American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asatiani, East Face

Georgia, Caucasus, Chaukhi Massif

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Archil Badriashvili
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

While climbing a new route on the north face of Agmashenebeli the year before, it was hard not to notice the east face of Asatiani (3,820m; some sources say 3,842m) and wonder why it remained unclimbed. The wall seemed more monolithic and safe from objective danger than most others in the Chaukhi—it made our eyes sparkle with passion.

On September 7, from a camp on the glacier around 600m below the summit, Giorgi Tepnadze and I climbed a snow slope and then several hundred meters of rocky terrain to reach the headwall that forms the meat of the route. There is a huge open dihedral, and on the steep wall to the right a wide crack system that slants up to the right. We followed these cracks, with several overhanging sections. After two pitches on the headwall, we carefully built a bivy site in the style of post-Soviet architecture. The next day we continued up the headwall, entering a narrow chimney that tested our caving skills. Another aid section, a wide crack, and finally, after six pitches on the headwall, we finished at a gendarme. From here, 20 minutes at rapid tempo took us to the summit of Asatiani.

After brief celebrations, we climbed down an objectively dangerous 300m couloir on the east face that took us, during the night, back to our camp. With little left of our headlamp batteries, we descended to the village of Roshka, where we were taken hostage by Georgian hospitality for a few hours, before driving the 100km back to Tbilisi.

It would be possible to free climb this route, but due to the compact the rock, placing meaningful protection would require great skill. We aided much of it, with sections at A2+/A3, and gave an overall rating of 5B.

– Archil Badriashvili, Georgia

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