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Unknown Altay, Chuya steppe

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        An amazing journey in the style of National Geographic to the very south of the Altay Mountains — Chuya steppe. Together with the specialists we will watch rare animals and birds, walk in the mountains, explore the history with the help of archaeological artifacts and communicate with modern nomads living in nomads tents – yurts.
        We are going to:
        Visit wild mountains of the Altay — one of the most sacred and beautiful mountain regions of Russia, a UNESCO site. Sit on the bank of the Katun and turquoise mountain lakes.
        Observe the life of wild animals and birds under the guidance of an experienced specialist from the Siberian Environmental Center.
        Explore ancient petroglyphs of the Elangash Valley and bring home a copy of the drawings. Touch ancient Siberian ruins and look at numerous Scythian burial mounds and stone warriors.
        Visit a yurt to the modern nomadic herders. Listen to a concert of throat singing and taste national cuisine.
        Return home a completely different person.

        Brief overview:
        Organization fee:
        48 300 rubles
        , with an advance payment of 30% (this is 14490 rub) before January 1. 2016;
        56 500 rubles with a prepayment before March 1, 2016
        65,500 rubles with a prepayment after May 1, 2016
        The organization fee covers: the work of the organizers and the scientific experts, the transportation on a specially prepared truck, the accommodation in the expedition camp, a concert of throat singing, one time accommodation in a yurt camp and a camp site, travel meals, excursions, all recreational fees, insurance.
        • The starting and finish point: Barnaul, Russia
        • Dates: July 17 — July 30, 2016 (14 days) • Number of participants: 9 people (7 available)
        Photography genres: landscape, wild animals and birds (bird watching), travel-photography.
        New knowledge and experience: the culture of primitive societies (petroglyphs of Elangash and Kalbak Tash), geology and geomorphology studied on examples (the valley of the river Chagan-Uzun), ornithology (bird watching), and the modern nomadic culture.
        Activities: photography, unity with nature, meeting with unique and unusual natural phenomena, cultural enrichment, walks in the mountains, sauna on the shore of a mountain river, acquaintance and communication with interesting people, a genuine adventure drive.
        Where do we go?   Siberian Expeditions Team
        (missions and goals of the trip)

        This is a long-awaited travel.

        The Chuya steppe is one of the greatest places in the Altay Mountains. It has the natural beauty of Mongolian steppe, but the comfort and variety of things still particular to Russia. It is a place definitely worth visiting for everyone. However, this year, only a few lucky will do so. So there is a plan for two weeks:

        — Visit the Martian-like landscape of Chagan-Uzun. It is the location with the outputs of multicolored limestone – the place is ready to be filmed as the scenery of another planet. We will learn the unique geology of the area and find rare and beautiful minerals and ancient fossils.

        — Explore ancient rock carvings (petroglyphs) in the Elangash mountain valley, there are more than 30 000 of them in the area. We will make plenty of drawn copies of petroglyphs and climb high on the mountain pass Azhu (altitude approx. 3000 m), to the glaciers and turquoise lakes.

        — Observe the life of birds and wild animals. Elena Schneider – a birdwatcher from the Siberian Environmental Center- will help us to do that. The discovery of the new world is guaranteed! You will learn a lot about the life of birds, get to know how to watch them and understand their lifestyle and habits. We will go up to the lakes where herds of wild argali and ibex live. Our team will visit the places where one can meet the rare cat manul and many other animals and birds.

        — Get acquainted with the modern nomadic culture. In the yurt camp Tydtuyaryk, we will hear throat-singing concert organized for us, and in the valley of the river Yustyd and on the lake Kindyktykyol we will go to nomad tents for a visit. Our team will look at the Great Steppe from Mount Dzhangyz Tobe where hidden (but not from us) ancient Turkic runes are located.

        — We will drive all the Altay Mountains from the north to the south, by one of the most beautiful mountain roads in the world, Chuya Highway, and make stops at all the interesting historical and natural sights. These stops will necessarily be accompanied by stories and legends!

        Honestly, the journey is very worthwhile, and only we can organize it. No one else will create the unique atmosphere of the research and adventures that we do. Sounds immodest, but it’s true.

