Backpacking trip to Eastern Sayan mountains

9 days 8 nights: On request

The Shumak spa is a unique natural phenomenon. It was found centuries ago in the Eastern Sayan Mountains, in the Valley of Shumak River. The thermal springs are renowned for their amazing healing effects on a human organism. And thanks to its remoteness this Natural health resort has remained merely untouched. Even nowadays one can get there only on foot or on a horse back. The springs are located in a beautiful area surrounded by gorgeous peaks and one can combine relaxing in natural mineral baths with easy day hikes along the river valley or up to the blooming alpine fields.

Day 1
Arrival in Irkutsk. Meeting and assistance at the airport. Transfer by minibus 300 km to Nilova Pustin health resort with short stops to stretch your legs and have lunch in a road cafe. As we have reached the end of the road, well set up a tent camp and cook dinner. Overnight in tents. (D)

Day 2
The backpacking part of the trip starts on an old forest road that leads to the very foot of a mountain range. From there and for the rest of day we shall be going uphill (*). A rocky path milled by horses hoofs requires proper footwear. The goal of the day is to reach the tree line (**). Well find a spot were theres enough fire wood to cook dinner and set up a tent camp. (BLD)

* The first 2 days of the trail are the most difficult largely because of the heavy backpacks.
** Trees do not grow at altitudes higher than 2000m giving way to alpine fields.

Day 3
From our campsite it is about 3 hours walk to the foot of Shumak mountain pass (*). Before the rise (2760 m) well stop for lunch and a short rest. (**) On a good day youll have a chance to make some wonderful pictures. As we walk down the northern slope of the pass, well bypass two beautiful mountain lakes. Dinner at the tree line down the Shumak river valley. Overnight in tents opposite a gorgeous 20m high waterfall. (BLD)

* The path is broad and safe. A great variety of mountain herbs and blooming flowers are for you to admire.
** The northern slope is steep and deserted, however it presents a wonderful view on the Shumak river valley.

Day 4
Breakfast in camp. Approximately 4 hours walk down the valley to Shumak springs. As we get to the place well find a proper spot for our camp site, have lunch and after that walk around the springs to drink some mineral water and bathe in hot spa (*). Dinner. Overnight. (BLD)
* This day we recommend you to cover yourself allover with mineral mud and lie in the sun for some time waiting for the mud to dry. Wash it off in a spa and after such a procedure, your skin will be as soft as that of a baby.

Day 5
On this day our guide will offer you some optional day trips with one leading to the Sand pillars (*) that are situated 7 km down the river valley. If you feel tired you are welcome stay in camp, walk around the area, prepare dinner and collect some fire wood. Overnight in tents. (BLD)

* A holy place for local Buryat people.
Opposite the pillars there is an altar where all guests are supposed to burn the best bits of their meal.

Day 6
After a good rest and late breakfast, we start our journey back. To make the next day easier and shorter we can stop for the night above the tree line right at the foot of the mountain pass. This is the only day when we might have to cook meals (dinner and breakfast) on a gas stove (*). Overnight in tents. (BLD)

* Backpackers in Russia traditionally prefer to use campfire for cooking instead of gas stoves.

Day 7
Early breakfast. Shumak mountain pass ascent and have lunch on the other side of the mountain pass near a small creek. From there its an easy hike (*) to the tree line. Dinner. Overnight in tents. (BLD)

* A familiar trail, light backpacks and perfect calisthenics of our guests by the end of the trip make the road back a lot easier.

Day 8
Our last hiking day. As we have descended down the river valley to Nilova Pustin health resort, our minibus will drive us back to Irkutsk. Accommodation in a guesthouse. (BL)

Day 9
After breakfast transfer to the airport/railway station. (B)

You may adjust the program and add a few days as an optional tour, which is not included in the main tour cost.

1. Overall backpacking route length 120 km, average Category 2.
2. Customers should be physically prepared for hiking in the mountains with heavy backpacks.
3. Its required that tourists have waterproof jacket proper footwear and warm clothes.
4. Meals are cooked on campfire or on gas stoves.
5. Climate conditions: Occasional rains, snowfalls and low temperatures at night are possible. Due to the changeable weather, the tour itinerary may be altered.

Number of persons in a group
and tour cost per person in rubles:

2 persons:48 600
3 persons:38 400
4-5 persons:31 100
6-8 persons:27 300