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To the Heart of the Sacred Shambala

The spurs of the Katunsky Ridge are one of the most scenic places in Russia. The juxtaposition of the wild grandeur of the mountains with peaceful and picturesque landscapes is dramatic. The glacier-covered Belukha Mountain (4503 m.) is towering there. This is the highest peak in Siberia and in the rest of Russia outside the Caucasus. There are many mountain lakes with turquoise waters on the Katunsky ridge. In July and August, the alpine meadows are in luxuriant bloom. There you can meet Siberian wapiti (red deer), musk deer, brown bear, sable, Siberian weasel, squirrel, chipmunk, Siberian ibex (mountain goat). The elusive snow leopard and the Altai snowcock also make a home of these lands. The tour takes us to the west and east parts of the Katunsky ridge: to the canyons of Kucherla and Ak-Kem rivers. Mountain passes provide extensive panoramas of the Katunsky Ridge and ice-covered Belukha Mountain. The Kucherla river is one of the most lovely mountain rivers of the Katunsky ridge and has milky blue water. One of the sides of the Kucherla gorge is forest-steppe with larch and stone ridges, while cedars and firs cover the opposite side. Higher along the route, there are cedar pine forests and alpine meadows. Another famous lake we will visit is the Akkem lake. It is not very big, but its waters reflect the peak and glaciers of Mount Belukha. These places are a real Mekka for mountaineers and artists. Our tour follows the well-known ring of Kucherla and Ak-Kem Rivers, but comparing with other standard tours, it includes more radial excursions in the area next to Belukha Mountain. During these days travelers without luggage will visit blossoming river valleys, multicolored lakes and enormous glaciers and will immerse in the world of wild nature. To make the trek easier, the pack horses will carry the camp equipment and major food supply. The tour requires the middle physical fitness and basic backpacking experience. In addition to visiting a unique corner of the world, you will also learn about the ancient culture of the Old-Believers (they are ethnic Russians who split off from the Russian Orthodox Church in XVII century and sought to live a self-sustaining life, in the most remote place they could find). You will visit the ethnographic museum in the Verhnii Ujmon village and also places connected with the expeditions of N.K. Roerikh, a famous Russian artist, traveler, archaeologist and writer.


Mongolia Tour

Walking or riding pass with camels to Khoton-Noor Lake. View of Petrogliphs near bottom of Shivet-Khairkhan Mountain. Elevation up to Khara-Salagiyn-Daba passes. Transfer along Tsagan-Us river.


Through western sayans to the center of Asia

A fascinating journey to the remote corners of Western Sayans (Southern Siberia), to the land of unyielding mountains, blue lakes, roaring rivers with crystal-clear water, to the kingdom of wild animals, to the crossroads of ancient civilizations and religions. You will also travel across the breathtaking scenery of ancient Tuva. This is the geographical center of Asia, the crossroads of all the historic caravan routes from China and India to Europe, including the Silk Road and the Tea Road.


  Three Giants of Taymyr

Taimyr Peninsula is one of the least accessible regions in Russia and can be compared in this respect with Antarctica or the North Pole. Some areas in Taimyr cannot be reached even with helicopter. This year we offer you a unique opportunity to visit this genuinely pristine corner of the planet on the shore of the Laptev Sea, joining the scientific expedition. During this trip, you can observe the Laptev walruses, polar bears, musk oxen and reindeer in their natural habitat, as well as learn about traditional lifestyle of local indigenous peoples the Dolgans, Nganasans and Nenets. The expedition will take place at Cape Tsvetkov (latitude 74 N, 450 km to the north-east of Khatanga). A stationary tent camp will be set up in the immediate vicinity of a walrus rookery. The rookery is stretched along a huge spit jutting several kilometres into the sea. This time of the year is the breeding season for the walrus, and the growing offsprings are particularly interesting to observe. The migration routes of the polar bear also lie through this area, where the walrus rookeries are their main attraction, so that visitors can witness some unique episodes of interaction between these giant animals. While our group will further move from the coast upward, into Byrranga mountains, the reindeer and herds of musk oxen can be encountered. Excursions will be done by marine rubber boat along the coastline. Between the Cape Tsvetkov and the Bay of Maria Pronchischeva, at the 40-m high rocky coast, there are fantastic geological objects enlisted in the UNESCO Heritage List. With luck, you will be able to see the mammoth tusks or other remnants of prehistoric fauna. Additionally, excursions by pneumatic all-terrain vehicles Bronto will be arranged to the Byrranga Mountains the least visited mountains in the world. You will enjoy incredible landscapes and very high chances to watch musk oxen, reindeer (the biggest reindeer population inhabits the areas east to Putorana Plateau), polar wolves. Fishing in local rivers is beautiful: omul, chir, muxun, Arctic char, marine char. At a distance of 25 km from Cape Tsvetkov lies the magnificent rocky Island of Transfiguration (Ostrov Preobrazheniya), discovered by the Great Northern Expedition (V. Pronchitschev, S. Tchelyuskin, Kh. Laptev) in 1737. This famous bird rookery can be visited by helicopter.

