Fly to: Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia
Internal Transfer: Ulaan Bataar - Olgii (3hrs 30mins)
Ex-Soviet 4x4 Jeeps 9hrs driving without roads across the steppe to Potaniin Glacier, Altai Mountains
Visa required: Yes if British
Time Zone:+8hrs GMT
Mongolia - Altai Mountains
Day 1 - 20/07/09
The flight from Moscow to Mongolia's Capital Ulaan Baatar (AKA U.B or Red Hero) took approximately 6hrs and we arrived at about 7am; the outside temperature was already a respectable 22 degrees.
Day 2 - 21/07/09
Today we headed out to the outskirts of U.B for a day (acclimatisation) hike on Mount Tsetseguun (2,256m), one of the 4 Holy Peaks in this region. Beautiful scenery; in places it was very similar to England's Lakeland, however the pine forest gave it a more alpine feel.
Day 3 - 22/07/09
Headed out from U.B to the Terelj National Park; the scenery enroute was simply breathtaking; once again it resembled an uninhabited Alpine region during summertime.
Day 4 - 23/07/09
Up at 2:15am to catch our internal flight to Olgii; my gear weighed in at just shy of 15kg but some of the other guys had a bit of a faff to reduce their baggage weight - basically most of their mountain clothing had to be worn as the airport staff decided to weigh our hand luggage as well.
Day 5 - 24/07/09
Packed up all the tents ready to set off from the Ger camp this morning; the 'Grandfather' - an elderly gentleman in traditional dress arrived shortly after 9am; tugging along on horseback his train of 5 camels.
Day 6 - 25/07/09
Packed up our climbing hardwear this morning & trekked our way to the glacier edge. The sky this morning was immense; so grand, so blue, it was like looking up directly into the heavens.
Day 7 - 26/07/09
There's a bit of an atmosphere in camp this morning; the original plan was to set off at 4am but it's now 7am and nothing much seems to be happening. Over breakfast there was a big discussion as to what we can do.
Day 8 - 27/07/09
Up at Midnight to grab a bite to eat before setting off for our objective...either Khuiten or Nairandal. My preference still remains as Nairandal (Friendship) Peak. A last minute forecast revealed unyielding winds & potential for stormy conditions so at this point either objective seemed like an unobtainable gift.
Day 9 - 28/07/09
Rest day today after the vigors of yesterday; conditions at base camp were appalling, visibility was zero & regular snow, sleet & rain storms blew in at force.
Day 10 - 29/07/09
Breakfast at 8am this morning, some of the guys headed off to climb Malchin (4,050m); i opted out purely because i had no desire to climb an unattractive scree slope just because it was over 4,000m.
Day 11 - 30/07/09
Beautiful blue sky day today & the mountains were looking absolutely incredible as we packed up our camp. The locals broke-up the Gers; which amazingly only took about one and a half hours to dissemble.
Day 11 - 31/07/09
Up at 7am and awoke to lashing rain; ahem Ian's comment yesterday about keeping the tents dry seems irrelevant now. Ate a hearty breakfast and then packed up camp for the last time - the jeeps were readied for action and we began the 6hr drive to Olgii (approx 94km cross country).
Day 12 - 01/08/09
Up at 4:15am for our morning flight to U.B, it seemed quite bizarre to be leaving a member of our team alone in Olgii - it's certainly not a place i'd enjoy being left alone in.
Day 13 - 02/08/09
Today was spent hitting the dizzy heights of down town U.B the shops were a beckoning us! As per usual i was swooning over the Mongolian art purchasing a number of oil paintings; as well as a rather nice ink painting portraying a series of Mongolian warriors.
Day 14 - 03/08/09
Up at 4:30am where U.B airport queueing can only be described as absolute bedlum. People were pushing and shoving each other, feet & small children were being run over by trolleys.