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Summer Kodar intensive trekking


Difficulty

Comfort
13 days
Age 16+
June - October

Tour Overview

The Kodar Mountains are one of Siberia's most spectacular and remote ranges. In a mostly uninhabited region between Lake Baikal and Yakutia, they are as far off the beaten track as you can get. This tour is a truly unique trek for people keen to experience something that no other foreigners have seen. Our guests will be the first foreign group to summit certain peaks, will migrate with nomadic reindeer herders, visit incredibly well-preserved gulag camps and more. We will complete an 11-day trek through untouched mountain wilderness and a variety of terrain including glaciers, passes, river crossings, sandy deserts and more. Read on to find out more about this expedition of a lifetime.

Highlights

  • Being the first foreign group to summit a peak
  • Migrating with nomadic Evenki reindeer herders
  • Visiting well-preserved gulags at 2000m+ elevation
  • Trekking rarely-visited glaciers and passes
  • Trekking in Siberia’s only sandy desert
  • Constructing zip lines to cross rivers
  • Bathing in +55*C hot springs
  • Traveling in a variety of Russian all-terrain vehicles
  • Experiencing Siberia’s remotest and most spectacular mountains
  • Camping on the shores of alpine lakes

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in the Kodar Mountains

Arrival in Novaya Chara. Although there is a train station with direct trains from Moscow, journey time is 4 days and 6 hours. Most groups will therefore want to fly in to the airport. This will involve a flight from Moscow to Chita and another flight from Chita on to Novaya Chara.

Transfer 20km in Uaz vehicle to the EMERCOM (Russian Ministry of Emergency Services) base camp. We then transfer to an Ural 4320 off-road vehicle and travel a further 30km up into the Kodar Mountains to the confluence of the Havagda and  Sredniy Sakukan Rivers. In case, the water level is NOT high, we could go another 5-7km up the Sredniy Sakukan River by Ural. If the water level is too high for the vehicles we will need to continue on foot. Overnight in tents.

Day 2: Follow the Sredniy Sakukan River to its confluence with the Ylange

A full day of trekking 15km up the Sredniy Sakukan River until we reach the Ylange River. Overnight in tents.

Day 3: Be the first foreign group to summit Moscow Peak

We leave most of our gear at the confluence of Sredniy Sakukan and Ylange Rivers and take just 2 days worth of provisions for our climb to the summit of Mount Moscow at 2933 metres. It is a dominating ridge on the left side of the Sredniy Sakukan River with a fantastic view on the central Kodar mountain range. 11 km  trek with around 1838 meters elevation gain. We then descent from the summit 5 km and make a camp next to Ledyanoye Lake. Overnight in tents.

Day 4: Trek further up the Sredniy Sakukan

One more intensive day, we descent from Ledyanoye Lake to the confluence of the Sredniy Sakukan and Ylange Rivers, 6 km. Picking up the provisions and equipment that we left here on the day 2, we go 8km further up the Sredniy Sakukan river. Overnight in tents.

Day 5: Visit well-preserved gulag at 2000 metres

This day we dedicate to Borskiy gulag. Getting there involves crossing the Sredniy Sakukan River followed by a steep 4km struggle up into Mramornoye Valley at an elevation of around 2000 metres. To cross the river we have to set up a zip line with 3:1 pulley system. Once at Borskiy we will be in a spectacular valley surrounded by many of Kodar’s highest peaks, including Mount BAM. We will have plenty of time to explore the remains of the gulag where prisoners mined uranium during the race to build the first nuclear bomb. In the afternoon we return to the Sredniy Sakukan and overnight in tents.

Day 6: Trekking on the Nina Azarova glacier

Today, we visit the heart of the central Kodar Mountains chain, the glacier of “Nina Azarova” with a depth of more than 100 meters and over 4 km long. We trek 5km from the Sredniy Sakukan up to Medvezhiy Creek. From Medvezhiy Creek we do a 13km round trek over the glacier, taking in some of its most spectacular views. Overnight at Medvezhiy Creek.

Day 7: Cross Murzika Pass to reach the Kondrat River Valley

A more technical day, we cross the Murzilka Pass at 2340 meters, difficulty level 1Б – 2А. We trek 10km from the confluence of Medvezhiy Creek and Sredniy Sakukan River. After the pass, we follow the valley of the Kondrat River another 8 km. Overnight in tents.

Day 8: Migrating with nomadic Evenki reindeer herders

Today, we will meet up with a family of nomadic Evenki reindeer herders and join them on a migration to a new pasture area. Whereas reindeer in some parts of Russia pull sledges during migrations, in Kodar the nomads pack their possessions straight on the back of the reindeer and walk alongside them during migrations. We trek with them 10km down the Kondrat River up to the Apsat River. Overnight in tents.

 

Day 9: Descend from Kodar Mountains to the Apsat River

Today we start a descent from the central Kodar along the Apsat River. We cover 15km. Overnight in tents.

Day 10: Follow the Apsat River to Zarod Lake

We follow the Apsat River another 10km and finally reach Zarod Lake. The second part of the day is spare time in case of bad weather. Overnight in tents.

Day 11: Travel by tank to Chara Sands, Siberia's only sandy desert

Today we travel 48km by transport tank (vezdekhod) through flat swampy land to the Chara Sands. These tanks, which run on caterpillar tracks, were designed by the ever-economising Soviet government to transport people and goods in roadless parts of Siberia but to be easily convertible into military tanks during times of war. Lunch on the way. Dinner and overnight in tents in the Chara Sands.

Day 12: Trekking in Chara Sands then overnight at hot springs

Sunrise in the Chara Sands. A short 12 km hike around the Chara Sands. Later, the transport tanks will take us back to the EMERCOM base camp. Once there, we transfer into our Uaz vehicle and head 28km to a small guest house built on natural hot springs. Overnight at the guest house. Swimming, washing, traditional Russian bath house and shashlik barbecue.

Day 13: Fly out

Transfer from the hot springs to the airport or railway station.

Price

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Price includes:

  • All transfers by Ural, transport tank and Uaz
  • 1 English-speaking guide in groups of 1 – 8, two English-speaking guides in groups of 9 – 18
  • 1 local guide in groups go 1 – 8, two local guides in groups of 9 – 18
  • All food and (non-alcoholic) drinks
  • Accommodation and hot springs guest house
  • Fee for using pools at hot springs
  • Fee for using banya (traditional Russian bath house at hot springs)
  • Rental of tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, saws, axes, pots, ropes, harnesses for building the zip line, first aid kit, thermos, awnings, kitchen equipment, gas, satellite phone.
  • Fees to reindeer herders for hosting us
  • National park entrance fee
  • Invitation for Russian tourist visa
  • Registration of our route with EMERCOM (Russian Ministry of Emergency Services)

Price does not include:

  • Flights or train tickets
  • Accommodation, food, guiding or transport in Moscow, Chita or Novaya Chara before or after the trip.
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Clothing or personal equipment such as backpacks

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