Tavan Bogd is a grouping of five mountain peaks found within the Altai Tavan Bogd national park Bayan-Ölgii.
The name Tavan Bogd translated means five saints or holy peaks in reference to the five mountains located there. The area is a real draw for climbers, trekkers, horse riders and those interested in Mongolia's exciting nomadic way of life.
The Tavan Bogd mountains rise from the far-flung western corner of Mongolia.
This area is known as the tri-border region as it is at this point where the borders of Mongolia, Russia and China meet.
It is the mountains of Tavan Bogd which straddle these countries as the mounts northern slopes reach into Russia's Altai Republic, and its mighty foothills run into China's Burqin County.
Tavan Bogd is home to five peaks all forming a bowl around the stunning Potinin glacier running down to the valley below.
4,050 Metres above sea level its name means cradle peak although sometimes it may be referred to as mother peak.
4,050 Metres above sea level, its name means herder peak.
Malchin is the only one of the five mountains where climbing is possible without specialized equipment. We advise using an experienced local guide and support team as the weather can turn very quickly. The walk up its slopes will take around six hours, once at the top the views over Russia and Mongolia are worth the work. Do not to cross into Russia at the top as the border straddles the peak.
4,068 Metres above sea level, it is aptly named as eagle peak.
4,180 Metres above sea level, this mountain is not the highest.
Still, it does hold the title for the mountain that crosses the three borders of Russia, Mongolia and China it has the fitting name of friendship peak.
4,374 Meters above sea level is the highest peak not only in the Tavan Bogd mountains but the whole of Mongolia.
Its name means cold peak, climbing to its mighty summit is possible using suitable mountain equipment. The views from the top are said to be fantastic looking out over the surrounding peaks wrapped in glaciers.
On a clear day, one can see Kazakhstan 30KM away.
A 4WD vehicle is a must along with an experienced driver who knows the area.
There is usually snow present until the end of May. The best times to visit is from June through to September. Outside of this time do expect Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides to occur at any time.
During the summertime temperatures can still reach 0c, and snow may fall in the upper reaches, so be prepared. The summer months can cause a few problems; as it is also the rainy season, sudden heavy rains can cause the white river to burst its banks making the road to become mud-soaked and challenging to traverse.
If visiting just to view the mountains and Glacier, we would recommend at least a four-day visit. The drive to the national park entrance from Ölgii city will take around 6-9 hours depending on the weather. Once at the park entrance, you can camp or stay with one of the Tuvan families.
The following morning depart at dawn to allow the afternoon for exploration of the area. The aim is to make it to base camp which is around a six hours walk uphill or three hours by horse.
Base camp is where you will need to camp for the second night; it is from here where people will make their move on one of the mountains and will need to adjust their stay accordingly. Overnight is quite a fantastic experience, especially if the sky is clear as views of the stars are stunning, the silence only broken by the wind or the deep rumblings from far avalanches.
Whether climbing or enjoying the area eventually its back downhill to the park entrance as the return journey will take around four hours hiking, we would recommend camping halfway between the park and Ölgii city to rest the driver.
A visit during the summer months June to September offers the best mountain climbing options.
You will see some people advising travelling in May or September, it is possible, but in my opinion, I have seen too many peoples itineraries changed due to weather.
Always use expert guides when climbing, drivers and back up team. So many companies offer young student guides. This may be fine for some more accessible areas in the region but not here. The area will better when visited as part of a more significant tour encompassing the whole region.