Activity: V.I.P. expedition-style trekking

Area: Russia, Siberia, Altai mountains, Katunsky range, near Mt. Belukha

Route: Akkem Lake, Yarlu-Boch pass, Sali-Boch pass, Saluairi river gorge, unnamed 2-col pass, Bartuldak river gorge, Argut river gorge, then proceed to junction with Yedigem river, then Argut up to junction with Kulagash river.

Members: Gary Miles, Daniel O'Neil, Bradley Pielsticker, William Reed, Michael Ross, Jonathan Solomon (all from U.S.A.).

Guides: Igor Fedyaev and Valery Medvedev.

The trip was organised by K2 Adventures travel agency.

The basic idea of this trip is trekking in absolutely wild, unpopulated and rarely-visited by trekkers area. We choose region in Siberia, Altai mountains, Katunsky range, near Mt. Belukha (in fact, go around Belukha massif from north-east of Akkem Lake to Argut river gorge as final destination). For eleminating waste of time (2nd idea was "weekend-to-weekend" trip including all flights), transportation to Akkem lake and from Argut gorge was made by helicopter (from/to Gorno-Altaisk) and we provide support of 5 pack horses, cook and horsedriver. The fact is: we didn't meet anyone while trekking! New-discovered antient cemetery (probably Turk or Sciphian, 3,000-1,000 BCE) was visited en route. In addition, we made side excursions to Roerikh followers shrine with sacred stone in Yarlu valley and to the Valley of 7 Lakes near Akkem Lake.

Fotos and comments: Igor Fedyaev

To enlage the photo, click on thumbnail image.

Our trip starts early in the morning in Barnaul airport - the host city of Altai region, Siberia. After 4-hrs bus trip we were taken to the helipad near Gorno-Altaisk (host city of Republic of Altai). The chopper take off immediately with all the guys, 1/2 staff, all the food and equipment and box of beer aboard...
Altai. Chopper flight to Belukha.
Altai. Helicopter flight to Belukha.
...and after 1+ hour flight (views are excellent!) landing on the shore of Akkem Lake with the magnificient ice-covered Akkem Wall of Mt. Belukha (4506 m, the highest summit of entire Altai) on the background. The name "Belukha" means "White Mountain" (and it is!), "Akkem" - "White Water" in Altai (it is as well!). We meet the 2nd half of our staff whose went here in 3-days advance with our horses.
Altai. Akkem lake. Belukha.
The chopper's tail disappiaring somewhere down Akkem gorge shows us all the connections with modern civilizations seems to be broken in nearest future...
Altai. Akkem lake. Helicopter.
...and we're remaining staying face-to-face with the beautiful sunset on Akkem Lake, Belukha's Akkem Wall (up to 5B UIAA climbing!)...
Altai. Akkem lake. Belukha. Sunset.
...and MChS (Ministerstvo po Chresvichainim Situatsiyam - Emergence Command) base which gives us some hope (according to our insurance!) to remain alive if something goes wrong... The other pleasant thing is good Russian bania on the lake's shore.
Altai. Akkem lake. Rescue base.
While our cook Ira is busy preparing the dinner, we go to get some training to neighbouring Valley of 7 Lakes,...
Altai. Valley of 7 lakes.
...where small moraine lakes (7 ones, that is!) are meeting with the glaciers.
Altai. Valley of 7 lakes.
Views to opposite side of Akkem Gorge and Mensu peak are also excellent!
Altai. Valley of 7 lakes. View to Mensu peak.
The other option for side trip from Akkem Lake could be Akkem glacier up to so-called Tomskie Stoyanki (Tomsk's Camp) - be closer to magnificient Akkem Wall! Left- Eastern (Main) Belukha, 4506 m, right- Western Belukha and Belukha Plateau. The "Diretissima" or "Bottle's Throat" route to Belukha Main is clearly seen.
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