August 3-10, August 11-18, August 19-26, August 27 - September 3, September 4-11, September 12-19, September 20-27, September 28 - October 5, 2018
Teletskoye lake, stone mushrooms, Katu-Yaryk mountain pass, Pazyryk burials, Krasnyye vorota (Red gate), relay station in Aktash, geyser lake, abandoned Aktash hydro power plant, Yoshtykyol, river Chuya in Kurayskaya prairie, Martian landscapes, petroglyphs of Kalbak-Tash, the Chuya and Katun confluence, Chuyskiy tract, Sarlyk mountain.
Difficulty of the route:
Duration: 6 expedition days and 2 organizational days
Length of the route: 1100 km
00:35 Departure from Moscow (DME)**
8:50 Arrival in Gorno-Altaisk (RGK)**
9:30-12:00 Reception at the airport/transfer — Artibash
13:30-14:00 Check-in at a hotel
23:00-07:00 Night at the hotel
07:30-09:30 Breakfast at the hotel
10:00 Getting to know the car
** Need to check the timetable for flights from other cities
The largest lake in the republic and second deepest after Baikal, Teletskoye is in the south-east of the Altai Republic. Its depth is 320 m, length – 82 km. Steep slopes around the lake mostly consist of sand, pebbles and boulders. A massive mountain Altyn-Tuu (Golden Mountain) stands out in the west. When the weather is calm and clear, the waters of Teletskoye mirror the hills, grassland meadows, thickets of local weeds some of which can grow 3-4 meters during a summer. They present an opportunity not only to wander about but also to take some fabulous photos.
Unusual rocks that look like mushrooms are scattered in Akkurum on the right bank of the river Chulyshman. Clusters of these mushrooms are called “kurums”. They consist of various rock materials: the “hats” are made of dense slabs and the stalks are of soft sediments. Water and wind, gradually eroding the rocks, have given them a mushroom shape. Their height can be from 1 to 7 meters and the stalks can’t e thicker than 1,5 meter in diameter.
Katu-Yaryk mountain pass
Katu-Yaryk is a rather steep descent into the valley of the river Chulyshman, its height from the base is 800 m, length is 2,5 km. Drivers will have to go through 9 turns with an average incline of 18% (10°) on a gravel road – only an off road vehicle can handle that. On the top of the pass there is convenient viewing point that lets you observe the surroundings from the height of 1200 m. Here you can spend the night taking stunning photos of the sun setting and rising along the canyon.
Pazyryk burials are five large stone cairns in Pazyryk, next to tehe village Balyktuyul’. Their height can be 2-4 meters and diameter up to 50 meters. These burial mounds are considered to be among the most mysterious places in Altay. Specialists are still studying the findings discovered here in the Soviet times. Scientists determined that these are burial mounds of ancient Scythians dated VI – III centuries BC. Locals love to talk about anomalies around the burials, they say cars stall here, spirits appear and horses refuse to move.
Krasnyye Vorota (Red Gate)
Krasnye Vorota are two high red cliffs with high content of cinnabar in the valley of the river Chibitka. They became a local landmark after a narrow twisted passage was laid between them. The scenic route attracted a lot of tourists. Now there’s a road between them. It’s worth stopping for a photo shoot here as the rocks change their colour from deep red to soft pink and orange.
Relay station in Aktash
The working relay station providing the whole republic with signal stands 3000 m above the sea level. The station attracts travelers because you can get here both on foot and by car. The ascent is steep, the road is rough but the view is worth it. You can see Kuraiskaya prairie, Severo-Chuysky mountain range and Chikhachyov’s range from here.
Geyser Lake is not far from Aktash village in the basin of the river Chuya. Its main feature is hot springs gushing in the centre and pushing out bluish silt that gives the lake an especially brilliant look. The lake never freezes and looks gorgeous all year long. It’s no more than 2 meters deep and about 30 meters in diameter. Surrounded by dark taiga forests, the thermal lake really stands out. Its waters are so clear you can spot a smallest fish from afar.
