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Munku-Sardyk Summit Expedition


Difficulty

Comfort
5 days
Age 12+
January - September

Tour Overview

This trip takes guests to the summit of Munku-Sardyk, the tallest mountain in Eastern Siberia. The ascent begins from Buryatia, a republic of shamanist-Buddhist indigenous people on the border with Mongolia. The border itself passes right across the summit, so guests require special permission from the Border Guards to do the climb. You will briefly cross into Mongolia during the ascent. The ascent is best done in early May, when the mountain is still covered in snow and rivers are frozen thick enough to easily cross. In summer the ascent is far more difficult and dangerous. There are a huge number of mountain rivers to cross, plus loose snow that is almost impossible to cross at higher altitudes. There are also regular landslides and falling boulders in summer.

Highlights

  • Summiting Eastern Siberia’s highest peak
  • Standing on the Mongolia-Siberia border at 3650m altitude
  • Breathtaking views of Siberia’s Lake Baikal and Mongolia’s Lake Khovsgol
  • Visiting indigenous Buryat shamans as an extra if desired
  • Admiring perfectly circular mountain-ringed Lake Ekhoy
  • Receiving professional training with mountaineering equipment
  • Beginning and ending in Irkutsk, a beautiful, historical, Siberian city
  • Entering a region that requires special access permits for outsiders

Itinerary

Day 1: Travel from Irkutsk to base camp

Drive out of Irkutsk and across Andrianovskiy Pass, giving us a great view on southern Lake Baikal and the snowy peaks of the Khamar-Daban Range. We then enter the Republic of Buryatia and travel through Tunkinskiy Valley, walled to the left by the Khamar-Daban and to the right by the sharp peaks of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. Eventually we reach the village of Mondy almost on the Mongolian border and have our permits checked by the local border guards. 20km further we reach the end of the road on the banks of the River Beliy Irkut. We walk 5km to our base camp at its confluence with the Muguvek (altitude 1650 metres) and overnight.

Day 2: Acclimatisation trek to Mount Obzornaya

Acclimatisation day. Today we will do an ascent to Mount Obzornaya (2900m). From here there is a truly breathtaking view over the whole of the nearby mountain range. Return to base camp in the evening to overnight.

Day 3: Ice and snow training day

Ice and snow training day. Instruction on how to use the equipment provided. Today we will cover walking in crampons, ascent and descent on ropes, using an ice axe, jumars, descent devices and so on. Safety training, how to deal with emergency situations. All training sessions will take place on the upper reaches of the Ledyanaya stream, which flows into the Beliy Irkut about twenty minutes on foot from our base camp. The course of the stream is very steep and there are ice falls with a gradient of up to 50°. On this day, if the instructor decides that the guests have a sufficient level of knowledge and experience, we may skip the training and do a second acclimatisation ascent instead. In this case we will summit Mount Katka-Dura or Mount Sixty Years October (3065m). We will ascend along the Beliy Irkut to Gorniy Pass (3050m). From there we will follow the ridge to the summit itself. From the top we will have an incredible view of almost all the nearby peaks, including our goal for tomorrow – Munku-Sardyk. We descend the other side of the pass and return to base camp by following the River Muguvek.

Day 4: To the summit of Munku-Sardyk!

Early breakfast. Ascend along the River Muguvek to Lake Ekhoy (altitude 2650m). Rest and snacks before ascending to the summit of Munku-Sardyk. Spectacular views of the Mongolian Lake Khovsgol, the brother of Lake Baikal, stretching away far to the south. After a quick break and a bite to eat we descend to the perfectly circular Lake Ekhoy, which resembles a dragon’s eye from above and is completely ringed by mountains. After another breather we descend all the way to base camp where we have dinner around a campfire and overnight.

Day 5: Return to Irkutsk

Return to Irkutsk after breakfast.

Price

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Price includes:

  • Round-trip private transfer from Irkutsk by minibus
  • Mountaineering guide with experience on this route

  • English-speaking translator

  • Rental of crampons, ice axe, harnesses, lanyard, rope, sleeping bag, tent and all other necessary equipment excluding personal clothing, personal possessions and small personal rucksack

  • Border zone permits

  • Satellite phone rental for emergency calls

  • All food

  • One porter per person

Price does not include:

  • Accommodation, food, transport or guiding in Irkutsk. This can be added if required
  • Visa support. This can be added if required

  • Expenses of a personal nature

  • Personal travel insurance

  • Personal or work-related satellite phone calls

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