Ice trek across frozen Lake Baikal
After arrival to Irkutsk airport/ railway station you will be hospitably met by our local guide. He will organize for you transfer to the private home stay of the local family and a bit later will accompany you during walking excursion to historical center of Irkutsk. You'll visit the place where Irkutsk was founded at the confluence of two Siberian rivers: Irkut and Angara. The place is framed by three churches, two of which are Russian Orthodox with golden domes and outer wall paintings and the third one is Roman Catholic. You'll be served traditional Siberian food for lunch at the one of the local cafés. After lunch you'll take a walk along the streets of old wooden Siberian houses, decorated by curved doors and windows. You'll also have a chance to take a look on a central market which is a kind of typical Siberian bazaar. Tonight you will have a dinner and overnight at the home stay of local family.
In the morning just after the breakfast you will have a morning transfer by car to the biggest island on Baikal Lake – Olkhon. First part of the road is paved, last stretch - gravel. Whole route length is about 350 km, on the way you will see different landscape types – vast steppes, wintry Taiga forest and rocky shores of Baikal Lake. On the way we will make a stop for lunch in one of the local road cafes, where you may try local specialty – dumplings with meat cooked on steam – main dish of native cuisine. (Locally called Pozy).
To get to Olkhon Island from the mainland we will take a drive over the ice shield of Baikal Lake right across frozen Olkhon’s Gate strait.
After that we will catch main road at the Island and continue driving over it until we get to the main settlement of Olkhon Island. Here we will take a walk to the main local sight – Burkhan cape –
located at the Baikal’s shore not far away from the village. Native people previously believed that this cape with a cave in it is a home place for main Spirit – Owner of Olkhon Island – Burkhan and this spot was considered sacred and holy place among them. Your guide will show you hidden cave at this rocky cape and point for you some ancient rock-drawings.
Tonight we will be accommodated at the cozy log cabins of guesthouse. Dinner and Russian steam sauna – Banja will complete this day.
Overnight at the guesthouse.
After breakfast we will pack our luggage into the car and continue driving excursion around northern extremity of Olkhon Island. Route goes along steep and rocky shores of Island on the ice of Small Sea - local name for the part of Baikal Lake between Western shore and Olkhon. Today you will see ice caves and grottos located at some of the small islands in the Small Sea. Extremely low temperatures in November-December and splashing Baikal waves create icicles of amazing forms and shapes which are hanging down from ceilings of ice-caves and cover the walls of some grottos.
Driving at the ice of Baikal Lake is challenging itself. Every local who drives on the ice mostly picks unique way according to his own experience and practical knowledge. Some times 4 WD cars can’t pass some places with hummock ice or cracks in the ice shield, so driver tries to pick route around this problematic place driving in the ice labyrinths and trying to keep general direction.
Today we will drive around the most northern point of Olkhon Island – Cape Hoboy. In translation from local dialect this name means “fang” which is quite true according to its outline. This rocky cliff looks like high pillars surrounded with endless spaces of frozen Baikal Lake. Also this place is famous for a most rough ice conditions. Usually next to the Hoboy Cape you can observe huge blocks of blue hummocked ice, some of them much higher than mans height.
By the lunch time we will arrive to small settlement Uzury at the picturesque bay on Eastern shore of Olkhon Island, where we will download our gear from car and get accommodated at the private home stay of local family.
This afternoon we will have first training for walking on the ice of Baikal Lake dragging sleds loaded with equipment. Also your guide will show you how to set up tent and fix it at the flat ice surface in a proper way. Tonight you will prepare food, camping and personal equipment and pack all the gear into the sleds.
Dinner and overnight at the private home stay of local family will finish this day.
Today early in the morning we will start the most challenging and exiting part of the whole trip. We will put our personal gear, camping equipment and sleeping bags into the special sleds and start hiking trip across frozen Baikal Lake.
Every participant will hike with trek poles and pull sleds with personal and camping equipment. This way of transporting stuff is much easier than carrying a backpack.
We have to cross the distance of about 60 km by hiking to get to the settlement Turka located at the Eastern shore of Baikal Lake. Huge ice shield of Baikal Lake will give you a clear picture of traveling in the severe arctic conditions. You will be amazed how wide the Lake is in its central part. Sometimes you can hardly see the both shores and this gives you a very special feeling of being in the middle of Arctic desert!
Lunch will be prepared for you with the help of petrol burners and hot water from Thermos flasks. Today the total distance about 30 km should be covered. An hour before it gets dark we will set up tent camp right on the ice shield and prepare dinner.
Overnight: Tent camp.
Breakfast will be prepared and served for you on patrol burners just in the tent. Then we will fold our tents and pack other gear into the sleds and continue trekking through the white silence of Baikal ice fields (30 km). Today we should cover the rest of the distance which separates us from Eastern shore of Baikal Lake (it’s about 30 km). Mostly you will hike on the ice covered with thin layer of hard snowy crust but some stretches you will trek over clear black ice surface, which looks like a mirror! This period of the year ice of Baikal Lake is extremely thick (1-1.2 meters) but it’s optically transparent so you can see dark deepness of Great Siberian Lake. During this trip you will cross the deepest area of the whole Baikal Lake by hike , average deepness of the lake in the middle of this trekking route is more than 1km.
It is necessary to be ready to go sometimes through disordered conglomerations of ice, which could make part of the route a bit tricky.
Close to the evening we will arrive to the Turka village, where we will be accommodated tonight at the local hotel. Today we will have a festive dinner to celebrate our successful Trans-Baikalian trekking journey!
Today in the morning we will spend some time for local sightseeing trip and a bit later we will have transfer by car to the capital of local region – Ulan-Ude city. This drive is about 245 km and the whole way will probably takes us about 3 hours. Upon arrival to the city we will be accommodated at the hotel where you may take a shower, change clothes and have some time for rest.
Lunch in one of local cafes and after that you will have walking excursion around city center.
Today you will have a car excursion to the ethnographical museum at the open air in Berezovka village. Here you can take a look on a big variety of log constructions typical to the different Tribes of Siberian natives and get acquainted to the culture of local nations.
After that you will visit Buddhist temple located not far away for Ulan-Ude city. Buddhism is main local religion and Burjatia Region has a lot of temples around its territory. Here you will be told about specific features of this eastern religion and with a certain luck you may see some ceremonies at the temple.
At the end of the day you will take evening train which goes by Transsib line to Irkutsk city.
Early in the morning your train will arrive to Irkutsk city and you will complete big ring of your circle route around Baikal Lake region. Time on your own in the Irkutsk city.
Transfer to the railroad station/ airport/ accommodation in the city on your demand.
Thank you for traveling with Baikal-Adventure Co!
|Price (Euro) per person
Note: Ask manager about ongoing tours and get your group discount!
Tour price includes:
- guide service
- complete meal 3 times a day according to a program
- rent of camping and special equipment
- all transfers according to a program
- all fees for visiting museums and national park zones on Baikal lake
- pick up service from railway station/airport
You can book this tour by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Map of the trip
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