|42.69738°N / 44.51505°E
|Aug 30, 2016
|Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Kazbek is an easy mountain and a perfect destination for a short trip or for beginners. Just book a flight to Georgia (like I did in August 2016), take a bus from Tiflis to Stepantsminda and start walking in town or from the monestary which can be reached by a 4WD taxi. Even without an agency it was not too hard to get a horse for transporting some gear to the Bethlemi Hut at 3600m, a former meteo station. There is a nice campsite at ~3000m to split the approach and get some acclimatisation.
The normal route from the hut starts with traversing a steep rock field. Followed by a section of walking on rock covered ice where it is possible to see the crevasses. The upper part is a snow covered glacier with a rather steep finish on 35° snow or ice to the summit. There can be a few meters exceeding 35° below the saddle at 4880m.
Accidents occur mostly because people are afraid of the crevasses they see instead of where the real danger is covered by snow. People are talking a lot about a section where rocks fall during sunny hours which is not really as bad.
There are some more routes: An easy approach from the north (Russian) side which joins the normal route at about 4500m/4700m. Several steep couloirs provide a good option for skiing.
In 2016 the hut got new windows but the rest of it is not very inviting. However, it is nice to have a sheltered place for cooking inside and talking to people during rest days. It is possible to sleep inside the hut for a fee (do not expect too much), or to camp outside (sometimes for a fee?). There are more campsites 30 minutes to one hour from the hut at the black cross and the white cross. Some parties like to shorten the summit day by camping high up at the glacier (between 4300m and 4600m). Those who start at the hut often return very exhausted.
A big problem is the mess around the hut: