pricing includes: 5-star hotels in Tbilisi & Telavi, 4-star hotel in Stepantsminda, hut lodging on Day 3 at Kazbek (i.e. Alti Hut), tent lodging Days 4-7, and meals included in mountain huts/at base camp.
*For single rooms, a single supplement fee will be applied.
*Contact us for larger group pricing.