Mount Khalatsa

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 42.59836°N / 43.83478°E
Activities Activities: Mountaineering, Mixed, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Elevation: 12920 ft / 3938 m
Sign the Climber's Log
Mount Khalatsa
Mount Kalatsa as seen from the North


Mount Khalatsa
The Sacred Mountain of all Ossetians - Mount Khalatsa

On the border of the two North Caucasian republics - South and North Ossetia Alania – there is a peak that is little known among mountaineers, but certainly representing a definite interest as the highest point of South Ossetia – Mount Khalatsa (3938 m).

Mount Khalatsa (3938 m) – the other variants of the name of this mountain - Halaskhokh, Burkhokh, Bursamdzeli, Khurbadzhanykh - the highest mountain of South Ossetia, "The Sacred Mountain of All Ossetians", rises to 3,938 meters above sea level and apparently dominates the Ossetian section of the Main Caucasian Range, earlier located on the territory of Georgia (Shida Kartli), but after the political conflict of 2008, now it located on the territory controlled by Russian Federation (South Ossetia).

Mount Khalatsa is located in a very beautiful mountainous area, with a complex historical, political and ethnographic situation, in a peculiar junction where the interests of several nationalities and two countries are crossed. Despite the recent tragic events, today the situation in the area of Mount Khalatsa is totally safe for any sporting events and alpine climbing. Transport accessibility, abundance of historical attractions, friendly and very hospitable attitude to the tourists of the local population, all these factors make the area of Mount Khalatsa and the nearby Tsei Gorge (formerly one of the most popular alpine regions of the North Caucasus) a truly interesting and promising place in the aspect of tourist development in the North Caucasus.

In addition to the status of the highest peak of South Ossetia, Mount Khalatsa has obvious interest for ascents not only as a climbing object of moderate technical complexity, but also as a beautiful observation point for the entire region of the Main Caucasian Range and the key peaks of the whole mountain system of the Caucasus - Elbrus, Kazbek, Shkhara, Dykh Tau, Ushba, Gestola and Tetnuld. In good weather, the views from the top of Mount Khalatsa cannot leave indifferent even the most hardened and heartless to the beauty of the mountain nature skeptic alpinists.

Mount Khalatsa is quite accessible for ascents from the northern side (North Ossetia Alania) - technically the route to the summit of Mount Khalatsa does not present any serious technical difficulties, but requires careful and accurate tactical planning. The main difficulty can be called the length of the route and the need to overcome rather steep scree (sometimes snow-covered or icy) slopes in the upper part of the route and a narrow summit crest. The slope steepness in some parts can reach 65% and requires special care when climbing and descending from the top Mount Khalatsa.

Getting There

Ossetian part of the Main Caucasus Range
Ossetian part of the Main Caucasus Range

It is not easy thing but possible as there is a comparably good road going to the the ideal BC site (4x4 only). The drive from Vladikavkaz takes a bit more than 2 hours but read the Red Tape section first


Mount Khalatsa
The climbing route of Mount Khalatsa

Normal and most accessible way to the top of Mount Khalatsa goes from the North West. Approach is possible from Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia  Alania). Once getting to the BC (Border pass required) you can camp near the small half destroyed cabin on the curve of the dirt road. From this place the total altitude gain to the Summit of mount Khalatsa is almost 1500 meters and can be climbed in one day. There are no trail nor any signs of camping sites, so you just head up to the side of clearly visible lowering in the North Ridge of Mount Khalatsa. Elevation to the saddle from the BC is about 1000 meters and there are no technical complications. Once on the saddle, you continue to you right following the line of the North Ridge. Easy but careful scrambling will lead you up the final summit dome which is approximately 60 degrees snow of late in the season scree slope after which you get to the narrow and scary summit crest. The route is not complicated technically, but requires some accuracy. Stunning views of all Main Caucasus are your reward for being patient and insistent!

Red Tape

There is no permit or special camping limitations applied. But is being located on the State border line, for approaching the mountain from North you need special paper from the Russian border guard headquarters which is not that easy to get. For that border pass you should apply in Russian 60 days before your arrive. That is the worst formality blocking your way to the Mount Khalatsa.

When to Climb

Mount Khalatsa
Upper part of the Mount Khalatsa summit ridge

Normal Caucasian alpine season  from June to September. Late in the season that is easier as there is no snow on the route


No limitations for camping but you have to fix your route with border guards before you start

External Links

MCS AlexClimb Mount Khalatsa page