Updated: Dec 12, 2021
As winter a bit delayed, we had a chance to make second try to run by Impressive and long Lomisa ridge from Ortodox monastery.
First time together with my husky dog Ice we failed as he stopped in the middle of technical part of the rout and refused to continue. So this time i have invited my running buddy Boris. We left Ice at home and carefully planned the rout to avoid my mistakes.
Not everything that planned we performed, but 1/2 of the rout were discovered.
What make it so desirable for me? I see this ridge everyday from my house window. My daily TV show: Lomisa rigde changing it's color by day time or weather.
It attracts, it invites. It is huge even from afar. When you actually run by it's even bigger. My husband tried to follow our run hardly searching 2 figures on the ridge with army binoculars. But even knowing where we were, having best view over the ridge, he couldn't. We were just grass.
So again we started at Mleta village, climb up to the Monastery and from started our trip first to technical part below Lomisa Peak. This time some local dog, who was lazy stretching under the sun at the monastery, joined us.
Adventure?! Adventure! And his laziness disappeared with partridges in the bushes as they saw him running.
He looked like real hunter dog, maybe even his parents (at least one of them) were pointers. He definitely knew mountains and how to survive there.
This time very thin layer of snow covered stones below the Peak. That made the traverse even more challenging. Stones and surface were icy and slippery. You couldn't rely on any boulder no matter how big or small it is. Everything could move suddenly and slides down dragging you into the Abbys. Even dog in some parts didn't look confident. It took us ~hour to travers this part. The distance roughly is only 500 meters.
As a conclusion. If you haven't been to Lomisa monastery yet and interested to see it, then try this rout. But i was there many times, so next time i would avoid both Monastery and Peak as traversing it - not exactly running. Anyone can do that however it takes too much time. Therefore next time if we run it, we will start at Zemo Mleta - village slightly higher, and climb up to the ridge right after Lomisa Peak (from the right side).
After everything was really simple. Ridge is wide, views are amazing. On the other side of the ridge huge valley and another mountains and ridges.. Endless ridges, peaks.. You may see guard Towers on every Hill. We counted at least 10 Towers. I think more.. hundreds hidden behind every shadow.
Just like in Tolkien novel "Lord of the rings" signal lights from Minas Tirith to Rokhan - guards of these towers lit the fire, sending the signal from one village to another along the entire mountain range.
Not sure if we allowed to run down to another side of the ridge and have a tour from one tower to another as it is probably already Russian territory or occupied by Russia as my Georgian colleagues said, (not sure where the border exactly).
Because we spend so much time under the Peak and started not really early, in two hours of running it became evident that we won't do whole planned rout due to timing. So we turned down from the middle point and started descend to Aragvi river by quit steep path. It took another 40 minutes for descend and finally we reached the flat part - road along Aragvi river which is another my training rout for fast and almost flat running. For a change if you can't run up anymore.
Itinerary of the 2nd attempt rout.
By car 15-20 min. down from Gudauri to Kvemo Mleta village. Park near small church. Then follow the sign Lomisa through the village.
Distance 12 km.
Surface: stones, grass, clay, icy in the morning
Elevation: 1490 (parking) - 2 346 (highest point reached)
Climb: 1145 m. (150-250 m/km)
Difficulty: from medium to hard. Steep ascend, ridge is safe. Descending is technical and steep. During summer hot - sun exposed.
From Aragvi river (it is possible to descend by unpaved road by car from Highway to river valley) we were picked up by car and went for deserved dinner.