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White water rafting
Sayan Oka river rafting.  
Trekking, pass hopping, horse riding & backcountry skiing
"Belukha: The Heart of the Altai". Trekking.  
"Belukha: The Heart of the Altai". Horse riding.  
"Altai-The Golden Mountains. Aktru". Trekking.  
"Wild Altai". Altai. Trekking or horse riding.  
"Baikal: The Pearl among the Mountains". Siberia. Trekking.  
"Buddha in the Valley of Hundred Springs". Siberia. Sayan. Trekking or backcountry skiing.
"Kuznetskiy Alatau: The Land of the Lakes and Flowers". Siberia. Teahouse trekking, trekking or backcountry skiing.  
"Kodar: The Siberian Alps". Siberia. Trekking.  
"Almaty to Lake Issyk-Kul". North Tien Shan, trekking.  
"To the Alakel lake". Terskey Ala Too, Central Tien Shan, trekking.  
"All the Hot Springs". Terskey Ala Too, Central Tien Shan, trekking.  
"To the Icy Giants of Central Tien Shan." Trekking.  
"Fan Mountains: The Land of Blue Lakes". Pamir Alai. Trekking.  
"Ak-Suu: The Asian Patagonia". Pamir Alai. Trekking.  
Mountaineering & climbing
"Belukha: The Heart of the Altai". Trekking with climbing.  
"Khan Tengri - The Lord of the Sky". Central Tien Shan, climbing.  
Pobeda peak climbing. Central Tien Shan.  
Marble Wall climbing. Central Tien Shan.  
Two Summits: Marble Wall and Khan Tengri North climbing. Central Tien Shan.  
Lenin peak climbing. Pamir.  
Lenin + Khan Tengri peaks climbing. Pamir and Tien Shan.  
Communism peak climbing. Pamir.  
Korjenevskoy peak climbing. Pamir.  
Two great summits: Communism and Korjenevskoy Peaks climbing. Pamir.  
Muztag Ata and Koskulak peaks climbing. Pamir.  
Lenin and Muztag Ata Peaks climbing. Pamir.  
"Fan Mountains: The Land of Blue Lakes". Pamir Alai. Climbing.  
"Big Walls of Pamir Alai". Pamir Alai, big wall climbing.  
Heliskiing in Western Tien Shan  
Lake Baikal fishing  
Altai rivers fishing  
Fishing in Kuznetski Alatau  
K2 Extreme: areas descriptions, fotoreports, useful info
Mountaineering, climbing and pass hopping  
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Pamir Alai  
Tien Shan  

Buddha in The Valley of Hundred Springs. Sayan. Siberia. 14 days, trekking or ski tour.

Region: Russia, Southern Siberia, Eastern Sayan, Tunkinskie Goltzi range
Activity: trekking, backcountry skiing (in winter and early spring). 4 nights in tents, 7 nights in mountain huts, 2 nights at hotel.
Trip Category: special, on demand
Difficulty: easy (trekking), medium (backcountry skiing), no need of special skill (kids from 14 years old are allowed).
Dates: year round, backcountry skiing - december to 1st half of April. Recommended timeframes: February-March for backcountry skiing, June-September for trekking. us for an offer!

Sayan is a huge mountain land on the South of Siberia, mainly to the south and west from Lake Baikal (worl'd deepest and one of the biggest lake). The name "Sayan" most probably goes from "Sayaty" or "Sayany" people, native inhabitants of this land. The shape and topography of Sayan mountains are very diverse - virtually every form could be found, from taiga-covered medium-high mountains to high-altitude tundra flats and further to snow- and ice-covered alpine-like peaks (the highest summit is Munku-Sardik Mountain, 3491 m, Bolshoy Sayan Range, near Mongolian border). Even tracks of volcanic activity one can see in Sayan Oka river valley near Peak Topografov. Because of this diversity, the entire area is suitable for any kind of mountain outdoor- from white water rafting, trekking, fishing (that's something indescribable!), backountry skiing and horse riding to serious climbing (Ergaki area and others). Someone also can call Sayan as "Little Tibet" due to Buddhism in it's Lamaistic form is now widely spreaded in Sayan among it's native population- Buryats, and there are now few Datsans (Buddhist's monasteries) in Buryatia, including the biggest one- Ivolginskiy Datsan near Ulan-Ude (host city of Buryat Autonomus Republic). But this name is only partially true, because Buryats faith is in fact very interesting mixture of their ancient beliefs- Shamanism and the worship of ancestors - Ongons, and in holy places like mountain passes one can see simultaneously the figures dedicated to Ongons and the images of Buddha. Buryats are very peacefull and friendly people, so contacts with them would give you unforgettable and pleasant social experience.

Tunkinskie Goltsi ("Goltsi" means "Rocky summits", literally "nude mountains") is high-altitude (up to 3157 m, Altan-Murdanga Mount) mountain range to the south-west from Irkutsk and dedicated to Eastern Sayan. Tunkin Valley with Irkut river separates this range from Bolshoy Sayan on the South.

