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Expedition to Mount Kazbek: Day 2

The beauty of the Great Caucasus Mountains

Mount Kazbek is located at the Central Greater Caucasus mountains, which is a part of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The Great Caucasus mountains is a mountain range located in the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It is a natural border between Sakartvelo, Azerbaijan, and Russia. There are very few passages through the Greater Caucasus mountains, these passages have a great strategic valley to any Nation in this region. Our journey from Tbilisi to Stepantsminda leads through one of those roads.

An excerpt from: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day-2/
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Expedition to Mount Kazbek: Day 2

The Caucasus

The Caucasus is a region between Black and Caspian Seas, it is at the border between Europe and Asia. The region is divided between several independent states: Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey. The Caucasus is known for it’s cultural and linguistic diversity, it is a home to many conflicts so it’s not a surprise that you can find here quite a few partially recognized countries or autonomous republics in other states.

An excerpt from: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day-2/

#mountainslovers #nature #travel #photography #Georgia
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Expedition to Mount Kazbek: Day 2

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A tough night

It feels like all the time I slept I kept having nightmares. That was so strange, the other person in the room made a few noisy movements during the night as well, probably, was not having the best sleep either. Hypnotized by the nightmares, I even dreamed that our host, which was a nice old lady, was a witch and cursed me to this damnation. Later, I dreamed that someone before I was going to sleep, put some mushrooms into my food or drink, which caused all of these hallucinations.

One could say “Oh, the place is cursed!” or “Someone died there”, but even though I somewhat agnostic about almost everything, a few things I really don’t believe in curses and spirits. Even if spirits/or ghost were real, I cannot see how they could do any harm to anyone. Let’s imagine a typical ghost or spirit which for some reason can pass walls, but still stands or floats above the ground.

Case1: Ghosts are not affected by physics, which would make it very hard for them to keep themselves in the same orbit by which the Earth travels through the Universe.

Case 2: If spirits need to answer to the physics, which apply in the mortal world, one can just lock the door and be safe.

Case 3: If they are somehow affected by the gravity, but not by the strong nuclear force, which would, technically, allow walking through the walls, the force of gravity would pull the spirits and ghost to the center of the Earth, where they would be trapped forever. All of them in one place, like some kind of Bose-Einstein condensate of ghosts and spirits.

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An excerpt from: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day-2/

#mountainslovers #nature #travel #photography #Georgia
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Expedition to Mount Kazbek: Day 1

After a landing, looks like the journey is accelerating really fast. One of my colleagues was sitting next to a Lithuanian and befriended him, he was a part of a group in a class meeting journey around Sakartvelo (Georgia). They were headed to Borjomi and told us that they could lift us. Their driver, a local Georgian, met us with lots of wine and food. To those who don’t know, Georgians are famous for their hospitality and this action is a very common one. Based on their traditions, it is an honor to have a guest...

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Mtatsminda park

In Mtatsminda park you can find plenty of attractions, from observation circle to anything you can imagine you can find in an amusement park, including free Wi-Fi and self-promoting free energy drinks. Water quality as in any mountainous region is super good and drinks tend to be really tasty and refreshing.

An excerpt from this blog entry: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day1/

#mountainslovers #nature #travel #photography #Georgia
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The present

Mu current pessimism proves that I still feel like I’m incapable of doing that, but I have no doubt, that when I get more sleep and start walking, it is going to be hard to stop me. If I’ll see an opening, I’ll pursue my goal at any price.

The future

I told you at the beginning of this story that only time will show how it is going to end. Maybe… Hopefully, it will have a happy ending. Maybe, nobody will ever read this.

Read full article: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day1/

#mountainslovers #nature #travel #photography #Georgia
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Expedition to Mount Kazbek: Prelude & day 1

All of this, combined with the danger of falling into a crevasse (a crack on the glacier), made me understand that climbing the mountain once you set your foot on a glacier, is absolutely no joke.

When I finally, climbed down from Gergeti glacier, it was hard for me to believe that I get to live further, and it haunted me for a quite some time. All of this probably leaves you with an impression that I’m a coward, but what I shared here was my deepest fears and thoughts. I fought and tried to remain calm until the last second I could.

The reasoning behind the return

Now, you might wonder, why I returned? Fighting the demons of the past is no easy task, but it is something one must do in order to move on. That is exactly what I came here for, I want to move one, I want to feel alive again. Finishing the toughest journey, I’ve ever had, looks like the shortest way to achieve my goal.

Read full article: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day1/

#mountainslovers #nature #travel #photography #Georgia
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Expedition to Mount Kazbek: Prelude & day 1

Mountain sickness

The next day ascended to the plateau of Mount Kazbek at ~ 4,300 m. A problem with mountain sickness is that during a night, it hits you way harder. The reason for that being very simple, when a person sleeps, his/her breathing gets slower which reduces the amount of your oxygen intake.