          Rodion, leader of the travel
        The expedition’s organizer with five years’ experience. A member of the Russian Geographical Society.
        Elena, professional birdwatcher
        Coordinator of Siberian Environmental center, a guide and organizer of international bird watching programs.
        Evgeny Demin, Siberian Expedition Eugeny, is a driver of UAZ «Farmer» (Filya)
        An experienced traveler in the Altay Mountains. Paraglider and motorcyclist.
        Maria Salina, a traveler from Moscow Eugenia Komarova, a traveler from Moscow null null null
        Мария Евгения Николай Николай Николай



        Why you should travel with us:
        You will be take part not in a tour or a trip but in a real expedition,, with its objectives, discoveries, research and its unique atmosphere.
        You will feel like a hero of the childhood books, Indiana Jones — this is the most authentic scientific and adventure tourism, which almost no one can offer in Russia.
        You will discover a new world! We do not just show you the beautiful places, but also give a huge amount of knowledge on the history, archeology, geology and geomorphology, ethnography, and culture, about the life of birds and animals. You will see how amazing and beautiful our planet is.
        You will get a unique life experience. . No one returns the same person from this expedition: there is a reassessment of values in life; there are interesting and reliable new friends, even the eyes of the travelers become wiser and happier. You are not a customer, you are a part of the team. We will explore and change the world together. As a rule, the expedition is just the beginning — we can work together on the received materials or carry out further joint projects.
        Reviews and impressions of other expeditions:


        Rodion, you are a romantic, and this is the character trait that many people do not have nowadays! You do such things, you just heal our souls.
        Expedition «Spring in the Semirechye (Seven Rivers)»


        Rodion, I think you saved my life!) After a trip to the Altay, amazing things happen to me, I truly live, and I am so happy) Moscow has stopped exhausting me.
        Thank you again, thank you! :)
        Expedition «Runes of Ancient Altay»


        The latest news this week is from a specialist in runes Gleb Kubarev from Novosibirsk about the stone slab with unknown characters taken from Kokkol waterfall: «We can confidently say that the stone is divided into strips — this was the way to write big runic texts in Mongolia.” It’s a startling finding that requires further research! For now, this is the first success of research expedition to East Kazakhstan organized by people from Novosibirsk in July this year My congratulations to the club «Siberian Expeditions»! Thank you for the opportunity to make discoveries! (10/28/2013)
        The expedition to East Kazakhstan, 2013

        What will we see and do?
        (Click on the photos for more details)


