Mongolia – Mt Khuiten
Altai Tavan Bogd has some of the most stunning scenery in all of Mongolia with towering white mountains, glaciers, deep lush valleys, and large lakes. The park is divided into 2 regions, the Tavan Bogd Mountains in the northwest and the Lakes Region to the southeast. The park stretches along the Chinese border from the Russian border to 200 km south following the Altai Mountains, which form the borders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Glacial melt and annual snow fall supplies 3 large lakes inside the park that form the head waters of the Hovd River.
Tavan Bogd Mountains are the highest mountains in Mongolia, with Khuiten Uul (Cold Peak) at 4374m being the highest, and requiring mountaineering skills to scale. These permanently snow capped mountains form a bowl around the Potanin Glacier, which covers 23 square km. Potanin Glacier is the longest glacier of Mongolia that stretches for 19km from the eastern face of Mt. Khuiten. The other peaks are Nairamdal (Friendship) at 4180m, Olgii ('Craddle) at 4113m, Bürged (Eagle) at 4068m, and Malchin (herder) at 4050m. From the peak of Khuiten, it is possible to see Kazakhstan 30 km away on a clear day. From the peak of Malchin, you can enjoy spectacular bird's eye views of glaciers beneath and of the Russian territory as the ridge overlaps with the border line. Lakes Region is a beautiful area surrounding 3 large fresh water lakes. Khurgan Nuur and Khoten Nuur are attached by a small channel with a many small creeks flowing into the lakes from surrounding mountains. Two of these creeks form waterfalls of 7 to 10 m in height. A small bridge crosses the channel. These lakes are full of fish and many species of bird. Dayan Nuur is a smaller lake 20 km south of the 2 larger lakes.
About The Climb
Mt Khuiten is the highest of the Five Holy Peaks in the Altai Mountains, also the highest in Mongolia. The climb is special to those who enjoy remote mountaineering experience, traditional culture, and great scenery. The approach to the base camp is similar to our Malchin Peak journey. As part of our acclimatization plan, we will climb up to Malchin Peak (4050m). We will establish an advance base camp to climb Khuiten. The team will rope-up together during the 8km approach to the advance base camp across the Potaniin Glacier. This is relatively straightforward glacier travel, but there are some crevasses. For this part of the expedition, team members will usually carry all of their personal equipment; group equipment like sleeping tents and food will be ferried by porters, and porters will return to base camp the same day. For the summit climb, we will start early if weather permit, it takes about 8-10hrs round trip (depending on climbers fitness). The entire climb to the summit will be done roping-up as there are crevasses; we zig-zag on the steep slope, top up on the ridge leading to the highest point of Mongolia, stay mindful of cornices. The view from the top to all directions is stunning.
Climbers should have prior experience walking on glaciers and rope-up skills. Have knowledge of wearing crampon, plastic boots (or double boots), usage of Ice Axe.
Equipment and Gear
You can wear a lightweight thermal or quick dry t-shirt for the trek to the base camp. A water and wind proof outershell is essential for protection from the weather elements. When at the base camp, after sun down and for the summit climb, a fleece jacket and a down jacket are needed. A good down sleeping bag is also needed. You will need the following climbing gear:
- Climbing harness
- Prusik cords
- Ice axe
- Crampon compatible Mountaineering boots (e.g Plastic boots / double boots etc)
A packing list will be provided for all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to read about the layering system to be better prepared and choose the right gear/equipment for your climb.
*Note: Rental of climbing gear is not established in Mongolia, you have to prepare the gear in your home country
You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at email@example.com
|Day 1||Arrive Ulaan Baatar||-/-/D|
|Day 2||Domestic flight to Ulgi town in Western Mongolia. Drive in 4WD Russian vans to Tavan Bogd National Park (2500m)||B/L/D|
|Day 3||Trek to Tavan Bogd peaks base camp (3000m)||B/L/D|
|Day 4||Acclimatization Climb to 4050m Malchin Peak (3000m)||B/L/D|
|Day 5||Trek to Advance Base Camp roping-up with crampons (3600m)||B/L/D|
|Day 6||Summit attempt||B/L/D|
|Day 7||Spare day||B/L/D|
|Day 8||Spare day||B/L/D|
|Day 9||Trek to base camp (3000m)||B/-/D|
|Day 10||Trek out to lower gate of Tavan Bogd National Park – White River Valley (2430m)||B/L/D|
|Day 11||7-8 hour return drive to Ulgi town||B/L/D|
|Day 12||Domestic flight to Ulaan Baatar||B/-/D|
|Day 13||Depart Ulaan Baatar||B|
- Return airport transfers in Ulaan Baatar (UB) / Olgii
- Return domestic airfare UB-Olgii-UB & airline taxes & fuel surcharge (maximum 15kg luggage allowance / pax)
- All land transfers as indicated in itinerary
- Meals as indicated in itinerary
- Twin/Trip sharing accommodation in Ulaan Baatar and Olgii
- Camping equipment: sleeping tent (Twin sharing)
- Trek support: climbing guide(s) and kitchen crew, porterage services by camels
- Boiled water during trek
- Permits & fees: Conservation, National Park fees, trek permit
- International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
- Excess luggage on domestic flight (if exceeding 15kg)
- Visa Fee (if any).
- Single Supplement
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- All tipping
- Personal porters
- Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover trekking up to 5000m)
- Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
- Personal travel & trekking/climbing gear – warm clothing, shoes, backpacks, harness, karabiners, plastic boots, sleeping bag/mat etc
- Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
- Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items etc)
- Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
Support from Ace Adventure Expeditions
We provide pre-trip support to prepare you for the climb:
1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Training guideline kit
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)
We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in Mongolia, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture and are trained in emergency rescue.
It is really difficult to grade Mt Khuiten as the peak is not exactly that technically demanding and not above 5000m. However, the glacier is filled with crevasses requiring climbers to have good rope skills & techniques to negotiate it (means if you have ZERO experience on roping up and walking with a crampon, we do not advice you to attempt). There is a steep angle slope that has ankle to knee deep snow that demand climbers not only to be fit but have good rope sense. We are grading Khuiten at 4C also because Khuiten is more demanding on a climber's personal climbing skills than Island, Mera Peak and Elbrus would demand (these 3 peaks are much higher in altitude than Khuiten). We also deem that Khuiten is not a "beginner" peak, climbers should enter this trip with prior knowledge of roping up and crampon skills. If you have scaled mountains that require you to rope-up (or if you have attended a Basic Ice Climbing Course or Basic Mountaineering Course), spent considerable hours on snow slope using crampons, then Khuiten can be your next fulfilling climb.
Good cardio & endurance fitness is compulsory. There will be a certain degree of rock scree slopes to negotiate between 3600m and 4000m elevation on Malchin Peak. You should have the ability to trek with personal backpack load of between 4kg and 5kg for up to 12hrs or more on summit day of Khuiten. You will also need to carry your personal load from base camp to advance base camp (and return), this load can range from 10kg to 12kg, depending on how you pack your backpack.
Training: Regardless of your level of fitness and physical conditions, it is compulsory to train prior to embarking on this climb. A training recommendation specific to the climb will be given upon signing up. A good four to five months of training would be a good preparation for the trek. Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trip.