Lago-Naki & Mount Fisht, Russia

Earlier this week, we took a 3-day backpacking trip through Lago-Naki in the Republic of Adygea, Russia.  Lago-Naki (part of the Caucasian State Nature Biosphere Reserve) has world-class scenery which includes mountains, alpine meadows, wildlife, glaciers, and extensive trails.  I will explain this area in more detail and what brought me here (for the second time) in my upcoming double trip report.  During our backpacking loop, we passed by three major peaks — Mount Oshten, Mount Pshekha-Su, and Mount Fisht.  On the second night, we stayed at Fisht Camp.  The next day, we did a side hike to Mount Fisht, ending our hike 30 minutes from the summit due to glacier safety concerns.  I will explain more about this in the report, but in order to reach the summit of Mount Fisht, a large glacier must be crossed near the end of the hike.  An online resource claimed that the only things necessary to cross this glacier were “good shoes and perhaps a walking stick with a pointed end”.  After we had completely crossed the glacier (with crampons on), we looked back and saw that we had passed by a couple major crevasses and that the glacier crossing was actually dangerous without crampons, an ice axe, ropes, and the proper experience.  Thus, instead of continuing to the nearby summit, we noticed that another group was about to cross back over the glacier with all the proper equipment and we joined up with them, being tied into their safety ropes.  Safely getting back across the glacier was much more important to us then reaching the fogged-in summit just to say we were there.  Outside of the glacier safety issues, we had a wonderful trip through a beautiful area that few westerners have ever seen.  In fact, several Russians hiking in the area were shocked to see an American in the park.  Joining me on this hike were local Russian friends Konstantin and Oleg, who have both visited us in California.

Konstantin and Oleg backpacking towards Mount Pshekha-Su on the Lago-Naki Plateau
Konstantin and Oleg backpacking towards Mount Oshten on the Lago-Naki Plateau
Steve pictured with Mount Pshekha-Su in the background
Steve pictured with Mount Pshekha-Su in the background
Oleg and Konstantin on the hike down from a pass to Fisht Camp
Oleg and Konstantin on the hike down from a pass to Fisht Camp
Mount Fisht and Fisht Glacier as seen on our day hike
Mount Fisht and Fisht Glacier as seen on our day hike