        1st day. Through the pine forests of Altay
        We will depart from Barnaul early in the morning and drive through birch forests to Biysk and further. We will then travel along the Chuya highway to Katun where we will admire its turquoise waters and beautiful mountains. Then the group will climb the Seminsky Pass (1717 m), where we will take a walk in the cedar forest, admire the surrounding views and watch the animals and birds. We will stop at the cozy forest glade for a night, where all the team will sit around the campfire and listen to a concert of night birds (snipe, warblers, owls) and crickets.
        Rally: … Lunch in a cafe, dinner cooked at the campfire. The overnight stop at the expedition tent camp.
        2nd Day. The first mystery of the Altay
        We will get up early in the morning and go further along Chuya Highway. Then there will be a stopover in the Ongudai village where we will make our wood supply (there are not so many trees in the Chuya steppe). After that, our group will climb the picturesque serpentine road to the Chiket Aman pass, where we will admire the great views of the valley below. After the Chiket-Aman, the Altay is dramatically different: the number of tourists reduces, the landscape becomes almost prairie, some ancient burial mounds and stone steles are seen on the roadside. We will turn off the road to one almost unknown shamanic sanctuary with the ancient rock drawings. Next stop is the Nomad Temple on the Yaloman River, where we will spend the rest of the day. If we are lucky, we will hear some stories from old Lena, the guardian of the temple, or will go for a walk to the nearby mountain plateau where the legendary Altay kyozhege tas (stone warriors, the connection with lower world) are located.
        Rally: Breakfast in a cafe, a snack in the afternoon, dinner cooked together at the campfire. The overnight stop will take place at the expedition tent camp.
        3rd day. Dive into the sacred atmosphere of the Altay
        We will drive along the beautiful Katun until it meets Chuya. The confluence of the two rivers is unmistakable. The spectacular fusion of two different colored rivers of Altay has a unique energy and atmosphere, which one can enjoy for hours. At the same time we can observe the large birds of prey, such as solar and steppe eagles and black vultures. Next stop is the complex of petroglyphs in Kalbak Tash. Such petroglyphs can be seen nowhere else in the world. Besides, the place is famous for a large number of ancient runic inscriptions, with the biggest concentration of them in Russia. The mountains around it first compress into a narrow gorge, then widen into mountain steppes, with their overhanging snow-capped glaciers. It will be a very picturesque day. As a finishing tourch, there will be a concert of throat singing in the Altay yurt camp Tydtuyaryk that is located at the entrance to Chuya steppe. You will be absorbed by the sacred atmosphere of the Altay Mountains. After that, our team will be ready to dive in Chuya steppe. Rally … The breakfast in the cafe, a snack in the afternoon, dinner — national cuisine in Tydtuyaryk. The overnight stop will be in Kazakh yurts. Russian steam bath.
        4th day. Walk on Mars. Geology Lesson
        The surroundings of Tydtuyaryk look like another planet. Morning will be spent on a tour around the area, we will start gathering the collection of interesting minerals and fossils and bird watching. There live more than one hundred different species of birds. After breakfast, we will go to the other side of Chuya, to the valley of the river Chagan Uzun, where we will continue our study of the unique geology of the place. We will visit the quarry of Tertiary coals, where it is likely to find prints of ancient flora and plaster roses. If possible, our group will go to the Paleozoic rocks location with fossilized mollusk fauna. The team will have a night stop at the island on the river Chagan-Uzun where we will fall asleep with the sounds of the mountain river. Rally: … Walk … Breakfast in the yurt camp, dinner is cooked together at the campfire. The overnight stop will take place at the expedition tent camp.
        5th day. Elangash. Rock Gallery of Antiquities
        In the morning we will go for a walk to the other side of Chagan Uzun, to the so-called Red Hill, another alien place of the Altay Mountains. We will pack up the camp and drive through entire Chuya steppe to the Elangash Valley where the group will spend a few days. There are severe and lifeless landscapes, but it is only the first impression: the whole valley is pitted with burrows of marmots and ground squirrels; yaks and horses are grazing freely, birds of prey are flying in the sky, edelweiss flowers bloom right under your feet, and all the stones are covered with a continuous pattern of ancient rock drawings (there are more than 30 000 of them here). This is one of the richest and most significant petrographic places in the world. Elangash is a special place regarded among Altai people to be a «place of power», and no one can return the same from there. Rally: … Walk … Breakfast and dinner cooked at the campfire. The overnight stop will take place at the expedition tent camp.
        6 Day. Elangash. Copying the petroglyphs
        This day is entirely dedicated to the study of cultural heritage of Elangash. We will learn a simple but at the same time sophisticated technique of copying the petroglyphs on the mica paper. This is a very careful, meticulous, attention-demanding, but very pleasant work as a result of which you will get the unique artifact. It is a chance to touch and communicate with the antiquity, something primitive, with the very foundations of human existence. The team will feel completely detached from all the conventions of modern civilization. It is real restart. Rally: 0 km. Walking distance: 0-2 km. Breakfast and dinner are prepared on a fire or a burner. The overnight stop will take place at the expedition tent camp.
        7th Day. Elangash. Ascent to glaciers
        This is a day of physical activity. We will climb high into the mountains through the picturesque alpine meadows, mountain lakes and streams to the height of nearly 3,000 meters, where we will look down upon the glacial lakes of stunning beauty. We will hear a shattering crack of movement of huge masses of ice and rock falls. Moreover, on the Azhu pass (ancient caravan path) there is a probability of finding an old horseshoe for a good luck.Rally… Walk…. Breakfast and dinner are prepared on a fire or a burner. The overnight stop will take place at the expedition tent camp.
        8th day. Dzhangis Tobe — a lonely hill
        This morning we will say goodbye to the mystical Elangash and go further to the southeast, in the direction of Mongolia border. We will make a stop in the regional center Kosh-Agach, where supermarkets and cafes are a slight return to civilization. Next, we turn from the highway right into the steppe to the famous place Dzhangys Tobe – a lonely mountain towering over the steppe, where at the top ancient Turkic ruins are hidded, and on the stony slopes various petroglyphs scattered. We will set up our camp right in the open steppe, under the infinite sky. On foot … Rally … Breakfast and dinner are prepared on a fire or a burner. The overnight stop will take place at the expedition tent camp.
        9 — 10th day. Wildlife of the Altay Mountains
        Again, we will climb high into the mountains, this time to get acquiainted with the nature and hope to encounter the rare Red Book animals and birds. Our goal is the cascade of mountain lakes under the Tapduayr peak on the Chikhachev ridge. These mountain valleys and slopes are home to rare species such as argali, ibex and manul cat. It is hard to see them; we will have to get some patience and perseverance, and a bit of luck of course. We have experience of successful meetings with these animals from the previous trips. Rally … On foot… Breakfast and dinner are prepared on a fire or a burner. The overnight stop will take place at the expedition tent camp.
        11th day. Yustyd. Modern Nomads of Russia
        The Altay Mountains are one of the last places in Russia where the traditional lifestyle of people leading a nomadic life still exists. In summer, many Kazakh families move to live in yurts in the Yustyd valley to watch their huge herds of goats and sheep. This valley can be called Russian Mongolia, the scenery reminding it very much. Crossing the valley, we will definitely stay at yurts to buy traditional mare milk and baursaks, and at the same time to meet and talk with people who are extremely friendly and not spoiled by crowds of tourists as it happens in the northern Altay. The final point of our route is the mountain lake Kindyktykul, where is also a yurt of a nomad who is already familiar to us.Rally… On foot… Breakfast and dinner are prepared on a fire or a burner. The overnight stop will take place at the expedition tent camp.
        12th day. Kindyktykul — lake with a navel cord
        The lake is inhabited by very rare species of birds, and there are many manul cats on rocky hillsides, which are studied by the specialists of the Siberian Ecological Center for several years. There also are many marmots and foxes. The lake water is relatively warm (by the standards of the Altay) so you can even swim there. On the slopes of the mountains, the amazing fields of edelweiss grow. Steppe eagles, saker falcon and the largest birds of prey in Russia — bearded vultures — nest on rocky ledges. Wild, amazing and a very picturesque place. Rally… On foot… Breakfast and dinner are prepared on a fire or a burner. The overnight stop will take place at the expedition tent camp.
        13 — 14th day. Way home
        This time we go back home. Depending on the time and our wish, we can get to Tashanta (state border with Mongolia) and turn to the Ulandryk valley. We will make a stop near Aktash to see the unique and fantastic place – the Blue Spring Lake. After that we will have a sauna on the site camp “Kochevnik” and then a gradual return to civilization.

        Organizational information

        Registration fee:
        48 300 rubles
        , with an advance payment of 30% (this is 14490 rub) until January 1. 2016;
        56 500 rubles with an advance payment before March 1, 2016
        65,500 rubles with a prepayment after May 1, 2016
        • Dates: July 17 — July 30, 2016 (14 days) • The starting and finishing point: Barnaul, Russia •Number of participants: 9 people (7 available) )


        Expedition vehicles::

        UAZ Farmer, Siberian Expedition

        Two minibuses UAZ 2206 (nicknamed Kuzya) and UAZ «Farmer» (nicknamed Filya). All vehicles have high off-road capabilities, equipped with inverters to recharge camera and video equipment.

        The registration fee includes:

        • work of the organizers and the scientific experts,
        • transportation on prepared trucks,
        • Accommodation in the expedition camp
        • concert of throat singing,
        • one-time accommodation in the yurt camp and a camp site,
        • expedition meals (we cook in turn)
        • medical insurance by RESO-Garantia,
        • excursions, all recreational fees


        The registration fee does not include:

        Flight (rail transportation) to Barnaul
        To find cheap flights we suggest using www.aviasales.ru
        Just enter the necessary data in the form below:

        (Arrival: before 10:00 July 17 or earlier; departure: after 22:00, July 30))

        Meals in the cafés (payment according to the bill)
        (six or seven times during the journey, an average meal costs about 200 rubles).


        Wishes to participants

        Hiking experience is desirable, but not obligatory. Curiosity, even temper and readiness for partial absence of comfort are required.



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