- - "Crossing Tusheti": Bikepacking the Republic of Georgia

“Crossing Tusheti”: Bikepacking the Republic of Georgia

photos and words by Moritz Ablinger and Henna Palosaari

Tusheti National Park in the Republic of Georgia is made up of over 200,000 acres of protected wilderness and boasts an incredibly diverse landscape with elevations ranging from 3,000 to nearly 16,000 feet. The park is known for its remoteness and raw beauty, and it’s popular among hikers. But bikepackers? Not so much.

That didn’t stop Sabine Schipflinger, Henna Palosaari, Fabian Spindler, and Moritz Ablinger from planning a 180-kilometer route linking hiking trails and faint paths, starting from Stepantsminda and finishing in Omalo.

Hidden in the Caucasus Mountains is the treasure of Georgia’s Tusheti National Park. This land of extremes is entirely cut off from the rest of the world for six months of the year. Under the snow is hidden some spectacular singletracks, gravel roads, and green meadows. However, these tracks are better known among hikers but we (Sabine Schipflinger and Henna Palosaari accompanied by the filmer Fabian Spindler and photographer Moritz Ablinger) decided to link them together into a 180-kilometer mountain bike adventure that took us over the 3,000-meter passes of the Caucasus Mountains.

Crossing Tusheti National Park required endless hours of pushing and carrying our bikes, making the pace slow and daily distances short. However, it allowed us to immerse ourselves in the surroundings while getting deeper into the remote mountains. We were rewarded by vast views over the mountains, fast descents, and welcoming Georgian guesthouses.

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