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February, 09, 2017

Wild Ski Trails: How to Conquer the Baikal Peaks

How to make the extreme sports lover happy? Send him or her to Baikal! This article tells about the unprepared trails, their characteristics and the ways they can be overcome by tourists.

Mamai

This place-name is used to name the three places: a river, a gorge and a mountain. It is believed that the name is connected with the Turkic “Mamai”. Perhaps this was the name of the person who was able to conquer the local slope for the first time.

This peak is located in the eastern part of Chamar-Daban at the border between Irkutsk Oblast and the Republic of Buryatia. The nearest inhabited settlement is the village of Vydrino. Travelers get to it by train and then go by foot.

The slopes of Mamai are 12 kilometers away from Lake Baikal. Thanks to the proximity of the lake, a microclimate suitable for winter sports has formed here. The temperature rarely falls below 15 degrees Celsius above zero. In November the snow cap reaches 2 meters, in January – 4 meters, more rarely 6 meters.

Elevation difference ranges from 400 to 800 meters, and the length of the slopes makes up1-3 kilometers. Each slope has its name among the extreme sports lovers:

  • “Tri Beryozy” (“Three Birches”) — the north-eastern part of the mountain located 200 meters away from the forest edge. From this top you can reach all couloirs on the right side of the river.
  • “Lesnoy Pupyr” (“Forest Bubble”) is the trail overgrown with forest. It is located on the right side of the gorge.
  • “Myasnoy” (“Meat”) is the most popular and flattened slope deep within the mountain ridge.

 

Skiing season lasts from November to April. When going here, you should take mountaineering lighthouses, because there is a risk of avalanches.

Mamai attracts tourists even in summer. During this time you can climb to the Alpine meadows of Khamar-Daban, look at the rivers and waterfalls, breathe the mountain air.

The most famous camp of free riders is located next to the shelter of ZIL-157. The car body was brought here in 1999. Now it is brightly painted by skiers and snowboarders. This is a landmark for travelers and the gathering point for extreme sports lovers. Winter huts where you can stay and relax are built on the mountain.

The houses are heated by stoves, sometimes they are equipped with electric generators, solar batteries, gas ovens and houseware.

Davan

This word means “mountain pass” translated from the Evenki. This group of slopes is located in the northern part of the Baikal mountain ridge. The pass is known for the proximity of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and its winters favorable for snowboarding and skiing.

Elevation difference on the slopes is approximately 1 kilometer with the length of slopes of 6-7 km. Skiing season lasts from the end of February until April. The optimal amount of snow falls here during this time: 3-5 meters.

Here you can find relatively low slopes for beginners and steep slopes for professionals. The majority of the trails are located on the Leningradka Mountain and the Severobaikalskaya Mountain.

  • Leningradka is a peak without forests. It has about 20 trails. The slopes have different length and elevation difference. The length of its slopes ranges from 2 to 4.5 kilometres and elevation difference ranges from 500 to 900 meters.
  • Severobaikalskaya is known as the “mini-Elbrus”. Extreme sports lovers descend on a single wide trail. Elevation difference makes up about 600 meters with the length of the skiing zone reaching from 3 to 5 kilometers.

 

Beginning from the spring of 2009, you can hire a snow groomer for ascending to the mountain pass, but the majority of tourists still go on foot.

The village of Goudzhekit is located not far from the mountain. It has an eponymous recreation center with thermal springs. It also attracts tourists both in summer and winter.

Ulzykha

 

The most challenging trails in our list. These mountains are located in the upper reaches of the eponymous river and are often called Barguzinsky Alps.

Ulzykha is the place famous among free riders, but a number of difficulties is connected with the conquest of this peak.

First: there are no winter huts. Tourists should bring sleeping bags designed for a minimum temperature of 15 degrees Celsius below zero, tents for overnight stays and sleeping mats.

Second: the trail to the slopes goes through wind-broken trees, which greatly complicates the ascent. Your team must include a conductor or an experienced tourist, otherwise you can get lost.

Third: Skiing is recommended only in October-November, while the snow layer doesn’t reach the mark of 2 meters. After this point the risk of avalanches increases. You need to bring mountaineering lighthouses and register with the search-and-rescue squad before the ascent.

The free riders most often ride on the “Zvyozdny Tsirk” (“Star Circus”) slope. The way to the top of this trail makes up 2-3 kilometers. There are no snow groomers to deliver the extreme lovers to the top. You have to climb on your own everywhere. 

Now you know where the lovers of extreme sports should go at Baikal. Most importantly, please observe safety rules during your travel – then your vacation will be unforgettable.

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