I am climbing the Kazbegi with M. He was born in a year that punk was declared dead, but that didn’t stop him. On the grey stripes of his red backpack it says ‘total fucking anarchy’, ‘no war but the class war’, ‘wake up’ and ‘peace and love’. M left England with a debt of 200 pounds, so we’re traveling on a budget. We buy two bread and three tomatoes and steal four peanuts, one chocolate bar and half a kilo cheese. ‘Stealing from a big company is less worse than buying from one.’ M assures me. His 800 euro tent and the rest of his equipment is carefully hand-picked from a giant outdoor company in Switzerland. ‘I first walked in to get myself a backpack and came back later that week to fill it up. The richer the country the lower the security.’ I am learning a lot on this trip.
We hitchhike our way up from Tbilisi. A friendly young Russian guy picks us up. ‘A little bit further is one of the best Georgian road house restaurants. It’s very affordable.’ The kind Russian says. ‘Great!’ I say. My teacher in frugality is less excited. ‘I am actually on a budget, so I will just come and watch how you two eat.’ This breaks the heart of the Good Russian and he won’t allow us to pay a single lari. After a free dinner, we decide to put up the tent at the foot of the mountain. We have to climb over a fence, walk through a sea of weed to find the perfect place.
‘Money is just the most fucked up thing in our society. You don’t need it for anything’ He tells me while drinking from one of his 70 euro water bottle. We talk about Capitalism and Socialism and things that ruin the earth.
There is no sign of a ruined planet on the Kazbegi. There is an abundance of green with sometimes a little ancient church on a mountain top.
We almost reach the glacier when a big thunderstorm strikes down on us. We pitch the tent and play chess until the storm is over.
At base camp real mountaineers are camping for the night. They scoff at our equipment. M. laughs along knowing that he didn’t pay for any of it. Who’s stupid now?! he is thinking.
At night temperatures drop. Fortunately I have a -20 sleeping bag that keeps me warm. M. accidentally stole a 200 euro sleeping bag that is not suitable for temperatures near a glacier.