Mongolia – Mt Khuiten

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  • Duration: 13 Days
  • Grading: 4C
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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, Ulgii (‘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 experiences, traditional culture, and great scenery.

The domestic flight from Ulaanbaatar to Ulgii (western Mongolia) takes about 2hrs, the Kazakhs living in the area are the largest national minority and practice Sunni Islam. Upon arrival, meet with a support team of driver(s), cook(s) and head westward to Tavan Bogd national park.

From the park, the trek to base camp of the Tavan Bogd is gradual ascent and passes through high mountain terrain of rock outcroppings and wetlands. The trek has good chance of spotting some of the wildlife that inhabit the area including marmots, hares and a number of birds such us Golden Eagles, Black Vultures and Falcons. Luggage will be transported by camels handled by Tuvan herders. Upon completing two thirds of the way the view open to majestic perspectives of Potanin and Alexander glaciers with the icy peaks of Khuiten (4374m), Nairamdal (4082m), Snowchurch (4071m), Malchin (4050m), and Ulgii (4113m) on the far side.

As part of the acclimatization plan, the team will spend a day to climb up to Malchin Peak (4050m). The trek up to Malchin Peak is on rocky terrain and will take about 4-5hrs one way.  Moving from the base camp of Tavan Bogd, the team will rope-up together during the 8km approach to the advance base camp across the Potanin Glacier. This is relatively straightforward glacier travel, but there are 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, start early if weather permit, it takes about 8 to 10hrs round trip (depending on climbers’ fitness). The entire climb to the summit will be done roping-up as there are crevasses; zig-zag on the steep slope, top up on the ridge leading to the highest point of Mongolia, stay mindful of cornices. The peak stands on the borders of China, Russia and Mongolia, the view from the top to all directions is stunning. If weather is favourable, it is possible to climb another King of the Altai before returning to the base camp.

The trek out is relaxed, it is a gradual descent along the White river which takes its source from the Potanin glacier.  Camp a night at the White River Valley camp site, the following day, travel on the rustic Russian van to return to Ulgii town. The drive takes about 7hrs.

Trekking Season

Mongolia has 4 seasons and they are very different. Mongolia enjoys more than 260 sunny days per year, which means it’s one of the sunniest countries in the world, hence is known as the ‘Land of the Blue Sky’. In winter, the sky keeps its intense blue colour but combines with biting cold. Mongolia experiences an extreme continental climate; it is so far inland that no sea tempers its climate.

Spring (April to May): April and May are transitional months. The climate is certainly getting warmer but it’s the sandstorms period: being caught by a storm in Gobi Desert can be an unforgettable experience. May is reputed to be the most unsettled month; the four seasons can pass in a single day. The unpredictable weather also creates snowstorms intermixed with spells of wind and sun, wind-chill factor can make 0°C feel like -5°C

Summer and autumn (June to October): June, July, August, and September are the four most pleasant months for a trip to Mongolia. June and July are the most humid months and showers in the end of the afternoons are frequent. The mountains and northern areas can still be cold. July is also the peak season for tourists as the Naadam Festival takes place this month.  From mid-August, night temperatures significantly drop with frost risk, but the days remain pleasant with temperatures varying between 15°C and 25°C, and this lasts until mid-September. From mid-September, the forests of larches take the colours of autumn, which gives the country a breath-taking beauty. Weather is still dry and sunny, but temperatures begin to drop. It remains possible to visit Mongolia until the end of October, but be aware that temperatures may drop under 0°C even in the city.

Winter (November to March): From November to March, temperatures remain negative, with averages fluctuating around -25°C (the lowest temperature recorded was -57°C) during the coldest months of the year (December and January). Mongolians, especially the nomads, contemplate March and April as the worst months. After the long winter, livestock will be thin and a lack of rain brings about their death, causing financial and psychological adversity.

