Bezengi Lager – Caucasus

It wasn’t until 10 o’clock that we left for the wall. It took us a long time to sort and pack everything, as we wanted to carry as little luggage as possible. Then we had to talk to the mountain rescuers about our routes. They didn’t give us any radio transmitter, saying only that we had to come back in at most 3 days. Otherwise, they would have sent a team search and rescue us. The guides showed us some photos of Lyalver.

This was our target. By far the easiest peak of the majestic wall of Bezengi, 4350 meters tall. There were taller mountains in the area, a lot easier, but this was our dream: to climb the wall. Of course, we wanted very much to climb the snow pyramid of Gestola as well, but after all it remained for some other time. Lyalver was the first in the western part, and in comparison to the giants near it, it seemed small and easy. At least in pictures…

The team from Odessa. Very nice people; we spent there the best evening from the whole expedition. They were hiking in the Caucasus, and were also trying to climb Gestola. Unlike us, they had down jackets. They explained that sometimes up there it can be extremely cold, even in august. Frostbites were also common…

I was outside taking some pictures, while Ileana was talking to our camp colleagues. They said that day they had been to the base of Lyalver, called Black Rocks, but it was too damn clod and windy there, so they went back. Cold? In your down jackets? Yes, very cold. Hmm… in our Gore-Tex thing jackets, probably it would have been a nightmare to go there on such weather. They all went outside to eat and invited us to drink with them, and then to have some soup. The proposal was impossible to refuse as our meal was not ready: we were busy taking pictures 🙂

With their precarious equipment, they were different from the French alpinists we met in Mont Blanc, who were very well equipped. Also, unlike other teams, they were very „human”. Because this is what mountaineering is all about: team play, toughness of the body and good spirit.

Cheers! For us, for our expeditions, for the mountains and for all the ones that dare to climb them! Live long, live free!

The day ended around the stone table with stories, guitar music (yes, they even had one!), peanuts and alcohol. Looking up, we remembered it was the end of august, so we could see tens of meteors lighting the sky. The day couldn’t have ended without a picture long wanted: a long exposure, with star trails above the wall:

So I took the camera, the tripod, found a place near the camp an took it: 3 minutes exposure, f/4, ISO 800, with my old good Nikon D50. Because it’s not about the camera, it’s about the light.

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