Tbilisi: Sakartvelos geograpiuli sazogadoeba, 1928. 65pp.: ill. 16.7x24.6cm. Loss of the front wrapper and the spine, tears of the rear wrapper, previous owner’s inscription on the foretitle: “To our little Vaniko from the aunt Nutsa. 2/III/1929”. Good. Extremely scarce first edition. One of 1000 copies. The narrative is in Georgian, Russian and French.
A captivating firsthand account of the 10th expedition to the third-highest peak in Georgia, Mkinvarstveri (mount Kazbegi), written by the member of the expedition and noted Georgian alpinist, Ioseb Aslanishvili (1891-1955). Photographs by the members of the crew, Archil Benashvili and Valentin Tulashvili.
On November 7, 1927 a crew from the Tourist Department of the Geographical Society of the Georgian SSR began an autumn expedition to the mount Kazbegi. It was primarily to collect data from the meteorological booth that was set on the summit of Mkinvartsveri by the Georgian physicist and geologist Alexander Didebulidze (1882-1951) in 1925. The expedition comprised 7 members (Simon Japaridze, Ioseb Aslanishvili, Devi Mikeladze, Archil Benashvili, Valentin Tulashvili, Shota Mikeladze, Andria Kovalkov), 3 conductors (Gakha Tsiklauri, Iagor Kazalikashvili, Mikheil Zagashvili) and 10 porters (Ilar Tsiklauri, Vaso Khaikashvili, Stepane Tsiklauri, Nikala Tsiklauri, Vaso Tsiklauri, Grisha Tsiklauri, Abrama Qushashvili, Grisha Alibegashvili, Iagor Khaikashvili, Vaso Chofikashvili) and was led by the initiator of the journey and one of the founders of Georgian alpinism, Simon Japaridze (1896-1929). By the time of the expedition, Japaridze had already climbed Mkinvartsveri 4 times (the first one in 1924). The crew took “the safest and most comfortable” (I. Aslanishvili) route through a col on the north side of the mountain, which was discovered by Japaridze during his previous ascent on the mountain earlier in 1927. On November 9, 11 members of the expedition reached the place of the final destination (Valentin Tulashvili reverted because of the mountain sickness, he was accompanied by 4 porters; other 4 porters had return to carry the load). The expedition went down in history of Georgian alpinism as the first ascension on Mkinvartsveri in the late fall and was celebrated for its success in recording meteorological data on the altitude of 5038 meters.
From planning to the personal impressions of the author, this firsthand account comprises details on the lesser-known aspects of the journey. The edition is illustrated throughout and features 25 rare photographs of the members of the crew and views from different stages of the expedition. The text includes tables giving information on the crew (members, previous expeditions, dates, occupation, age, position in the 1927 ascension) and breaks taken during the expedition with the indication of the altitude and time. The book also comprises a report of the assembly of the expedition members that was held on November 10, 1927 in Stepantsminda.
The leader of the crew, Simon Japaridze tragically died in the expedition to Tetnuld, only a year after this book was published.