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Climbing the 5 Holy Peaks

of the Altai Tavan Boyd

  • Where?

    Mongolia

  • Altitude

    4374

  • Duration

    18 days

  • Weather

  • Physical

    P5

  • Technical

    T4

  • P5 - Superlative fitness is called for. Regular, long and intense physical training is required for preparation. Expect long days on the hill of 10-15 hours in testing weather conditions (especially summit day) carrying up to 15-20kg in weight, and or pulling a pulk with exceptional weight.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • T4 - A good grounding in Alpine climbing is ideal. Knowledge of basic knots and ropework with a background in Scottish Winter II or Alpine PD.  Competence use of crampons and self arrest techniques is preferable.  All still will be re-taught and practiced in situ.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • Overview

  • Date & Prices

  • Pics & Vids

  • Itinerary

  • Kit List

  • FAQ's

Overview

During this 18 day fully supported climbing expedition, you’ll summit the highest peak of Mongolia at 4374m and the other 4 Holy Peaks of the Altai Tavan Boyd.

Mongolia’s western frontiers with Russia and China are guarded by the snow-capped peaks of the Altai Tavan Bogd mountain range, the 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 19km 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 will act as your camel caravan handlers and porters and will make an unforgettable company as they share their unique culture and traditions with you.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trekking in Majestic Altai mountain range of Mongolia
  • See authentic culture of Kazakh people with golden eagle and Tuva nomadic people
  • Camel supported trek between NP gates and Tavan Bogd mountains base camp
  • Cross Mongolia’s largest glacier Potanin and establish Advanced Base Camp
  • Ascend highest peak of Mongolia Mt. Khuiten 4374m above sea level
  • Ascend all of the 5 holy peaks
Find out more
Climbing the 5 Holy Peaks , of the Altai Tavan Boyd

Date & Prices

Departure & Return

Duration

Price (excl. flight)

Price (incl. flight)

Start: 12 August 2019
End: 29 August 2019

Price without flights:  $4,500

Leader: Adrian (Ade) Summers
*Max 12 persons

12 August 2019

29 August 2019

18 days

$4,500

N/A

Leader: Adrian (Ade) Summers
*Max 12 persons

Included

  • 5 overnights in 4 star Bayangol hotel (twin) on a B&B basis
  • 1 overnight in a hotel in Ulgii (twin and B&B basis)
  • 11 tented overnights (TWN)
 Camping & cooking equipment
  • All indicated meals
  • Overland transport – Russian 4×4 van(s)
  • All transfers including arrival & departure
  • Internal flights
  • All indicated meals (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
  • Visits & National Park fees
  • Camping equipment
  • Mountain guide
  • English speaking guide
  • Expedition cook
  • Local guides
  • Horse & camel hire
  • Drinking water
  • Satellite phone (for emergencies)
  • 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor
  • Monthly payment plan, on request

Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Excess luggage fees on internal flights
  • Any additional meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Personal climbing equipment
  • Sleeping bags and mats
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities (please budget for about 200 USD per client)
  • Single supplement for tent at Base Camp (not an option at High Camp) $75
  • Single supplement for hotel in Ulaanbaatar: $475

Pics & Vids

Itinerary

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. An afternoon guided city tour will introduce you to the highlights of the city: the Gandan Temple (the 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 the 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. An evening show of traditional music, throat singing and contortion at 6PM will be followed by a welcome dinner.

DAY 2 : Mount Tsetseguun (2256m). Return to Ulaanbaatar.


Today we will stretch our legs with an acclimatisation hike over Mount Tsetseguun (2256m), the highest mountain in Bogd Khan National Park, which lies just to the south of Ulaanbaatar. Bogd Khan National Park was founded in 1778, making it one of the world’s oldest protected areas. The hike to the summit takes about 3 hours, through forests of larch and pine and the panoramic views make the summit a worthy lunch spot. We return to UB by a similar route.

DAY 3 : Walk in the Terelj National Park and return to Ulaanbaatar.


Today we will head out to Terelj National Park. There are some excellent hiking options in the National Park as well as the chance to ride on horseback. Terelj, a National Park since 1994, is a very impressive, wild landscape with unusual rock formations and wildlife – inlcuding moose, bear and an abundance of birdlife. We return to Ulaanbaatar.

