Eastern Sayan Mountains

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Photo: Thomas Heidbüchel

Among all the mountains around Lake Baikal the mountain ranges of the Eastern Sayan are probably most popular. Apart from the Chamar Daban ranges none of the Siberian ranges are as easily accessible for traffic as the Eastern Sayan. The foothills of the Sayan reach from the southern shore of Lake Baikal across almost 1300 km to the alpine ranges of the Altai. However, unlike the Altai, the Sayan is far less known and was discovered much later as a wonderful area for rock climbing and hiking.
Today the Mongolian border lies next to the ranges of the Eastern Sayan. The main part of the Sayan belongs to the Buriatic Republic whereas its western foothills belong to the Republic of Tuwa. Until today most of the inhabitants of this area are Burjats.
Due to the growing trade between Russia and Mongolia political attention has again been drawn to the road development of the Sayan - mainly of the major road M55 from Kultuk to the border crossing point Monubi. As far as we know this crossing point has not bee opened for foreign tourists yet.
A dominating feature of the Sayan flora are the endless pine forests that are found all across the Taiga. However, in August and September you can find lots of wild berries (blue and black berries, raspberries, cranberries and black currant) in the Sayan valleys. Plenty of sea buckthorn grows along the rivers and in autumn mushrooms come up practically everywhere. At several places you find the Siberian Rock Pine - also called Cedar by the local people. In former times they produced oil from the nuts of these trees.

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Photo: Thomas Heidbüchel

The climate is characterised by very cold and harsh winters (from November to February) and mild, sunny summers. In general, the Tunka Valley is climatically milder than the Oka Valley.
The best time for travelling in the Sayan is between June and early September. Between February and April the area is optimal for snow skiing. Hiking and rock climbing is recommended between the end of March and the end of October. Usually the snow does not melt until June. However, some valleys have snow until August and snowstorms are not uncommon even in July.
For tours to the Sayan two best starting points are from Arshan or Choito-Gol, the latter situated approx. 12 km from Nilova Pustina health resort.

Tunka Valley

The Tunka Valley is an ideal starting point for quite a number of rewarding tours in the Eastern Sayan area. [more]

Oka Valley

Despite its remote location, the Oka Valley is an ideal starting point for quite a number of rewarding tours in the Eastern Sayan area. [more]

From Kultuk to Munku Sardyk and the valley of Oka

Coming from Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude on the M 53, one branches off in the village Kultuk. The road leads to the Russian-Mongolian frontier town Mondy, which is 204 km away. [more]

Please Note!

The East-Sayan Mountains are not the Alpes! You should consider this for your preparations. [more]

Russian climbing classification

Only a few climbs have been graded so far, however, there are some descriptions and gradings to be found. [more]

Other interesting Places of the Tunka Valley

If you are already in the Eastern Sayan Mountains you should visit the following places.[more]


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26 Mar 2006

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