Backcountry Skiing Georgia | Ialakha | adidas TERREX x EOFT​

Backcountry Skiing Georgia | Ialakha | adidas TERREX x EOFT​

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<b>Dropping in three, two, one...</b> <b>So you have, “I can’t make it,</b> <b>but I’m going to do it anyway. It’ll be fine.”</b> <b>And, “If I do it, it won’t work out anyway.”</b> <b>Hey, I’m so done!</b> <b>The mountains,</b> <b>we have some kind of idea how they will look.’</b> <b>But in the end, they will be so huge.</b>

<b>It’ll be pretty amazing,</b> <b>to just walk through this skyline there.</b> <b>And that’s the reason why I'm doing this. Not just for riding,</b> <b>but also the adventure.</b>

<b>We’re trying a ski traverse.</b> <b>60 km, 4000 m altitude.</b> <b>We don’t know if anyone's tried the route in winter.</b>

<b>The route has lots of Spinewalls that we want to ski.</b> <b>Heli came up with the idea.</b> <b>In summer, I was at home and looking at the map.</b> <b>Both at Georgia and the area we were in...</b>

<b>last winter...</b> <b>Well, then...</b> <b>I took a closer look and thought so many cool mountains...</b> <b>You leave this village.</b> <b>You could only go one way, from one village to another,</b> <b>from Ghebi to Ushguli,</b> <b>and connect the mountains on this route,</b> <b>and well, ski all of them.</b>

<b>And this then Colouir, this spine wall, mountaineering...</b> <b>My goal was for us to make it,</b> <b>to get through this tour</b> <b>and to have great runs.</b> <b>But for me, that wasn’t the important thing,</b> <b>the motivation was simply</b> <b>to try something you don’t know will work.</b> <b>Heli isn’t the only one driven by this. There are six of us.</b> <b>Five in front of the camera, and me behind it.</b>

<b>While none of us would take on such an ambitious project</b> <b>just to test out our limits...</b> <b>Still, there seems to be some reason we are all here.</b> <b>We, so first and foremost Heli,</b> <b>the taciturn mountaineer. It’s thanks to his planning</b> <b>that we are actually starting on the day we planned to.</b> <b>Don’t take that for granted in Georgia!</b> <b>Levi is usually in a good mood and full of energy.</b> <b>He really knows how to express his love of the mountains.</b>

<b>Look at this spine wall!</b> <b>Then there’s Eva, the silent observer.</b> <b>She captures her impressions with her camera.</b> <b>Excellent. Thank you!</b> <b>Yessica is probably the best skier of all of us,</b> <b>but she has never skied outside the Alps.</b>

<b>Bold. Because besides that, she </b> <b>is new to the group and only knows me yet.</b> <b>Zura is a good friend of ours. He’s at home here</b> <b>in the Georgian Caucasus, and skis almost every day.</b>

<b>So that leaves me. My goal: I want to make a documentary,</b> <b>in the hope that I know what I’ve let myself in for.</b> <b>Our journey to Ghebi is starting.</b> <b>And from there we plan to make our way to</b> <b>Ushfuli, first on horseback, then on foot.</b> <b>We’ve been waiting for our taxi driver Irakli for two hours now.</b> <b>He’s driving us to Oni, the last place with tarmac roads.</b>

<b>We’ll find out how to go about the journey once we get there.</b> <b>Ok, no problem. This is safe...</b> <b>Irakli does what he promises with his car. He doesn’t drive fast.</b> <b>I check the kit again on the backseat, wedged between the baggage.</b> <b>head torch, batteries, memory cards, tents, food...</b>

<b>I hope we’ve got all we need.</b> <b>Our initial high has given way to strain.</b> <b>we just want to get there.</b> <b>Zura’s been waiting in Oni for three hours.</b> <b>I’m so sorry!</b> <b>How are you all?</b> <b>I mean...</b>

<b>-Yeah! -It’s a long time.</b> <b>-How are you? -Nice to meet you.</b> <b>Now our team is all together, ready for an adventure into the unknown.</b> <b>We are nervous, check our backpacks</b> <b>for the last time.</b>

<b>You can feel the anticipation for what's ahead of us.</b> <b>One last sh** before </b> <b>we head off in the wilderness.</b> <b>The horses are already loaded up, then we head towards the snow.</b> <b>The horses save us 15 km on foot in unsettled conditions.</b>

<b>Our motley crew makes me feel safe and sound.</b> <b>And then it's there,</b> <b>the unavoidable moment:</b> <b>So here we are. The horses cannot go anymore.</b> <b>The snow is too deep. </b>

<b>I think three or four km left to our first camping spot.</b> <b>Now we have to carry our stuff between the forest.</b> <b>From now on, we’re on our own.</b>

<b>This is quite horse-hairy.</b> <b>So we hoist on our backpacks. Sobering.</b> <b>We have everything we need, but the backpacks weigh around 35 kilos.</b> <b>I think of the power banks I’ve packed.</b>

<b>Once you’ve got your backpack on, it’s fine as long as you’re upright.</b> <b>So, the plan is, no breaks... just keep moving.</b> <b>And now run.</b> <b>-Hurry up! -Can we go now?</b> <b>Loaded like pack horses, we take our first steps into the unknown.</b> <b>The first few kilometers are a lot harder than we thought.</b>

<b>We have to cross rivers that aren’t on the map.</b> <b>At least, the abandoned hut on the map is still there.</b> <b>We made it.</b>

<b>We made it, yeah first day. </b> <b>The mood in the group ranges from buoyant to completely exhausted.</b> <b>Hey, I’m so done!</b> <b>Suffer-Fest at its best! and that was just four km.</b> <b>Not really. It was actually 15 km.</b> <b>Even more, but we had the horses.</b> <b>Oh well, we’ll manage somehow.</b>

<b>But now, something hot to eat and drink.</b> <b>Now there are eight of us. Two street dogs have joined us.</b> <b>We’ve named them Geronimo and Eugen.</b>

<b>I hope they turn back soon. We can’t feed them.</b> <b>The wilderness at its finest.</b> <b>Suffer finish. Now enjoy.</b> <b>The warm meal and company help combat the exhaustion</b> <b>and the walls around us soon feel like home.</b> <b>Our goal today: to follow the ridge up to around 3000 meters altitude.</b> <b>I don’t know if it’s a good sleep or the sun,</b> <b>but everyone’s cheerful.</b>

<b>Shall we make some bets how long we need for this?</b> <b>-No! -1 1/2 hours for the first 200 meters.</b> <b>We take day two as a challange.</b> <b>Although I’m exhausted from yesterday, I'm optimistic for this day.</b> <b>Ok Levi,</b> <b>this looks like lines!</b> <b>Then I fall in the snow.</b> <b>It’s not the first time today either.</b>

<b>I tried to fight, but in vain.</b> <b>Instead I’m on the ground, and Zura is taking my baggage off me.</b> <b>Yes, I’ve thought about that, but it’s not an option right now.</b> <b>Laying down was the only option.</b>

<b>But we've got a dog who’s looking after me.</b> <b>Clouds and fog are coming from the south.</b> <b>As we get closer to the pass, we’re in a whiteout already.</b> <b>We can’t ski in these conditions.</b> <b>So we have to set up camp here.</b> <b>I’ve never camped in winter before.</b>

<b>There is an endless expanse all around.</b> <b>Theoretically. I can’t actually see anything in this fog.</b> <b>It’s an unsettling feeling.</b> <b>All I can see is Heli’s torchlight.</b>

<b>Good I have so many batteries.</b> <b>I’ve forgotten my head torch.</b> <b>I really need sleep.</b> <b>I hardly got any.</b> <b>Diarrhea and a flat air mattress kept me up all night.</b> <b>But the scenery we’re waking up in is just breathtaking.</b>

<b>Snow-covered peaks for miles.</b> <b>Good morning.</b> <b>From here we can see the spine wall perfectly</b> <b>Time to ski big lines.</b> <b>- Which big lines?</b> <b>Right there. You can see some nice spines.</b> <b>Majestic ridges slope from the peaks into the valley below.</b> <b>Here we have to rely on our judgement.</b>

<b>There is no avalanche report.</b> <b>Rescue isn’t guaranteed in an emergency.</b> <b>I still indecicive which line to choose...</b>

<b>Shall we play it safe or shall we go big?</b> <b>Heli’s gaze keeps drifting to the right of the wall.</b> <b>His line looks scary from a distance.</b> <b>Behind the camera, I realize he doesn’t want any pressure.</b> <b>We aren’t pros, we’re learning by doing.</b> <b>That’s the only run for today</b> <b>and his line is definitely not the warm-up.</b>

<b>He needs to stay calm, to think about the turns.</b> <b>Go steady on the right-hand cliff.</b> <b>- Do your best!</b> <b>- You too!</b> <b>Let’s hope that the snow is good for skiing.</b> <b>Damn!</b> <b>The snow conditions are absolutely awful.</b> <b>It’s both ice and slush.</b>

<b>Now he just needs to focus on getting down in one piece.</b> <b>I respect Heli</b> <b>and how he masters everything and fights.</b> <b>We talk over the radio.</b>

<b>The southern slopes seem to have got too much sun.</b> <b>The snowfall overnight is pretty superficial.</b> <b>Maybe the northern slopes will be better.</b> <b>It wasn’t the powder we were hoping for, but still... </b>

<b>And to be honest, being able to ski on those slopes, far from civilisation,</b> <b>that’s crazy enough.</b> <b>To ski such a line with style,</b> <b>that’s my aim.</b> <b>Whether they’re satisfied or not,</b> <b>everyone is happy,</b> <b>we’re overjoyed about what we’ve achieved together.</b> <b>That was just the start, it could be like this all week.</b>

<b>I wish we could camp here for four days.</b> <b>But the weather’s going bad, so...</b> <b>We have to leave this beautiful spine wall.</b> <b>It’s amazing, take a look.</b> <b>Yes, we’d like to stay longer.</b> <b>But the weather has other plans.</b>

