Climbing Mt. Munku Sardyk
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Photo: Wjatscheslav Petuchin
3491m above sea level
Munku Sardyk is the highest and one of the most beautiful mountains in the Eastern Sayan. The Burin Khan mountain chain, only 14 km long, running from east to west, separates Mongolia with its steppe from Buryatia mountains east of Lake Baikal.
Like many of the mountains in this area, Munku Sardyk is a holy mountain for the Buryats. In the Buryatic language "Munku Sardyk" means "eternity". Until today, some of the eldest Buryats believe that nobody climbed this mountain until today because it is not possible for humans to reach the top.
Climbing Munku Sardyk does indeed require some experience. There are rock climbing passages and ice fields to be managed on every route to the summit. And this is what makes Munku Sardyk an interesting mountain to climb. On almost no other mountain in the Sayan you will find glaciers - and here you have three of them. The technically easiest route is a 2A (according to the Russian grading of rock climbing). Much more challenging is the northern flank with ice fields up to a slope of 45 degrees.
It is absolutely necessary to set up a basis camp at the tree line if you take any of the routes to the top.
With a height between 2500 to 2700m the tree line is quite high for the Eastern Sayan area. The most beautiful time for climbing the mountain is at the beginning of summer, from mid-June to mid-August. During these months all the mountain grasslands are covered with flowers. You will not only enjoy the fantastic view from the summit down at Lake Khubsugul but also the way up to the top. Much easier is it in early spring-time because you can use the frozen river Belui Irkut as a nice way for walking.
The mountain was first climbed by the Russian geographer G. Raddle in 1868. He was also the first person that measured the heights and the massiveness of the three glaciers.