As a dentist and a passionate explorer, I previously shared my journey through the stunning prints of the Mongolian Altai Mountains. Now, I’m excited to recount my latest adventure, which took me deep into the heart of Mongolia, to the breathtaking Horidol Saridag Mountains in the Khovsgol region. This trip marked my first foray into the wilds of my homeland.
On the 8th of July, 2017, I and my like-minded comrades from the “Khairkhan Hiking Club” embarked on this thrilling expedition. Our primary goal was to conquer Mt. Delgerkhaan, often referred to as the King of the Mountains, and Mt. UranDush, a peak of unique and magnificent beauty. Along the way, we also indulged in the natural splendor of the Khovsgol region in northern Mongolia.
Our journey was tinged with anticipation as we escaped the bustling city, yearning for the calm of our motherland and a sense of connection, especially with the impending Naadam festival. However, our very first day of the trip threw us a curveball. One of our minivans broke down just outside the city, requiring unexpected repairs. Fortunately, this minor setback didn’t deter us, and we pressed on with unwavering determination. On the 10th of July, we finally reached our destination, the village of Ulaan-Uul. The village was buzzing with holiday spirit, as the Naadam Festival was in full swing, drawing locals and visitors alike.
Mt. DelgerKhaan, a majestic sight to behold, stood before us, and it was at that moment that I truly felt the magnitude of our adventure. We couldn’t resist the allure of the Naadam festivities, and we delved right in, savoring Khuushuur, a special festival dish. Afterward, we reached our base camp, Ar Bosgot Cliff, where we set up our accommodations.
The following day, on the 11th of July, we awoke at the crack of dawn, around 3 am, and commenced our ascent. The mountain rivers glistened in the moonlit night, and navigating the rocky terrain in the dark was an initial and challenging trial. We crossed frigid streams more than ten times, and it was an exhilarating experience. As dawn broke, we were greeted with the promise of a new day.
We pressed on, traversing spectacular waterfalls and dense forests, following the Bor Hyar upstream. The morning rain had made the mountain stones slippery, adding an element of treacherousness to the terrain. We carefully followed our team leader’s instructions, walking single file to avoid dislodging any loose stones. It wasn’t long before we reached the summit of Mt. Delgerkhan, standing at an elevation of 3,090 meters above sea level, around 10 am. The view from the summit was nothing short of breathtaking, as we gazed down the mountainside, exhilarated and proud. It was moments like these that made the entire journey worthwhile.
After a safe descent covering over 20 kilometers, night had fallen. We decided to celebrate our successful climb, merging our joy with the festivities of the Naadam Festival. It was a night to remember, filled with camaraderie. We expressed our heartfelt gratitude to the team members who had prepared a delicious feast and waited for our return.
The next day, we continued our journey, passing through the villages of Renchinlhumbe and Tsagaannuur, finally camping on the banks of the Shishhed River, a tributary of the Yenisei River, which ranks as the fifth-longest river in the world.
The beauty of the Darkhad Valley and Lake Khovsgol left us in awe. The lush green plains, colorful wildflowers, majestic mountains, and the calm, serene waters of the Shishhed River formed a picturesque tableau. On the 13th of July, we triumphantly reached our next destination, Mt. Urandush, which stands at 2,784 meters and is situated on the right bank of Lake Khovsgol, with its flat mountaintop.
While Mt. Urandush might not be the tallest or most challenging mountain, our team leader had chosen some rugged routes, including sections that required the use of mountain ropes. When we finally reached the peak, it was with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that we were among the first from various hiking clubs to reach this location. From the summit of Mt. Urandush, we soaked in the breathtaking views of Lake Khovsgol.
Reaching the mountain’s summit, savoring the beauty of nature, and sharing this adventure with my fellow trekkers were experiences that words alone cannot capture. Our sense of accomplishment was greater than any fatigue we felt. Our mission successfully completed, we set off to relax on the shores of Lake Khovsgol, in the Teshig district of the Bulgan province, and Khargal Lake.
Our remarkable journey concluded on the 16th of July when we returned to Ulaanbaatar. I owe special thanks to Enkhbat, a member of the Khairkhan Hiking Club, who orchestrated this incredible and unforgettable trip, as well as to our dedicated team members.
This is just one chapter of my exploration of my motherland. In the future, I hope to delve deeper into the Taiga Mountains and the way of life of the Tsaatan people, the reindeer herders. Thank you for taking the time to read my travel journal. I hope you are inspired to visit the Khovsgol region and create your own unforgettable memories.