Aktash hydro power plant
The unfinished HPP stands on the right bank of the river Chuya. Its construction started in 1961 but stopped in 10 years never to resume. The abandoned construction is so massive people look tiny next to it. Fragments of earth and drop-inlet dams, water intake, headpond and the building of the HPP itself survived but now they are no more than a background for photo shoots.
Yoshtykyol is a land in Kosh-Agachsky region in a mountain hollw between the Severo-Chuysky mountain range and the river Chuya. The plateau has two famous lakes Kara-Kol and Jangyskol. The best view is from a hill with a geodesic tower to the west from the lake. It’s a great spot to look at Ak-Turu and Kurkurek and the Kurayskiy mountain range, a river snaking in the west, small lakes and bush thickets. That’s where you stop to rest, walk, take photos and sleep.
River Chuya in Kurayskaya prairie
Kurayskaya prairie is the bottom of a rather deep mountain hollow in the south-east of the Altay Republic in the middle reaches of the river Chuya between the Kurayskiy and Severo-Chuyskiy mountain ranges. The prairie is covered with sandstone and gravel with small islands of green. In the morning, a hill by the camp presents a beautiful view as the hollow is 1500-1600 m above the sea level and the prairie stretches for 20 kilometers.
The Martian landscapes of Chagan Uzun got their name thanks to a peculiar colour of the soil. They used to mine cinnabar here, substance you get mercury from that paints the land in different shades of red – from bright orange to dark brown. Nothing grows here so naked low hills and cracked mountains create an impression of a Martian landscape.
Petroglyphs of Kalbak-Tash
Archaeological site Kalbak-Tash was opened in 1912 on the right bank of the river Chuya, 10 km from where it enters Katun. 3000 images dated from Neolithic age to ancient Turkic era have been discovered on the flat rocks here. They show life of ancient people, reflecting their mythology and worldview. Scenes of hunts, runic inscriptions, chariots, warriors, pets and fantastical beasts. Some images resemble spaceships, figures in space suits and even aliens.
The Chuya and Katun confluence
The right and biggest influx of the river Katun is the Chuya stretching for 320 km. the water temperature in it fluctuates from +7 to +13 °С. Many small rivers and creeks enter the Chuya and mountain slopes by its banks consist of dark green rock where you can notice feldspar, quartz and mica. The scenery along the river flow constantly changes – a mountain prairie, a thick forest, clay mountains, a cedar forest. Several kilometers from a village Inya you can witness an amazing sight – confluence of the Chuya and Katun. What makes it spectacular is that the waters of the rivers have different shades and for a while, the water flows in two different colours at the same time, unmixed.
Chuyskiy tract is a part of a modern road from Biysk to the Mongolian border stretching for 630 km. It’s one of the few roads that have a museum dedicated to them. The road wags among rivers and cliffs occasionally showing steep ascents and descents, sudden turns which is both joy and a challenge for an experienced driver. And nature in the windows always changes demonstrating coniferous forests, mountain slopes, snowy summits and wide prairies. No wonder Chuysky tract is one of the top 10 most beautiful roads in the world.
Translated from a local dialect, Sarlyk means “a wild yak”. This mountain is part of the Syominskiy mountain range and is its highest point that gas snow on the slopes even in the middle of summer. At first glance, Sarlyk look s like small hill but you’ll find how wrong this first impression is when you reach its top. The hike is long and slow but incredible landscape make the trip one endless photo shoot and the view from the summit will astound you. It is here you will make an overnight stop.
17:00 Return of the car
17:00-17:30 Check-in at a hotel
23:00-07:00 Night at the hotel
7:00-8:00 Breakfast at the hotel
8:10-8:30 Transfer to the airport
9:55 Departure from Gorno-Altaisk
10:35 Arrival in Moscow (DME)**
** Need to check the timetable for flights to other cities