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Winter fairytale

Mysterios wintry forest

During this journey you'll  plunge into fabulous atmosphere of wintry fairy-tale of southern Baikal shore, you'll fall in love with ancient mountain ridge – Khamar-Daban, ski (or trek) the distance of about 50 km (during 3 days), spend two nights in a wooden cabin in the forest, will feel the atmosphere of real winter in all its beauty with snow-capped mountains and cedar-trees deep in the carpet of snow. You will climb one of the highest mounts of this area - Peak Cherskogo and enjoy the fabulous view to the surrouning landscape. You will spend one night in a hotel on the shore of Baikal lake and have ice-climbing on icefalls of Sayan mountains, as well as swim in natural hot springs of Zhemchug village. It is possible to do snowmobiling in the wintry taiga forest from Sludyanka to Meteostation. (on demand).

Available: Winter; February - end of March;
Duration: 6 days
Places: Baikal lake; Khamar-Daban; Tunka valley;
Activities: Trekking; Sightseeing; Snowmobiling; Ice-climbing; Skiing;

Day 1. Arrival. Transfer Irkutsk - Sludyanka. Start of trekking (snowmobiling) to Khamar-Daban mountains

Deep carpet of snow After you arrive to Irkutsk airport/train station you will be met by your guide. Transfer Irkutsk - Sludyanka (120 km) a village on the shore of Baikal. The road goes along Baikal lake, climbs up and runs down the hills covered with taiga forests. You will have a stop for breakfast/lunch in a cafe with panoramic view to Baikal lake. Slyudyanka is a small city located on the Transsib railway, on the shore of Baikal at the foot of Khamar-Daban mountains. The name of the village comes from "Slyuda" - a mineral which was extracted here for about 350 years. Your route will run along Slyudyanka river and will first go along forest road for about 8 km and then turn into a path. Today's distance is about 18 km. (You may rent snowmobile for this part which will bring you for about 1.5-2 hours to the meteostation base. Must be ordered in advance). The route runs on frozen river among snow-capped trees and rocks. You will pass Gorelaya meadow and then climb the Cossack meadow. Lunch on the way. The last part of the trekking today goes steep up among the old cedar trees, which are like giants hanging over you with their crooked hands. Accommodation in wooden house (toilet outside). Dinner. Overnight.
Sludyanka village Snow-capped stones among the partly frozen Sludyanka river The small base on the way to Cherskiy peak The route crosses Sludyanka river several times Trekking along Sludyanka river on the way to meteostation Lunch stop on Cossack meadow in Khamar-Daban mountains

Day 2. Trekking to the summit of Cherskiy Peak

The spirit of freedom in Khamar-Daban mountains After breakfast we will start trekking up to the serpentine to end of the forest zone. Small trail runs through Taiga forest with huge and old cedar trees, some of them are probably more than 300 years old. Then the trail will bring us to the mountain rib above forest zone, where we will continue hiking to the summit of peak Cherskogo (2090 m) – highest mount of this area. The From the summit you can observe the southern extremity of Baikal Lake and Lake Heart (it has the shape of heart). It is believed that if you come here with the person you like, it will make your love stronger. On a clear day you can see even rocky Sayan mountains on the horizontal line. Returning back to the meteostation. Overnight: Wooden cabin. Total trek distance for this day is about 20 km. It is possible to relax in Banya in the evening (on demand).
In the wintry forest Winter forest On the way to the summit The wooden cabin at the meteostation Green moss hanging down from trees is a sign of ecologically clean zone Walk on hunting skis in Khamar-Daban mountains Skiing in the slopes of Khamar-Daban mountains View to Khamar-Daban mountains

Day 3. Skiing meteostation - Sludyanka, night in a hotel on the shore of Baikal

Frozen trees in Khamar-Damab mountains After breakfast you will start skiing back to Sludyanka. The route goes mostly down. The day will grant you with soft snow, fresh wind into your face while skiing through wintry forest. You will stop for lunch on the way. Hot tea will warm you up! When you reach Sludyanka you will have a short transfer to the hotel on the shore of Baikal lake. (toilet, shower in the room). Possible to order Banya (steam sauna) to make you fell relaxed after sportive holidays. Dinner. Overnight.

Khamar-Daban can be translated from Buryat language as "ridge-nose" or "Nut pass". It is the ancient mountainous ridge, which is stretched along southern part of Baikal. Its mountains reach 2000-2300 meters above the sea-level. The most significant sights here are Cherskiy peak, Sable lakes, Snezhnaya, Utulik, Temnik and Zun-Murin rivers which form magnificent waterfalls. Unique natural complexof central part of Khamar-Daban is under preservation of Baikal state natural biosphere reserve now. The mountains break steep to Baikal lake and are the natural barrier for air blasts, carried over Baikal lake. The amount of precipitations is higher than other places of Baikal. Special humid microclimate favors rich growth of various plants, thus making this place "Siberian jungles".

