Thursday, June 24, 2021

Mongolia | Töv Aimag |Asralt Khairkhan

Wanderered by 9183-foot Asralt Khairkhan Uul, the highest peak in the Khentii Mountain Range north of Ulaanbaatar.
Flat-topped peak of Asralt Khairkhan Uul (click on photos for enlargements)
Horseman Zevgee preparing mutton for the trip
Historical consultant and bon vivant Yooton
Yooton upon rising. She is not a morning person.
Yooton is not just another pretty face; she can also cook.
Approaching Asralt Khairkhan
Approaching Asralt Khairkhan
Asralt Khairkhan, with its distinctive flat top, from our base camp
A tuckered out Yooton taking a short snooze halfway up Asralt Khairkhan
The summit of Asralt Khairkhan is actually a flat area some 600 feet long and a hundred feet wide. Local people assert that the original name of the mountain was Asart Khairkhan: according to this theory the word asart means “a flat place”, a description of the distinctive flat top of the mountain. Not all linguists I have spoken to agree with this assertion.
Summit of Asralt Khairkhan
Summit of Asralt Khairkhan
Summit of Asralt Khairkhan. Zevgee, in his early seventies, and his wife, Tumen-Olzii, in her late sixties, may be the oldest people to climb Asralt Khairkhan. As can be seen, Tumen-Olzii was wearing a long deel, not the best garment for extended hikes. She was also wearing old-style Mongolian boots with smooth soles, not the best footwear for climbing mountains. I had assumed she had come along on the trip just for the ride (she also helped Yooton with the cooking) and would wait at our camp at the base of the mountain while the rest of us climbed the mountain. But she insisted on climbing the mountain herself. She and Zevgee beat Yooton and me to the summit.
My posse at Biren Buren Davaa, on the way to Asralt Khairkhan. This 6,768-foot (2063 meters) pass marks the Continental Divide of Asia. The Bürkhiin Gol on the east side of the pass flows into the Kherlen River, part of the Pacific Ocean Drainage. The small creek on the other side of the pass flows west into the Tuul River, part of the Arctic Ocean Drainage.

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