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photo: Viktor Sarin
Treking route to the volcanos
Mt. Peretolchin 2044m above sea level
Mt. Kropotkin 2074 m above sea level
Though both peaks can easily be climbed, almost 600 m of altitude difference have to be managed within only a few kilometres. The best starting point for a hike to Volcano Valley are the springs of Choito Gol (dont mix it up with the place in the Tunka calley!!). The trail itself starts behind the last cabin and ateeply leads uphill to the tree limit for 3 km. After crossing the Arshan stream it leads to the pass wherefrom it starts running downhill again. When you reach the first longish lake keep on going along the shore in a northward direction and you will soon see the Volcano Valley. Some minutes later, you will leave the main trail and you will come across a cabin where you can spend the night and which is also quite useful as base camp for those who want to climb the volcanoes.
Whereas it is not very difficult to climb the volcanoes, it is difficult to walk across the fields of lava because large cracks and crevices are running through them.
Pik Kropotkin (2074m) >>
photo: Katarina Jamschikowa
Mt Kropotkin was named after the first Russian geologist who explored the region. He became aware of the distinct features of the volcano chain through drawings from the second half of the 19th century by the English painter Atkinson. More detailed notes only exist from the Russian geographer Peretolchin. He was banned by the Tsar and used the time of this exile to thoroughly explore the region. From one of this trips he did not come back and it was not until two years later that his wive found him, laying dead and without any visible injuries on the brink of the volcano crater that was named after him a few years later.
The Buryats shun the area because they say that it is the home of evil spirits. It looks indeed a bit unreal, due to the missing vegetation and the vast fields of lava.