A day of winding our way upwards when we may catch a glimpse of the ice-encrusted peaks of the high Kharkhiraa rising as spectacular pyramids and domes. Along the way we will meet with many nomad families who are making the most of the alpine pasture. We may have a chance to visit a ger and drink their ‘salty tea.’ Keep in mind that the Kharkiraa as a whole only sees about 30-40 foreigners a year. On our way today we will pass more Turkic grave marker stones and camp near a nomad camp on grassy steppe. The Turkic grave markers and ‘kurgan’ graves date back to the bronze age (about 2,000 years ago) and can be seen as circular piles of rocks surrounded by squares or circles. In one Kurgan up to 45 people would have been buried with many horses. They are the distant nomad ancestors of the Mongols and Khoton people. In fact, the Kharkhiraa are part of the greater ‘Altai’ mountain range which is said to be at the very heart of Asia. Iranians, Turks, Mongols, Kazakhs, and many other people trace their history back to the people who came from the Altai and moved down to the steppe to tame horses, yaks and camels. Even today the Altai splits Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Russia and is the meeting point of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Shamanism. In the evening we will enter a deep valley and the peaks above will be hidden from view. Camp will be made once again in the vicinity of nomads.
Approx distance: 17 km. Elevation gain: 600m