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Altai Trek

Trip Summary

Altai Trekking 

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Altai Trek - 14 days. Grade B/C
Dates and Prices

The following itinerary is intended as a working guide only and is subject to variation as a result of local conditions, weather and governmental restrictions.
Time: GMT +7.

We can arrange flights for you to Petropavlovsk either from London or from Moscow. Please enquire for details.

Day 1 Arrive in Barnaul. Drive along the famous 'Chuisky tract' - the road connecting Russia and Mongolia (14 hours). Picnic lunch on the way. Arrive at the lodge in the evening. The traditional style, wooden lodge is beautifully set on the shore of the river Katun. Dinner and traditional Russian sauna.
Personal items not needed on the trek may be left here.

Day 2 Rest day in the lodge. Acclimatization walk to the neighboring mountains (6 hours). Trek briefing.

Day 3. Cross the river Kucherla and walk up to a forest with very rich flora and fauna. Walk over the forested Kuzuyak pass (1513m), descend to the river Ak-Kem (6-8 hours).

Day 4. Walk up the river Oroktoy valley on paths through forests rich in raspberries, red currants and mushrooms. The Siberian taiga gradually gives way to alpine meadows. Pleasant camp by the Tukhman river. Fine views of Mount Belukha and neighboring summits. (6-7 hours)

Day 5. Walk across alpine meadows, in the late afternoon descend to camp by a small mountain lake, shared only with Maral Deer and marmots. (7-8 hours)

Day 6. From the lake rise to a mountainous marsh, dotted with variously shaped "farewell rocks" then descend to camp in the Tekelyu gorge, not far from the magnificent Tekelyu waterfalls (3-4 hours).

Day 7. Over a pass across alpine meadows to the Yarlu gorge. Cross the Ak-Kem lake by boat a campsite which will be the base for two nights. Big tents, kitchen, sauna, and communal "ail" - local Altai building. (7-8 hours walk).

Day 8. Walk to Ak-Kemskiy glacier following the river and lake side. Excellent views of Mount Belukha. Return to the same camp.

Day 9. Cross the demamanding Karatyurek Pass (3060m). The descent is rather steep. Camp amongst ceders by the source of the Tekelyushka river. (7 hours).

Day 10. The track passes through sparse forests descends to the river Kucherla opposite to the Tegeyek waterfall, heard long before being seen. A good path past a fine view point to Kucherla lake. Camp.

Day 11. Descent along the river Kucherla. The campsite is situated near unique rocks with ancient carvings (petroglyphs) and a sacrificial altar. (7-8 hours)

Day 12. Return to the lodge where we had started the trek. There will be time to relax in the Russian sauna.

Day 13. Drive by bus to Barnaul. Accommodation in hotel.

Day 14. Return Flight.

Included: all transport London to London (Barnaul to Barnaul if the land only option is chosen), all food and accommodation on the program, tents on the trek (including a mess tent), a guide, assistant guide, cook and porters/horses.

Not included: services in Moscow, insurance, visas and tips.

The Altai mountain system covers a vast region spanning four countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia. The highest and partly glaciated region (called the High or Central Altai) lies in Russian and rises up to 4506m (Mt. Belukha) the highest point of Siberia. Our trek lies entirely in Russia, in the autonomous region called "Altai". It is inhabited by Russians and by the local Altaians (of Mongoloid origin and Buddhists).

In summer the Altai, with its cold high plateaus, high ranges with their permanent snow and deep, moist, forested valleys, stand out as a cool island among the hot steppes of southern Siberia. Mountain valleys are forested with spruce and pine interspersed with grassy meadows. Higher in the mountains pine and fir trees give way to aspen, birch and finally larch and dwarf conifers. Many varieties of deer populate these valleys and the open areas are grazed by mountain goats, sheep, and yaks. Compared to the hot plains the rainfall here is quite high. The High Altai boasts more than six thousand lakes and tens of thousands of rivers. We will pass several of these beautiful lakes on our trek. It is here in the Altai, that the sources of two of Russia's great rivers are found - the Ob and the Irtysh. Barnaul itself lies on the Ob, at a point where the river leaves the mountain valleys to start on its long journey across the steppe to the Arctic Ocean. The town owes its origin to the rich mineral resources found in the region, in particular to silver.

This trek is graded B/C as a large proportion of the walking is quite demanding requiring a reasonable degree of fitness. Your equipment will be carried by horse. However apart from the normal demands of walking uphill there are moraines and rivers to be crossed. Some sections are demanding on account of having to walk through taiga vegetation. Some days are quite long and tiring. Throughout the trek the walking is not technically hard but ropes may have to be used to assist with river crossings. grades

All accommodation and meals except for lunches in Moscow are included in the trip cost. On the trek we use double-skinned two-man tents which are used for two people only. Please assist with pitching your tent. In Barnaul a good quality (two star) hotel is used with en-suite shower / bath and WC. Food on trek is prepared by our own cooks, there will be a sheltered dining area provided. On trek two hot meals are served plus a cold packed lunch.

During the summer and autumn months day time temperatures in the territory range from about 16 to 20?C whereas at night they can drop to just below freezing. If you are already a hiker or backpacker you will probably have much of the clothing and equipment required. Major items required are good walking boots, a good waterproof and a three season sleeping bag. A 40 liter rucksack should be adequate to carry your personal belongings.

The trek will be fully horse supported, they will carry all your equipment and communal equipment including food and tentage. You will be expected to carry only your daysack. Each day will involve about 4 to 5 hours walking on average but one or two will be as long as 7 hours. The guides will be responsible for the setting up of ropes to protect some of the mountain river crossings.


Return to the top
view of Belukha massif
view of the Belukha massif


Tekelyu Waterfall
Tekelyu Waterfall

a horse!

morning mists

Large Trek Map
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ALW 25/11/06