Altai Tavan Bogd Hike, 9 days, from $1330 Book now
Altai Mountains is the highest of three major mountain ranges in Mongolia, straddling the Russian and Chinese frontiers in the Far West. Mountains of eternal snowcapped mountains and glaciers. In these remote regions live many nomads of ethnic minorities. The Kazakhs are Muslims, and speak an ancient Kazakh language, as well as Tuvans, who are Buddhist and shamanistic. This dramatic journey will bring us to Mongolia’s highest mountain region. We will trek to the Potanin glacier supported by pack camels and locals. We will then continue across the high Altai and trek into the lakes region, next to the Chinese frontier. Local Kazakh herdsmen will keep their priced Golden Eagles next to their yurts.
Brief Outline Itinerary
On this dramatic journey we use low impact traditional modes of transport. Our equipment will be carried on pack-camels, possibly also in addition, pack-horses. We will fly to west Mongolia on an almost 3 hour domestic flight from Ulaanbaatar. We will transfer out to the mountain regions from Ölgii, the Kazakh provincial capital, by 4wd Russian vehicles. Our crew will be Kazakhs and/or Tuvan. The local guide is trilingual at least: English, Mongol and Kazakh. Possibly also Tuvan and Russian.
Arrive in Olgii and Drive to Altai Tavan Bogd (200 km drive, 4-5 hrs)
Fly to Olgii and after 3 hrs flight arrive in Olgii airport. Meet your local guide.
We load our luggage and drive via Ulaanhuis over desert mountain landscapes, with the snow-capped Tsambagarav Mountain as a powerful backdrop and the Altai Mountain range ahead of us. We will find numerous petroglyphs and Turkic stones along the Goloog River basin. Bayan-Ölgii is rich in archaeological remains, as a reminder of the Bronze Ages and the time of the Huns and Turkic invasions. Overnight in tents. (LD)
Tavanbogd massif (16 km on 1st day, 11 km on 2nd day and 25 km on 3rd day, 6-8 hrs per day)
We will load our equipment on to pack-camels – perhaps also pack-horses - and trek for the 20 kms toward the base camp of the snow-capped Tavanbogd massif. We will pitch camp next to the 20km long Potanina glacier – the biggest of the twenty glaciers in Mongolian Altai - and remain there for two nights. Tavanbogd means “the Holy Five” referring to the five highest peaks, of which Huiten Uul is the highest in Mongolia, 4374 meters above sea level. Quite a considerable height at this latitude. The other peaks are named Nairamdal, Ulgii, Burget and Naran. It is a stunning setting with the awe-inspiring massif of high snow capped peaks. For a full day we will make day hikes to the Malchin Uul. These are non-technical climbs.
Third day, back at Shiveet Hairhan Uul we will be able to view the biggest petroglyphs from the second period of the Huns (200 B.C.). The Huns were the reason for the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huangdi to build and finish the Great Wall of China at this time. On the third day, trek back on the far side of the Tsaagan River and pitch camp. Here we may have a chance to view Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica). Overnights in tent. (BLD)
Altai Mountains crossing (15 km on 1st day and 17 km on 2nd day)
We have 2 days for the crossing of the Altai Mountain range. We will pitch camp before the snow area. For sure, big game such as Snow Leopards and its prey species, live here, but they are extremely difficult to get to see. Perhaps there is Altai Snowcock, the highest living bird of Mongolia. We will cross the Altai at the highest elevation of some 3600m our trek and have the broad views across the Altai Mountains. We are here near the peak of Tsaagan Hairhan Uul (Sacred White Mountain/ 3662m). 2nd day, arrive to a scenic valley which the locals call the Bear Overnights in tent. (BLD)
By Bear Valley to Green Lake
We are now in a scenic area, where small streams develop into rives fed by the melting glaciers flowing down broad steppe valleys. Around are forested hills of larch forests and mountains. Along the rivers there are wooded and alluvial meadows with broad leaf forests.
Trek down a valley with patches of Larch forests and reach the so called Green Lake, where we is possible lunch. After lunch, trek through the dramatic steppe valley along the river that drains from Altai Tavan Bogd Massif. We are now only 10 km from the Chinese border. These are the summer spending pastures of numerous Kazakh herdsmen. Their yurts are a bonanza of handicraft. They are a very friendly and hospitable people. A fishing rod comes in handy here. The largest subspecies of Mongolian Grayling (Thymallus arcticus) is easily fished here. The numerous Great Cormorants in the vicinity are a good indicator that there are plentiful fish in the lakes. Overnight in tent on the shore of the lake. Pick-up vehicles arrive here. (BLD)
Drive to Olgii and
|Drive to Olgii towards the Hargant valley, below Tsengel Haorhan Uul (3903 m), another of the snow-capped mountains. Here live Tuvans. They are Buddhists, but of the Turkic speaking ethnic group. Their gers (yurts) are more like Mongolian gers as opposed to the larger Kazakh ones. There are also some shamans practitioners among them. Arrive back to Olgii city. Overnight in local hotel/ger of the tourist camp. (BLD)|
After early breakfast, transfer to Olgii airport and fly to UB. (B)