7-Day Hike In Upper Svaneti – Georgia

This demanding multi-day trek combines two magnificent mountain passes with the typical Georgian back country villages. Starting in Mazeri you will pass by all the highlights of upper Svaneti and finish your trip in lower Svaneti. An absolute must-do.

On our way to Guli pass – Mount Ushba in the background.

Overview

DayDescriptionDistanceClimbDescentMax. ElevationDifficulty
1Mazeri – Ushba glacier – Mazeri15.3 km+920 m-920 m2500 mMedium
2Mazeri – Mestia over Guli Pass18.8 km+1560 m1750 m2930 mHard
3Mestia – Zahbeshi11.4 km+450 m-0 m1660 mEasy
4Zahbeshi – Adishi10.0 km+1120 m-670 m2740 mMedium
5Adishi – Iprali16.4 km+790 m-1120 m2720 mMedium
6Iprali – Ushguli9.4 km+460 m-0 m2090 mEasy
7Ushguli – Chvelpi over Latpari Pass17.7 km+1170 m-2100 m2960 mHard
Total99 km+6480 m-6980 m2960 m

Photos

Views at Latpari pass.
Close to the rivercrossing – Mount Tetnuldi in the background.
Ushguli vallei.

Good To Know

  • The routes are mostly unmarked but most of the time the trail is clear. You will need the best of your route finding and map reading skills.
  • You will overcome a considerable elevation change and distance during the 2 days when you will cross the Guli pass and Latpari pass. On those days water is hard to find, so take enough with you when you start.
  • On day 5, you will need to cross a river. The river is coming from the glacier covering the south face of Mount Tetnuldi. Due to the cold night temperatures on the glacier, the level of the river is lowest in the morning. You better try to cross the river as early as possible. The river might be unpassable in later afternoon. If needed, you can rent a horse in the village to help you cross the river. When you are camping, you can best sleep next to the river and do the crossing in the morning.
  • The village Mestia is a bit bigger and offers some basic supermarkets.
  • To buy bread along the way, you just ask around in the villages.

Getting There

You can easily book a night train from Tbilisi to Zugdidi. He will drop you off around 6 am in Zugdidi where you should look for a marshrutka* going to Mestia. Marshrutkas start driving from 6.30 am and take 3 to 4 hours to go to Mestia. You will need to ask to drop you off on the road junction to Mazeri. From here you can try to catch a ride from passing locals or walk the last 6 km.

To get away from Chvelpi after your hike. You will need to ask around for a ride via Lentekhi to Kutaisi. Once you are in Kutaisi you will more easily find a marshrutka going to Tbilisi.

*a marshrutka is a small collective bus or taxi.

Equipment & Overnight

You can perfectly do the hike without a tent and sleep in the villages you pass by. If you want a bit more adventure you can overnight in the wild with your tent. Although good camping spots are hard to find on the ‘steeper’ climbs. Better to look for camping places in the valley or next to the river. Beware that even in summer the nights can be cold above 2500 m elevation.

Useful Information

  • Maps: Geoland (available in store in Tbilisi)
  • Book: Walking in the Caucasus, Georgia – Peter Nasmyth
  • Book: Lonely planet – Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan
  • Website: http://www.caucasus-trekking.com/

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