Mountaineering and Hiking Guide to Mongolia
Best mountains to go hiking and trekking in Mongolia
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Khuiten (Cold) Mountain is the tallest mountain in Mongolia. Climb to the top starts with tourists leaving their camp and continues with a horseback ride on the Potanin Glacier until the western mountainside of Khonog Tolgoi Mountain. Spend a night there and wake up early in the morning around 4-5am to start climbing up to the peak. Go around the four main rocks to reach the first height to then climb up steep edges to reach the peak. This route is getting crowded over the past few years. But it is only available during the summer time. As for me, I turned to go back twice due to weather conditions. The clouds are unpredictable and the weather is unstable around here. Also, there are icy terrains near the fourth rock causing us to use ropes to create passage. It is ideal to climb the mountain from May to September. And it takes two days from the base camp to the peak. But if you are well prepared and your guide is excellent you can climb up the peak in 12-13hrs.
Nairamdal (Fellowship) Peak is located on the border between Mongolia, Russia and China. Climb to the Nairamdal Peak starts from the tourist camp with a horseback ride and continues on the Potanin Glacier until we reach the western mountainside of Khonog Tolgoi Mountain, where we spend the night. Climb to the peak on the feet starts at 4-5am next morning. Route we take is relatively easy besides thick snow. The climbing is doable from May to September and it takes two days from the base camp to the peak. If you are well prepared and your guide is excellent and experienced you can reach the top in 12-13hrs.
Climb to the top of Burged Mountain starts from the base camp and continues on the Potanin Glacier and Aleksander Glacier until we reach the mountainside. There are steep ice and rock cliffs in our way. Compared to the other peaks of Altai Tavan Bogd, it is very prone to avalanche. For safety measures, 3-5 ropes are required. How icy the route is dependent on the according year’s weather. It is ideal to climb the mountain from May to September and it takes a day from the base camp to the top.
Maint Mountain is located in the most remote area of the most western part of Mongolia. The mountain is 50-60km away from a spot where we can reach with vehicles and the route to the mountaintop is harshly difficult yet stunningly gorgeous. You can observe dangerous rivers with aggressive current, thick green bushes and colorful lakes along the way. From the last lake to the mountaintop we go through thick reed grasses to reach the peak which is the perfect spot to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Altai Tavan Bogd. Trip takes 3-4 days. Isolated from the human activity, it has a sprawling activity of the fauna. Unfortunately, it is rare to get permission from the border control. The trip is only available from June to late August. The window is short because of early heavy snows during autumn in the Altai Tavan Bogd, Baga Turgen Mountains.
Sutai Mountain is one of the top three snow-capped mountains of Mongol-Altai mountain range. There are two routes to the mountaintop and the first one wraps around a leaf shaped rock and there are ice walls and snow obstacles on the way. The more common route goes through small rocks on a less snowy road. If the fog sets in, there are risks of getting lost due to the flatness of the mountaintop. Compared to the other mountains of Altai mountain range, you can climb Sutai Mountain anytime during the whole year but ideally you should choose warmer days.
The area between the Uvs Lake, Achit Lake, Khovd River and the border is called Kharkhira mountain range. The tallest peak of Kharkhira mountain range is Must (Icy) Mountain. Must Mountain is 4037m tall and I climbed it twice before. The peak is located in one of the coldest areas of Mongolia, which is the Great Lakes Depression and it is ideal to climb Must Mountain from late May to early September.
Tsambagarav Mountain is located between Bayan-Ulgii, Khovd and Uvs provinces. This towering mountain has around 10 canyons. You can climb Tsambagarav Mountain from April to September. From the spot you can reach with vehicles it takes approximately 1000m to reach the mountaintop. The climb starts at 4-5am in the morning and the route goes through talus field which is prone to slides. When we reach the snows it is required to gear up with crampons and ropes. If it is foggy you might be in danger of getting lost because it is crucial to see the iron poles on the mountaintop to navigate. Thus a clear sky is important to our climbing. You can see Sair Khairkhan Mountain to the south, snow-capped peaks of Altai Tavan Bogd to the west, Kharkhira mountain range and Ikh Turgen Mountains to the north.
