From Tusheti to Khevsureti

From Tusheti to Khevsureti

Trail: Omalo-Dartlo-Pharsma-Girevi- Atsunta Pass-Ardoti-Mutso-Shatili.

Duration: about 5 days, depending on the weather. From Omalo follow red marks, and then take yellow to Girevi.

Orientation: Omalo-Ghele red trail, Ghele-Dartlo-Chesho-Pharsma-Girevi yellow trail (road), Girevi-Atsunta-Mutso-Shatili (unmarked but clear path).

This is a classic trek preferred by most visitors to Tusheti. The journey starts in Omalo towards Dartlo (approx. 3 hours). You may take a shortcut following red marks across the meadow called Kue beneath Upper Omalo to Ghele Pass (approx. 1km beneath Omalo you will find a switchback on a meadow towards the Kue viewpoint. There is a signpost and the trail is red marked, just head up the slope to get to the forest path). Between the two valleys (Gometsari and Pirikiti), there is Ghele Pass, a significant meeting point of all communities and villages in Tusheti. From here, follow the drive path to Dartlo (marked yellow), where you can ascend to the fortified village of Kvavlo following red marks.

The next day, continue from Dartlo to Chesho and Pharsma, and to Girevi on the main road (alternatively from Kvavlo to Chesho you can use partly marked trail through the village of Dano). You can find a guest house for a night or just a meal in any of the three villages. In Girevi, you have to register with frontier guards (a sign in the centre of the village will direct you), which is a required formality. On the third day, the trail will take you through the right valley (viewed from Girevi) to the abandoned village of Chontio, and the day usually ends with a sleep-over beneath Atsunta Pass (at 3,340m a.s.l.). The fourth day is the most demanding as you will have to traverse Atsunta Pass. If anxious enough, you may also climb the nearby Mt. Tebulosmta (4,492m a.s.l.), which lies on the border with Russia. The ascent is tough and takes all day setting off in the pass (only possible under favourable weather conditions and if you manage to cross the screes). Behind the pass, the path falls sharply through the nearly abandoned village of Ardoti (with a fort), towards the ruins of towers of the fortified village of Mutso (ascent to the village is highly recommended).

You can get refreshment in the village and there is a newly opened guest house. The hike from Mutso to Shatili takes about 3 hours. In Shatili you are offered accommodation, meals, and there is a shop where you can buy basic supplies. Every Thursday and Sunday there is a marshrutka from Shatili to Tbilisi. You can get a car to Korsha (beneath Barisakho) for about GEL 120 (guest house available - manager Shota Arabuli will welcome you even if you decide to sleep in your own tent and may open a small local museum in a nearby tower for you). There is a morning bus transport several times a week to Tbilisi from Korsha and Barisakho respectively. The village of Roshka, lying above Korsha, is the starting point for the traverse to Juta and to the foothills of Mt. Mkinvartsveri (Kazbegi).