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Pearls of nature

Munku - Sardyk Mount

The highest and one of the most beautiful summits in Eastern Sayan Mountains, the highest point of Burin-Khan particular range. Not long, about 14 km from East to West, in our days this range serves a border between Mongolia and Buryatia (Russia), separating Mongolian steppe from mountainous country of Southern Baikal coast, so the top is half in Mongolian territory. The name of the Mount is translated from Buryat language as "Eternal" and still considered as a sacred one by old Buryat people. By their opinion, it is still unclimbed for no human being can ascend to it.

The first climber to the top was Russian geographer G. Radde in 1868. He made the first study of the mountain, measured the altitude and determined the thickness of cirque glacier which was fixed as 85 m. Radde ascended to the top from the Nothern Rib, which is a basic route still now. Since the highest, Munku-Sardyk is one of few centers of current icing process in Southern extremity of Sayan Mountains. It has three stable glaciers - one in the cirque, one on the top and one more on Southern slope on Mongolian side. The Southern glacier gives a start to Khushi river that runs down to Khubsugul lake - younger brother of Great Siberian lake Baikal. Nothern cirque glacier gives a birth to Muguvek creek, which partly runs in a canyon and then goes to White Irkut river - one of three streams that make Irkut river, on the bank of which one Irkutsk city was founded in the 17-th century. The cirque glacier melts on the surface in summer time, that gives the reason to some people to call it "a lake". The forth glacier of the massive is on the upstream of White Irkut. All of them are of a small size, and make no serious obstacle for climbers. All summits of the massive have the altitude about 3000 m, some of them are still unclimbed by sportsmen.

All ascents are usually start from a base camp on a tree line which is on the mark of 2700 m. The whole process takes from 8 to 12 hours depending on weather conditions and phisical abilities of a climber. Technically the basic route over the Northern Rib is classified as 2A class, requires basic climbing skills, rope technique and use of crampons. The North face of Munku-Sardyk is covered with ice armour about 45 degrees steepness in average. That makes a challenge for a more experienced climber. The Southern Mongolian slope is not so steep and easier to ascend. The view from the top is astonishing, by the words of one of the climbers, " no surprise that many people couldn't keep from tears, overwhelmed by fantastic surrounding beauty". Tremendous sweeping panorama with an impressive sight of gorgeous lake Khubsugul rolls on to the horizon on the South, and multiple ranges and ridges of Sayan stretch all over on the North.

Elevations were made by climbers from Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude from January to November, yet the best time to climb is from the start of summer season in midJune till midAugust. All summer through alpine meadows are in full blossom, which gives a spesific fascination to the whole expedition to that wild area. Here below is suggested basic itinerary to Munku-Sardyk, gateway Irkutsk.

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