2007 Moscow

Altai Mountain Trek Plus Moscow
August 18 – September 3, 2007
On this exciting adventure, we trek in the pristine and spectacularly beautiful Altai Mountains in southern Siberia of Russia, near the border with Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan, visit a Siberian city north of the Altai Mountains, and explore the cosmopolitan, and increasingly affluent city of Moscow.  The Altai Mountains are one of the world’s last great unspoiled regions and a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site.  These mountains, which rise to a height of 14,783 feet, have 1,500 glaciers, 1,274 lakes, many rivers, a diverse ecosystem with over 2,000 species of plants, 212 of which are found only in the Altai, and an abundance of wildlife.  Nomad burial sites document the use of these mountains by humans 22,000 years ago.  We trek for eight days in these awesome mountains and see the largest glacier, the tallest peak, many spectacular waterfalls and rivers, amid a landscape full of wildflowers.  After the trek, we spend a day in the charming city of Barnaul, the cultural capital of Siberia, and then head to Moscow for two days of fun.  We visit Red Square, the Kremlin, the Tretyakou Gallery, dine at gay restaurants, and visit many gay clubs.
Day 1. Saturday (8/18): Leave USA
Day 2. Sunday (8/19): Arrive Moscow
Arrive late morning, check through customs and be transferred to the Hotel Budapest, our resting place until our late night flight to Barnaul in Siberia.  The three-star Budapest Hotel is located in the historical center of Moscow in a well-known business and cultural area ten minutes walk from the Kremlin.  Built in 1876 in the imperial Russian style, the hotel is close to theaters, government buildings, Red Square and the Bolshoi Theater.  Next door, the “Grand Opera” restaurant is one of the best in Moscow, serving Russian, Ukrainian, French and Jewish cuisine.  The elegant spacious rooms are air conditioned and equipped with shower/bath, telephone, satellite TV, internet facilities, mini bar, safe deposit box, and hairdryer. 

The afternoon is free to relax or explore the neighborhood.  After dinner we will be transferred to the airport for our 10:15 pm flight east to Barnaul.  (D)

Day 3. Monday (8/20) Arrive Barnaui
We arrive in Barnaul at 5:25 am.  Our guide and driver will meet us at the airport.  Barnaul is located on the Ob River in the plains north of the Altai Mountains.  It is the cultural capital of Siberia and gateway to the Altai Mountains.  Most of the 750,000 inhabitants of Barnaul are Russian. 

We board our private van and head south on the Chuisky Tract for the 217 mile drive to Semisky Pass and stop along the way to have breakfast.  As we follow the Katun River, the scenery changes from dry hills to forested mountains.  We lodge at a guest house.  (B, L, D)


Day 4. Tuesday (8/21)  Seminsky Pass to Village of Tungur
After breakfast, we board our van for the 248 mile drive further south to the Village of Tungur.  The village, which is located on the Katun River, was founded in 1903.  In the Altai language, the name of the village means Shaman’s Tambourine.  We lodge in the wooden cabins at Vysotnik Camp and enjoy an authentic Russian banya. 

Tungur is the trailhead for treks in the Golden Mountains of the Altai, the name given to the area by UNESCO.  The Altai region of southern Siberia covers an area about the size of England.  The UNESCO site encompasses both the Altaisky Nature Reserve and the Katun Nature Reserve, named for the Katun River, which begins at the Katun Glacier on the southern slope of Mt. Belukha.  This region is noted for its natural beauty and the diversity of its ecosystems, from low-lying steppe to forest types to alpine tundra.

Day 5. Wednesday (8/22)  Hike to Tekelyushka River
Today we hike about 12 miles towards the Kucherla and Tekelyushka Rivers.  On the way, we stop at the 164 foot high Tegeyek Waterfall.  Tonight we camp along the Tekelyushka River under a starry sky.  (B, L, D)
Day 6. Thursday
(8/23)  Hike to Kucherlinskoe Lake and begin ascent to Karatyurek Pass
Today after breakfast we trek 10 miles along the Tekelyushka River through magnificent scenery to Kucherlinskoe Lake, a turquoise lake surrounded by steep forested hills.  It will be berry season, and, if it has been a good year for fruit, we can snack as we go.  After lunch and a rest, we set off to start our ascent of Karatyurek Pass, and head to our camp site.  (B, L, D)
Day 7. Friday (8/24)  Hike to Karatyurek Pass & Ak-Kem Lake
Today we hike 6 miles over the boulder strewn Karatyurek Pass at 10,039 feet, and then down to Ak-Kem Lake.  On the pass we will have fantastic views of the northern “wall” of Mt. Belukha, the highest mountain in Siberia at 14,783 feet.  Ak-Kem Lake is smaller than Kucherlinskoe Lake, and its waters reflect the double-headed peak of Mt. Belukha.   We camp at the beautiful Ak-Kem Lake for three nights and do day hikes to nearby attractions.  (B, L, D)
Day 8. Saturday
(8/25)  Hike near Mt. Belukha & Mt. Ak-Kayuk
Today on our 6 mile hike we traverse the slopes of Mt. Belukha to an elevation of 12,041 feet on Mt. Ak-Kayuk, and overlook the pristine and scenic Valley of Seven Lakes.  We return to the camp on Ak-Kem Lake.  (B, L, D)
Day 9. Sunday (8/26)  Hike to Ak-Kem Glacier
Today we trek about 8 miles to the magnificent Ak-Kem Glacier, the largest in the Altai.  We enjoy a picnic lunch near the ice wall.  We return to our camp on Ak-Kem Lake.  (B, L, D)
Days 10, 11 & 12.  Monday-Wednesday (8/27-29)  Hike back to Tungur
For the next three days we will trek about 9 miles per day on our return to Tungur.  We descend to the Ak-Kem Valley, enjoy a wonderful view of the 193 foot tall Teleliu Waterfall, continue along the valley, cross the Kuzuyak Pass, descend to the peaceful village of Kucherla, and then on to Tungur.  We enjoy a Russian banya and our last night in the Altai.  (B, L, D)
Day 13.  Thursday (8/30)  Drive to Barnaul
We depart early in our private van for the 465 mile drive back to Barnaul.  We enjoy the scenery from our seats instead of from our feet!  We lodge at the Hotel Sibir, located in Barnaul’s city center close to sights and shopping.  This three-star hotel features a restaurant, bar, room service and sauna.  Rooms include satellite TV and hair dryer.  (B, L, D)
Day 14.  Friday (8/31)  Barnaul
This morning we explore Barnaul, a comparatively old Siberian city, founded in 1730 by the Demidov family, whose fortune was made under Peter the Great by their skillful ironwork.  The place was chosen for its proximity to the Altai’s silver ore and to the major waterway of the Ob River.  Ninety percent of Russia’s silver was being mined here by the 19th century. 

