This is a 14 days fully supported mountaineering tour. Summit the 4374 m Khuiten peak, highest in Mongolia. Maximum altitude acclimatization and one leeway day. Quality outdoor and climbing equipment is provided. The climb is led by Gangaamaa Badamgarav, leader of the Mongolian Women 2006 Mt.Everest team.
Mongolia's western frontiers with Russia and China are guarded by the snow capped peaks of the Altai Tavan Bogd mountain range, highest in the country. Its highest and most interesting peaks are Khuiten, Nairamdal, Malchin, Snowchurch and Ulgii. The longest glacier of Mongolia, the Potanin glacier stretches for 19 km from the eastern face of Mt. Khuiten. On the summit day, when on the top of Khuiten, you will be able to glance into Russia and China. The local Tuvan herders acting as your camel caravan handlers and as porters will make an unforgettable company and share their culture and traditions with you.
Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, guided city tour. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital of Mongolia and transfer to a centrally located 4 star hotel. Afternoon guided city tour will introduce you to the highlights of the city: the Gandan Temple - city's main Buddhist center, the central city square with a grand statue of Genghis Khan and the Zaisan Memorial, an elevated hill on the city's edge providing a panoramic view of UB.
Then choose to visit one or two museums from the following: Museum of National History introducing Mongolia's history from early humans to modern era, Natural History Museum with a unique collection of dinosaur fossils, Choijin Lama or State Oracle Residence-museum displaying best samples of Buddhist artwork and religious masks. The Winter palace of Bogd Khan showcasing rare statues of Buddhist deities and items of personal use of this last theocratic ruler of Mongolia is also worth considering. A show of traditional music, throat singing and contortion at 6:00 PM will be followed by a welcome dinner. Hotel. Includes: (D).
Day 2: Flight to Bayan-Ulgy, the Muslim province of Mongolia. Early this morning take a 3 hour flight to Ulgy town in Western Mongolia. The Kazakhs living in the area are the largest national minority and practice Sunni Islam. A number of other ethnic groups also reside in the province in the region. Upon arrival meet with a support team of driver(s), cook(s) and a guide and head westward to Tavan Bogd national park. At the end of a 3 hours travel across mountainous desert we camp in the valley of Sogoot river. In general rivers in Mongolia are small and shallow occasionally drying up but during the rainy season they rapidly rise and at times burst their banks. Upon arrival we erect our tented camp. It is guaranteed that curious locals on horse or foot will appear out of nowhere to greet you. Dinner and overnight in tented camp. Tent. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 3: Drive to the Tavan Bogd Peaks' gateway. Travel further west and by early afternoon reach the White river valley, the gateway to the Tavan Bogd peaks. The valley is dominated by the sacred Shiveet mountain, around which lie hundreds of ancient burial mounds and rock carvings that represent art of the Bronze age and the Neolith. En route we try to visit a Kazakh family, male members of which practice falconry. They employ Golden Eagles for hunting foxes, hares and other small animals. Tent. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4: Hike to Tavan Bogd base camp. Today we trek to base camp of the Tavan Bogd. This gradual ascent takes us through a high mountain terrain of rock outcroppings and of wetlands. With a bit of luck you will see some of the wildlife that inhabit the area including marmots, hares and a number of birds such us Golden Eagles, Black Vultures and Falcons. Our entire luggage will be transported by camels handled by Tuvan herders. Upon completing two thirds' of the way there open majestic perspectives of Potanin and Alexander glaciers with the icy peaks of Khuiten (4374 m), Nairamdal (4082 m), Snowchurch (4071 m), Malchin (4050 m), and Ulgii (4113 m) on their far side. This evening we camp at 2900 m. Tent. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 5: Optional acclimatization ascent of the Malchin peak. The 4051m Malchin is the lowest of the peaks. We hike along the Potanin glacier moraine for an hour and start climbing on the scree of Malchin. Its ridgeline overlaps with the borderline of Mongolia and Russia and provides a spectacular bird's eye view of the Potanin glacier, glaciated peaks and Russia. Over to the west, weather permitting, you will see the massif of Mt.Belukha (4500 m) lying in Russia. That is the absolute top of Altai mountain range. Back in camp we reward ourselves with a tasty meal. Those staying behind can relax in the camp and take the so-called Russian border walk, an easy climb on to a neighboring ridge that allows a glance into the territory of Russia. Tent. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6-9: Khuiten ascent. Our challenge for the following 4 days (including one leeway day) is the Khuiten peak. To reach its base we need to cross the Potanin glacier, which lies in between. An advanced base camp will be set up below the eastern face of Khuiten. A number of crevasses is to be traversed before reaching the Khuiten's foothill. The actual ascent, although technically moderate takes 4 hours. From the summit there opens a tremendous bird eye view over China, Russia and the neighboring snowcapped ridges and snow fields. Weather permitting we should be back to the base camp in the evening of the eighth day. In such case you can use the following day either for rest or for optional cultural activities upon return to the White river valley. Tent. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 10: Return hike to White River. Today we hike back to our camp in the White River valley. This time it is a gradual descent along the White river which takes its source from the Potanin glacier. It is a chance to glance into every single valley of the icy massif and witness how the initial stream of glacial dust transforms into the mighty White river. Back to our vehicles we celebrate our ascent with a delicacy of Kazakh cuisine - "besbarmak". Literally meaning "five fingers" this is a delicious assortment of stewed meat, vegetables and flour eaten with hands. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 11: Return transfer to Ulgy, overnight in gers. We say "good bye" to our Tuvan friends and take a 7 hour drive back to Ulgy. Tonight is your chance to sleep in a Kazakh yurt. Hot shower and cold beers will highlight the day. Ger. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 12: Return flight to Ulaanbaatar. This morning we catch a return flight to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. Free afternoon for shopping and else. Farewell dinner. Hotel. Includes: (B, D).
Day 13: Leisure day in Ulaanbaatar. This is a spare day to spend for shopping and self-exploration. You may refer to our recommendations in order to make most out of it. Hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 14: Departure. Transfer to airport for your return flight home. Includes: (B).
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