American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Donguz Orun, South Face

Georgia, Caucasus

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Michal Kleslo
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

In June my party climbed the south face of Donguz Orun (4,454m) via the Dolra Glacier. We reached the glacier via a two-day trek up the Dolra Valley, followed by a final steep ascent over granite slabs below the hanging seracs forming the snout of the glacier. There was enough snow to facilitate passage—later in the season there can be waterfalls from the icefields above, and in July or later it would be much more difficult, or indeed impossible, to reach the Dolra Glacier from this direction. We established a camp just above the snowline at 3,300m.

Documentation shows that Soviet climbers have reached the summit of Donguz Orun from the south via the northwest ridge, the south-southwest ridge, and the southeast ridge. There is no information on parties climbing the mountain via the south face, though it is possible it may have been used in descent under good snow conditions. The abundant snow meant we could climb partway up a couloir to the east of the summit before crossing to the central couloir via a snow shelf. From here we reached the upper southeast ridge and followed it easily to the top. There were short sections of ice, but the angle never exceeded 50°. Reaching the summit were Gabriel Beno, Martin Danisz, Pavel Kubalik (all Czech), Richard Medzihradsky (Slovak), Konstantin Shmaryov (Latvian), and me.

We descended the same way and rated the route Russian 2A. It was fun under the conditions; later in the season this slope would turn to hard ice above the bergschrund.

Michal Kleslo, Czech Republic

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