Pearls of nature
Tunkinskiye Goltsy Mountain Ridge is located in the most eastern part of the Sayan Mountains. The ridge is spread out for more than 100 kilometers. Tunkinskaya Valley adjoins the ridge from the south. The peaks of Tunkinskiye Goltsy are 3000-3300 m high.
Altitude difference between ridges of Goltsy and their feet reaches 2000 m.
The highest point is the Strelnikov's Peak (3284 m).
Due to similarity to the Alpes the ridge is often called "The Tunkinsk Alpes".
The ridge is situated in the territory of Tunkinsky Region of Buryatia. The regional centre - Kyren Settlement.
The most economic variant of transport is to go to Slyudyanka Station by train, and therefrom - by bus or motor-car. There are two basic settlements where one can stop at on the way to Tunkinskiye Goltsy, they are - Arshan and Nilovka. There are bus routs from Slyudyanka Station and Irkutsk to them.
Tunkinskiye Goltsy is, in essence, an area of virgin nature (density of population is very low). Therefore the local nature was preserved in practically primeval state.
According to gradual increase of height local vegetation undergoes strong changes. The three mountain zones are clearly distinguished, they are: the wood zone, the pre-golets and golets zones. Woods of the eastern part of Tunkinskiye Goltsy are mainly cedar. Larches, pines, fir-trees are met rather often too. Larches are found basically in backwoods, especially in the western part of Tunkinskiye Goltsy, where the climate is closer to steppes; pines are frequent in submontane zone, fir-trees - along river banks. Deciduous trees are more often met at the ridge's foot.
The biggest plants of the pre-golets zone, except for single trees, are various bushes, first of all willows and alders. Two different species of juniper are also distributed here.
Many lively flowers, blooming from the end of June to the end of July grow in the pre-golets and golets zones, where soils are much fertile. Columbines and poppies form alpine meadows. Gentians, alpine asters, edelweisses adorn stony mountainsides.
Many plants are used as food or to make tea. Berries: cowberry, blueberry, honeysuckle, black currant, crowberry, bilberry, wild strawberry, red currant, stone berry. Wild strawberry, red currant, stone berry, honeysuckle grow in the wood zone; cowberry, bilberry - in the bottom part of the pre-golets and in the top part of the wood zone; blueberry - mainly in the pre-golets zone; crowberry - in the top part of the pre-golets and the bottom part of the golets zone; black currant grows along rivers and brooks from the wood zone up to the bottom part the golets zone.
Rhubarb, Kuril tea, thyme and occasionally wild leek grow along riversides. Many edible funguses appear in August. Most of all, Boletus luteus, mossiness mushroom. There are many saffron milk caps in river valleys (first of all in the valley of the Kitoy River). In the area of Shumanskiye Springs, due to warm microclimate, these mushrooms may be found even in the end of June.
Among big animals it is necessary to mention bears, elks, roe deer, wild mountain goats. Bears are meet rather seldom. Elks and roe deer are good games for hunters. Names of two canyons - Zun-Khandagay and Barun-Khandagay are direct derivatives from a word "elk". Wild mountain goats are possible to meet in the highlands. Single snow leopards are also rarely met there. Ermines may be found in the pre-golets zone.
There are many different rodents. First of all, chipmunks, which are very distributed in the wood and pre-golets zones. Squirrels populate woods. In winter time traces left by hares are frequently meet even in rather unexpected places - where there is no vegetation at all.
There are many birds in the woods. In the pre-golets zone, among other birds, there are woodpeckers, titmouses. In the golets zone, except for big birds of prey, - partridges.
Sports tourism in Tunkinskiye Goltsy
The possible categories of various routes complexity are: Hiking routes - up to 5th category of complexity
Mountain - up to 4th category of complexity
Boating - up to 5th and 6th categories of complexity
Ski - up to 5th category of complexity
Hiking and mountain tourism
Hiking season lasts from the end of May till the second half of September. The passes - up to 2B* category of complexity. The wood zone rises rather high, therefore in most cases it is possible to make an overnight stop in the wood. Rains are frequent in summer (especially in July). Consequently, big difference in a water level of local rivers is rather probable. Besides, you should be ready for a hike in the rain.
The most popular winter ski route - through Shumansky Pass right to Shumanskiye Springs. The back trip may be done either through the same pass again or down the rivers Shumak and Kitoy or through Arshansky Pass and Kyngarga Canyon. The ski-track runs through almost the whole way, except for Kyrganga.
The routs go down the river Kitoy and sometimes down its confluent - the Ara-Oshey. One of the variants may be to cross Tunkinskiye Goltsy on foot (through the most easy passes: Umtan-Daban in the western part of Tunkinskiye Goltsy or through Hubutsky Pass).
Mountaineering in Tunkinskiye Goltsy
Tunkinskiye Goltsy is the most popular climbing region of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. There are routes of different categories of complexity: up to 5B. But they are rocky routes only, since ice routes are absent. The majority of routes are classified for winter time (October, 15 - May, 15). In summer complexity of routes falls.
Address: 69, Lenin St., Kyren Village, Tunkinsky Region, Buryatia Rep., Russia, 671010