The unique feature of the area is amazing amount of hot springs (probably it is the tracks of volcanic activity). This springs is widely used for medical purposes by local population and people from everywhere of Russia and even from abroad. There are some "civilized" places to stay on hot springs, such as sanatoriums in Nilova Pustin (village founded in 1845 by high-rank Ortodox monk from Irkutsk, "Pustin" means "monastery in far remote, unpopulated place") and Arshan. But the key feature is "wild springs"- and most important of them is situated in remotely gorge called "The Valley of Hundred Springs", which is the target of our trip! In addition of improving of your body health, you can also improve your spiritual one and make your carma much positive by visiting Datsans in Nilova Pustin and Arshan, as well as Buddhist and Shamanist shrines at the spring's site!

Note: for backcountry skiing it is needed some special gear, including skis and warm clothes!

Itinerary (trekking or backcountry skiing):
Day 1 Arrival to Irkutsk. Meeting at airport or railroad station. Transfer to hotel.
Day 2 Transfer to above of Nilovka (Nilova Pustin) village. Hiking up the Khubiti stream. Overnight in tents.
Day 3 Hiking up to the Shumak Pass. Overnight in tents.
Day 4 Crossing the Shumak Pass (about 2000 m, 1A CC). Descent to the upper part of Shumak river gorge. Overnight in tents.
Day 5 Hiking down the Shumak river to the Valley of Hundred Springs. Overnight in hut. Russian bania, hot springs.
Day 6 Day of rest. Hot springs. Overnight in hut.
Day 7 Day of rest. Hot springs. Overnight in hut.
Day 8 Hiking down the Shumak gorge. Canyon. Overnight in hut.
Day 9 Hiking down the Shumak gorge. Overnight in hut.
Day 10 Hiking down the Shumak gorge. Overnight in hut.
Day 11 Day of rest. Russian bania. Overnight in hut.
Day 12 Crossing the Arshan Pass (1500 m, 1A CC). Descent to Kingarga river gorge. Overnight in tents.
Day 13 Hiking down to Arshan village. Transfer to Irkutsk. Overnight in hotel.
Day 14

Transfer to airport or railroad station. Departure from Irkutsk.

Cost: us for an offer!

Included: Visa support, meeting and transfers in Irkutsk, 2 night hotel accomodation in Irkutsk (DBL, BB basis), 6 nights in mountai hut, transportation to the above Nilovka village (start point) and from Arshan village, all permits, meals during trekking (3 times a day), camping gear, guide, cook. Russian bania - 2 times.
Not included: Travel to and from Irkutsk (daily flights to/from Moscow and St. Petersburg, 4 days railway trip from Moscow via Transsiberian railroad), visa fees, alcoholic beverages and other luxuries, personal items.

Options. Extra nights in Irkutsk, SGL accommodation, gear rental, porters for carring the luggage, excursions: to Lake Baikal, to the Mineralogical museum in Sludianka, 3-days Baikal tour (available in June-September only!).

Lake Baikal. Sludianka. Fish market.
Lake Baikal, Sludianka village and fish market (check out the geniune omul here!).
Sayan. Backcountry skiing. Tunka valley.
Sayan Mountains as seeing from Tunka Valley.
Sayan. Waterfall.
Holy place-waterfall.
Sayan. Buriat's ongon and Buddha shrine on the pass.
Buriat's Ongon and Buddha shrine on the pass.
Sayan. Tunka valley. Backcountry skiing. Frozen waterfall. Shumak.
Frozen waterfall (ice climbers are welcome!).
Sayan. Tunka valley. Backcountry skiing. Shumak pass.
Sayan. Tunka valley. Backcountry skiing. Shumak pass.
Shumak pass.
Sayan. Shumak. Backcountry skiing. Small stop.
Small stop en route in Shumak canyon.
Sayan. Shumak. Valley of hundred springs. The hut at the spring's site.
Valley of hundred springs. The hut at the spring's site.
Sayan. Valley of hundred springs. Shumak. Buddha figure.
The figure of Buddha at the springs' site.
Valley of hundred springs. The image of Buddha at the spring's site.
The small spring and the image of Buddha.
Sayan. Tunka valley. Backcountry skiing. Shumak spa.
Testing the water in Shumak spa...
Sayan. Tunka valley. Backcountry skiing. Shumak spa, Wooden erotic carving.
Give me a drink! Original pump in a shape of erotic wooden carving ;-)
Sayan. Shumak canyon.
En route in canyon.
Sayan. Tunka valley. Backcountry skiing.
Small break en route.
Sayan. Tunka valley. Backcountry skiing. Lunch stop.
Lunch stop.
Sayan. Shumak. Camping.
Camping en route.
Photos: courtesy of Dr. Alexander W. Reid (Edinburgh, UK), Georgy Regetsiy, Igor Fedyaev
Book the tour "Buddha in The Valley of Hundred Springs"!