For experienced mountaineers, climbing Kazbek (5054 m), located in the Caucasian Mountains, will not be a difficult task. However, those who are just dreaming of starting their adventure with mountain climbing should prepare properly. On the way to the top, it is easy to see the power of nature and get to know its other, less friendly face – with heavy snowfall, low temperature, strong wind and thin air, causing altitude sickness.
What to do to make climbing one of the highest peaks in Georgia comfortable and safe?
The key, of course, is proper training, which will prepare our body and mind for extreme experiences. On the way to Kazbek, however, we will also need professional equipment that will protect us from hypothermia, straying from the route or losing traction in difficult terrain. What to take with you on your way to the first 5,000-meter peak? We give you a hint!
Equipment for Kazbek – ensure thermal comfort
If you want to remember your first ascent of a 5,000-meter peak as a fantastic adventure, you need to take care of appropriate clothing. Your favorite winter jacket or gloves, which are useful in everyday life, will not be useful in the harsh Caucasian climate. When packing for a trip, you need to equip yourself with:
• thermoactive underwear that allows air flow, moisture removal and proper thermoregulation. In the case of high-mountain expeditions, it is important that it is not made of a mixture of elastane and polyester, but of warm merino wool;
• thermal clothing, the task of which will not only maintain the appropriate body temperature, but also ensure climbing comfort. The ideal solution should be a high-weight fleece and trousers made of softshell material;
• a light jacket with a membrane that protects against rain and wind, as well as a thick down jacket. In the case of the outer layer, it is not worth saving – specialized models usually have a better ratio of down to feathers and hydrophobic properties, thanks to which the jacket will keep you warm even in high humidity conditions;
• five-fingered fleece gloves and specialized mittens;
• a hat, a balaclava and a multifunctional buff scarf.
What else do you need to pack?
Shoes deserve a separate chapter. Kazbek is not a simple, light mountain walk – you can forget about flip-flops and sandals here. You should also leave your regular trekking shoes in the closet. To climb a 5,000-meter peak, you need insulated, high-altitude shoes that are designed to attach crampons. However, your luggage should also have room for a second, slightly lighter pair of shoes, which will be useful during the first days of climbing in easy terrain and summer conditions.
Equipment for Kazbek – necessary accessories
Shoes and clothes are packed – it’s time to add the necessary accessories to your luggage. When going to your first 5000 m, you must not forget about:
• trekking poles that will support you while walking,
• glacier glasses with low visible light transmittance,
• a headlamp that will illuminate the path during the night part of the summit attack.
When thinking about climbing Kazbek, you should also remember to assemble a first aid kit, which – apart from the basic kit – should also include medicines for altitude sickness and a cream with a UV filter (preferably SPF 50). To get to the top, you will also need climbing equipment – an ice ax, crampons, a harness, a rope, a helmet and camping equipment – a camping stove, cutlery, a mug, a thermos, a bottle, a winter sleeping pad and a sleeping bag with an appropriate comfort temperature.
Appropriate equipment is the basis of every expedition.
As you can see, collecting equipment for your first high-mountain expedition is not an easy task. With each subsequent peak, packing individual pieces of equipment will become much easier. Importantly, things intended for mountain expeditions are usually highly durable. The set prepared for Kazbek will also be perfect for subsequent mountain escapades – to Elbrus, Ararat or Damavand.