For climbers and rock climbers, the Caucasus is a native element: wherever you look, peaks flaunt everywhere, but steep slopes invitingly beckon. Most of the routes are wild, but there are exceptions. In the vicinity of Sochi, via ferrata appeared, in other words, "iron paths" along the rocks, equipped with safety elements. On via ferrates, athletes do not waste time on bolts, hooks and anchors, and beginners can feel like seasoned climbers, even if they have only seen mountains on the Internet before.
A short and simple via ferrata - in the Sochi Skypark on the way to Krasnaya Polyana. The whole way can be covered in an hour, any healthy person can handle it, including children over 10 years old. Each group is accompanied by an instructor. There, in the "Skypark", you can test the strength of your nerves by jumping on a bungee from a height of 69 or 207 meters. Other via ferrates are more difficult: one is in the Agursky Gorge with an ascent to the Eagle Rocks, the other is near Krasnaya Polyana. Guides will help you deal with harnesses, carbines and other wisdom, and you can read a lot and in detail about the via ferrates here. And most importantly: don't look down, don't forget to look around - the places are fabulously beautiful!
The Bolshoi Zelenchuk River is making a terrible noise, and in the valley above it there is a resounding silence. It is believed that here, in the area of the village of Nizhny Arkhyz, was the city of Maas - the capital of the influential ancient state of Alania. The city disappeared long ago, but many buildings remained in its place: both religious and domestic. The most famous - three Zelenchuk temples - were built at the beginning of the X century, when Alania officially adopted Christianity.
The imposing Northern Temple was the cathedral of Alanya. The second temple is called the Middle. Tiny Southern is the only one active, it is worth looking into it in order to feel the quiet, reverent atmosphere and the connection of centuries. On the other side of the river, you can climb to the face of Christ. Other interesting objects are a stone circle with a diameter of 88.5 m (its purpose has not yet been figured out), menhirs of two human heights, ruins of buildings, Christian and pagan burials. It is better to explore the Alan settlement with a guide so as not to miss anything. The astrophysical observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences is located half an hour's drive from the settlement, we advise you not to miss the opportunity and sign up for an excursion there.
How to get there: by plane to Stavropol or Mineralnye Vody, then by bus, taxi or car to Nizhny Arkhyz.
Don't Miss: Holy Places of Russia
Many of us first learned about the beauty of the Caucasus from Mtsyri and Hero of Our Time. And the very dramatic image of Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov - why hide - worried our impressionable minds. It is all the more interesting, as adults, to get to places that one could only dream of in the 9th grade.
The most Lermontov place in the Caucasus, of course, is Pyatigorsk. A modest white house with a reed roof, in which the poet spent the summer of 1841, is hiding inside the museum quarter at the foot of Mount Mashuk. At the supposed place of the duel with Martynov, souvenir sellers distract from gloomy thoughts. The heroes of "Princess Mary" made walks to Lake Proval, and the Lermontov baths remember the poet himself. Arbor "Eolova harp", academic gallery, "house of Princess Mary": among the Lermontov and Pechorin places, you quickly tune in to a romantic mood. To finally break away from reality, "soar" over Mashuk on the cable car: excellent views are guaranteed. After a long walk, it's nice to sit with a book on the balcony of the Tet-a-Tet art cafe, the former Gukasov coffee shop.
How to get there: by train to Pyatigorsk or by plane to Mineralnye Vody and then by bus, train or taxi (less than an hour's drive).
In the morning the group gathers at the railway station in Krasnodar. The instructor checks the list that everything is in place, and we go to get into the vehicle.
The bus takes us a little further than the village of Ubinskaya to a place called Dubrava. We disembark in a pretty clearing, where we have lunch, distribute public equipment, get to know each other, and undergo instructions. Today is an adaptation day, we have to go quite a bit - only 4 transitions, about 40 minutes each. Our road goes upstream of the river. Ubin. On the way we will come across a real dolmen - an ancient religious building.
We set up the camp in a cozy parking lot on the river bank. There are two "bowls" in which you can dip and wash away the road dust, as well as try a unique offer from local nature - fish peeling! In beauty salons, this is offered for a lot of money.
In the evening after dinner, a thorough acquaintance of all the participants of the hike is planned. Prepare stories about yourself, you can slightly embellish! :)
After breakfast we start the route. First, we have to sweat - we will conquer Mount Pshada (608 m), behind which there are beautiful waterfalls - we are heading towards them. By lunchtime, we arrive in the river valley, where there is a lot of greenery, and picturesque mountains approach from all sides. We get up camp on the shore. It is interesting to go up and down the stream here, meeting more and more waterfalls around the bends of the river! You can consider them indefinitely, but we take ourselves in hand and take a lunch break.
After lunch we make a radial hike to the largest of the Pshad waterfalls called Olyapkin. In a wild corner of nature, water falls from a height of over 7 meters - a breathtaking sight! There are no roads going here, and you cannot get there by any other means than along a mountain path. That is why we are on a hike with you!
Radial exit (without backpacks). We will conquer the famous Mount Papay, 818 meters above sea level. The mountain is famous for the fact that its rocky peak is in the shape of a pyramid and is recognizable in all photographs. It looks very impressive, especially when you are standing above, and clouds are floating in the valleys below you. Emotions cannot be expressed in words, but if you try, you get banal "breathtaking". Well, so be it.
Mid-day snack. We return to the camp only in the evening.
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