Located at the very edge of the edge of the universe Mount Belukha is the highest peak of Siberia (4,506 m.) and the Altai Mountains, as well as one of the highest peaks in Russia. The name “Belukha” comes from abundance snow covering the mountain throughout the year and means “a snow-white mistress, feeding all the rivers and lands”.
The locals consider the mountain sacred and call it Kadyn-Bazhy i.e., “The Peak of Katun or the Mount of Gods”. Siberian shamans specify that the path to the mystical Northern Shambhala (paradise after people) is inside the sacred Belukha, and only the fortunate can see it. Every year Tibetan monks come here to touch the sacred mountain, gain strength and feel the special inviting energy of these places.
The power of the Altai Mountains and the Siberian Taiga is amazing. The nature around it is stunning in scope. At the very foot of Belukha, there is Akkem Lake (also known as the Lake of Mountain Spirits); where as in a mirror the majestic two-headed summit of the “Mountain of Gods” appears under a clear sky.
Authentic culture, huge eternal glaciers, the wild Siberian taiga, the Chui Tract road which is one of the most amazing roads in the world ranking the 5th among the most beautiful roads of the planet according to National Geographic, ancient turquoise lakes, mysterious and fully isolated from civilization tribes of local shamans, national Altai cuisine, the most high-altitude Russian Orthodox chapel, as well as the Siberian spruce bathhouses — these are only a few things you will experience during these 12 days, exploring one of the wildest and most remote places on our planet, in the heart of wild Russia.
Mount Belukha, Akkem and Kucherlinskoe Lakes as well as the Tekelu Waterfalls form the “Belukha National Park”. This area was included in the list of UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites “Altai — Golden Mountains” in 1998 and is one of the wildest and most beautiful corners of the planet.
The famous Russian artist Nikolai Roerich, after his expedition to the foot of Mount Belukha in 1926, noted that this place is very unusual and has some peculiar energy. He even put forward a hypothesis about a secret energy bridge connecting Belukha and Everest. In India, shamans knew that in the mountainous country of Altai, on the right bank of the Katun river, there was a two-headed summit rising high to the sky, equal to Mount Meru. According to the Indian sacred Vedas, Belukha should define “the centre of the four oceans” since it is located at an equal distance from the Arctic, Pacific and Indian oceans. That is why it’s called “the center of the Earth” in ancient writings. The connection with Buddhism and with Tibet can be found even in the caves around Belukha. There are many caves in the valley of the river Kyrlyk. Here is the deepest cave in Russia — “Ecological” (345 m) as well as the mysterious “Geophysical” cave which is a pit where all the rivers of the valley flow into and disappear (130 m in depth, 500 m in length).
Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich is a famous Russian artist, writer, archaeologist, philosopher, traveller and public figure. He was born in St. Petersburg in 1874. In 1924-1928 Roerich who was an Academician of the Russian Academy of Arts undertook an unprecedented scientific and art expeditions through the Himalayas, Tibet, Altai and Mongolia and in 1934-1935 around Manchuria and China. In 1928 in India, he established the International Institute of the Himalayan Studies “Urusvati”. In 1942 on the initiative of Nicholas Roerich, the American-Russian Cultural Association was established in New York, and he was chosen as its honorary President. During his lifetime, Roerich wrote more than seven thousand paintings.
Siberia is truly unique. Mysterious, unknown, uninhabited and still 100% unexplored. It’s a different world. Extreme climate, more severe and humid. It is a different atmosphere. Another culture. Another huge story on the opposite part of a vast country. It requires mental and physical strength and will be a challenging holiday. This is an expedition where you will be in the wild 10 out of 14 days of the trip without outside connection. Siberia is a completely different format in every way.
Day 1 | Arrival day. Group transfer at 9:00 (9 AM) from Gorno-Altaysk Airport (RGK) to the ATC Base Lodge (50 min.) Accommodation at the lodge (double rooms). Breakfast. Welcome briefing and orientation. Signing Waivers and required documentation. Gear check. Evening Russian sauna (Banya) with a bather and spruce brooms. Overnight stay at the lodge.
Day 2 | Transfer from the ATC lodge along the Chui Tract road to the mountain village of Tungur (1,000 meters above sea level). According to National Geographic, this road takes the 5th place in the world among the most beautiful roads of the planet. Also, this is the only road connecting Siberia with the rest of Russia. We drive 400 km, overcome the Seminsky pass — 1,717 m. Obtain military border passes. Lunch: The National Altai cuisine dishes. Arrival to the mountain lodge “Vysotnik”. Accommodation at the Vysotnik Lodge. Preparation of equipment. Overnight stay at the lodge.
