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Eastern Sayan Mountains, Topographers’ Peak (3044 m asl), Volcano Valley, the Khoyto-Gol and Zhoygan Mineral Springs, Munku-Sardyk Peak (3941 m asl), The Shumak Mineral Springs.

Eastern Sayan MountainsThe Eastern Sayan Mountains. (located in the southwestern part of the Buryat Republic)
The Eastern Sayan Mountain Range stretches across 800 km from the southern extremity of Lake Baikal to the Yenisei River in the Northwest. Deeply incised valleys separated by mountain ridges and low-level saddle-shaped passes characterize this extensive and fascinating mountain system. The majority of the passes can be traversed on footpaths, allowing you to hike from one river basin to another.

Fauna. Thanks to the low population density in the Eastern Sayan Mountains, the fauna is very well conserved, retaining its particular characteristics and diversity to this day. There you have a great opportunity to observe hares, elks, squirrels and weasels in winter. In early spring birds such as titmouse, bullfinch, nutcracker, great spotted woodpecker, wood grouse, partridge and owl can be spotted in the forest zones of the Sayan Mountains

Topographers’ Peak (3044 m asl). The main summit of this massif is known as the Charm Taiga. Eight glaciers are located on its the northern and eastern slopes feeding the Helgin River and the tributaries of the Bij-Hem River. The glaciers move down to an altitude of 2500 m asl. The region around the Topographers’ Peak constitutes the largest glaciated area in the Eastern Sayan Mountains at present. However, due to its remoteness only a few groups per year dare to ascend this peak. The ascension’s degree of difficulty according to the UIAA classification is 2+. Therefore, special equipment such as climbing irons, ropes, pitons, an ice axor hammer are needed to climb Topographers’ Peak.

Volcano Valley.
This unique valley is famous for its relicts of volcanic activity. The most recent lava outflow from cracks and volcanic craters dates back to 8000 years. The largest and best preserved craters among them are volcano Peretolchina (2044 m asl) and volcano Kropotkina (2074 m asl). The main lava flow went down the Valley of the Zhombolok River as far as to its confluence with the Oka River.

The Hot Springs of Khoyko-Gol – emerge on the banks of a brook flowing into the Khoyko-Gol River. Here you can find around 10 springs with water temperatures between +29 and +33 degrees Celsius. The water is predominately enriched with sodium but also contains hydro-carbonate and sodium-calcium compounds. The main mineral spring can be enjoyed in a bathtub, which is located in a wooden cabin. Furthermore, several larger buildings have been constructed for visitors in the area of the hot springs. Here, there is also a footpath leading over a pass to Volcano Valley.

The Hot Springs of Zhoygan – are located in the Republic of Tuva, not far from the border to Buryatia. The mineral springs come to the surface on the Upper Arzhan-Hem River, which originates in the foot zone of the massif of Topographers’ Peak. There are around 30 springs with water temperatures between +18 and +40 degrees Celsius. Salt crust deposits from the mineral springs cover an area of around 150 square meters in the taiga. The water mainly contains hydro-carbonates and carbon dioxides. Several hot springs are equipped with a bathtub. In summer people from Tuva and Buryatia come to the hot springs to relax. The national holiday Sukharban is celebrated here and wrestling competitions are held.

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Peak Munku-SardykMunku-Sardyk Peak (3491 m asl).
Munku-Sardyk, located on the border between Russia and Mongolia, is the highest point in Eastern Siberia and one of the largest glaciated areas of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. The first ascent to Munku-Sardyk Peak was accomplished by Gustav Rende in 1858, and the first winter ascent was performed by a mountaineering team from Irkutsk a hundred years later in 1958. The summit area of Munku Sardyk consists of a small peak with an iron tripod and several Russian and Mongolian memorial signs.
From the top of Munku Sardyk you have an amazing panorama view: the large Hubsugul Lake in Mongolia to the South surrounded by numerous mountain ranges; the mountain ridges of the Munku Sardyk Massif along the border to the West; the central plateau of the Eastern Sayan Mountain stretching out to the North; and the Peaks of the Tunkinski Mountain Range to the East.
For the ascent to Munku Sardyk Peak, special equipment such as ropes, climbing irons, or an ice ax is needed.

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Shumak mineral springsThe Mineral Springs of Shumak.
The curative hot springs of Shumak are located in the picturesque landscape along the Shumak River in the Tunkinsky Valley. Several springs come to the surface on both banks of the Shumak River. Due to the water’s high degree of mineralization the excessive salt has formed interesting step-like sinter layers around the springs. Through the clear water it is possible to see petrified tree leaves on the ground. The hot springs are renowned for their wonderful curative qualities. A great number of mineral springs with different water temperatures as well as contents of carbonic dioxide and radon have long attracted local people and hunters to this area. The curative qualities of the Shumak springs are also described on wooden signs or stonesin the area, written in old Mongolian.
During massive flooding in the summer of 2003, the Shumak River changed its course and covered some parts of the unique springs.

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