Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tours around Tbilisi (4): Skitour to Lomisa Chapel (Gudauri Region)

Tbilisi offers a wide range of 1- day tours.
Georgian Tourism Association (GTA) has tested some of them.

Please note:
GTA does not sell tours, the service is for information only and we do not take responsibility for any inconvenience that people might encounter during the proposed tours.

Tour 4: Skitour to Lomisa Chapel (Gudauri Region)

A wonderful, small skitour on the powder snow side of the Aragvi Valley near the skiresort Gudauri.
Lomisa Chapel (2190m) is wonderful and it is surprising - especially in winter- to find this building up there in the mountains.

In Arakhveti village start climbing up the open ridge up to the plateau that you traverse to your right. Then climb up to Lomisa Chapel (obvious with good weather, but be careful with avalanches). From the chapel it is possible to continue up the ridge left or right.
In case of bad weather it is prudent not to attempt reaching the Chapel (danger of avalanches just below the ridge) but rather continue to climb up before the traverse of the plateau through the forest and bushes nearly up to the ridge.

Ski down the same way! The descent is also done by heli-skiers from Gudauri.

In spring with stabilized snow you can ski down the gully on your right (when descending) where snow transforms a few hours later and lasts longer.

How to get there
Go with own or public transport (Marshrutka) on Georgian Military Highway in direction of Gudauri, through Ananuri, Pasanauri to just before Mleta (before crossing the river Aragvi). Park your car at the entrance of village Arakhveti or at the Police Station in Kvemo Mleta (then you have to walk back the road for 10min or so).

Dangers & Annoyances
Only with stabilized snow conditions. Be extra careful with avalanches just before reaching the Chapel.

The dogs of Arakhveti Village bark at skiers and look impressive but did not bite us in any case. If you are fast at the descent they do not see you…

Easy. Experience with Ski touring is required.

Best season
From December to April with stabilized snow conditions.
All other seasons: A beautiful hike through flower meadows.

Without skis it is advisable to start directly in Kvemo Mleta and walk up the steep path through the forest behind the village.

approx 3-4 hours up & down, 700-900m ascent/descent, max. elevation 2400m.

More information
Guidebook: Haeberli/Hawker: “Under Eagles Wings. Hike, Bike, Horseback & Skitour in Georgia”.


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