We had promised ourselves a good adventure in the Altai Mountains, so today we are going for a two day expedition into the Tsambe San Bagarav massif, on what would be the northern side of the big
Mountains group. To get there we will have to circumvent the main
road to Hovd on the west (ha, we will pay no stinkin’ user’s fee), following a
path that promises to be pretty rough.
Yes, it was rough, partly because it cuts across three braided streams, each of which has left the valley floor strewn with boulders that make the advance painfully slow and bumpy. No sooner had that part of the torture ended when we were confronted with an incredibly steep mountain path. Fortunately our small Suzuki jeep has the options for 4-wheel drive and low gearing, and it gleefully ground its way up the path, taking us higher and higher until we felt we were soaring with the eagles (yes, we keep seeing magnificent eagles left and right).
We had lunch on the shoulder of a ridge overlooking the valley, the Tsambe San Bagarav snow-clad massif, and the interminable extend of the
Altai Mountains to the west. It was
magnificent, and we figure this will make a great camping spot for tonight.
In the afternoon, however, we drove our valiant little car to the edge of the snow, and prepared to conquer the mountain. Actually, we do not have the gear to go for the real mountain top, so we settled for the
high point of one of the
side ridges. It was a spectacular hike, with stunning views of the Tsambe San
Bagarav and its glacier. We also much admired the amphibolite that forms the
ridge we were climbing on.
At the end I reached I point that was high enough for me (I only brought a pair of sneakers on this trip, and no proper hiking boots), but Zoe and John continued up for a good two additional hours.
We were all extremely satisfied when we finally set camp under a deliciously warming afternoon sun (at this high latitude the sun rises at 5:30 am and doesn’t set until 9 pm). John fixed us a great pasta dinner with sausage and Russian “Bologneski” sauce, and we ended the day exertions with a traditional vodka toast.