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It is a rough road that leads to the height of greatness


“You are unfortunate in my judgment, for you have never been unfortunate. You have passed through life with no antagonist to face you; no one will know what you were capable of, not even you yourself.”

We met in airports, in apartments at 3 AM or in minibuses and decided to take a common road. We had feelings of doubt and fear, but this is what our courage was all about.

Knowing you will get there with other 11 strangers was hard to grasp in the beginning, but the moments you grow the most are the ones when your stomach contracts and makes you doubt yourself. That is the time to push forward, to let yourself really feel the unknown. 

And so we did.

We just didn’t have time to greet and properly meet each other and this was probably the best thing we could have done. All of us knew it would be somehow hard and faced even harder things seeing the obstacles that we had in front of us: not having enough experience, or having almost none regarding mountains, not enough equipment, limited amount of time and a very bad weather in the Caucasus.

So we just started doing things. We didn’t wait to rethink or debate, we just did. Executing from the first moments to the minute we reached the summit.

Splitting in teams and responsibles was the first thing: responsible for equipment, for food acquisition, for cooking, for negotiating with locals, for filming and taking pictures, for transmitting some of them home, responsible for the fun parts, responsible for cleaning up and washing dishes.  All equal important and impossible to live without. All of us helped on more functions without knowing exactly why we do this or who will be up there for the whole team.

And things started to get from awkwardness to friendship really fast. In 2 days we were so fast, organised, effective you could already see a team in all 12 of us.


We prepared everything in the first 2 days in perfect harmony, checking item by item, step by step, with only 2-3 hours of sleep per night. Each of us felt that event if the objective was not the summit for the team, Mt. Kazbek was there with a mystical power over our reasons and passions.

And then things just got better and better: the weather got better, each of us grew more responsible of what he or she had to do, we pushed ourselves harder: distances traveled daily, hours spend preparing and caring for the others, holding climbing lessons at night, packing and unpacking for the perfect backpack, changing clothes and equipment among us, cooking together and eating with only one spoon when necessary.

There are many things that can make a team effective, but what we did here was beyond expectations. We were no team in the beginning, just a group of total strangers from all different countries.

We had the right amount of grit to try all the time one more step than we should, given the support of the others. For each of us, with or without mountain experience, there was something much harder than before: caring for others, teaching and sharing our best, trusting the other end of the rope to a total stranger. Leading in dangerous areas and feeling the whole responsibility for it. Leading when we were not supposed, when we were unprepared, leading being frightened by our possible mistakes and by the unknown.


They say courage is the noblest of the virtues because it guarantees all the others. Courage to say yes and push harder and mostly courage to say no and to stop for a greater good, loosing yourself for the best of the group. This is the true wisdom of ones soul.

Courage to step forward and say yes to the unknown.


This one is for you guys, for the ones who dare. For you, as you got higher that you were expected.

We search for many things in life, we roam from one place to another, from one idea to another. We find ourselves to our very best not when we are happy but when we found our meaning.

When we started climbing 10 years ago we found that caring more for the other than for you is immensely more motivating and we did that since. The 12 of you understood and did what took us years to understand and do at that time.

I thank you again for the opportunity be part of this and explore for a week our deepest unknowns together with you. Let this be only the first chapter.

Now, get to work on what we started: share, write and speak about your experience and give it back to your community. Be the ones standing for values, rights and cooperation wherever you will be.

I can only pay if forward as I cannot ask anything more from you after all that you did up there.



Day 5: We have conquered the peak

We have very good news: 7 of us have reached the summit today!

We are very happy and tired, but mainly happy! We have felt the support of our entire team and we climbed all the way thinking about the great group that we have managed to create in such a short time. It was an almost 13 hours walk up and down and the weather was fairly nice.

Tomorrow we will start our descend and we’ll keep you posted with everything!

Day 4: Outstanding team

The more time we spend on this mountain, the more we understand the value of friendship and cooperation. We learn to look beyond the daily things and really see people underneath their masks. We have reached amazing heights today, together, and we are very proud. All 16 of us have gone to more than 4.100 meters which is way more than we could’ve ever wished for.

Some of us are going to try for the summit tomorrow. This was the plan all along. Get everyone together as high as possible and then support the most experienced climbers to reach for the top. It’s still teamwork and dedication, as we need good support in our camp as well. It is getting colder and the weather is supposed to change in the following hours, but we are optimistic.

We used day 4 for a really nice exercise involving everyone: ice climbing techniques. They were all very excited to learn all this and we are happy to see them make small interesting discoveries everyday.

 Keep your thoughts positive as we head out at 3 AM tomorrow morning. Peak, here we come!


Day 3: All together at over 3.600 meters

It’s already day 3 and everyone is getting the hang of it. We have all reached 3.656 meters and we are very proud. Tired, but proud. We have spent almost 8 hours on the road and we’re becoming very good friends. We laugh, we cry, we pull each other further. It’s all about cooperation and collaboration.

We’ll spend the fourth day here, getting acclimated. We are so very glad that we have reached this height together and the program really shows results. Our objective as a team is already completed and we still have so many days ahead!

We’re planning a very nice surprise for the new family created here, but you won’t find out before our hikers do! Keep you posted!


Day 2: 2.700 meters and counting

Today’s coordinates: a climb up to 2.700 meters, new friends, 3 hours of sleep

We have started our first climb today, reached 2.700 meters, a little above the monastery. It was just a trial hike, we went back to our guesthouse to prepare for the big climb tomorrow.

We used this time to get everything in order, buy the last items we needed, including food and some hiking equipment. Russian was very helpful for the interactions with locals and everybody was happy to meet and talk to us. They all want to know where we are from and they are surprised to find out we come from 8 different countries. We have met other young climbers here, from all of our countries and we started making friends: inside our group and with the other hikers. Some Russians will start climbing the day after tomorrow. We promised to have some hot tea prepared for them, when we meet on top!

We had a very fun evening combining all of our equipment and provisions so that everyone has the best equipment possible. At the moment we don’t know who’s wearing what hats / socks or boots and we don’t care as long as everyone is well prepared.

Some can’t wait for the climb, some are already tired, but we are all happy, curious and in a very good state of mind!

You have 3 hours of sleep ahead, so we’ll get back to you with details! Fingers crossed!


Day one on the road: A man without love is very poor

We are all embarked in a mini bus travelling to Kazbegi for our first camp. We have traveled up to 2.300 meters on a not so friendly road, with lots of tunnels and avalanches. We were lucky, but not all drivers had the same faith. We saw a capsized truck on the road, grapes boxes near it and everything. He must have fallen asleep behind the wheel and all we can do is hope the driver was not hurt. Not an easy drive at all, taking into consideration the weather was not too friendly either. We are looking forward to more sun for tomorrow.

We became friends with our Georgian driver, a man between two ages, pretty talkative and a real music fan. He is upset with the current political situation, Russians entering Georgia without visas, but Georgians needing visas to get out of the country. He looks up to the situation in Romania, a true EU state as he considers it.

We think we’re going to start learning the local language with all the music on the radio. All the songs are about love, translates our driver. A man without love is very poor, he says.  An oldie, but goldie comes up: The eye of the tiger. Valeriu thinks this is a song for us, at the Black Sea Network Project. The driver says it’s surely for him too and his very young soul.

We’ll soon get to our first stop: the guesthouse. We’re trying to get accustomed to the weather, it’s all rainy and damp. We’re cold and a bit tired, but the view is getting better and better. We’ll spend the night here, at 1.800 meters, and we’ll prepare for the start of our adventure, tomorrow morning!