DAY 4 : Flight to Bayan-Ulgy, the Muslim province of Mongolia

Early this morning we 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, we 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 hour travel across mountainous desert, we camp in the valley of Sogoot River. In general, rivers in Mongolia are small and shallow and occasionally dry 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.

DAY 5 : Drive to the Tavan Bogd Peaks' gateway

Today we travel further west and by early afternoon we reach the Oigor river valley, the gateway to the Tavan Bogd peaks. 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.

DAY 6 : Hike to Tavan Bogd Base Camp

Today we trek to the base camp of the Tavan Bogd. This gradual ascent takes us through a high mountain terrain of rock outcroppings and 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. Two thirds of the way into today’s trek, the views will open to majestic perspectives of Potanin and Alexander glaciers with the icy peaks of Khuiten (4374m), Nairamdal (4082m), Snowchurch (4071m), Malchin (4050m), and Ulgii (4113m) on their far side. This evening we camp at 2900m.

DAY 7 : Ascent of the Malchin Peak

The 4051m Malchin is the lowest of the Holy 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, the glaciated peaks and Russia. Over to the west, weather permitting, you will see the massif of Mt.Belukha (4500m) lying in Russia. That is the absolute top of Altai mountain range. Back in camp, we reward ourselves with a tasty meal. Those opting to stay 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.

DAY 8 : Assent to Khuiten High Camp

Assent up the Potanin Glacier to establish a high camp at the top of the Glacier, below the eastern face of Khuiten. We have to negotiate a number of crevasses before reaching the Khuiten’s foothill.

DAY 9 : Ascend Khuiten

Today we have an early start for our climb of Khuiten. The actual ascent, although technically moderate, takes 4 hours. From the summit there opens a tremendous bird’s eye view over China, Russia and the neighboring snowcapped ridges and snow fields. Return to High Camp.

DAY 10 : Ascend Naradel and return to BC

At first light, we make the straight assent of Naradel (friendship peak) and return to High Camp. After a quick cuppa and breakfast we break camp and decend down the Potanin Glacier to Base Camp for a rest in the afternoon sun.

DAY 11 : Rest day. Optional walk to Russian Border

Rest day with an optional walk to Russian Border. Or contingency day.

DAY 12 : Snow Church Ascent

From Base Camp we will attempt the summit of Snow Church. This peak is fairly straightforward and we will return to Base Camp after the attempt – as well as each of the peak attempts.

DAY 13 : Eagle Peak Ascent

Eagle Peaks Ascent

From Base Camp we will attempt the summit of Eagle Peak. This peak is fairly straightforward and we will return to Base Camp after the attempt.

DAY 14 : 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. We return back to our vehicles and celebrate our ascent.

DAY 15 : Return transfer to Ulgy, overnight in local hotel

We say “goodbye” to our Tuvan friends and take a 7 hour drive back to Ulgy. Tonight is your chance to sleep in a local hotel. A hot shower and cold beers will be the highlight of the day.

DAY 16 : Return flight to Ulaanbaatar

This morning we catch our return flight to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival, you will be transfered to your hotel. You’ll have a free afternoon for shopping and sightseeing.

DAY 17 : Leisure day in Ulaanbaatar

Morning visit to see the Chingis Khan statue. This is a  1.5 hour drive from UB city. The afternoon is free to spend for shopping and self-exploration of the city. You may refer to our recommendations in order to make most out of it. Tonight we will have a farewell dinner to celebrate the trip and our achievements.

DAY 18 : Departure

Transfer to UB airport for your return flight home.

This itinerary is subject to minor changes – depending on flight arrival/departure times, weather, group dynamics, fitness and so forth. The itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the trek and what you will experience in this magnificent country.

Kit List

Bags & Packs

Kit bag

A 80-120L duffel bag to transport kit. A duffel bag is a strong, soft, weather resistant bag without wheels but with functional straps for carrying. Suitcases and wheeled bags are not suitable

Rucksack

A 60-65L rucksack with a good waist belt.  To carry all your kit and a proportion of you week’s food allocation along with your crampons, helmet, ice axe etc.

