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The Mongolian Altai Mountain Range stretches across the south and west of Mongolia. Its highest point is the Tavan Bogd peak at an altitude of 4370m, in the far west, where China, Russia and Mongolia share a common border. The climb is challenging for any experienced climber, due to its technical nature. The 19 km long Potanin Glacier lies at the foot of the mountains. The climate in this high mountain area can be extreme, since it is above the tree line. There is very little vegetation, giving the surrounding landscape a barren appearance. Very few species have adapted to these harsh conditions and the area is characterized by tundra, lichen-covered rocks, alpine meadows and high mountain swamps. The Glacier is used by some of the large mammals of Mongolia to cross westwards through the mountain range. Footprints from brown bears as well as snow leopards can often be found.
Our journey to reach this remote peak in the far western province of Mongolia – Bayan Ulgii – will be by plane, jeep, and on foot. This province not only holds some of the most spectacular peaks in the Altai Mountain Range, but it also has some of the most diverse and culturally interesting inhabitants of Mongolia. The Kazakh minority group makes up the core of it, followed by Tuvan and Uriankhai people.
You will be transferred to the airport for the morning flight to Ulgii. This is the center of Bayan Ulgii province, and the only Muslim province in Mongolia. About 90% of the inhabitants in the area are of Kazakh descent, having arrived from the western part of China in the 1800s after the Mongolian Government gave them land. The flight takes 4 hours, including a stopover for fuel. Your guide will accompany you on the flight. On arrival at the local airport our staff will meet you and take you out of town for lunch. After lunch we will head west out of Ulgii, towards the Altai Mountains, and set up camp (near Ulaan Khus) in the late afternoon.
Today we will continue driving until we reach the Tsagaan River. This river lies near the foothills of the Tavan Bogd Mountain and drains the Potanin and Alexander Glaciers. The entire area is within the bounds of Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. We will set up our base camp near the river. Our vehicles will remain at this base camp for the next 5 days while we continue on foot towards the peak.
Today we will begin hiking towards the Tavan Bogd Mountain. The name of this mountain is ‘Five Kings,’ as the mountain itself is comprised of five different peaks. The highest peak is called Khuiten and is at an elevation of 4370m. Our camp will be at an altitude of 3100m on the edge of the Potanin Glacier, and is at the foot of another peak, called Malchin Peak (4037m). Our hike to tonight’s camp will take one day and all of our luggage – food and supplies – will be carried on camel back.
Today you will start climbing Malchin Peak. This peak provides a long climb, mostly on scree, and requiring no technical equipment, yet affords tremendous views over Russia to the north and across to the glaciated peaks of Altai Tavan Bogd to the south. We return to the previous night’s camp in the late afternoon.
Today you will hike up the Glacier to an intermediary campsite at Khonog Tolgoi. It is a 7 hour walk, so we will need an early start. We will each need to carry 15kg of luggage, but the terrain is fairly easy, and we will walk with ropes securing us, as required. Our mountain guide will walk ahead of us as some of the crevasses are covered by snow. Our camp tonight will be at an altitude of 3600m.
Today we will climb Mount Khuiten (4370m) – the highest peak in Mongolia. After crossing the glacier we will climb snow slopes of varying angles (up to 45 degrees). There are some crevasses on our route. Once we get to the top we will be able to look down into Russia, China and Mongolia – the landscapes of all three countries are distinctly different. We return to the previous night’s camp via the same route. It will take 8 hours to complete the trip.
Today we will climb Nairamdal Peak (4082m). We will find this an easy walk, on glaciated terrain, after climbing Mount Khuiten. It will take 6-7 hours, roundtrip. On our return, we will pack up the camp and return to our camp at the edge of Potanin Glacier.
Today we will trek back to our original base camp above the Tsagaan River where we will meet our facility vehicle in the area of Altai Tavan Bogd National Park.
Today’s schedule is flexible. Sometimes the weather does not allow for climbing, so we have this day to use, as we need. If we are free early enough, we can climb from our camp at Tsagaan River to the Tsagaan Khairkhan Uul (3628m), or have a day of rest for visiting local families and enjoying the scenery of this beautiful valley.
Today we will return to the vehicles and drive towards Ulgii. We will stay overnight at Ulgii’s only ger camp, next to Lake Shar.
Today we will drive into Ulgii and take the local flight back to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival, we will be met and transferred to your hotel.