Country/Region: West Mongolia
Trekking Date: June 2011
Duration: 4 days
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Weight carrying and navigation skills are required.
Recommended Season: Summer – especially July-August
This route makes you feel like you are the first one who ever walked it. It is not an official route and there are many options to choose from, as long as you aware of your general location.
Required Equipment & Supply:
Drinking water can be a problem and demands proper planning. We drank from the lakes after adding Chlorine tablets for purification, and it was OK. Food is not available during the trek (although you will meet friendly locals, I wouldn’t count on them for food). Rain-proof tent and warm clothing are mandatory. Rope for river-crossing is required as well as good scale maps of the area (at least 1:100000, can be purchased in the 7-summits store in Ulanbator).
At route point #5 we encountered a few local yurts (we spent the night with a family there because it was snowing that night). One of the man claimed to be some kind of ranger and we had to pay him a few Tugriks.
Note that marks on this map are not completely accurate and do not substitute a proper trekking map.
Getting to/from there:
We traveled in Mongolia by van with a local driver, he dropped us at Tarialan and met us 4 days later near Uureg nuur. The meeting point at the end is very tricky because “near the lake” is a very large and flat area.
Distance: 8 KM
The first day’s path is taken from the Lonely Planet of Mongolia. Once you leave Tarialan and head west, you enter a canyon with a flowing river. I think we had to cross the river 7-8 times, sometimes it was dangerous and required extremely cautious. Do not underestimate this danger! Once you leave the main canyon and walk north towards the lakes, this danger is behind you. We spent the first night by the first lake and even found wood for heating and cooking.
Distance: 12 KM
We circled the first (small) lake from the east side, and the second lake from the west side, the second lake is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. It is very important to fill all your water bags at the second lake, because the next water is far. From there we kept north and took the second or third creek up towards north-west to cross the small ridge on the west. We counted that a certain river that was marked in the map will provide us water but it turned out to be dry, so we had to change our route so we’ll be close to the local Mongolian for drinking water. So the route that is marked from the second lake until point #4 went through few yurt settlements. But since the Mongolian people migrate every season, you can’t count on the same route and will have to see where the yurts are and change your path accordingly. We spent the second night at point #4 since we found a yurt ~4km from there that provided us with water.
Distance: 5 KM
It was a very cold day and a lot of rain and hail were falling so we didn’t walked much. We arrived to the biggest yurts settlement around noun and spent the next night there with one of the families. It was pretty nice but they kicked us away very early the next morning because we interfered with their busy schedule. That night we had to pay a tax to a local guy who claimed he was a ranger in duty responsible for this area.
Distance: 15 KM
It was a beautiful day, very different from the one before. We left the family very early (not by choice) and started to walk towards Uureg nuur that could be seen from very far away. Since there is a very wide plateau around the lake, it seems like it is very close, but it is actually pretty far (I don’t remember distances exactly). We were very lucky to spot our van on the “main road” near the lake, because our driver could easily pick another road that was hidden from us. Make sure to plan a good exit route from there (every once in a while there is a vehicle on the roads in the area so you can try to signal them and hope for good).
Things To Do Around:
Ulaangum is the closest town to this route. We bought all the food and supply there. We didn’t find good maps in there so make sure you prepare it in advance.