We spent two weeks in the Altai - in this stunning edge-rich nature, only
slightly affected by human activity. We came here the first time and were
certainly fascinated surrounding splendor nature, always felt ourselves in
complete harmony with nature. By the second day here you get balance of mind,
body and soul. Who was in the Altai once always come back here again. Our Altai
is majestic mountain peaks, natural monuments and artifacts of the past,
mountain lakes, pine forests, honey apiaries, mountain valleys and clear air of
forests - they call us back, call us to stay here.
The route starts: transfer by car from Barnaul to a camp near the Denisova Cave
took a half of night. In the morning we go into Denisova Cave to see an ancient
archaeological site and the layering of more than 20 cultural layers of
different eras. The cave is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. After
lunch we moved to Ust-Kan to visit the museum of national culture in the Altai
village Mendur-Sokkon. It's all about history, religion, traditions and culture
of the Altai people. The next long move is to Ust-Cox - by the famous Chuysk
road. The rocky cliffs of Altai are around us, afterwards they are replaced by
Kan Uimon steppe in the valley. In Ust-Koks we spend the night in tents.
Altai. Place of Power
Next stop -
the village Tyungur. We were a little carried on the car, and then we walked
along the Kucherla river. The river is white, it breaks a lot of ridges, which
were crowding in its course, forming a chain complex thresholds. In the niche of
the rock cave at the river Kuylu - rock paintings, they say - more than one
We spend the night in tents again. In the morning we go on foot to Kucherla
lake. The length of the lake is more than 5 km, and width is up to 900 meters.
There are over forty lakes in the valley of Kucherla , mostly they are
tectonically dammed origin. The largest of them is Kucherla lake. The lake is
filled with ice water which has a greenish-blue color. We spend the night in the
camp by the lake.
Altai. The Kucherla lake
The day begins with the transition under the pass Kara Tureck. The camp is
placed on the top border of the timber. Then we go up to the mountain pass of
Kara-Tureck (category 1A of, 3060 m). A great panoramic view of Mount Belukha
and the set of vertices of Katun ridge is from the pass. We reach the lake
Ak-kem and spend the night here.
The camp remains in the same place, and now we committed radial exits. We start
with a visit to Lake Mountain Spirits (2500 meters above sea level). There are
not separate paths to the lake: it is necessary to go across the moraine Akkem
glacier Ak-Kem, then go across the bridge and climb up the moraine, which is not
easy at all. And then you get to the lake with turquoise-green water, which
shines brightly in the sun. The lake is very cold and deep. High on the slopes
is a waterfall that feeds the lake. We have a picnic with a view of incredible
beauty, then go back to the camp by sunset.
Altai. The White river
The next day we take another radial access - to the foot of Mount Belukha, the
kingdom of ice, ice caves and the famous Ak-Kem wall. Belukha is the highest and
most famous mountain of the Altai.
Another day in the camp and we're doing a new way - in the Valley of the Seven
Lakes. Hanging Valley Ak Oyuk gained prominence due to the unique cascade of
mountain lakes located in the hanging valley at a distance of several hundred
meters of each other. Each lake has its own shade of water, and the lakes are
different and not like each other. In the Valley of Seven Lakes is Jarl gorge,
where the whole city is built of stone, and there are a "stone of strength."
The next day - a 20-mile descent along the white river Ak-Kem. The riwer is
white because it is the limestone dissolved in the water.
Another hiking day we climb to the pass Kuzuyak (1513 m), where meets several
Shaman trees, festooned with ribbons, "Dalma". From there we go down to the
familiar village Tyungur. Further we go by car, moving from Tungur Ust-Cox.
We have a day of rest. After lunch, we went to the village of Upper Uymo, one of
the oldest villages of the district. It was founded by Old Believers about 300
years ago. There are two museums in the village - Nicholas Roerich Museum, and
Old Believers Museum.
That's all. We leave to Barnaul. On the way we visit the village Kamlak. It is
believed that this is a very ancient sacred place where gathered camas (Altaic
shamans) from around the Altai and held mass rite. Now there is the Gorno-Altai
botanical garden there, and generally this whole area is a natural monument "Shishkular-ride"
- "Clean Meadow."
Then we go to Barnaul, and then - flight home.
Altai: Places of Power and magical places. Shangri-la, Chang Shambhala
Travel around Russia
More story and photos:
Travel to Kamchatka.
Story and photos