Trekking on Baikal ice, ski walk in the forest
Dreaming about travelling among endless spaces of frozen Baikal? Baikal lake is freezing very soon, it is -31C today! And in southern corner of Baikal there is already thin layer of ice! Can't wait to walk on the ice just like we do? Then you have a real chance to join us for ice-trek to cross Baikal from Listvyanka to the opposite shore! It is avaiable from middle of February till end of March. During this tour you will ice-trek in the middle of frozen Baikal lake, spend one night in tent on ice, listening to Baikal breath, walk on skis in deep snow of wintry taiga, experience warm sauna and spend the night in wooden hut in the silence of surrounding forest. Also you will try traditional Russian cuisine and may experience dog-sledding (optional).
The approximate itinerary is:
Day 1.Transfer Irkutsk - Listvyanka (70 km). Start of trekking on ice. Day-distance is about 20-25 km. Overnight in tent.
After you arrive to Irkutsk you will be met by a local guide. Transfer to Listvyanka – a village on the shore of Baikal lake (about 70 km, 1 hour ride). On the way to Listvyanka you may visit the open-air museum of wooden architecture – Taltsy. (optional). Short sightseeing in Listvyanka. It is possible to visit the Cherskiy rock by ski-lift to see an amazing view to Port Baikal and Angara river outflow from up high.
On the shore you will pack your backpack and camping equipment on sleds and start ice-trekking on Baikal. Today you are planned to cover the distance of about 20-25 km. Meals will be cooked for you on the way using the gas (or petrol) burners. At about 17.00 we start setting the tent camp. If you don’t have a warm winter sleeping bag, please, let us know in advance so we may give it to you for rent. Also we may recommend to use sticks and ice-spikes to feel safe and stable on ice. Overnight in tent listening to Baikal breath under the ice.
|Frozen Baikal lake near Listvyanka|
|Camping on Baikal ice|
Day 2. Ice-camp - Vydrino village. Day-distance is about 20-25 km. Accommodation in guest house.
You have a chance to meet the sunrise in the middle of the sacred lake. After breakfast we’ll pack out camping equipment and personal gear into the sleds and continue ice-trek. The closer we get to the opposite shore the more snow we meet. You may of course stop on the way for making pictures! Experience being alone in nature, surrounded by endless frozen landscape. Today you should head to Vydrino village – a small settlement on the shore of Baikal. You may be accommodated in the village itself or in the forest in wooden hut just about 5 km deeper in the valley. Dinner, overnight in wooden hut (or tourist base).
|On clear Baikal ice|
|A winter hut in the forest|
Day 3. One-day walk on skis in the wintry taiga forest. Sauna.
Today you will try walking on wooden skis in the forest. At this place usually we get much snow. And the nearest slopes of Khamar-Daban mountains are topped with snow. Be careful not to miss the trail as you will deep into snow untill your waistline! This place has its unique microclimate and it is also called “Siberian Alps”. You will be accompanied by instructor or your guide to visit the places around. Sauna will be heated for you in the evening. Dinner with tasting traditional Russian cousine (you may try Borsh, salyanka, Baikal delicacy – Omul fish, etc). Overnight in wooden hut (or tourist base).
|In deep snow in southern Baikal|
|Walk on skis in taiga forest|
Day 4. Vydrino - Irkutsk.
Today you will have transfer by car back to Irkutsk. It is about 200 km. On the way it is possible to have a stop to try dog-sledding in the forest. (optional). Lunch on the way in a road-café. Accommodation in hotel /homestay in Irkutsk.
|A remoted house in taiga forest|