A long, serious and high alpine ski tour in the High Caucasus

Statistics

6 - 7

hrs

1,203

m

1,204

m

34

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

Maili Khokh is a rarely visit summit, standing in the shadow of its larger neighbor, Mkinvartsveri/Kazbek (5054 m).

Those willing to draw their attention to Maili, will be rewarded with a challenging, rewarding high alpine ski tour in glaciated terrain.

I once heard the name "Road of Dreams" for this route.

While I could not find a reference for this, I still think it is a valid description.

The tour starts at the Bethlemi Hut (3650 m).

Follow the standard route to Mkinvartsveri, staying on the right (NE) side moraines of the glacier.

At around 4050 - 4100 m you are reaching glaciated terrain.

Roping up is recommended - there are crevasses! At 4400 - 4450 m you are reaching the Kazbek plateau, a wide and flat glacier area.

Here you diverge left from the standard route to Mkinvartsveri.

Ascend to the summit of Spartak (4517 m) and then descend into the col between Spartak and Maili (4380 m).

The final ascent to Maili is not hard, but the summit is exposed - the drop to the left is massive! Stay well-away from the cornices on the right (north aspect).

Still, it is one of the more beautiful ridge climbs in the Georgian Caucasus, with tremendous views.

Descend the same way.

You can avoid the summit of Spartak on the way back, by staying right of the summit.

It saves you a few meters, but I prefer to go back over Spartak, as it sets me up for a better ski descent.

IMPORTANT NOTES: - Especially around Spartak and Maili the terrain is seriously crevassed.

Even the col between the two has a crevasses.

Sound experience travelling in glaciated terrain is required.

Snow cover in May is usually good and allows trouble-free travelling with skis (still USE a ROPE).

In the summer and without skis I rather avoid this area. - On the way down: If the south face of Mkinvartsveri sees sun in the afternoon, it is wise to keep a healthy distance to the rock slopes on your left (ca.

4200 - 3900 m) - especially in late spring.