Mother of Rivers: the Mountains of Georgia's Caucasus Range

The massive relief of the Caucuses Range in the the Republic of Georgia's Sveneti Region are staggering in their own right for their sheer natural beauty. Though much less well known then the Alps in western Europe, the Causcuses, straddling the southern border between Europe and Asia are the highest mountain range in Europe. During the first part of my recent trip to the region, I spent several days trekking around Mount Ushba, one of the most striking mountains I have ever encountered. Like most of the highest peaks in Georgia, it sits along the international border with Russia.

 Though not the highest peak in the range, at 4,710 m (15,453 ft), Mount Ushba is a massive peak and generally considered the most challenging mountaineering objective in the range. Seen hear at sunset with a steady stream of clouds forming and streaming off of the lee side of the summit.

Though not the highest peak in the range, at 4,710 m (15,453 ft), Mount Ushba is a massive peak and generally considered the most challenging mountaineering objective in the range. Seen hear at sunset with a steady stream of clouds forming and streaming off of the lee side of the summit.

 Mount Ushba (left), neighboring Mazerie Peak, and the massive rock covered lower portion of the Ushba Glacier photographed via moon and starlight.

Mount Ushba (left), neighboring Mazerie Peak, and the massive rock covered lower portion of the Ushba Glacier photographed via moon and starlight.

 Murky waters pour out of the snout of the Ushba Glacier, one of the headwaters of the Inguri River, one of the largest and economically most important river in Georgia.

Murky waters pour out of the snout of the Ushba Glacier, one of the headwaters of the Inguri River, one of the largest and economically most important river in Georgia.

 Intrepid traveler crossing the ragging glacial outflow several miles downstream from the snout of the Ushba glacier in the Republic of Georgia’s Sveneti region.

Intrepid traveler crossing the ragging glacial outflow several miles downstream from the snout of the Ushba glacier in the Republic of Georgia’s Sveneti region.

 The torrent of water pouring over the glacier carved cliffs bellow Mount Ushba have carved out a deep ravine into the landscape. Svaneti Region, Republic of Georgia.

The torrent of water pouring over the glacier carved cliffs bellow Mount Ushba have carved out a deep ravine into the landscape. Svaneti Region, Republic of Georgia.

The Shkhara massif sits south and east of Mount Ushba and includes Mount Shkhara and several other 5000+ meter peaks, the highest part of the Caucuses in Georgia. Fall temperatures had turned the mountain ash red on the alpine mountain slopes and dusted the ridgetops, peaks, and glaciers with fresh snow.

 The massive bulk of Jhanga peak and Mount Shkhara from the west, drapped in ice and fresh snow, give birth to another tributary to the Inguri River. Sveneti Region, Republic of Georgia.

The massive bulk of Jhanga peak and Mount Shkhara from the west, drapped in ice and fresh snow, give birth to another tributary to the Inguri River. Sveneti Region, Republic of Georgia.

 A rainbow straddles the mountain valley and snout of the valley glacier flowing off of the Shkhara massif. Georgian Caucuses Mountains.

A rainbow straddles the mountain valley and snout of the valley glacier flowing off of the Shkhara massif. Georgian Caucuses Mountains.

 Mountain ash’s brilliant red-orange after the onset of fall temperatures above the glacier fed river leading down to the tiny and remote village of Adishi. Sveneti Region, Republic of Georgia.

Mountain ash’s brilliant red-orange after the onset of fall temperatures above the glacier fed river leading down to the tiny and remote village of Adishi. Sveneti Region, Republic of Georgia.

 The Lamaria Church, near the town of Ushguli, with the southern face of Mount Shkhara, 5,193 m (17,040 ft), in the background.

The Lamaria Church, near the town of Ushguli, with the southern face of Mount Shkhara, 5,193 m (17,040 ft), in the background.

 Downstream, the impacts of primitive sewage systems, unbelievable garbage disposal practices, unfettered livestock access, old mining activity, and a massive hydroelectric dam take their toll on the Inguri River, but here at its headwaters it flows free and beautiful off of some of the highest peaks in the world.   

Downstream, the impacts of primitive sewage systems, unbelievable garbage disposal practices, unfettered livestock access, old mining activity, and a massive hydroelectric dam take their toll on the Inguri River, but here at its headwaters it flows free and beautiful off of some of the highest peaks in the world.

 

Global Climate Change Comes to Carnation Washington

 Under the old railroad trestle bridge over the Tolt River, WA.

Under the old railroad trestle bridge over the Tolt River, WA.

 Same location as above during typical winter stream flow.

Same location as above during typical winter stream flow.

 Tolt river from same location as above during typical winter stream flow.

Tolt river from same location as above during typical winter stream flow.

 Tolt River, flood stage.

Tolt River, flood stage.

 Tolt River from the similar vantage, typical winter stream flow.

Tolt River from the similar vantage, typical winter stream flow.

 Tolt river at flood stage.

Tolt river at flood stage.

 Tolt river photographed from close to the same location as photo above during typical winter stream flow.

Tolt river photographed from close to the same location as photo above during typical winter stream flow.

 A new addition to Carnation. This entirely new log jam is about about 300 metres long and and 40 feet wide or wider in places, at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers. It has completely obliterated a two lane gravel road that ran along the edge of the river here.

A new addition to Carnation. This entirely new log jam is about about 300 metres long and and 40 feet wide or wider in places, at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers. It has completely obliterated a two lane gravel road that ran along the edge of the river here.

 Looking north on Highway 203 just north of Carnation, WA

Looking north on Highway 203 just north of Carnation, WA

 Flooded farm in the Snoqualmie Valley, WA.

Flooded farm in the Snoqualmie Valley, WA.

 Flooded house for sale. Carnation, WA

Flooded house for sale. Carnation, WA

 Flooded neighborhood in Carnation, WA.

Flooded neighborhood in Carnation, WA.

 Carnation Tree Farm, WA

Carnation Tree Farm, WA

 Highway 203, just south of downtown Carnation, WA.

Highway 203, just south of downtown Carnation, WA.

 Flooded farm field south of Carnation caused by a burst levee on the Tolt River.

Flooded farm field south of Carnation caused by a burst levee on the Tolt River.

 Highway 203 in Carnation, WA   

Highway 203 in Carnation, WA