Skhara

(2012)



Shkhara (5193 m) is the highest mountain of Georgia, and the third highest in Europe. Shkhara sees few ascents, mostly from the easier Russian side. Together with Boris Avdeev I climbed the south pillar (Beknu route; 55°, 2200 m, 5B/ED+) in 2010, and I could also ski from the summit. It was amongst my hardest climb and definitely my most difficult ski descent. I am often in Georgia, and whenever I see the mountain, I am filled with deep respect and a shiver runs down my spine at the thought of our tour back then. My Georgian friend Tato Nadiradze – who has also climbed Shkhara – and I have come to call the mountain “an (aggressive) animal”. All routes are long, steep, and objectively dangerous, and retreat is almost impossible when something happens. The weather is very changeable and can be fierce. It is a mountain that gets you, if you are not very, very careful.(Published as Leica Fotografie International Photo Story)