Russia. Republic Altai. 2019

alekseyklimov

Observer


The summer was rich with business trips and so, right after two ATV adventures in the Caucasus, I’m landing at the airport of Gorno-Altaisk where I’m greeted by two car transporters with Terranavtika campers...

The capital of the Altai Republic cannot provide any special entertainment to a sophisticated guest from Moscow, so it was decided to enjoy jetlag and other acclimatizations in the north of Lake Teletskoye. So we meet guests from the plane, have breakfast, a short briefing and go - thankfully Artybash is not far.



I myself have never been to the north of Lake Teletskoye and these views are new to me. The infrastructure is pretty good here, by the way, and in season can be almost like Sochi, but the only thing that can get an off-road tourist here is the opportunity to board a barge to the south coast.




It’s better to do this in a large group, like ours. Since there is no regular transfer between the coasts and the ferry will only go at full capacity and since the transfer price tag is not cheap, you will either wait for a long time or not even get across at all.



Our plan was to load the campers and the escort “Sable” onto the barge early in the morning, and to go separately on a speed boat, which will take us along all the tourist waterfalls located on the shores of the lake.



And then catch up with the cars immediately before disembarking.



They say that the summer of 2019 was especially rainy in Altai, but we were incredibly lucky and on our dates this continuous rainy season had a window, which gave us all welcome heat!



The waters of the lake are filled with large and small motor boats, which constantly scurry back and forth unloading and loading tourists to/from the shore.



On the shore, other people sell the tourists tickets that let them see the waterfalls. At the waterfalls there’s already a line of people who want to take a spectacular selfie.



Selfies of our group were substantially different because we all had put on branded T-shirts with Terranavtika logo on the shoulder and the Altai trip emblem on the chest. That was a terrific idea, by the way, that everyone in the group including myself loved.



But the waterfalls came to an end and here comes the barge with the cars. I may be wrong but i takes the barge about 7 hours to get from one coast to the other. You’ll have to take that into account if you want to go with your car and not separately, like us.



I was in the south of Teletskoe lake in the summer of 2013 and the Chulyshman really burst its banks then and even flooded part of the road from Katu-Yaryk.



As a guide, my first and foremost task is to find a place on the shore for the camp and then get 300 litres of water. In this case, we have a crystal-clear lake, from where we can quickly fill our gigantic tank, using hoses and a powerful pump, feeding directly from the 220-volt network.



This time I have an opportunity to use photos from Vlad’s drone, who travels with us as a camera man for the third time.


Actually, this barrier beach is the main resort destination on the south coast.



And so, without further ado, we set up camp on a vacant spot.



The evening will bring us windless calm, wonderful pink sunsets and a fantastic view of Teletskoye.



The shore is full of dry snag and so, in addition to all the above, we had a warm and old-school source of fire.



to be continued...
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

DIRTRIDER

New member
Отличные фотки ! Я надеюсь,что когда-нибудь Россия станет той страной,куда будут ездить туристы со всего мира по нормальным дорогам,не опасаясь за свою жизнь и здоровье. Ведь столько офигительных мест на такой огромной территории. Но страна пока что в глубокой жопе,к сожалению...
 

alekseyklimov

Observer
Отличные фотки ! Я надеюсь,что когда-нибудь Россия станет той страной,куда будут ездить туристы со всего мира по нормальным дорогам,не опасаясь за свою жизнь и здоровье. Ведь столько офигительных мест на такой огромной территории. Но страна пока что в глубокой жопе,к сожалению...
В наших группах мы гарантируем безопасность жизни и здоровью :)
 

alekseyklimov

Observer
People usually try to avoid making camp in crowded places, because there will be noise, yelling and loud music at night. We had no such problem as we had our own noise, yelling and loud music :)





In the morning, a roll call showed quite a few people in our team pining for outdoor activities and other hiking, so we planned a climb “for mushrooms” for those.




The road from Teletskoe to the Katu-Yaryk pass is picturesque, but it is awfully dusty in the summer. That’s why I don’t have any especially beautiful pictures from there this time.



The locals told me that the number of tourists in Altay has soared in the last 3-4 years and now it’s crowded everywhere.



To go mushrooming you need to cross the river on a boat and then walk. I really wanted to, but after dancing around the campfire and swimming in the lake the night before, radiculitis broke me like an old man and I had to shamefully stay below with my stiff back, but due to my official position I can show you a photo from the drone



The original plan was to spend the night on top of the Katu-Yaryk pass to observe first dawn, and then sunset there. But as we fell a bit behind the schedule, we started to climb the pass almost at dusk.