Best time to climb Mt. Khuiten: mid-June to mid-August

Experience Required

This is a moderately technical, glaciated climb and requires climbers to have a high level of comfort with crampons. Therefore, it is important that you have prior experience walking on glaciers and rope-up skills. Have knowledge of wearing crampon, plastic boots (or double boots), usage of ice axe is a must.  While the trek up to Malchin only requires wearing of trekking shoes, the trek on Potanin glacier to advance base camp and summit will require crampons and boots.

On the approach to Base Camp, all gear and equipment is carried by camels. There will be limited porter support on this expedition, so individual (personal) equipment will have to be carried to the advanced camp by the expedition team members, thus it is important that you have experience carrying personal load of more than 10kg at an altitude of 3000m and above.

Equipment and Gear

You can wear a lightweight base layer or a quick dry t-shirt and long trekking pants for the trek to base camp. From base camp onward, a light weight base layer with a fleece shirt and long trekking pants is require; an outer shell is essential to protect from the weather elements. When at the base camp & high camp, and after sundown, a basic layer of thermal, fleece jacket and down jacket are needed to keep warm. For the summit attempt, you will need the basic 3 layers, a down jacket, water and wind proof pants and gloves. A down sleeping bag and sleeping mat are also needed.

The following climbing equipment are required:

  1. Climbing harness
  2. Karabiners
  3. 120cm sewn slings /Prusik cords
  4. Ice axe
  5. Crampon
  6. Crampon compatible Mountaineering boots (e.g Plastic boots / double boots etc)

*Note: Rental of climbing gear is not established in Mongolia, you have to prepare the gear in your home country

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.

DAY DESCRIPTION MEALS
1

Arrive Ulaanbaatar. Afternoon city tour. Welcome dinner.

Overnight: Ulaanbaatar hotel (1350m)

– /-/D
2

Domestic flight to Ulgii. Drive to Tavan Bogd National Park.

Overnight: Tent at Oigor riverbank (2500m)

B/L/D
3

Trek to Tavan Bogd peaks basecamp.

Overnight: Tent at Tavan Bogd peaks basecamp (3000m)

B/L/D
4

Acclimatisation trek to Malchin Peak (4050m). Return to basecamp.

Overnight: Tent at Tavan Bogd peaks basecamp (3000m)

B/L/D
5

Trek to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) – glacier walk in a rope team

Overnight: Tent at ABC (3600m)

B/L/D
6-8

Summit climb to Mt Khuiten (4373m). Return to ABC. 2 contingency days.

Overnight: Tent at ABC (3600m)

B/L/D
9

Trek to base camp – glacier walk in a rope team. 

Overnight: Tent at Tavan Bogd peaks basecamp (3000m)

B/L/D
10

Trek to lower gate of Tavan Bogd National Park.

Overnight: Tent at White River Valley (2430m)

B/L/D
11

Drive to Ulgii town.

Overnight: Ulgii hotel (1720m)

B/L/D
12

Domestic flight to Ulaanbaatar.

Overnight: Ulaanbaatar hotel (1350m)

B/-/D
13 Depart Ulaanbaatar B/-/-

 

DATE  PRICE
1-13 Aug 2022 (with trek leader) $4,850.00 (SGD) / person
  • Group size: 6 – 12 people.
  • This Mt Khuiten climb is part of our  Ice and Snow Peak Challenge  To promote mountain climbing and to encourage people to challenge themselves physically and mentally, we have initiated and introduced a few Mountain Climbing Challenges into our calendar each year. These Mountain Climbing Challenges trips are accompanied by a team leader.
  • You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg.

 

Inclusions
  • 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
Exclusions
  • 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 and mountaineering insurance (travel insurance mandatory to cover  travel agency insolvency and trekking up to 5000m)
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal travel & trekking/climbing gear
  • 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
Pre-trip Support
  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.

Visa

Holders of ordinary passports issued by the following countries do not need a visa to enter Mongolia as long as their trip does not last longer than the visa-free period listed below.

Duration

Countries

90 days

Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Serbia, Ukraine, United States of America

30 days

Canada, Cuba, Germany, Israel, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay

Others

Philippines – 21 days; Hong Kong – 14 days

Citizens of the following countries can apply for a visa on arrival for 30 days validity: Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Arab Emirates.

