Soldiers from 6 Rifles recently embarked on a mountaineering expedition to Georgia with the goal of increasing the Battalion’s mountaineering capability. While spending five days in the Southern Caucasus the team covered the Summer mountain foundation syllabus, engaged with the local population and hiked over 80km with 2,800m of elevation.
The hike began in Mestia a gateway town for trekking routes. As the team ascended into the mountains the villages got more rural some, with very little road access, were completely untouched by tourism. The locals preferring horses and ox as their primary methods of transport.
Through arduous accents, risky descents and river crossings the team was regularly exposed to controlled risk. At the base of the Adishi Glacier at 1,800m the team faced flowing river and had to work together utilising a rope to enable a safe traverse. The daily routes were challenging, great for developing personal robustness, but also very rewarding. The views at the top of the passes were always incredible. Georgia is a very beautiful country.
During the expedition the team experienced staying in guest houses, eating local food and interacting with the locals. Georgians are a very proud and family based society, eager to share and be hospitable towards strangers.
Through the arduous climbs and controlled exposure to risk, the team has further developed their skills with many looking ahead towards further qualifications and expeditions.
“The mountains in Georgia were stunning, it felt like going back in time. I’m really happy with the training too, I learnt a lot and look forward to one day teaching others”
Rifleman Jake Rickard
10 members of 6 Rifles gained the SMF qualification the first mountaineering qualification on the rung to becoming instructors.
All 12 members gained international mountaineering experience in a country not often travelled in.
All 12 members represented the UK army positively in a region (that boarders Russia) where positive public perception of western forces is very important.