Day 3 | Loading of the horse caravan. Day crossing on the mountain path of the Kucherla river valley (The river flows from the powerful western glacier of the Belukha’s main peak and is one of the longest and most beautiful rivers in Altai). 8 hours on a horseback. Overnight stay in tents in the pure Altai Taiga at 1,500 meters. Campfire dinner.
Day 4 | Daytime transfer on horseback to Lake Akkem (2,050 m; the length of the coastline is 3.8 km). This day we cross the mountain pass Karatyurek (“Black Heart” in translation from the Altai language). From the pass, there is a view of the Akkem Wall, three summits of Belukha: Delone Peak (4,260 m), Belukha Eastern (4,509 m) and Belukha Western (4,435 m). Accommodation at the high-altitude shelter “Akkem” on the riverbank. Bathhouse. Overnight stay at the shelter.
Day 5 | Beginning of the technical mountaineering program and transition to the Alpine Zone: Lake Akkem — Akkem Glacier — Tomskiye Stoyanki (Camp 1 — altitude 3,100 m) — 8 hours. Setting the tent camp. This day we will visit the Akkem glacier chapel at 2,500 m. Dinner is cooked on the gas-burner stoves. Overnight in the camp.
Day 6 | Snow & Ice training with basic level Self-Arrest Course and basic level Survival Skills Course on the Arbuz Glacier under the Akkem Wall at 3,100 m. Overnight in the camp.
Day 7 | Reserve day in case of bad weather. Overnight in the camp.
Day 8 | Glacier travel in rope teams: Tomskiye Stoyanki — Delone Pass 3 400 m. (fixed ropes) — Mensu glacier 2 800 m. — The Great Berel Saddle — 3 520 m. — Camp 2. Setting the tent camp on the glacier. Dinner is cooked on the gas-burner stoves.
Day 9 | Summit day — Belukha Eastern (4,506 m.). Vertical drop — 1 km. 10 km for up and down. Approximately 10 hours in total. Descent to Camp 2. Overnight at
Day 10 | Descent from the Great Berel Saddle to Akkem Lake to the mountain shelter. Russian banya with Altai herbs. Overnight stay at the shelter.
Day 11 | Hiking with equipment (typically each guest carries about 5 kg of group gear) along the banks of the mountain river Akkem — 6 hours: Mountain shelter Akkem — Camp on the bank of the Akkem river at 1300 m. Dinner at the stake. Overnight stay in tents.
Day 12 | Hiking with equipment to the “Three Birches” Camp (1,000 m). Authentic Altai cuisine dishes for lunch. Off-road transfer on the Russian military vehicle through the Kuzuyak Pass (1,500 m) — to the village of Tungur (2 hours). Transfer by minibus to the ATC Base Lodge — 6 hours. Dinner. Evening Russian banya.
Day 13 | Rest day. Visit the Altai botanical garden with Siberian flora. Massage on the cedar barrel. Celebration dinner. Certificates and “Mountaineer of Russia” badges presentation.
Day 14 | Departure day. Morning transfer at 7:00 (7 AM) from the ATC Base Lodge to Gorno-Altaysk Airport (RGK).
All RMH Mountain Guides are Internationally Certified and highly qualified with Russian Mountain Guides Association and ACMG, with more than 250 successful Belukha summits and more than 300 successful summits over 7 thousand meters - Lenin Peak (7, 134 m.), Communism Peak (7, 495 m.), Khan-Tengri (7, 010 m.).
We are locals and we always get you a whole lot closer.
At Russian Mountain Holidays, we are as passionate about fabulous and healthy food as we are about everything. We cook you authentic cuisine of the Caucasian people from the best local farm products and freshest ingredients. We are also attentive to your special dietary requests and you can always choose the right menu for yourself.
At Russian Mountain Holidays, we work hard to guarantee you the best possible experience and it is impossible when there are too many people in the group. That's why all our groups are small. We close the booking when there are 8 guests in the group.
All our groups are always very international, so during the expedition, you have a unique opportunity to practice your foreign language and meet interesting people from all around the globe.
All our released trips are guaranteed. So even if you are the only guest in the group, you still can book your spot and the price will never rise.
All the trip packages we offer are truly unique and all-inclusive. That means absolutely everything is included in the trip price and you won't spend a cent more.
At Russian Mountain Holidays, our mission is to guarantee you quality and deep individual approach while making your dream a reality. Safely and Flawlessly.
Our high camps are equipped with toilets and comfortable amenities for your dining and relaxing experience.