All other nationals will need to apply for a visa at a Mongolian diplomatic mission in your country of residence.

For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit http://consul.mn/eng.

Money

Currency exchange services are available at hotels, banks and moneychangers in Ulaanbaatar. Banks and moneychangers accept most major currencies like USD, EUR and GBP. The most efficient and reliable moneychanger is at the State Department Store in Ulaanbaatar. Outside of the capital, banks and moneychangers are scarcer so make sure you carry enough cash.

Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in upmarket hotels, travel agencies and shops. They can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs of the major local banks with branches in Ulaanbaatar and the countryside.

Electricity

Mongolia’s electricity is 220V and 50HZ. The plugs used are the two narrow round pins Types C, E and/or F, which are commonly used in Europe.

Language

The official language, Mongolian, is spoken and understood throughout the country. Russian is the other major language used. However, other foreign languages, primarily English and Chinese, are becoming more popular especially in Ulaanbaatar.

Drinking Water

Tap water is not safe to drink. Buy bottled water to drink when in the city, or boil water in the hotel.

It is recommended that you bring a water purification method such as purifying tablets or a bottle with an inbuilt filter, as these are more environmentally friendly options than buying bottled water if you are not able to get boiled water, which is available at the camps during the treks/climb.

Tipping

Tipping is not customary except at restaurants in Ulaanbaatar, where waiters expect a tip, especially from tourists, or hotel bellhops.

We suggest tipping drivers as much as guides since with the distances and terrain involved in Mongolia, they often work as hard, if not harder than the guides.

General Etiquette / Culture

The ger is the home and a ‘sacred’ place to the Mongolians especially the nomads. It is a great experience to visit a family in their ger, and understanding and respecting their customs allow a more enriching experience.

Do’s & Don’ts in a Mongolia Ger

  • When Mongolians arrive at a ger, they yell, “Catch your dog!”, or simply enter. This is because every ger is protected by one or more guard dogs. Do not approach to near a ger until the owners or your guide confirm the dogs are ok.
  • Do not attempt to pet Mongolian herders’ dogs; they are not pets but guardians.
  • Mongolians do not speak to each other across the threshold of the door, or stand on the threshold of the door.
  • When you enter a ger, do not step on the threshold. Usually, guests move in a clockwise direction when entering a ger, first to the west and then north (ger doors always face south). The east side of the ger (on your right as you enter) is normally where the family will sit and the west side (on your left as you enter) is for guests. Food and cooking implements are stored on the right side, or women’s side of the ger, saddles, bridles, and things associated with men’s work on the left or men’s side.
  • Do not walk between the central supports of a ger, or pass something between them to another person.
  • Do not lean against the central supports of the ger, the walls, or the furniture.
  • Sitting on the beds in the ger is not considered rude, these double as seats, sometimes even if someone is sleeping in them.
  • Hats should always be placed with the open end down. A man’s hat and belt should never be placed on the floor, and should not touch other hats or belts.
  • Do not whistle inside gers or any kind of building.
  • Avoid standing up when drinking tea or other beverages.
  • If food or other items are placed out when a group sits together, they become communal property. Cigarettes, for example, placed on a table belong to the group.
  • Guests are often offered tea with milk and salt (depending on the region) in a bowl, and a plate with various cheeses and bread or cookies. Visitors are expected to take at least one small piece or a sip of what is offered to you.
  • Do not throw any trash or litter into the fire. This is disrespectful to the fire. Put the trash into the fuel bin or the metal pan in front of the stove. It will be saved to start the next fire. ‘Trash’ is transformed into ‘fuel’ by this brief stop in the fuel bin.
 
Travel Safety Advice

With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrests, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.

As with traveling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.

It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.

For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/eregisterportal/common/preLoginEregisterView.action.

 

Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.

 
Travel Immunization Advice 

There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter Mongolia. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:

Hepatitis A

Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.

Hepatitis B

Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.

Rabies

 

Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.

Tetanus

 

Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.

Typhoid Fever

Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Influenza

A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.

For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.

For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:

Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx.