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To the Heart of the Sacred Shambala

The spurs of the Katunsky Ridge are one of the most scenic places in Russia. The juxtaposition of the wild grandeur of the mountains with peaceful and picturesque landscapes is dramatic. The glacier-covered Belukha Mountain (4503 m.) is towering there. This is the highest peak in Siberia and in the rest of Russia outside the Caucasus. There are many mountain lakes with turquoise waters on the Katunsky ridge. In July and August, the alpine meadows are in luxuriant bloom. There you can meet Siberian wapiti (red deer), musk deer, brown bear, sable, Siberian weasel, squirrel, chipmunk, Siberian ibex (mountain goat). The elusive snow leopard and the Altai snowcock also make a home of these lands. The tour takes us to the west and east parts of the Katunsky ridge: to the canyons of Kucherla and Ak-Kem rivers. Mountain passes provide extensive panoramas of the Katunsky Ridge and ice-covered Belukha Mountain. The Kucherla river is one of the most lovely mountain rivers of the Katunsky ridge and has milky blue water. One of the sides of the Kucherla gorge is forest-steppe with larch and stone ridges, while cedars and firs cover the opposite side. Higher along the route, there are cedar pine forests and alpine meadows. Another famous lake we will visit is the Akkem lake. It is not very big, but its waters reflect the peak and glaciers of Mount Belukha. These places are a real Mekka for mountaineers and artists. Our tour follows the well-known ring of Kucherla and Ak-Kem Rivers, but comparing with other standard tours, it includes more radial excursions in the area next to Belukha Mountain. During these days travelers without luggage will visit blossoming river valleys, multicolored lakes and enormous glaciers and will immerse in the world of wild nature. To make the trek easier, the pack horses will carry the camp equipment and major food supply. The tour requires the middle physical fitness and basic backpacking experience. In addition to visiting a unique corner of the world, you will also learn about the ancient culture of the Old-Believers (they are ethnic Russians who split off from the Russian Orthodox Church in XVII century and sought to live a self-sustaining life, in the most remote place they could find). You will visit the ethnographic museum in the Verhnii Ujmon village and also places connected with the expeditions of N.K. Roerikh, a famous Russian artist, traveler, archaeologist and writer.
Financial Support of the League of Nation's Health.