<b>Bad weather is arriving from the west.</b> <b>- Let's dry all our things.</b> <b>I wanted to do it yesterday, but we ended up in the snowstorm and we camped on the ridge.</b>

<b>Everything was wet.</b> <b>Tomorrow we are crossing the pass that’s been worrying Heli from the get-go.</b> <b>The only dangerous passage on the route.</b> <b>We hope the snow freezes overnight.</b> <b>We saw the wetslide...</b> <b>On the climb to the pass, there’s a constant risk</b> <b>of the snow layer sliding downhill</b> <b>with us on top.</b>

<b>So we have to reach the top of</b> <b>the pass quickly.</b> <b>At the end, </b> <b>the track gives way all the time</b> <b>the snow is already heavy and wet.</b> <b>Our descent on the other side will be also steep.</b> <b>At least we’re faster here, we" just" have to descend.</b>

<b>-I would go down one by one. -Yeah, for sure.</b> <b>-Nobody comes before my sign. -For sure.</b> <b>After our ascent, the descent</b> <b>will cost us our last energy.</b> <b>Eugen, that’s not good.</b> <b>We reach our camp as the rain starts.</b> <b>Our cabin has a log-burner.</b>

<b>A good place for new plans.</b> <b>I guess this is some old military base.</b> <b>Our camp looks out on impressive 4000 m mountains.</b> <b>But they’re currently veiled in heavy clouds.</b>

<b>In the warm cabin we need to decide.</b> <b>Wait for good weather or carry on.</b> <b>If we’re lucky the weather is better than forecast</b> <b>and we can ski some more lines.</b> <b>The weather forecast for today is clear:</b> <b>The day after tomorrow it will snow,</b> <b>and at that point we shouldn’t be 30 km away from civilization.</b> <b>Also these mountains will have to wait</b> <b>until next time.</b> <b>Now it will get easier.</b>

<b>We can feel how warm winter has been.</b> <b>The rain has almost melted the remaining snow.</b> <b>We strap our skis to our backpacks early on.</b>

<b>We soon start to feel the extra 4 kg.</b> <b>We still make remarkably good progress</b> <b>and are joined by two dogs.</b> <b>Levi names them Jesper and Henning.</b> <b>Around the campfire we realise it’s almost time to say goodbye.</b> <b>We’ve all missed home at one point.</b>

<b>Some more, some less.</b> <b>And now that the end is fast approaching,</b> <b>nobody wants to go.</b> <b>It’s snowing.</b>

<b>No one wants to go outside, </b> <b>because it’s snowing.</b> <b>Good morning.</b> <b>Good morning.</b> <b>Freedom!</b> <b>-You’ve got a lot of water on your camera. -I know.</b> <b>You can’t see shit in this.</b> <b>No, you can’t really see shit.</b>

<b>Heli, how is it?</b> <b>Powder, powder.</b> <b>It’s beautiful, isn’t it?</b> <b>Apart from everything being wet, it’s perfect.</b> <b>That's how I like it.</b>

<b>The first sign of civilisation.</b> <b>are some ski tracks. We’re coming at the right time i guess.</b> <b>And that was last meter of vertical of the traverse.</b>

<b>Yeh, we did it!</b> <b>We are 4 km from Ushguli, and we are getting back to civilisation.</b> <b>For me that’s always the hard part,</b> <b>because when you spend so much time in a remote place,</b> <b>without any contact with the outer world,</b> <b>at some point it feels</b> <b>like this is the only reality that exists,</b> <b>like these people are the only people left in the world.</b> <b>And a little part of me always wants to stay forever,</b> <b>in nature, and not come back at all.</b> <b>But the civilisation has a shower.</b>

<b>Well, let’s go, it has to be done.</b> <b>-Very well. -Oh yeh.</b> <b>-Well done everyone.</b> <b>- That was awesome!</b> <b>We did it, right?</b> <b>Thank you.</b> <b>After six days, 60 km, over 4500 meters altitude,</b> <b>we reach Ushguli, a place </b> <b>we weren’t sure we could reach.</b> <b>On a route nobody has ever taken in winter.</b>

<b>All due to a map online and an idea,</b> <b>dreamed up on a sofa. -We planned eight days,</b> <b>but we finished it in six days.</b> <b>Look at this strong boy.</b> <b>Because of this machine here, and this machine.</b> <b>What did we learn?</b> <b>That it’s worth giving things a go.</b>

<b>Whether the dream is big or small,</b> <b>however possible or impossible it seems.</b> <b>We're all sure, that this project</b> <b>is just a beginning... </b> <b>there are more to come.</b> <b>And to qoute Levi:</b> <b>"We've created something beautiful here."</b>

<b>- You have to tell me something:</b> <b>- are you happy?</b> <b>- what do you think about the conditions?</b> <b>- Is it gonna rain?</b> <b>- What do you wanna ski today?</b> <b>- What do you wann send?</b> <b>- That colouir?</b> <b>He is not really talkative today</b> <b>- Yeah Geronimo</b> <b>- You are super serious.</b> <b>- Maybe he knows something, </b> <b>that we don't know...</b>

2023-11-08 22:56

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