Chatyn-Tau (4412 m). SE couloir. First ski descent.
Chatyn-Tau (4412 m) - the 1st Ski Descent of the SE Couloir.
Chatyn-Tau is a 4412 m high mountain in Svaneti, Georgian Caucasus. Three summits give it a distinctive, impressive shape. Still, the peak stands in the shadow of its famous neighbor, Ushba (4710 m). Still, Chatyn-Tau hold some of the best steep-skiing lines in the Caucasus. One of the is the large Southeast-Couloir of the West Summit (4310 m), clearly visible from Mestia. Since my first trip to Svaneti in 2010 the couloir was on my mind.
In May 2013, just days after the first ski descent of Mkinvartsveri`s NE face, Canadian steep skier Trevor Hunt and I arrive in Svaneti. With a lot of ice on the large south-facing walls of Janga-Tau and Shkhara, we turn our attention to the SE couloir of Chatyn-Tau. 1800 m vertical, wild bergschrunds and crevassed at the bottom, seriously steep and exposed at the top.
The surface was hard, deep runnels covered the middle section of the couloir. The sheer size, combined with the hard conditions, and misty weather gave the route an uncomforting, heavy aura.The ski descent ranks perhaps as my hardest and scariest. A thin snow cover on ice, 55° and more. A day later we ski the SW face. Both would be my last steep ski descents in the Caucasus.
Four years later, Miroslav Peťo and Maroš Červienka repeat the line in better conditions. They rated the route at Traynard S5/S6, E3, 50-55° >> Link to report