Snowy forest Preparing lunch in the forest Skiing in the wintry Baikal forest In the forest of Khamar-Daban mountains Sveta in winter trip Baikal is not frozen yet in early January

Day 4. Transfer Sludyanka - Arshan. Trekking to peak of love

The road to Tunkinskaya valley After breakfast you will be picked up by car and you will have transfer to Arshan village (about 130 km away from Sludyanka) which is located near the Sayan mountains. On the way you will enjoy view to mountains, may make a stop to take pictures of little villages with wooden houses with mountain background and horses walking freely in the fields. Lunch and dinner in one of the cafes. Accommodation in wooden Chalet. You may walk along the streets in Arshan, visit mineral springs and souvenir square. "Arshan" is translated from Buryat language as "healing springs". If you feel like trekking you may trek to the nearest mount – Peak of love, at least to the first observation point. Dinner, overnight. (B, L, D).
Camel's thorn grows in Sayan mountains On the way to peak of love in Arshan Sunrise on the path At the edge of abyss in Sayan mountains On the summit of Peak of love

Day 5. Walk along Kyngarga canyon. Ice-climbing on waterfalls. Banya.

Ice-climbing It is possible to take a walk along the river canyon to the waterfall. The road there goes through the souvenir market and then the sacred forest with trees decorated with colorful ribbons – an old Buryat tradition. You may walk along the river to the waterfalls or cut your way climbing the "Drunken pass". When you reach the waterfalls we'll prepare all the equipment for ice-climbing. We will provide you the necessary gear – helmets, rope, crampons, ice- hooks, etc. Ice-climbing is not difficult but requires some training. Ice-climbing instructor will secure you and help. Lunch as a picnic. Return to Arshan, Banya in the evening. Overnight chalet. (B, L, D).
On the icefall in Arshan Ice-climbing in Arshan Ice-climbing on the frozen waterfall, Arshan One of the icefalls in Kyngarga canyon, Arshan Ice-climbing competitions are held every spring Ice-climbing in Arshan waterfalls

Day 6. Arshan - Zhemchug (hot springs) - Irkutsk

Hot springs in Zhemchug In the morning at 10.00 you will be picked up by a car. It is possible to visit local Buddhist temple – Datsan. Local people are Buddhists. The you will have a ride to another buryat village which is 40 km deeper in the valley – Zhemchug (which means “Pearl” in Russian). There are natural hot springs located next to Irkut river. The temperature of hot water varies from 36С to 52C in different baths. When searching for oil in Tunkinskaya valley in the 1950s. near the village was found a well with thermal water with methane content at a depth of 700-800 m. Nowadays the temperature of water is 37-38C with radioactivity 6Eman. The healing properties of the source are used in the treatment of diseases of the joints and the nervous system. There are two swimming pools with healing mineral water and a shared shower at the territory of hot springs. It is also possible to have a walk to the shore of Irkut river (due to this river Irkutsk got its name). After taking a bath in hot springs we’ll drive back to Kultuk – a small village on the shore of Baikal, and then to Irkutsk. We may stop in one of the road cafes to try traditional Buryatish dish – Pozy or boozy, which are a kind of meat dumplings. Arrival to Irkutsk, accommodation in the hotel. Festive dinner in any restaurants of Irkutsk (not included). (B, L, -).
Thermal springs in Tunkinskaya valley Winter morning in Zhemchug village Local people offer horse-riding near the thermal springs Local Buryat cousine - Pozy ( meat dumplings)

All the participants take active part in the tour

All the participants follow instructions of the team members during the trip

Minimum group size is 2 people.

A snowmobile may be rented for Sludyanka - Meteostation part (not included, extra cost)

Please contact us for the tour price and available dates.

Comments from our guests

Celine and Nicolas

March 19, 2017, 5:51 p.m.
Tour "Winter sportive trip on Baikal." Our wish were to have a quite sportive trip and to discover the nature of Baikal in winter. Svetlana prepared for us a tailor-made trip! Sleeping in a tent on the shore of the lake, spending 2 days in a UAZ riding on the lake, ice fishing, but also hiking in the mountains in the south, even reaching summit of Chervsky peak after a +700m hike in 30cm of fresh snow… riding snow mobile, trying hunter skis to finish with an unforgettable day of iceclimbing in Arshan ! Organizing outside sportive activities is not easy, it was a full success. Many thanks to Svetlana (always available) and to our guides Dima, Dima, Genia and Kolya who have made our trip unbelievable. We had great days and memorable evenings. Celine and Nicolas

Thomas, Dresden / Germany

June 26, 2011, 7:37 a.m.

Hi Svetlana, nice to be the first here on your site. Unfortunately the next time for you will not be perfect for big trips:-) but i wish you all the best for this new "task"! And i hope to come back to your region and have some more amazing and funny trips with you. Also i wish all your other customers happy travellings with you. best regards Thomas. 

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