Waterproof rucksack cover

To protect rucksack from rain

Dry stuffsacks

Nylon rolltop bags (or even just large plastic bags) that keep fresh clothing and other important items like passports and iPods dry in the event of a total downpour that seeps into your kitbag. Good for quarantining old socks

Feet

Boots / approach shoes

Mountaineering boots (B2 or B3)

We recommend B3 Mountaineering Boots. Ideally double boots like Skarpa Vegas or La Sportiva – Spantiks.

With double boots you can take the inners out and sleep with them and keep them warm.

Sandals

Walking sandals with a good grip are a good choice

Crampons

12 point mountaineering crampons with anti-balling plates that fit your specific boots (not ice climbing crampons)

Trekking socks

Single layer or wearing 2 pairs is a personal choice and lighter weight merino wool is a good option

High altitude socks

These are especially thick to provide maximum insulation. Bring three pairs, keep one pair clean for summit day, and wear with a thinner inner

Spare laces

Just in case

Headwear

Warm headgear

This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head

Helmet

Petzl “Ecrin Roc” and Black Diamond “Half Dome” recommended

Head torch

We recommend Petzl head torches. Bring spare batteries.

Sunglasses

Worth spending money on good UV filters. For glacier work category 4 with side and nose protectors.  Julbo is our preferred supplier

Upper Body

Long sleeved T- shirt

T-shirts / Trekking tops

A couple of t-shirts or loose fitting (non-cotton) trekking tops / shirts to wear whilst walking

Waterproof jacket (Outer layer)

Gore-Tex or eVent seam sealed and breathable are recommended and big enough to fit over your down jacket. This jacket will also serve as a great windproof too.
Heavy and bulky ski jackets are not suitable for this expedition

Fleece top/jacket or Softshell

Thermal top

To keep you warm at colder temperatures

Down jacket

Generally made using feathers, these are the ultra-warm and insulated layer that are used when at camp or in extremely cold environments. Those with a windproof outer fabric will provide the best insulation. Ask advice in the shop (or from us) when buying the jacket and mention you want it rated to -10C and the assistant will recommend the correct fill for you

Warm gloves

Consider liners or a light polartec pair for lower altitudes and evenings, and a thicker waterproof pair like ski gloves for higher altitudes

Lower Body

Mountaineering Soft Shell trousers

These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly weigh little in your pack. Consider a Schoeffel fabric or similar which is warmer and wind resistant

Waterproof overtrousers

Like the jacket, an essential piece of kit to stay dry and should also be Goretex

Tracksuit bottoms/comfortable trousers

A pair of lightweight tracksuit bottoms are nice to change into in the evenings for comfort or to sleep in if you feel cold

Long Johns

Thermal insulation for the lower body

Trekking trousers

These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly after a shower and weigh little in your pack. Consider perhaps a pair with detachable lower legs as an alternative to shorts

Shorts

Swimsuit/shorts

Underwear

How many pairs you take is entirely up to you

Technical Equipment

Climbing harness

We recommend Petzl harnesses. Try a variety on in a shop before you buy to ensure a good fit. Legs clips are a good option and avoids having to step into the harness to put it on

Ice axe

A walking ice axe between 55cm and 65cm. Go to an outdoor shop and try different ones for weight and size so that you get one that feels good to you

Descending devices

For rappelling the Black Diamond ATC Guide is good since it can handle ropes from 7.7mm to 11mm. A Figure 8 is an old standby and works on a variety of ropes and also icy ropes. While it twists the ropes more, it is quite foolproof. You might consider both, in case you drop one of them and lose it

Sling (120cm)

120cm slings. One to be used as a cows tail and the other as back up

Screwgate karabiners

Climbing equipment

Quantity: 2

Prusik loops

Paracord to make the prusik loops

Trekking poles

These tend to be a personal preference but help with your stability and can dampen the pressure on the knees coming down hill

Sleeping Gear

4 Season sleeping bag

You should get a sleeping bag rated to -10C and choose a sleeping bag that functions within the comfort rating of this temperature. A silk or fleece sleeping bag liner will enhance this rating on the coldest nights

Thermarest

A full length mattress is best, plus a closed cell foam mat underneath.

