Topographov Peak on the map of East Sayan: routes, coordinates

Climbing Topographov Peak in the Polar Urals

To conquer Topografov Peak 3089m high is possible and the trip will give you not only extreme feelings but will allow to enjoy the views of South Siberia and Buryatia.

Southern Siberia can rightfully be considered the pride of tourism in Russia. It was here that mountain peaks, forests, glaciers, taiga, and meadows were uniquely combined. One of the most significant sights of the region are the Eastern Sayan Mountains and Topograph Peak, the highest glacier in the mountain system.

Geographical features of the Eastern Sayans

Topographov Peak is a 3089-meter-high glacier that is part of the Charm Taiga massif and is located among the Eastern Sayan Mountains in the South of Siberia. The mountain peaks are more than a kilometer long, stretching from the Yenisei to Lake Baikal. Their structure includes volcanic plateaus, whitelands, flat peaks, and high-altitude massifs. The ranges, with their diverse topography and minerals, are spread over a vast area that occupies sections:

  • Buryatia;
  • Krasnoyarsk Territory;
  • Irkutsk region;
  • Mongolia;
  • Tuva.

Among the natural features of the mountains around Topograph Peak are canyons, depressions, glaciers, lava flows, waterfalls, lakes of glacial origin. Of the vegetation, forests – cedar, spruce, fir, deciduous – as well as tundra and meadow shrubs dominate.

INTERESTING ! The Stolby Reserve and the Tunkinsky National Park are situated on the territory of the Sayan Mountains, where you can visit the mineral springs.

Coordinates: 52°29’32 “N 98°49’6 “E.

Climbing Topographs Peak and the main points

Climbing Topographs Peak is challenging but breathtaking. It is almost 3.1 km high and not everyone can climb. The peak itself is two peaks on one plateau – left and right, or north and south. All possible benefits of civilization are placed on the southern part – there are tours, signs, water, places of rest.

Topographers Peak is perfectly visible from many places, they are also the main points of the glacier:

  • Sherpov, Halgin, Cherby, Invisible, Pyatiozerny, Hanging, and Shuthulay passes;
  • the upper reaches of the Tissa, Kok-Khem, Uzun-Uzyu, Burun-Sala and Arzhan-Khem rivers;
  • the mouth of the Zhombolok river;
  • north-eastern side of the Khi-Gol padi;
  • the plateau between the Senza and the Tissa;
  • Dargyl river, past the Khoito-Gol spring.

Topographs Peak can even be seen from Choygan Peak, the Great Sayan Range, as well as from the Valley of Volcanoes.

Most tourists climb the peak toward the upper right, through the left saddle or along the central part of the glacier. According to international classification, the ascent of Topographers Peak is UIAA difficulty category 2+ – 1+ is considered the most difficult and dangerous level.

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What to take with you on the hike

No hike in the mountains is not without the appropriate equipment, tools and provisions. Among the food must be present potable water, as well as canned and other foods long shelf life. Do not forget about the first aid kit.

Personal equipment includes:

  • Hygiene supplies;
  • Warm clothes, thermal underwear;
  • Waterproof clothing;
  • Warm comfortable shoes;
  • Backpack, tent, sleeping bag, mat;
  • Mountaineering equipment.

Additionally you should have a tent for the fire, axe, 50-60 m rope, flashlight, steel or aluminum cans, maps, GPS-navigator. It is desirable to take trekking poles, a burner for cooking. You can bring a camera or camcorder.

The most convenient routes

The route of the hike can be selected independently, using maps, or choose a proven one. There are many routes on the web, which are used by both experienced travelers and beginners. We offer a selection of the safest and most fascinating routes to Topograph Peak:

  1. Hutel farm – Dunda Gol River. From Hutel farm to Dunda Gol valley, Choygan-Dabal peak, Arzhan-Khem valley, Dodo-Khukhe-Nur lake, Shutkhulay valley, Darlyg valley, Arshan Sen Senley, Dodo-Khukhe-Nur valley. Darlyg – Arshan – Sentsa – Khalun-Ukhan springs;
  2. Khadarus river – Choygan-Dabal peak – Choygan spring – Helgin river – Burun-Sala – river. Daba-Jalga – lake Baldoktoy-Nur – Khoitogol – Izumitelny peak – Arshan – Khutel farm;
  3. Khandyto village – Khalun ist. – Khoito-Gol – Vulcan valley – Burun-Kadir-o r. Burun-Kadyr-Os – Lake Zagan-Nur – Dodo-Khukhe-Nur – Lake Alek-Nur – Balakta settlement;
  4. Khoyto-Gol – the river Dargyl – Kozliny peak – Topographov peak – Helgin pass – Choigan peak – Arzhan-Khem – Dunda-Gol.