The Internet makes it look like the pass is incredibly complex and terrifying, but in reality, with a certain dexterity, even passenger cars drive there. Here’s a video of our descent in 2013 where you can see small cars rushing towards us.


This time we filmed using a drone but I don’t have the video yet, it’ll be included in the film about the whole trip.


“Sable” managed the ascent on a lower transmission without any particular problems, only stopping to catch the drone with a low battery.

 

alekseyklimov

Observer
We also filmed the high-speed run of the first camper.



The concerns about being late for the evening light dissolved on the top - the sky was covered in clouds and there was no remarkable light.



Immediately after our climb, a freight camper based on Mitsubishi Canter/Fuso started to descend and we, standing on top, watched for a while as it was making way for other members of our team. In this photo you can see that everyone has already managed to pass each other and our teammates are climbing the last segment, and the truck fits into the turn in several tries.



For the evening, we had planned pilaf and a bonfire out of the snag brought from the shore. Rain clouds eventually thickened over our camp, but our huge tent gave rain no chance to spoil our evening gatherings.



And that was in the morning :) That was the moment I began to repeat the phrase almost every day: "it seems we are very good people and sin only on a little." During the two weeks we were “bothered” only at nights or during the drives, the rest of the time it was warm, sunny and VERY beautiful!
 

alekseyklimov

Observer
The view from the top of the pass is truly absolutely fantastic - almost a kilometre of a drop turns the camp site below into tiny dots, and the river valley can be observed as if you have your own quadcopter



On this picture you can see our camp and the start of the construction of the “new road”, which was supposed to be flatter and more accessible for passenger cars. But, fortunately, its construction has not been set in motion and we have an attraction in the form of the classic Katu-Yaryk pass, which take your breath away in horror and mercilessly heat engines and automatic transmissions



Anyway, I recommend everyone to at least get there and just look down from the top. You don’t even have to go down, if the car is really unsuited for that and you aren’t agile enough.



The habit of getting up early really makes life of a landscape photographer easier. I, personally, think that it is in human nature to live by the sun, so if the sun shines at 6 in the morning, it makes no sense to lie about anymore. We’ll lie about plenty in winter at home



And, for those who forgot - this is the Sable 4×4 entrusted to me, on the roof of which I live, and in the depths of which there is everything that is necessary for comfortable life of a group of tourists. Two huge refrigerators, a six-month supply of food, utility water in the built-in tank and drinking water in flasks, gas burners, cauldrons, grills, other utensils and much, much more, and of course this gigantic six-meter tent where everyone hangs out in the evenings despite the wind or rain.




I didn’t wonder that myself, but judging by this photo nobody of the tourists snored especially loudly :) By the way, I wanted to make a joke during the trip, but then changed my mind and did not - but I’ll do it now. The camper owner’s worst nightmare is when you dream that you haven’t put the handbrake and gear in and at night the car is slowly rolling into the abyss :)



The road to Aktash is nice, but a bit boring for my spoiled taste. I even almost drove past the “red gate”, but then remembered and braked. It’s a landmark - have to take a photo!



In Aktash, it took us a while to replenish supplies, throw out the garbage, and look for and buy mutton, so we used a backup plan with an alternative overnight stay on that day.




I had a couple of reserve days planned for the entire route, which we could “eat up” if we were behind the schedule.



This time, immediately after Aktash we climbed to the observation deck and then dropped by the gorge nearby and set up camp for the night. Altai is changing and now there are fences where there used to be paths, camp sites instead of clearings and everything that is close to the highway is gradually turning from wild tourism to civilized-paid one.



Although the highway was pretty close, there was no cellular service at the camp and I had to have a little workout session to send a signal to the mainland that everything was fine and according to plan.



Burning bonfires is not only fun and pleasant, but also warm and the children are busy with the gathering process.

 

Frazeur1

New member
Aleksey, simply beautiful photography, and I appreciate the comments as well to each photo. Your vehicles are very interesting too. I have enjoyed all of your postings, thank you for sharing these wonderful outings with us! Be well! Tim
 

Mykh

Outdoor Party Animal
Great write up, and gorgeous landscapes! I'm curious about the equipment: what prompted using Fiat trucks (instead of the more typical Toyotas), what is the brand of the gigantic tent and how long does it take to set up?

Is this your own company that you operate?

Cool to see this taking off in Russia! Similar to Dirtrider's train of thought, I really hope Russia becomes more of a known destination for international overlanders (not just the hard core ones that have already visited haha), of course to do that would need to make it easier for tourists to get access and have a stable experience. The country is vast, truly remote and untouched in most areas, full of beautiful land, with helpful and resourceful people: an overlander's dream.

