Chuiskiy ridge

Chuyskiy ridge(Chuyskie Belki)

East of Belukha, separated from it by the deep cut of Argut Gorge, are Chuyskie Belki, named after Chuya Valley at their North-Eastern base.
Chuyskie Belki consist of two parallel ranges, connected by a high ridge of Karaghem Pass.

The climate is considerably more arid here, and much of the taiga is dominated by Siberian larch, although the cedars are common too. Both valley and shield glaciers abound. Lower timberline is at higher elevations, especially in the South-East where the forests nearly disappear from the mountain slopes, with the alpine tundra directly transitioning into the foothill steppe.

The highest point of North Chuyskie Belki is Maashey-Bashi (4177 m), North-East of the junction with the Karaghem Connector Range. Numerous rugged summits exceed, or approach, the 4000 m mark both East and West of Maashey. Access to this area is typically from the North-East, from the villages of Chibit and Aktash in Chuya Valley.

Karaghem Connector is a relatively short but rugged range joining together North and South Chuyskie Belki. A deep hollow of Karaghem Pass used to be the route of trading camel caravans between Kosh-Agach and Argut Valley, but it has long since fallen into disrepair. 

Iiktu Peak (3936 m) a.k.a. Irbis-Tu is the highest point of South Chuyskie Belki, at its junction with Karaghem Connector Range. The area is typically accessed from the East, from Kosh-Agach in Chuya Steppe Valley.

Grassland valleys at the base of Chuyskie Belki are used as a winter range for sheep, yaks, and camels by the Telengit pastoralists, since there is hardly any snow in these valleys in winter. In fact in South Chuyskie Belki, the Eastern foothills don't have any appreciable winter snowcover all the way to the glacier zone. The taiga of the Northern slopes is used for sable-trapping.

About 40 km away from the Kuray village, at 2000 m above sea level, the narrow woody valley of the Aktru river is placed. The river begins from glaciers of North-Chujsky ridge, whose snow caps come down to the forest line. A man settled in this picturesque place long time ago, now active the first Altai alpine camp is working here since 1939.

The Aktru gorge is the perfect start for the radial trekkings to high-altitude lake (at 3000 m.), to the Tree-Lake-Dome peak, to the Minor and Major Aktru and even just a short walk through the woody valley surrounded with snow peaks of North-Chujsky ridge can’t leave anyone indifferent to.

Shavlinskiye Lakes are situated on the Northern slope of the North-Chuysky Range. This area is situated southeast of Mt. Belukha (4506 m) region. It can be reached by helicopter, or on foot in three days via the Chuyskiy road (Chuyskiy Trakt), which winds alongside the Chuya river. The countryside is splendid: the birch woods and, higher up, the larches, cover the sides of the mountains up to an altitude of 2,000 meters, where they give way to a thick carpet of bushes that go up as far as the moraines. The valley is closed off to the south by a system of marvellous mountains with evocative names - Krasavitsa (Beauty; 3,870 m), Mechta (Dream; 3,600 m) and Skazka (Fable; 3,770 m) - that have interesting snow and mixed climbs.

 

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