TIP ! It is not recommended to load the backpack more than 30 kg.

Weather and climate

The mountain range has a very diverse climate due to its location in different latitudes. Here you can find peculiarities of the climate of Buryatia, Mongolia, Siberia and Tuva. The Eastern Sayans have a permafrost zone in the west, sunny meadows and valleys in the southwest, and stable weather with minimal precipitation in the east, except for Topograph Peak.

Weather by season:

  • Spring is cold, snowy, with average temperatures of 0. +3°C;
  • Summer – fresh, cool, rainy, the temperature stays at +19. +23°С;
  • Autumn – warm, clear, almost without precipitation, the air temperature varies in the range +10. +3°С;
  • Winter – cold, dry, windless, frosty, the temperature reaches -40. -44°С.
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WARNING ! Sharp continental climate contributes to the temperature fluctuations in the range of 50-54 degrees.

When is the best time to visit Topograph Peak?

The hottest months in Buryatia are July and August, but in July the weather is fresher due to the rains. In August, the season starts and crowds of tourists attack the area. The coldest months are December, January and February, with an average temperature of -22. -26°С. However, February is much milder because of the accumulated snow layer.

It is best to go to Eastern Sayan to Topograph Peak in summer or winter, when the weather is finally formed for the season. Meltwater and snowfall due to warming are very dangerous in the spring.

Tips for the hiker before the trip:

  1. In order not to waste time looking for a carrier around the area, you can find contacts of transport companies or privateers of Irkutsk, Orlik in advance;
  2. For beginners it is better to avoid visiting the river Hadarus – there is a ford, but also gets a lot of depth;
  3. If the purpose of the trip is to review the scenery, you can exclude the Khara-Saldyk and Ara-Shutkhulay rivers from the route.

Hiking in the mountains were in demand a few decades ago, after which they were replaced by seaside resorts. Now tourists resume the good old tradition of climbing. Topograph Peak is a great place that can provide impressions, adrenaline and vivid pictures.



Munku-Sardyk is the third highest peak in Russia (after Elbrus and Belukha) and the highest point of the East Sayan Mountains, located on the southern edge of Siberia between the Yenisei and Angara rivers.

The name of the mountain is formed from two words: “Munku” (“munhe”), translated from the Buryat language means “eternal, eternal” and “Sardyk” (“sardag”) – “bare rocky peak”.

It is located on the territory of the Republic of Buryatia. Right on top of it is the border with Mongolia.


Like the main part of the mountain system, Munku-Sardyk was formed as a result of tectonic plates collision. It consists mostly of granite, and the slopes are covered with conglomerations of sharp-angled boulders, kurums.

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The eastern part of the Bolshoi Sayan range has the same name. It is located in a sharply continental climate zone with large temperature variations and gusty winds. It has a mountain-glacial relief (alpine type), which is characterized by steep slopes, narrow gorges and very pointed peaks. Rockfalls often occur here.

On Munku-Sardyk, as well as on some other peaks, there are several small glaciers, the area of which is now actively decreasing. The most significant glaciation of the Eastern Sayan is located around Topograph Peak (3044 m).

A view of Khubsugul

In clear weather, there is a wonderful view from above. To the south, the freshwater lake Khubsugul is Baikal’s Mongolian brother; to the north, the Tunkin hollow and the East Sayan ridges; to the northeast, part of the Central Sayan Plateau (the Oka Plateau), where the Oka, Irkut, Urik and Kitoy rivers come from.

Climbing the Munku Sardyk

The peak was first conquered in 1858 by the famous Russian geographer, zoologist and naturalist Gustav Ivanovich Radde. Since then, it has been of great interest to climbing and mountain tourism. Today, with a highly professional instructor and well-coordinated team, climb the mountain can people with the most diverse level of training.

In the tourist season, along with tourists arrive and scientists (scientific landing). Their goal – to find the mysterious and elusive inhabitant of the mountains – the snow leopard, in order to observe the life of a rare animal in natural conditions. According to experts, the Munku-Sardyk area is home to at least 5 animals, but it is almost impossible to see them by chance.