And totally random, but this threw me off, in one of the first photos why does it say Caution: Rockfall instead of Waterfall?
 

alekseyklimov

Observer
Great write up, and gorgeous landscapes! I'm curious about the equipment: what prompted using Fiat trucks (instead of the more typical Toyotas), what is the brand of the gigantic tent and how long does it take to set up?

Is this your own company that you operate?

Cool to see this taking off in Russia! Similar to Dirtrider's train of thought, I really hope Russia becomes more of a known destination for international overlanders (not just the hard core ones that have already visited haha), of course to do that would need to make it easier for tourists to get access and have a stable experience. The country is vast, truly remote and untouched in most areas, full of beautiful land, with helpful and resourceful people: an overlander's dream.

And totally random, but this threw me off, in one of the first photos why does it say Caution: Rockfall instead of Waterfall?
Fiat Fullback it the same Mitsubishi L200 2015+
Good price in Russia and modern automatic transmission + SuperSelect (fulltime 4wd)

Gigantic tent - "World of Maveric". Installation takes about 2-3 minutes

I work as a guide and am responsible for the development of everything related to travel and expeditions in the Terranavtika.com team

warning does not fool. The water pressure in the waterfall is very large and stones can fly along with the water - swimming is very dangerous
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

alekseyklimov

Observer
The night passed quietly and calmly, but in the morning an Altai guy came saying that the land was private and we had to pay for cars and for the number of people. That’s not a new thing in Altai but ithought it was no longer relevant. Anyway, we didn’t pay him anything



Yesterday, as I was looking for a place for the camp, I was already noticing some new sounds in the suspension, and the morning inspection of the equipment showed this damage. These conical plugs cost 15 roubles a piece and were preventively replaced before departure - the durability of these rubber products turned out to be exactly three days of Altai roads. An impressive achievement



Today we reach a piece of the road that we did not reach yesterday and set up camo there for a bonus day’s rest. I believe that even those who have a lot of experience in traveling are sure to need day’s rests, and if this is the first experience of this kind, then the absence of day’s rests can spoil the whole impression of even the most beautiful route.



The Taldur river Valley makes a lasting impression on people. Some are elated, some take photos...



... some get dizzy from such views



I know this wade, but it had rained at night and water could’ve risen. I even thought about trying to check it in waders to make sure, but as soon as we approached the river a car jumped out toward us and took the wade. We were really lucky we didn’t have to get into the water and use someone else’s car to judge the water level



So we took the wade with a lot of fun, splashes and waves. Rules are rules, but we needed fun and exciting content for the video!



Sable in wades is boring to photograph, as the high cabin spoils the whole effect and it seems that it’s merely driving over a puddle.



I was the first one to go climb towards the Karagem pass and having found a good place for a photo session, I called everyone on the walkie-talkie to follow me.



By the way, you need to look for a place able to fit 6 more cars - such is the aspect of travelling in large groups :)



In fact, travelling in a group is a completely different rhythm and speed. Where one car needs exactly 2 seconds to take a photo, here it will take 15 minutes. This is not good or bad, it's just a fact that you need to be prepared for when planning a route.



And the group “consumes” about 150 litres of utility water per day. Which is why about once every two days you need to find where to get 300+ litres of water, and this is not the most trivial of tasks, let me tell you. We saw a spring on the way, but we could only get a one and a half litre bottle there, it would take us two days to fill the tank. But as a bonus our Sable has a filter for water purification, so you can take water from the river and there will be no sand or other pulp in the water.


This photo shows the process of finding a safe approach to the deep part of the river so that a pump can take water from there.



And I’d like to finish this part of the story with a photograph of our camp located in a most picturesque place of the Dzhelo river. We will spend two days here, make a radial trip to the Karagem pass, and we will also fight our way to the road after a mighty night rain, but I’ll tell you all about that in the next part of the story...

 

Mykh

Outdoor Party Animal
Fiat Fullback it the same Mitsubishi L200 2015+
Good price in Russia and modern automatic transmission + SuperSelect (fulltime 4wd)

Gigantic tent - "World of Maveric". Installation takes about 2-3 minutes

I work as a guide and am responsible for the development of everything related to travel and expeditions in the Terranavtika.com team

warning does not fool. The water pressure in the waterfall is very large and stones can fly along with the water - swimming is very dangerous
Awesome thanks for the info

Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
 
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