Tsagaan Shuvuut (White Bird) Mountain is located to the north of Uureg Lake. We set camp near Uureg Lake and drive at dawn to the mountainside. It takes around 7km to the first peak and the route is relatively forgiving. From there, it is very steep and we have to go through a talus field which is prone to slides. There is an iron box that has all the names of people who climbed Tsagaan Shuvuut Mountain on the top which is unique from the other famous peaks in Mongolia. You can observe the beauty of Turgen Mountains and Great Lakes Depression. To the west, you can see Munguntaiga Mountain towering over the border of Russia. It is ideal to climb Tsagaan Shuvuut Mountain from May to September. It might be difficult to pass talus field if it is snowy, so ropes are required.
Munkh Saridag Mountain is located to the north of Khuvsgul Lake and it is the tallest peak of Sayan Mountains. There are several routes to the mountaintop. We go through thick forests until the mountainside and climb to the mountaintop from the west of the Munkh Saridag. The route to the top is very narrow and ropes are required when we go back from the top. From the peak you have a bird-eye view of Khuvsgul Lake which is unbelievably amazing. The mountain is in relatively warmer area of Mongolia so you can climb anytime during the whole year.
Delgerkhaan Mountain is the most beautiful mountain in Darkhad Valley, which is one of the coldest spots of Mongolia. To the untrained eye Delgerkhaan Mountain looks impossible to climb. But it is possible to climb it anytime during the year. However, depending on how much it has snowed we decide whether or not to climb during winter. The nearest spot you can reach with vehicles is Ar Bosgot Canyon and we can start hiking from there. The route follows Bosgot River and we cross the river around 15 times along the way until we reach the northern mountainside where we can set camp. The climb continues at 4-5am next morning until we reach Bor Del hilltop. From there we go down through talus field and wrap around rocks on the southern mountainside of Delgerkhaan. There are several spots where ropes are required until we reach the Peak of Delgerkhaan Mountain. The peak is very steep to all sides, so be careful. You can observe the sharp peaks of Khoridol Saridag Mountains, Darkhad Valley and mountains of Ulaan (Red) Taiga.
Otgontenger Mountain is the tallest and only snow-capped peak of Khangai Mountains. Otgontenger is a sacred mountain and worshipped by Mongolians. Thus, locals are against to climbing so climbers usually hide from them and climb in secret. Because of that it is only possible to start climbing at 3am. Crampons and ropes are required once we reach the snows. From afar the mountaintop looks vaulted but there are some steep roads that has 50 degrees angle. Also, there are steep cliffs on the western and northern mountainside so it is important to be fully geared up. You have a bird-eye view of Khangai Mountains from the top of Otgontenger. Climbing is possible whole year except during winter time.
Ikh Bogd Mountain is the tallest peak of Gobi-Altai mountains and the tallest mountain in the whole Gobi desert. People usually climb it during spring or autumn. The most common route starts from the south-western side of the mountain. First three levels are easy to hike but after that there are huge rocks you have to climb, along the way. Beyond the massive rocks there is 2km road that leads to the sacred stone heap on top of the mountain. The mountaintop of Ikh Bogd is flat surfaced and the radius is 5-6km.
Baga Bogd Mountain is also a part of the Gobi-Altai Mountains. We drive to the north-western mountainside of Baga Bogd and hike 10km from there. The route is relatively easy and simple. Similar to Ikh Bogd Mountain, it is ideal to climb Baga Bogd during spring or autumn.
Asralt Khairkhan Mountain is the tallest peak of Khentii Mountains. It is located dead in the middle of Khentii Mountains and you can reach the mountainside with vehicles during winter time. Although it is possible to reach the mountainside during summer time, after around 100km you have to hike. During winter we have to spend the night near a forest to the south of Asralt Khairkhan. Go through the forest early in the morning and take the easiest route to you until we reach a flattop. From there we hike approximately 2km until we reach the peak. The peak of Asralt Khairkhan has many sacred stone heaps and it is very cold because climbing takes place usually during winter. Climbing gears are unnecessary so pack lightly. Skiing and snowboarding are possible due to Khentii Mountains being very snowy.
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