Barnaul today is a thriving university town of about 750,000 souls, with Internet cafes, shops and restaurants lining its main street, Prospekt Lenina.  During the sunny summers, vacationing students sit at sidewalk cafes watching the world go by.

Our city tour includes visits to some of Barnaul’s finest museums.  Founded in 1823, the Altai Regional Studies Museum is now located in a chemical lab built in the mid 19th century.  The collection includes stone tools from ancient miners who extracted Altai ores around 2,500 BC.

We also visit the History, Culture, Literature and Art Museum of Altai.  This museum exhibits art and artifacts from the Altai cultures, including felt rugs created by ethnic Kazakh people, displays relating to the Mennonite German population invited to Russia by Catherine the Great, and archeological findings from the “Pazyryk” culture.  Three different tattooed mummies have been found in kurgans (graves) on the plateau leading to the Altai Mountains.  Scholars now identify them as having distinctive Scythian characteristics.

After lunch the afternoon is free to rest, shop or stroll around Barnaul.  In the evening we explore the gay culture in Barnaul.  (B, L)

Day 15.  Saturday (9/1)  Barnaul to Moscow
Early morning transfer to the airport for our 6:55 am flight back to Moscow, and the comfortable Hotel Budapest.  Because of the time change, we arrive at 8:40 am.  After we check into our hotel, we meet our gay guide Mikhail and have lunch at 911, a gay restaurant.  Next we head for Red Square to visit Lenin’s Mausoleum and St. Basil’s Cathedral.  We stroll along the Moscow River with views to the Kremlin and take a short tour of the Kremlin.  Later in the day we head for the Mayakovka Spa & Sauna where we can relax, hang out or get a traditional Russian massage. 

Later in the evening our guide, Mikhail will accompany us to one of the many popular gay bars, such as the Three Monkeys, for dinner, dancing and entertainment.  Later still, we may head for the popular Body & Soul, which has two large dance floors and entertainment.  (B, L)

Day 16.  Sunday (9/2)  Moscow
Today with our gay guide, we continue our exploration of Moscow.  We visit the State Tretyakou Gallery and see the world’s best collection of Russian icons and pre-Revolutionary Russian art.  Following lunch we may ride the subway to see the most spectacular stations, shop the pedestrian mall on Arbot Street, which is dotted with old pastel-colored merchant houses and tourist-oriented shops and cafes, or take a boat ride on the Moscow River.  Later in the day we will visit the Thermos Sauna to relax from all the tourist activities.  We will have dinner at another gay restaurant, then its out to the Samovolka, a gay bar, to dance and enjoy the Sunday night show.  (B, L, D)
Day 17.  Monday (9/3)  Return to USA
Early morning transfer to the airport for our return flight to the USA.  (B)
Land Cost:  4 Travellers – $4,200 per person/double occupancy
Cost Includes:  All lodging, all land transportation, airport transfers, admission to museums, meals as noted, American tour director, English speaking Russian guides, drivers, cooks, and horses to carry gear.   Single Supplement:  $590.  Single tents may not be available when camping.
Land Cost Does Not Include:  International airfare, roundtrip flight from Moscow to Barnaul ($530), alcoholic or other beverages with meals, sleeping bag and mat, telephone calls, excess baggage fees, Russian visa cost, and gratuities to guides
If you would like additional information, e-mail us at info@adventureboundmen.com, or call us locally at 303-449-0990 or toll free at 1-877-440-0990. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Mountain Time) Monday through Friday. 

You may also download our registration form, and mail it in to us.

This 69 mile trek in 8 days is rated as difficult because the walking is demanding and requires a reasonable degree of fitness.  Horses will carry all our luggage and camping equipment; we carry only a day pack with our camera, clothes needed for the day, water, and lunch.  We hike 4-7 hours or 6-12 miles per day.  There is the opportunity to remain in our camp at Ak-Kem Lake on Days 8 & 9 and not hike.
Click Here to view the
Altai Mountain Slide Show