Bordering three countries in total: Mongolia, China and Russia, Mt. Khuiten is just one of five peaks in a mountain chain called Tavan Bogd (or Five Saints). Towering high above at 14,350 ft, this is the highest mountain in Mongolia and definitely deserves the name Khuiten (or Cold).
If you’re interested in viewing glaciers up close in a more remote climb location, then this is a must try. Although it is the tallest peak in Mongolia, it is not as arduous a climb due to the terrain. At the minimum, you should exercise regularly enough each week with an emphasis on cardiovascular activity as the air gets thin closer to the summit. There will also be a need to carry your own pack and gear for several hours at a time, so you should also ensure that you are comfortable with that before starting the journey.
The best time to climb is between the months of June to August. Below is a list of basic equipment and gear to get a hold of before making the trip to Mongolia:
- Sleeping Bag (preferably down-filled as the weather can become achingly cold)
- Thermal underwear and clothes (for the cold, of course)
- Windproof and waterproof outer clothes (this is not the time to skimp)
- Fleece or down jacket (to provide much needed warmth)
- Climbing harness
- Ice Axe
- Prusik Cords
- Plastic/Double Boots
Let’s just do a quick rundown on basic clothes layering before going on. Don’t be tempted to wear just a T-shirt and throw on a thick jacket. You’ll definitely regret it once the wind picks up. Start off with thermal clothing directly on your skin to prevent moisture staying too long and dropping your body temperature. Secondly, wear on a fleece or down jacket for insulation. Lastly, top it all off with a windproof and waterproof outer jacket to protect your body from the elements.
Once you’re in Ulaanbatar, you can get on a domestic flight to Olgii in Western Mongolia. If you do have sufficient time, you could also take a bus ride from Ulaanbatar (but do be informed that this is quite a long ride). From Olgii, you would need to rent a jeep to Tavan Bogd, horses for carrying your equipment and gear to basecamp and also a climbing permit.
After arranging all that, you’ll be driving for 4-5 hours to the border of Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. With your horseman (or a map), you’ll be trekking for about 10 miles to the basecamp within. Just a word of caution: If you’re not used to finding your way through rough and uneven terrain, do get a guide to lead the way.
From basecamp, you will ascend to high camp by heading west on the trail towards Malchin Peak. Once there, you’ll be able to setup your tent on a flat area on the northwest edge. You could also set up on glaciers to the west and northwest, but do keep in mind that you will be exposed to weather conditions.
If you take the north ridge up to the summit, you’ll be roping most of the way as there are large crevasses in a zigzag pattern along the way. Once you reach the summit, do take in the magnificent landscape which will unfold before you, especially the view into China.