Mongolia, a fantastic trip!
That’s it, end of the trip in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia. Back to the modern world with internet connection!
It was a fantastic trip!!! I have so many things to tell you, so many feelings to share that I don’t even know where to start!
It will probably take a few days, maybe a few weeks to make me feel deeply what we lived together for 15 days in the mountains.
Let me try. I’m not a writer and I hope you will feel through my words at least part of the fun we had.
So, a fantastic trip I said… First, the group was perfect and it is probably the most important point. No trouble, no internal conflict, not even the beginning of a single one! It seems normal but trust me it is not. We were 11 climbers from 28 to almost 60 years old. 3 girls, 8 boys from France, Netherlands & Switzerland plus our Mongolian guide, Mouguy (incredible fluent French speaker!), our cook Ogdno (the best one for sure) and our camp keeper Toulga (a strong guy always ready to keep the fire on).
We had some incredible goods days allowing us to climb Khuiten in just perfect conditions: blue sky, no wind, perfect temperature, all the group on top at the same time… and we had also some incredible bad weather like only Mongolia can have: super windy, snowy, freezing cold… and when I say freezing cold believe me, it was cold. We had 1 night -18°C in the tent so probably something like -25°C at only 3000m… But the bad weather was the opportunity to rest and also to appreciate how lucky we were for the good days! The snow was good, not the best powder snow every “freerider” dreams of. We had most of the time hard snow but it was definitely the best choice to be able to climb lost of different peaks because approaches are suuuuuper long! Guess? How long to reach the base of Khuiten? 15km of more of less flat glacier let say 400m of elevation for 13km…. It took us more than 7 hours to reach the top and only 2,5 hours skiing back to base camp!! Every skiing day we walked an average of 15 to 20 km, 6 hours and more than 1000m of vertical denivilation!
Let’s get use to the altitude.
Malchin 4050m, our first peak to go!
So group was perfect, and we were lucky with the weather. Actually I don’t like to say lucky because with Mamat (the other mountain guide and freshly new member of the BIGPACK team Mathieu Berlioz) we also made the right choices taking some “risks”:
The first day, we climbed for acclimatization the Malchin peak, 4050m. Weather was good, a bit windy. It was quite tiring because our body needed to get use to the altitude and we just reached the base camp after 2 travelling days from Ulan Bator (internal flight to Olgï, 4wheeldrivre drinving during 7 hours and then 18 km walk) and all the group made it to the top. First success! The weather looked good so Mamat and I decided to take the group the next day to Khuiten. It was not an easy decision because we did not really know all the member, how tired they were and for 1 of them it was the first 4000m peak (well the 2nd one after Malchin!!). Weather was good and we thought it was better to give it a try now even if acclimatization was not perfect than waiting for another weather window that could never come! We explained our strategy to the group and they all agreed. What a day!!! We made the right decision because it was the best day of our trip!!
After that, we both knew with Mamat that the trip was already a success…!