Bezengi Wall - One Day....

In June 2010, Boris Avdeev and I stood on top of Shkhara, a 5193 m high, very difficult summit in the Caucasus. Shkhara is the highest point of the Bezengi Wall, a 12 km long mountain massif largely above 4500 m along the Georgian-Russian border. Shkhara also marks the eastern end of the wall, and is either the last or first summit of the Bezengi traverse – a traverse of the entire massif, over multiple 4500-5000 m summits, and one of the greatest alpine challenges in the Caucasus and Europe. A few weeks later Boris writes me - “one day we have to do the traverse”. This day will never come. Boris perishes in an avalanche in April of 2012. We were to climb Janga-Tau (5058 m) together a few weeks later, a remote and seldom climbed peak in the central part of the Bezengi Wall. After 2 months in a mental hole, full of doubt about the sense of going to the mountains, and filled with lack of motivation and self-discipline, I travel to Georgia again. On 22 June 2012, I summit Janga-Tau with Robert Koschitzki. As I sit on the summit and watch Robert coming up, I look to great Shkhara rising behind him, where Boris and I stood two years earlier, and then look behind me, to the remaining summits of the Bezengi wall to the West. I wonder if I will ever make the traverse. Maybe, one day...

(Published on the Leica Fotografie International Blog, One Photo, One Story)

Janga-Tau (5058 m) 

2005 I came first to the Caucasus of Georgia. The place captured me instantly, like no other had before. Soon the idea to climb and ski all three 5000m mountains of Georgia was born: Shkhara (5193m), Janga-Tau (5058m) and Mkinvartsveri (Kazbek, 5034m). In 2006 and 2008 Deon Louw, Andreas Riesner and I made two first ski descents from the summit of Mkinvartsveri. In 2010 Boris Avdeev and I stood on the summit of Shkhara, the most difficult and dangerous of the three. Before I started the difficult ski descent from Shkhara, I saw in the distance the east flank of Janga-Tau emerging from the clouds, and I imagined skiing it one day.
In June 2012 finally, after numerous adventurous trip to Caucasus, years of preparation and training came down to that one moment, as I reach the summit Janga-Tau with Robert Koschitzki, and then ski down the east flank of Janga-Tau, finishing the project, with great Shkhara looming in the background….

(Published as Leica Fotografie International Photo Story)


Peter Schön is a photographer based in Trondheim/Norway & Tbilisi/Georgia. His passion for photography started in the mountains, during several first ski descents of 5000-6000 m peak in the Andes, Pamir, Tien Shan and South Caucasus. Later, he ventured into documentary photography, with several portfolios about refugees and internally displaced people (IDP) in the South Caucasus.
Peter works as certified ACMG Ski Guide and CAA Level 3 avalanche technician.