TREKKING FROM KHDE GORGE TO JUTA

Kazbegi is for hikers. The region is the most popular trekking destination in Georgia. You can find here easy and the most remote trekking trails at the same time. Trails can be rough, be one day hikes from kazbegi or multiday trekking trails in the wild pristine.

Khde

The popularity of Trekking draws many visitors to Kazbegi year after year. Though the region sees a large number of trekkers during the summer season,  for those seeking some solitude and a feel of remoteness, Kazbegi does offer trek routes that can be rightfully coined as the most remote and challenging treks. Among of these trekking trails, trekking trail from khde gorge to Juta is one of the most spectacular with its pristine wilderness, and remoteness.

Khde gorge

Trekking from Khde gorge to Juta is a 3 day trekking trail, requires camping for 2 nights and can be described as a hard, or very hard trekking trail given the rough terrain and its remoteness. This Trail is one of the best ways to experience Kazbegi Mountains, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Here, we divulge the details of our trek while sharing some tips and suggestions to help you plan your trip for this trekking trail.

 

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Getting to Khde gorge

Khde gorge is located near Dariali gorge, on the border between Georgia and Russian, in 20 km from Kazbegi town. The starting point of this trail is from Dariali monastery. You can reach this place from Tbilisi or Kazbegi by any car. The road is in good conditions and you will need 3,5 hours from Tbilisi, or 30 minutes from Kazbegi to reach the starting place.  You also can use public transport (marshutka) from Tbilisi to get to Kazbegi. Ticket costs 10 GEL and Mini-buses are leaving for Kazbegi from Didube bus station (from 08:00).  From Kazbegi you will need to hire a local taxi which will costs around 40-50 gel.

Getting Border Permits

Khde gorge is located near the international border line between Georgia and Russia. Thus, you will need to obtain border permit for trekking in Khde gorge. You can obtain this permit from border police of Georgia online or on site.

To obtain the permits via emails, you will be required to submit an application at: bpol@mia.gov.ge, no later than 5 working days before the trip. An application should cover the following information:

  • Purpose of the trip (tourism, alpinism, etc.);
  • Period of your stay in the border zone or the border line (Dates);
  • List of the group members;
  • Preferred location for obtaining the permits: the HQ or Regional Offices;
  • Contact information (phone number) of the group leader;

The following files should be attached:

  • Route of the trip marked on a map (start and finish locations);
  • Copies of the valid ID card or Passports of the group members
  • Route of the trip marked on a map (start and finish locations);
  • Copies of the valid ID card or Passports of the group members.

You also can obtain the permit from the HQ Office of border police of Georgia (N12 Kandelaki St., Tbilsii, Georgia). You will need to present above-mentioned information about your trip as a hard copy.  The border police will need at least 5 working days to proceed this request.

Alternatively, you also can obtain the border permit at the Regional Offices of the Border Police or in at the Border Sector in Kazbegi.  When you reach the Dariali gorge, go to the main custom border station in Dariali gorge, and ask them to show you the building of border police. The building is just behind of the main custom border building.  Ordinary, here you will show your passports and tell where you are heading. That’s all. The border police will need from 1 hour to several hours to proceed this information and issue a border permit. That’s why it is preferable to fill the permit application prior to the trip. In this case, you can directly start hiking in Khde gorge.

Day 1: Tbilisi-Kazbegi-Dariali Gorge – Khde gorge

Walking Distance 7,5 km, 6 hours , Up 1390 m & Down 440m

In the early morning, three guides with our friend left Tbilisi for Kazbegi. After three hours of driving, we reach Dariali gorge where we sought to obtain border permits, but guess what? We could not find anyone to issue permits, no buildings, no border police. After 1 hour of search, we decide to walk in Khde gorge with the hope of finding border police somewhere.  The trail first follows dirt off-road, and while we were walking on that road, a border police car reached us. The police told us that we needed to go to their police border station to check our passports.   The police said that we could not continue the walk in the same day, but after 2 hours of waiting, they allowed us to continue our trekking in Khde gorge. The policemen were so nice that they drove us the end of the dirt off-road from where we start our trekking.

The trail after road follows is an unbelievable terrain – huge rocks, sharp ascend and almost no trail. In 1 hour, the trail becomes relatively easy and noticeable.

Khde trail

 Soon we are surrounded by a mist.  Khde gorge has probably the mistiest mountains. Here almost all days mist is crawling from the slope to valleys, from peaks to rivers.

Khde gorge

The mist was so thick we could not see even each other. After 3 hours, we were able to see the terrain and each other, but the view was not so hopefully. In front of us, laid an overgrown valley with high grasses and bushes. The expectation was worse than expected.  Guess what? Not only overgrown valley with flowers, but the valley with high common nettle.

Khde gorge

We had to walk on the trail surrounded in and out with common nettle. 500 meter of hell – stinging nettle, flies, uneven terrain and mud lasted more than 20 minutes. Luckily, the terrain changes, ascends from a river basin and follows flower meadows and reaches a border police guards. Here  you will need to show your border permit and get water if you would like. If you are tired, you can camp here or continue your trek and just after 1 km, there is a good meadow where you can set up your tent.

Camping in Khde

Day 2: -Khde gorge to Kvibishi Glacier

Walking Distance 13.km, 6 Hours, Up 1470m and Down 480 m

Have you woke up and realize that you are like in a dream? That’s what happened to us when we got out from our tent and see the views around us. Sharp peaks, snow-covered Mountains, roaring waters and waterfalls surrounded our campsite.

Khde

The  morning was so pleasant that we starting hiking a bit later. The trail here follows the river basins, and you will need to navigate well to reduce river crossings, but anyway we crossed the river at least 5 times for that day. The trail here is moderate and does not require big efforts. Clouds, mist, waterfalls and flowers were the main factors which hindered our speed. Soon I stopped and stop breathing. In front of me there was a huge flock of East Caucasian tur. They were amazed so much that they saw humans there that they were looking us for around 5 minutes.

Khde

 With our slow speed, we reach the moraine in the evening and set up our camp here.

Day 3: Kvibishi Glacier-Kvibishi Pass-Juta

Walking Distance 8 km, Up 480 m and Down 1477m

This day was the most difficult than previous two days. The morning walk was not so pleasant as we started hiking on moraine. After 2 hours, we reach Kvibishi glacier which is a far smaller than on the maps.

Khde

Kvibishi glacier has got quite sharp slopes and climbing on it requires a very careful approach. Luckily for us rain did not come in the previous days and it was July, so the snow was on the ice. Because of snow, we could climb on the glacier without any equipment, but after rain or in August and September, it will be very difficult to cross the glacier. The glacier is no more than 500 meter but we needed at least 1 hour to reach the top.

kvibishi glacier

Almost on the top, and one of us cries aloud – “look! It is snowing”, but it was very hard to tell it was snowing, raining, or hailing. We reach finally the pass and thinking that the worse part is over. However, when I look down the trail from the pass towards Juta, first thing that comes to mind is – That’s crazy, impossible. Here the first 200 m from the pass is at least 45 °, uneven terrain, rock falling and plus storm made this 200 meter as a really hard for us to climb down. 

Kvibishi pass

Luckily after this hard part, the terrain becomes a bit easy and follows the grass meadows, however walking here is also quite hard with occasionally very sharp descends.

Juta mountains

Because of the terrain, we needed more time than expected. We finally reach the Jutistskali  river where our car was waiting for us. After presenting our border permits at Border police guards in Juta, we traveled Tbilisi back