Shavlinsky lakes, Altai
High-mountain Shavlinsky lakes - one of the most beautiful natural attractions of the Altai Mountains. In Altai, "Shavla" (or "Shaala") means "young tree", and it is also called the river, which originates in the glaciers of the North-Chuya Range. The streams flowing from the glaciers form a nameless lake, from which a full-fledged river flows. Shavlinsky lakes are located in a chain along the stream of Shavly. The water in them with mother-of-pearl outflow due to admixture of mineral impurities, romantic mountain peaks rise up along the shores. Dream, Fairy Tale and Beauty - the names of the mountains speak for themselves.
The lower lake is surrounded by swamps and gradually swamps itself, although the water in it is clean and fish are caught, including grayling. The goal of tourists is usually the Medium Lake, the largest and most picturesque. It is located at an altitude of 1938 m above sea level, surrounded by dense forests and rocks. The view of the peaks of the North-Chuisky Ridge is amazing: the mentioned glaciers Dream, Fairy Tale and Beauty are reflected in the water. The average lake is the most popular, along its western shore passes the main tourist trail, there are excellent parking. Travelers usually set up a base camp on the shore, from where you can make raids in the highlands, to the group of upper lakes. Upstairs there is a whole network of these small lakes, and they begin almost from the glacier itself.
The Big Upper Lake is located at an altitude of 2164 m above sea level, near the Shavlinsky glacier. It is inscribed in a classic mountain landscape with snow-capped peaks. There are no forests here anymore, the lake lies above their level.
The route to the Shavlinsky lakes on average takes three days. The most beautiful place on the way to the lakes is Eshtykol Plateau. The rest of the path is ordinary and even boring, but the ultimate goal is worth the patience. That is why it is best to plan at least a three-day parking at the lakes - then the fullness of impressions will fully pay back six days on the way there and back.
Do not forget that Altai is a red endemic zone of encephalitis. Vaccinations and all precautions are necessary, and planning the trip is most reasonable for months when the peak of tick activity passes, that is, in July-August.
At this time, and the weather in the area is most stable. Although temperature fluctuations in the mountains from +20 in the afternoon to –10 at night are quite possible. The weather in the mountains is generally unpredictable, so you should be prepared for prolonged rains, cold and even snow.
Inexperienced tourists should turn to guide guides or organize a hike through travel agencies - after all, these are mountains.
The route to the lakes begins from the remote village of Chibit, which stands on the Chuya road. The road from Barnaul to Chibit takes 10-12 hours along the Chuisky road by car. From Gorno-Altaisk faster, but there are fewer planes flying there and tickets are more expensive.
In Chibit, locals will surely come to you and offer you a ride in a UAZ car to the beginning of the trail. This is worth taking advantage of. The trail starts at the bridge; the bridge is in private ownership and passage through it is paid. Immediately, tourists are offered to bring things and people to the pass or even to the lakes on horseback. We do not advise inexperienced tourists to use horses - the path is rocky, steep and slippery, horses often fall, people get serious injuries. But the products and backpacks on the first day are even worth throwing to the pass, to which you will come in the evening.
People in the season on the route a lot. All friendly and responsive - tourist solidarity.
There is a small wintering on Oroykom Pass, where a local resident will offer you simple basic necessities, but at prices of elite Moscow supermarkets. You can also buy fresh cottage cheese, milk, tortillas and also order horses.
On the Middle Lake there is a small parking lot of local Altaians, who offer to take a bath, buy some products (for even more fantastic money) and again hire horses. From the Middle Lake you can and should go to the radial routes in the highlands to the upper lakes.
The way back follows the same route.
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