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Trekking to Khakassia 2010

We left Tomsk by train at 19-th Juny when summer already come into force after cold spring. Our trains are pretty comfortable but not very fast. It takes about 24 hours to go from Tomsk to Abakan by train, about 800km. We lead by playing chess and talking about features of programming in Europe.

When train arrived to Abakan there were blue sky and hot weather. I met with my relatives and we spent some time in preparation to trips. We bought some bivouac things and food for first trekking tour.

My cousin Alexander was in the south of Khakassia recently and told me about high water level in the mountain rivers because of long winter. Highest summits are snow covered and fords might be dangerous.

Next day I met with the other participans - hitch-hiker Kostya from Irkutsk region and Lyuda, instructor of yoga from Tomsk. Kostya came to Abakan by hitch-hiking in the way it should be and Lyuda came in the morning by train.

Our group of four persons was completed and we leaved Abakan in the morning of 20-th June. Nikolai Akimovich drove Volga and told us different stories about life in Khakassia and geological researches.

Temperature in Abakan rose up to +35 celsius, but when we get out car near Sayansky pass it was fresh and rain clouds covered the sky. I observed that Ona river which I used to see as clear and calm river was brown and violent. What is waiting for us ahead? We'll see soon.

We started hiking after midday, crossed the swamp and came up to Bolshoy On river. During last trekking tours we crossed this small river without any problems, but now it was smposing stream. We crossed this river with care and nobody fall into water. After short rest we started climb to Kurukul pass. First impression of trekking in second half of June - lots of water, tiny brooks were everywhere and tourist trail was absolutely wet. In some places trail hided under streamlets. 

 Near top of pass we met with plumb snow and had to round this obstacle. We took pictures at top of pass and went down into realm of burned trees. Water streamed and jumped from slopes feeding Kurukul river which looked not as shy brooklet but noisy mountain stream.

We walked down to valley and got round to our first camp under the coniferous trees. It was a long day. Next day we continued moving westward along Kurukul river. Suddenly I noticed tick on my jacket. We carefully inspect our clothes and took off several ticks from boots and pants. These arthropods are dangerous, some of them carry diseases like tick-borne encephalitis. We didn't see any ticks in previous trips because we hiked in August mostly. 

There was trace of stormy spring near one of the tributary of Kurukul. Bushes were pulled out and sand was on grass. It looked like a landslip strolled over. The weather became bad and rain starts when we came to junction of Kurukul and Ona. After half an hour I became wet to the skin.

Ona river flowed fast and I couldn't see bottom of river. We decided to spent the rest of the day at Ona to find best place to ford. The rain stopped, we set up a camp and walked to junction of Karatosh. There was a blossoming spring. Bright lights of globeflowers painted the meadows. The Karatosh river was offensive so we made a resolve to go up along Ona river and then by tributaries of Ona - Suburduk and Karatyr.

In the morning we stand up and started to do one's exercise. Soon we became warm and prepared for water procedures. We carefully crossed Kurukul river and then Ona river. Rapid current pushed the leg it was hard to hold balance. Fortunately Ona river isn't wide there and we got out to another bank. We discovered that the trail on the left bank of Ona is very weak. We had to force one's way through bushes, crawl over fallen trees and jump over pools. Bit by bit we went to grassy plot speckled by tracks of hoofs. I looked intent to around but I didn't notice any animals. Maybe we should stay here for coulpe of days to watch wild animals.

We went to Suburduk river going to river head. There wasn't trail at left bank of river and soon we got to thick bush. Our backpacks catched on branches, our foots squelched through the mud so we decided to go to another side of Suburduk valley. It wasn't piece of cake! With great difficulties we got across bushes and found a nice path. After a while we found ourself on wide valley with lots of orange globeflowers. It looked like a vast natural flowerbed. The sky was grey with low clouds but flowers were alight as fireflies. After open fields there was conferous forest where we set a camp. In the morning it was rainy, so we spent couple of hours chatting and playing on flute. We took a rest and ate some food, then went ahead along Karatyr valley without a path. Dwarf birch impeded our moving, sometimes we crossed brooklet and we started to walked up to pass in the evening. Beautiful panorama opened from the top. Smooth mountains were scattered around, but it was really cold. Sleet flakes falled from the sky and we were in a hurry to walk down to forest. It was important to us because we didn't take gas burner and wanted to reach Posarym lake in the night. Absolutely tired we stopped in the late evening on suitable clearing and fell asleep. 

In the morning we countunued walking down to Posarym lake. When I came to field covered with grass and dwarf birches I noticed moving. There were family of wild boars! Mother with several cubs. Young cubs of wild boars are striped but there were brown, juveniles as I thought. Animals moved fast and vanished from sight in far larch forest. Fornutately, tourist path went along the same lines, we crossed field and bagan slowly walking into the forest. Suddenly I saw boar cub ran across the path. I approached carefully and looked out the trees. Several boars stayed on bank of river and suspicious watched on me. I suppose the distance was about twenty meters. When all participans of our group came to me, boars ran away quickly and we saw no more of them. In an hour we finally reached Posarym lake. The campsite was excellent with protection from wind and great view to lake. 

After midday I decided to walk to fields where we saw boars and other people stayed to yoga training conducted by Lyuda.

I didn't see any animals except mosquitoes and returned to our camp. Yoga experience was interesting but really hard for me. Next day was devoted to climbing to Taragyr-Bazhi-Taiga mountain (2800m height). We climbed to steep woody slope, crossed brakes and snow field and climbed to smooth suface of highland with grass and small bushes. There wasn't easy walking because ground was damp, we jumped over the water from hummock to hummock. Rocky slopes of mountain were covered by blue and yellow spots of flowers, and white spots of snow. After a while we came to top of the mountain. There were sharp stones oriented vertically and severals stone conglomerations. I think this constructions were built by tourists. The summit of Taragyr-Bazhi-Taige is wide with nice view to Karatosh valley and Saldjur ridge. Soon we walked down to camp.

Unfortunately our time was limited, so next morning we began hiking to Kara-Hol lake. We climbed back to Pogranichny pass and descent to highland. This part of route is very picturesque because there are wide spaces of hills and mountains. Rain clouds were close but rain didn't begin. In the evening we descent to Ustyu-Eldig-Hem river and set up a camp near the bank. Next morning we did big distance hiking from valley of Ustyu-Eldig-Hem to Ak-Hem. The morning was light warm and we were happy till midday when storm began. Temperature sharply fall for several degrees, lightnings striked with deafening thunders. Luckily storm was short and we saw a sun again, crossed Kolbak-Pesh-Pazhi-Art pass and on descent to Ak-Hem valley second storm catched us. On river we saw thick blocks of blue ice, which remains here till August. We often hiked in water up to the ankle.At last we got to nearest place with area enough for tent and made a fire. Siberian pines grow here, in upper reaches of Ak-Hem. It allowed ud to light a campfire fast and easy even with wet firewood. 

After a meal in the morning we went down along Ak-Hem river and then walked up tributary. We were very surprised meeting tuvans. They took part in tourist competition with getting one's bearings. When we were going up along tributary of Ak-Hem we saw about ten or twelve groups of tuvan tourists. The drizzling rain began gradually and closed by grey sheet the horizon. We went to field near Sayansky pass and put up a tent. The night was cold and in the morning I saw a white mountains. Rain transformed into snow at night. We got the road where driver picked us up. We returned to Abakan from winter to hot summer. It was an easy trekking but we all had a great pleasure. 

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