Toiletries

Wash kit

Keep it simple on the mountain. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!

Mosquito/Insect repellent

Just in case

Lip salve

Sun cream will not work on your lips and they are very susceptible to burn without proper protection

Sunblock

Buy the highest SPF you can find as UV intensifies with altitude

Travel towel

Travel towels from the likes of Lifesystems are perfect

Wet wipes

Preferably biodegradable, these are great for washing when modern shower facilities become a thing of the past

Alcohol gel

A must have for good camp hygiene

Toilet paper

Provided on the mountain but a spare in your daysack may be useful if you need to hide behind a rock between camps

Nappy sacks or dog poo bags

Only needed to bag your toilet paper if you are caught short in between camps and for keeping your rubbish tidy in your tent

Misceallaneous

Camera

Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards

Snacks

You will be fed very well and given snacks each day however we advise bringing a small selection as a little bit of comfort.  For summit night it’s always good to have a few extra chunky bars for that extra boost. Energy gels and protein bars are not suitable

Penknife (optional)

Padlocks

For use on your kit bag for travel and on the expedition plus your hotel bag

Passport

Don’t forget this! Your passport should have at least 6 months validity.  With your passport expiry date at least six months after the final day of travel.

Copy of passport

Just in case

Visa

Money

Tips local guides (tipping your UK guide is optional!) plus extra for meals not included, extra drinks on the mountain such as coke and souvenirs.

Travel insurance

Copy of own travel insurance details.  And relevant contact numbers.

We have a partnership with True Traveller and would recommend that you contact them when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. However, it is vital that you ensure that the insurance cover they offer is suitable for you, taking your personal circumstances (items to be insured, cancellation cover, medical history) into account. Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip.  To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

Dental check up

We recommend you have a dental check-up before your trip. New fillings can be an issue at altitude if there is an air pocket left in the gap

Medications

Personal medication

Keep this in your daysack

Personal first aid kit

The 360 med kits are designed to be used in emergencies and akin to an A&E rather than a pharmacy on Expeditions so please come prepared with useful meds for yourself such as painkillers (Ibuprofen if you can take it and a Paracetamol) plus blister plasters, plasters, antiseptic, rehydration sachets and any muscle rubs you wish to use.

Hydration

Water bottles/bladder

3L equivalent – Camelbaks are useful at lower altitudes but have a tendency to freeze up at higher altitudes without insulation tubes, Nalgene bottles are better at altitude. We suggest a combination of a 2L bladder and 1L bottle or 2 x ½L bottles to put in your jacket for summit night

Pee bottle (+ optional Shewee for the girls!)

A good idea if you are storm bound at higher camps. A 1ltr Nalgene bottle is a good option but do make sure you label it as your pee bottle!!

A full kit list will be given when the trip is booked

FAQ's

Visas

Do I need a Visa

If you are travelling on a UK Passport Yes. Please see this information. http://embassyofmongolia.co.uk/?p=186&lang=en

If you are travelling on a USA Passport No. Please see this information. http://mongolianembassy.us/visa-information-for-us-citizen-only/#.XG7GnZP7QWo

If you are travelling on a Canada Passport No. Please see this information. http://mongoliavisa.com/visa-free-countries.html

Flights

What are the best flights to Ulaanbaatar?

If coming from Europe, Aeroflot via Moscow is a good option.

If coming from North America, Air China via Beijing is a good option.

Those of you who want to add to the adventure could consider flying into Beijing and then catching the train to Ulaanbattar, taking around 27 hours to cover 1,500 kilometers.

Mountaineering Boots

What boots are recommended

We recommend B3 Mountaineering Boots. Ideally double boots like Skarpa Vegas or La Sportiva – Spantiks.

Note: Our high camp is at the top of a glaciated valley where we are camped on the ice. Single leather or synthetic boots freeze. With double boots you can take the inners out and sleep with them and keep them warm.

Suggested Reading

What are good books to read before I go

Hearing Birds Fly by Louisa Waugh

Gengis Khan; Life, Death & Ressurection by John Man

Edge of Blue Heaven by Benedict Allen

The Lost Country: Mongolia Revealed by Jasper Becker

The greatest job in the world

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Instant Attraction

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