  Ecological Tour on the Lena River

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) occupies most of the northeastern part of the Asian subcontinent. It constitutes one fifth of Russias total territory and almost two thirds of the territory of Western Europe. More than 40% of the republics land is located above the Arctic Circle. Yakutia is located entirely within the permafrost zone. The mighty mountainous rock masses, which have been frozen for a millennium are known in the West as the ''Siberian Sphinx''. For a long time, European scientists were unable to believe that even at depths of 100 meters, the ground in Yakutia was frozen solid. In the Tiksi District, the thickness of frozen earth reaches depths of 500 meters. In the Arctic and in most of Siberia, by the end of summer, the uppermost layer of soil- ranging in depths from 30 centimeters to 2 meters- thaws, while deeper, at depths of 100 meters, the frozen mountainous rock masses extend, unthawed for centuries. This is the permafrost, or cryolithic zone, which appeared almost 2 million years ago. The world learned of its existence only in the 17th century. The vast majority- seventy-two percent- of Yakutias territory is blanketed by taiga, while the rest is covered by forest-tundra, tundra, and arctic half-desert. Notable and unique features include mineral deposits of charoite, which is a semi-precious stone unique to Yakutia; fossilized mammoth remains; and curative mineral springs. Yakutia is also the only natural breeding habitat for the rarest Siberian crane and rose gull. Yakutias largest river is the Lena. It is among the ten longest rivers in the world. Where the Lena feeds into the Laptev Sea, its delta occupies a total territory of 30,000 km?, which makes it the largest in Russia and the second largest in the world after the Mississippi. It is renowned for its amazingly beautiful and austere northern nature; the diversity of it landscapes- inaccessible mountains, powerful rivers, dense forest, endless tundra; and its unique assemblage of plant and animal species. Ust-Lensky Zapovednik- the largest strict nature reserve in Russia and one of the largest in the world- is located here; it was created to preserve the irreplaceable natural features of the Far North for future generations. Here, on tundra lakes, in the many tributaries of the Lena, and along the sea shore, almost 110 bird species- mostly water and shore birds, nest. Among them are rare and endangered species including: Bewick's swan (ygnus bewickii), red-throated loon (Gavia stellata Pontoppidan), whooper swan (Cygnus ygnus), Baikal teal (Anas formosa), Rosss gull (Rhodostethia rosea), white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), and others. An even rarer visitor is the Siberian white crane (Grus leucogeranus). Ust-Lensky Zapovednik protects the polar bear (Ursus Maritimus), Laptev walrus (Odobenus rosmarus laptevi), Koryak snow sheep (Ovis nivicola koriakorum), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus pearsoni), Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), and lemming (Lemmus sibiricus). Inhabiting the forest-tundra which dominates the southern parts of the zapovednik are the brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolverine (Gulo gulo), lynx (Felis lynx), and moose (Alces alces). Musk ox (Ovibos moschatus), which were brought from Taimyrsky Zapovednik, are also successfully acclimatizing. In the Pliocene Era (1.5 million-10,000 B.C.), mammoths, wooly rhinoceros, musk ox, and bison inhabited a submarine plain which was then located here. It was here that the first known mammoth remains were found, and to this day, the bones of ancient animals are not an uncommon find.


Ichinsky volcano Mutnovsky and Goreliy volcanoes

The central part of Kamchatka peninsula being remote from the main roads is still untouched by the human presence and keeps unique mountainous landscapes and volcanic plateaus. We offer this tour to the experienced backpackers who value the charm of pristine nature and prefer to travel in the expedition style. The total length of the trekking part is 150 170 km, but it is designed in the way that travelers will have time for rest and taking pictures. The trekking will start in Esso the indigenous village of reindeer-herders who still keep their traditional reindeer-breeding practices in tundra. The caterpillar off-road vehicle will transfer the travelers to the foot of Ichinsky volcano that is thought to be one of the most spectacular volcanoes in the world. On the way the two food deposits will be made that will allow the travelers to carry food supplies only for three days during the whole trekking part. There will be quite reasonable chances to view brown bears, snow rams, marmots, foxes and a variety of birds in their natural habitat.