Despite all the horrors of the mountain sickness, the amazing thing about it is that it shows, how we – humans are adapted only to a thin layer of the biosphere. This is what mountains do, makes you feel weak. Everybody is nobody in the front of them. One quickly understands that fighting their own shadow in a shadow of a mountain might be simply irrelevant. Memento Mori.

The night at 4,300 m height was the most terrible I’ve ever had, the symptoms of the mountain sickness got stronger and stronger. I’ve even had to swallow my own vomit to prevent the temperature inside of a tent from dropping. It was -14 °C outside, there was no escape from it, so I quit. I took strong painkillers which fade only 24 hours later, and they got me asleep in 15 minutes. I didn’t want to continue the journey without really feeling my own body.

Read full article: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day1/

#mountainslovers #nature #travel #photography #Georgia
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Expedition to Mount Kazbek: Prelude & day 1

Storm

Just on a second day of climbing a heavy storm hit, which apparently killed someone who at that time was trying to ascend the peak. At that time, I was seriously scared, it seemed impossible to climb that mountain.

Debris landslide

On the fifth day of the expedition, during an acclimatization trip, a debris landslide almost hit me and my friend. In a matter of fact, we were saved only by a big rock, behind which we were standing at that time. The landslide was immensely beautiful from that close but very dangerous. It took me some time to understand what, actually, really just happened. At that time, I was already affected by the mountain sickness and my coordination was far from being perfect.

Rescue operation

The same day we had an opportunity to observe a rescue operation. Luckily, nobody got hurt but seeing the faces of the people who went down to ask for a help left a mark anyway.

Read full article: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day1/

#mountainslovers #nature #travel #photography #Georgia
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Expedition to Mount Kazbek: Prelude & day 1

The past

Let me tell you a little secret, before this journey I was really scared, but when it started, everything faded away. You might wonder what was that I am afraid of? It is really easy to explain. This is my second attempt to get on the top of Mount Kazbek. Exactly two years ago, I did the same trip, so I basically repeating it.

Back then I made to the plateau at ~4,300 m. elevation out of 5,047 m. in total. I made it to the last day when we attempted climbing the peak, but I quit. Ironically, the day before that was the only day when I thought that I could actually make it. The trip was harsh and not to even mention that back then I was in a terrible physical shape.

The flight to Tbilisi went through Ataturk Airport in Istambul, though we had only 2 hours before changing the plane, it was the exact hours when the coup d’etat started. Obviously, all of the flights were canceled and most of the personnel fled the airport. Though nothing really happened in our sector of the airport, it was stressful enough to hit my mindset hard. Every massive panic attack of the people surrounding me, which occurred due to shootings outside, or jets flying above our heads, or a bad joke, or god knows what made my heart tremble really hard. That day I really thought that I’m going to die so I had to embrace it.

Ataturk Airport had a terrorist attack just two weeks before the coup and these conditions were perfect for another one. After one day of waiting in the airport, all I wanted was to get back home, but without a doubt, we moved forward.

Damaged mentally, with already having accepted my death, I had to climb the highest mountain I’ve ever seen. The task was no joke. 18 km distance might seem small, but 3,300 m ascent with a 20 kg on your back with a lack of oxygen is a tough challenge. Let me remind you that I was in a terrible shape and the trip destroyed my back and knees.

Read full article: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day1/

#mountainslovers #nature #travel #photography #Georgia
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Expedition to Mount Kazbek: Prelude & day 1

From the point when I started to write this sentence, it is a story without any certain ending. You don’t know how it is going to end, I don’t know how it is going to end, in a matter of a fact, nobody does. I can hardly foresee the future beyond the day I attempt to climb Mount Kazbek.
The forecast of the weather on the peak is very pessimistic, we might not even get an opening to try ascending the mountain.

We have supplies for 7 days, it is going to take at least 2 days to get to the base camp, one day for acclimatization, one day to ascend to the peak and another one to get down. Are we going to be back at Stepantsminda (nearest town to the mountain) in 5 days, I doubt that. It looks more like we are going to spend 4 days at the base camp, waiting for an opportunity, and after that, we will have to head down.

Maybe, I’m pessimistic, but with current forecast, this is how I feel it would end. Note, that you might experience quite a change of my mood during these series because I try to write everything more or less in a real-time. Today I’m very tired, I hardly had any sleep. Had to be at the Vilnius Airport at 5 Am and I rarely get any sleep before journey like this. The boarding was tense as well, everything was late, don’t like rushing during trips like this. I don’t want to be forced into making mistakes.

Read full article: http://ctdots.eu/places/sakartvelo/expedition-to-mount-kazbek-day1/

#mountainslovers #nature #travel #photography #Georgia
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