Shkhara & Ushba | Caucasus | Georgia
Peter Schön and Boris Avdeev on the South Pillar of Shkhara (5193m), Caucasus Mountains, Georgia, 2010. It was the last time the two friends travelled together. On April 19, 2012, Boris died in an avalanche on Mt. Dana in the Sierra Nevada.
(Published in Alpinist Magazine 39)
During this climb, the team made the first accurate DGPS survey of the summit (5193 m), and Peter the first partial ski descent through the south pillar route.
A Matter of BalanceAfter every difficult climb or ski descent I am momentarily filled with joy and relief, but as time passes, a certain emptiness takes over. When you have put everything into reaching that one goal, what is left when you reach it? It’s a matter of balance – the harder and higher I climb, the more important becomes returning to the valley and to home, to friends, loved ones and family, and embracing the life outside the mountain world. All that is just as much part of alpinism as the mountains themselves.
(Published as Leica Fotographie International Photostory)
My Caucasus Diary...since 2005 I regularly travel to the South Caucasus. Several times during these journeys I have travelled to the wild and remote regions of Svaneti (Georgia) and the 5000 m summits of the Caucasus Mountains. I always stay with friends in Mestia, the Khergiani’s, a family of famous Georgian alpinists, where we are hosted with greatest Georgian hospitality. Here, in their house, I always find memories of new friendships, of climbing partners that have passed, relationships that moved on and of long evenings with friends over wine and food. And every trip here leads to another trip to come, full of new adventures, encounters, friendships and memories. (Published as Leica Fotografie International Photo Story)
The Moment of Relief
In August 2012 I diagnozed a young alpinist high on Ushba (4710m, Caucasus) with acute pulmonary edema, a form of acute altitude sickness. After a night of first aid, phone calls and long waiting, finally a Georgian rescue helicopter arrived in the early morning. Ushba almost would have claimed another life (like so many times before), but the young climber survived, miraculously without permanent damage. He recovered fully and has become a close friend.
Unfortunelately I lost the camera I took this photo with during the hectic moments of the rescue. One year later, in August 2013, an alpinist found the camera and brought the SD card down. I picked the card up two weeks ago in Tbilisi and found this image.
(Published as Leica Fotografie International Photo Story)