Travel in Siberia

Khamar - Daban

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You can visit this sight on tour:

  • Active-excursion tour - "The Road To The Heart Of Baikal"
  • Excursion-ethnographical tour - "The Gaeser Land"
  • Khamar - Daban (from the Buryat word "a ridge – nose", "nut pass") is a name of highlands near Baikal which is divided into small and big Khamar-Daban. It represents a mountain chain ranging from 40 up to 90 kms wide on the place of small and big Khamar-Daban, divided by the valley of the Temnik-river,and the length of this highland is 500 kms. The tops of the range (goltsy or hills) are deprived of vegetation, they have round shapes without distinct crest and reach the height of 2000-2300 m above sea level. The maximum height of the range is 2371 m (mountain Khan – Ula). The chain stretches along the south-eastern shore of Baikal from the Selenginsky lowlands to the range of Munku-Sardyk. Mountains are steep from the Baikal side and serve as a natural barrier for air streams, transferred across Baikal. Precipitations here are more abundant than in adjacent areas, the damp climate promotes plentiful growth of various vegetation, that is why this ridge is sometimes called "the Siberian jungles".

    The ridge is composed of hard minerals and so stony fields, rocky remains 20 and more metres high, displays of water erosion and precipices are widely spread there. Sometimes mud streams and landslips happen here, earthquakes can reach 9-11 balls. Subsoil waters are found close to the surface, they frequently come upwards and form boggy plots, in some parts significant in length in the valleys of the rivers. There are a lot of small and rather big rivers in Khamar-Daban, the largest of them are the Snezhnaya, the Khara-Murin, the Temnik, the Utulik and the Zun-Murin with width that in some parts reach 45 meters and depth is up to 1,5 meters. In upper rivers the speed of stream reaches 2 м per second. The bottom of the rivers is composed of sand, gravel, boulders, in mezhen (interseasonal period) nearly all rivers are surmountable for ford. Freezing of the rivers occurs in October - November (within winter some of them freeze through to the bottom), much ice is formed, melting takes place in April - May, with a small spring flood. The highest water level in the rivers is observed in July when in upper rivers thawing of snow coincides with plentiful rains. At this time water level and speed of stream extremely grow and flooding occurs. The rivers have weirs, rollings and waterfalls, rocky canyons and clips with difficult rounds are usual. Few lakes found in the valleys of the rivers, on flat spaces between rivers and on the plateau, are small in size and depth and have a glacial origin.


    The northern part of the ridge facing to the Baikal and subjected to its influence, the climate is more moderate and damp that allows to speak about presence here of cold subtropics: the amount of precipitations here is about 1300 mm per year, rains frequently have stormy character, in highlands the volume of precipitations can reach 2000 mm. The height of snowy cover on the slopes can exceed twice the usual norm of 80-120сm. The average temperature in January is -16-18 °С, in July +14 °С. The southern part is significantly influenced by droughty climate of semideserts of Mongolia, precipitations are 300-350 mm per year, the height of snowy cover is in 2-3 times less than in the northern part. The average temperature of January is -23-27 °С, in July is +15, + 18 °С. Typical for the ridge minimum night temperature in winter is about -35 °С (absolute minimum is -55 °С). Sometimes stormy weather with snowfalls happen here, temperature falls abruptly in summer months, it can snow in August, and a steady snow cover is formed by the end of September. The snow cover melts in the end of April - middle of May, avalanches go down at this time. Autumn, as a rule is dry, windless, with sharp downturn of air temperature in October (in the afternoon up to -6-8 °С, at night up to -4-10 °С). Powerful snowfalls are possible in this period.

    Flora and fauna

    Vegetation of the mountain range is mountainous-taiga, difficult for passing by, just like on all ranges of Pribaykalye. It has three high-altitude zones: the zone of terraces and pre-hills with bogs, meadows, birch forests and fields widely spread here; a mountainous - taiga zone of dark-coniferous taiga with prevalence of silver fir on humid plots and cedar on steep and dry slopes; the upper – transitional subzone with silver fir and cedar parks and high-grass subalpine meadows (the so called podgoltsovy (subhilly)1500-1700 m high, with thick overgrowth of formidable cedar stlanic, kashkary and willow); above 1700 m – the goltsovy (hilly)zone with Alpine low-grass meadows and heathlands, thickets of cedar stlanic. Forests are about 22 m high and abounds in windfallen and storm-beaten trees, stone fields (kurumy), plots of burnt and dry woods.

    The fauna of the range is represented by 37 species of mammals and 260 species of birds. To protect flora and fauna of the range, to observe air basin the Baikal biosphere reserve was founded here.


    The development of tourism on Baikal lake is connected with Khamar-Daban. Just here in the area of Chersky peak (Irkutsk oblast) the first tourist routes were organized. The first groups made an ascention to the peak before and during the Great Patriotic War in 1941-1945. These campaigns were carried out by sports societies and army commanders with the purpose of training soldiers. Further the geography of routes extends, the quantity of participants of campaigns is increased. Especially actively tourism in Khamar-Daban developed in 60-70-s years. Many tourists visited Khamar-Daban from Irkutsk oblast and from Buryatia. During 25 years the city club of tourists "Khamar-Daban" worked in Ulan-Ude. Tourism had at this time mass character. Many routes were well-equiped, described, tourist maps were issued.

    Now there are several rather enough popular tourist routes in Khamar-Daban, which are regularly visited by tourists. Among them are both simple (ordinary) routes and routes of the sixth (supreme) category of complexity. The most popular are foot routes to Chersky peak, to Sable lakes, water routes on the Snezhnaya, the Utulik, the Temnik, the Zun-Murin-rivers and also winter ski routes. Different competitions and touriads are organized in Khamar-Daban. The range is visited not only by tourists from many regions of Russia and from abroad.

    The range is interesting not only for sports and tourism, there are many beautiful landscapes, in autumn there are often many mushrooms and berries. Such sights, as Sable lake, waterfalls Grokhotun, Skazka, Izumrudny are located here. Along the Snezhnaya-river the unique grove of relic poplars in Eastern Siberia grows. From the tops of the range one can enjoy the panorama of Baikal.

    At the same time, the relief and vegetation of Khamar-Daban represent the certain complexity for movement of tourists. Tops of the range, frequently rich in overgrowth of cedar stlannic are difficult to pass and the unsufficient review complicates orientation. The certain danger is represented by plentiful precipitations and sudden frosts which are possible even in July. Also very dangerous is an entsephalitny kletsh (an insect dangerous for its sting). The absence of settlements is one more circumstance that complicates rendering of the emergency help in case of its necessity. Campaigns to the Khamar-Daban range require careful training. So because of reasons of safety all tourists are recommended to be registered in Search and Rescue service of the Ministry of Emergency Measures of the Russian Federation.

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