At Russian Mountain Holidays, your safety is always our number one priority. We register every group in the local Rescue Service and work together with certified rescuers from the Ministry of Emergency Situations. We also use satellite phones and the latest GPS navigation equipment, so we always have good communication with rescuers throughout the entire trip.
By the end of the trip, if summit is reached, you get the official certificate of the Russian Mountaineering Federation on the implementation the qualification standards for the Mountaineer of Russia badge.
Registration of military border passes takes at least 60 working days! We require advance booking at least 3 month before the trip starts!
Official Invitation letter for the Russian Tourist Visa. We email it to you immediately after we got your deposit payment and a scanned copy of your passport ID.
All local registration fees. For foreigners according to the Russian legislation.
National Park fees.
All transportation and local transfers.
Accommodation at the Lodges.
Accommodation in the High Camps.
High-Quality Meals. All meals during the entire trip.
RMH Lead Guide. For the entire trip.
RMH Second Guide. For the summit day only.
Rescue Service Check-in.
2 Summit Attempts. Above 4000 meters is one attempt. In case if weather conditions got bad during the summit day, we try again next day if possible.
Rental of personal equipment.
Additional (Private) Mountain Guides.
Additional and individual transfers from /or to the airport. You might need it in case if your flight arrives later than the time when our RMH transfer departs from
the airport, or if your return flight departs later than the time to which our RMH transfer goes to the airport.
Depending on snow and weather conditions the trip itinerary may be changed in consultation with the group.
We always strongly recommend you to have your own personal climbing equipment. It helps you feel more comfortable during the entire climbing and to get the most out of it! Below we have listed the full list of all necessary equipment for your climbing. Please, check it out and make sure that you already have it or let us know the list of items you need to hire in advance. You can also visit our GEAR LIST PAGE for more detailed descriptions with examples.
Highmountain boots for use with crampons (double or insulated)
Crampons (Crampons must check fit with climbing boots prior to trip)
Ice axe (Ice axe with a leash. Lightweight)
Climbing harness (Alpine climbing harness. Should have adjustable leg loops and fit over all clothing)
Sunglasses (Glacier glasses 100% UV protection with side shields or very good sunglasses with wrap around coverage)
Ski goggles (For wind and snow during the bad weather conditions and summit day)
Headlamp with new batteries
Self-belay leash (2-meter sling or prusik cord)
Trekking poles (Adjustable)
Comfortable backpack for climbing (a minimum of 30 liters)
Warm sleeping bag (down or synthetic sleeping bag rated to 0 F or -15 to C.)
Bottle for water (1 liter wide-mouth Nalgene)
Thermos (1-liter small stainless steel thermos)
Personal crockery (knife, fork, spoon, mug)
Personal first aid kit with your personal doctor recommended medications.
Several various pairs of warm thermal socks
1-2 pair of liner socks (polypropylene or wool)
2-3 pairs of lightweight trekking socks (polypropylene or wool)
2 pairs of medium to heavy wool socks for the upper mountain, check boot fit with liner and wool socks on.
2 long sleeve polypropylene or wool shirts lightweight, we highly recommend light colors for base layers.
2 pairs of lightweight to mid-weight long underwear bottoms.
The second pair can also be nylon or lightweight soft shell climbing pants for on the mountain.
Fleece jackets. 1 Soft Shell or intermediate thickness fleece jacket or wind shirt.
Fleece pants. 1 pair fleece pants or light synthetic insulated pants.
This is OPTIONAL for extra warmth on summit day and also on the lower mountain for Base Camp evenings.
Down jacket. Down or Synthetic Sweater or Jacket or 300/400 weight Fleece Jacket.
Essentially an additional mid-weight warm layer for cold days in your layering system.
Usual warm clothes, in which you feel comfortable
Gore-Tex Jacket (an effective waterproof and breathable fabric. The uppermost layer of your clothing) — Check out this link to see how it works!
Several pairs of gloves (A minimum 1 pair of very warm gloves)
Buff (bandana that protects your neck and face from the wind and snow)
Several hats (A minimum 1 warm wool or synthetic hat, that cover your ears)
Bring about 1.5 kilos or 2+ pounds. For summit day and walking days.
Alpine climbing or mountaineering always comes with a certain risk and is dangerous. Our job is to reduce this risk to a minimum as much as possible, but it’s still there. Buying this Tour you have to understand and be aware of the seriousness of this program and the possibility of the risk. Upon arrival on the first day of the trip, every guest will be asked to read and sign the RELEASE OF LIABILITY, WAIVER OF CLAIMS, ASSUMPTION OF RISKS AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT.