“During the ascents of Mt.Tetnuldi and Mt. Ushba mountains, Jagor showed a keen interest in the Alpine landscapes, alertness and skills . . .
. . . Apart from his good mountaineering skills, Jagor stood out for nobleness and his cultured manner. His songs and chonguri playing (a Georgian national musical instrument) is a fairly remarkable part of the national folklore. Owing to his personal traits, not only is Jagor popular among the people he guides through the mountains but those he encounters during the trips . . . The trip was a success. The whole company safely reached the mountain top due to Jagor’s assistance, experience and his traits of a remarkable person and the best guide in the entire USSR.”
Co- founder of the Georgian Alpine Club
In 1860s, the European mountaineers turned their gaze at the Caucasian mountain range and that’s when the story of the mountain guiding in the Caucasus begins. The first Georgian mountain guides accompanying foreigners were Messrs. Pavle or Bakhva Pipia, Muratbi Kibolani, Mito Arguliani, the Besurtanov brothers, Lala Khutsishvili etc.
Later followed Messrs. Gakha tsiklauri and Iagor Kazalikashvili, locals of the Georgian Khevi region participating in the first Mt. Kazbegi climb in the Soviet times. It was from them that the Georgian mountaineers got the necessary knowledge and the travel bug passed down from generation to generation.
In 1907, led by Mr. Ian Besurtanov, his teacher, resident of the village of Gveleti, Mr. Iagor Kazalikashvili and Mr. Isakov, member of the Russian society of mountaineers set foot on Mt. Kazbegi.
In 1923, the first scholarly expedition to Mt Kazbegi, led by Mr. Alexander Didebulidze was guided by Mr. Gakha Tsiklauri. Just two years later, in 1925, Mr. Iagor Kazalikashvili assisted a renowned trip to the same destination led by Mr. Giorgi Nikoladze.
Messrs. Muratbi Kibolani and Mito Arguliani of the Svaneti region’s Mazeri and Tskhomari villages were occasionally involved in the foreign expeditions to the Caucasus mountains. For instance, in 1895, Mr. Muratbi Kibolani guided Willy Rickmers’ climb to Ushba Mt. However, they were unable to reach the peak and had to stop at the altitude of 4700m. He also accompanied Messrs. Ficker, Schultze, etc. during their trip up Chirinda, Tsalgmil, Gulba, Toti etc. mountains.