  Ecotour to the barda-Balkarian Alpine Nature Reserve

The Kabarda-Balkarian Nature Reserve was established in 1976 to protect the highest and extremely picturesque mountain area of the Main Caucasian Ridge. The Reserve with its glaciers and rocks, alpine meadows and forests occupies the territory of 741 sq.km. Glaciers cover more than one third of the territory. The most scenic part of the Main Caucasian Ridge the 15 km long Besengi Wall is known among mountaineers as Russian Himalayas or the ''Presidium of the Central Caucasus''. It includes 9 peaks, 5 of them are higher than 5000 m. The second longest glacier in the Central Caucasus 15 km Ullu Chiran Besengi descends from the foot of the Besengi Wall. Flora of the Reserve counts around 1000 species of higher plants. 74 of them are endemic of the Caucasus, 6 species are endemic of the Republic. A lot of rare beautiful flowers could be found in subalpine zone, many of them are endangered and listed in the Russia Red Book. At the end of summer slopes are red from wild strawberries, bilberries, stone berries. Around 5200 Caucasian turs (endemic species of ibex) the biggest population in the Caucasus inhabit the Reserve. Chamois, roe deer, wild boars, brown bears, lynx, martens, foxes, hares all could be seen here. More than 150 bird species are found here, including endangered, like Bearded Vulture, Black Vulture, Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, which nest here. In the buffer zone of the Nature Reserve, you have a unique opportunity to watch the nesting behavior of these birds of prey from the wooden hides made for ornithological observations. Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse and Great Rose Finch can be found only in the Caucasus. Wall Creeper, Rock Partridge, Dipper and other rare birds could be observed here as well.


Ussuriland: to the kingdom of amur tiger

The Russian Far East, known as the northern jungle, is one of the worlds most interesting natural regions. It is famous for the unique mixture of species typical to the northern taiga and southern subtropics, which reside in the same neighborhood. The region possesses the highest flora and fauna diversity in Russia, as well as a great number of endemic and rare species. It is the primary habitat for the Amur Tiger, Far Eastern Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Amur Goral, Blakistons Fish Owl, Red-crowned, White-napped and Hooded Cranes, Scaly Merganser, etc.


Volcanoes and Bears of Kamchatka

Being a part of the Pacific Rim of Fire, the unique Kamchatka peninsula encompasses 28 active and over 160 dormant volcanoes, as well as more than 200 curative mineral springs. It is home to largest brown bears in Russia, magnificent Stellers sea eagles and six species of salmon. In summer and autumn, fast running Kamchatka rivers are boiling with hundreds of thousand salmon moving to their spawning grounds. This tour combines visiting the most well known volcanoes of Kamchatka and learning about traditional way of life of local indigenous people. Several days during the trip will be devoted to moderate hiking across rugged volcanic terrain and ascending volcanic craters (the hiking distances are up to 20 kilometers or 12 miles per day).


Ecotour to Nature Reserves Around Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is a natural wonder of our planet. It is the deepest (1,700 m in depth) lake on the Earth. It is also one of the oldest (25 million years) and largest lakes of the planet. It contains 20% of the worlds freshwater - as much as North Americas five Great Lakes all together. A specific feature of Lake Baikal is the remarkable clarity of its water, which is transparent for depths as great as 40 meters. Two thirds of the unique flora and fauna of this ''Gem of Siberia'' are endemic species and cannot be found anywhere else in the world, such as the Baikal Seal, local varieties of Artic cisco and gobies. The virgin Baikal forests are famous for their abundance of the very valuable sable, as well as high densities of the brown bear, Siberian stag, roe deer, musk deer, reindeer, capercaillie, and black grouse. In 1996, UNESCO declared Lake Baikal a World Heritage Site. Baikal is a legendary place famous for its breathtaking views, ancient traditions and sacred rituals of Buddhism and shamanism. This tour will offer the unique opportunity to visit the network of protected areas around Lake Baikal, to experience the most beautiful areas of primordial nature, as well as to learn about local culture and traditions.


Best Nature Sights of Kamchatka

This tour program is similar with the tour To the Kingdom of Salmon and Bear described above, but does not include a 3-days trekking in the Kosheleva volcano area. The longest field trip will include two days of moderate hiking (up to 1518 kilometers per day).

Financial Support of the League of Nation's Health.