Also, glaciologists come and make measurements of the glaciers. Observing the ice cover helps to study climate change on our planet as a whole.



Now on the top itself, according to the Unified All-Russia classification of tourist routes, laid three options for climbing different categories of complexity hike: 1B, 2A and 2B. The easiest climb is 1B. It is a classical route; it lies along the northern ridge and is suitable for unprepared tourists.

The way up goes along the glaciated bed of the river White Irkut, among overhanging rocks and mountain massifs, up to the place of its confluence with Muguvek. There, at an altitude of 1500 m, the Strelka base camp is located, from where the ascent begins. The distance is about 3 km (about 2 hours walk).

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Overnight stay is usually organized near glacier lake Echoi with unusually gentle turquoise water color, at the altitude of 2650 m, where there is a post with rescuers. But for better adaptation of the organism two stops on the way are desirable, with the first overnight stay at “Strelka”.

One hundred meters before the summit of Munku-Sardyk there is a loose section. The rescuers made ropes for individual insurance, which you can hold on to while climbing.

The ascent from the base camp and back takes about 10 hours, the way is about 30 km. Descent from the mountain is physically easier, but technically much more difficult, it requires a lot of concentration.

View of Ekhoy lake

For those who have already been to Munku-Sardyk, there are other peaks with climbing routes on the ridge of the same name: Leonova 3391m, Dinamo 3341m, Wings of the Soviets 3341m, Dangerous 3190m, Squadron 3177m and others.


Munku-Sardyk is a categorical mountain; to conquer it you should be able to handle an ice-axe, walk in ligades or alone along a steep snowy-sandy slope and wear mountaineering crampons. You will need big material basis: starting with food and sunscreen and finishing with individual safety system. Besides you should be physically and mentally prepared for the long and hard way.

The best time for the ascent is late April and early May, during this time the Irkut river bed is still hidden under the ice. Hiking in the fall and summer is also possible, but the road itself is more difficult, as there is no snow or ice and you have to go ford or through the passes. The mountain climbing is also hampered by the abundance of thunderstorms.


As Munku-Sardyk mountain is a frontier zone, it is necessary to obtain a special pass in advance. To obtain the pass you must send a copy of your Russian passport (main page + residence registration) and the completed form to the Directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service in the Republic of Buryatia. The period of receiving the document – 1 month, for foreign citizens it is 2 months.

You can get the pass on your own at the government services website. You are also required to register with the Ministry of Emergency Situations and have your passport with you 10 days before your ascent to Munku-Sardyk.


Buryats, Soyots, Mongolians and Tibetans especially venerate Munku-Sardyk, for them it is the center of the world, around which everything revolves. Every year in May the locals hold a festival of veneration of the sacred mountain.

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It is believed that before the trek one should visit the wisest elder (khadachi) in the village of Mondy, who asks the sacred mountain for a blessing to ascend. The majestic mountain is not open to everyone; it may become angry and bring bad weather.

There are many legends associated with the mountain in Buryat mythology. According to local beliefs, the great Geser (Abay-Geser-Khan), who is often identified with the son of heaven and the patron of warriors, lives there. According to legend, one day he will descend from the sacred mountain, cleanse the earth of monsters and universal justice will prevail in the world.

Staying at the sacred place with the Buryats was strictly regulated. Women were forbidden to approach the mountain, and men could visit it only after the spirits’ permission, bringing a sacrifice.

Google map panorama shows the view from the top of Munku-Sardyk on Lake Khubsugul

How to get there

Tourist groups usually start gathering at the train station of Sliudyanka, a small town on the shore of Lake Baikal. From Irkutsk you can get there by train. There are 16 trains to Slyudyanka station on this route. Or you can get to the city bus station by bus number 541. The trip takes about 2 hours.

In Sliudyanka you will be picked up and taken to Mondy. This is the nearest settlement to the mountain and the last frontier of civilization before ascent, there is a frontier post. Then the road ends and you have to walk to the camp, where the ascent begins.

You can also get to the starting point by car. If you go from Irkutsk, go along the Shelekhovsky tract to Kultuk, then to Mondy along the Tunkinsky tract (A 133). The distance is 304 km, travel time takes 3.5-4 hours. After the village you have to go to the bridge over the river Bely Irkut. In front of it there is a border post and a cafe “Poznaya”, where you can taste the Buryat national dish – posy. You can also leave your car there.

You can also hitchhike to Mondy, because there are many cars and buses. Or you can take a cab using Uber or Yandex. Cab.

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