Chulyshman is a river in the east of the Altai Republic. It originates from the high mountain lake Djulukul and flows into the southern extremity of the Teletskoye Lake. The valley of the Chulyshman River is extremely picturesque, but at the same time, it is one of the most difficult and uninhabited areas of the Altai.
Chulyshman translated as "mighty river", which is quite true. Basin of the Chulyshman river is one of the most wild areas of Altai now.
Chulyshman originates in the alpine Lake Dzhulukol on the Shapshalsyi ridge at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea. The river flows into the southern part of Lake Teletskoye, its length is about 240 km, the basin area is about 16,800 km2.
Chulyshman Valley is a canyon with a length of more than 130 km. There wasn’t a road going down to the valley, locals used steep horse path or waterway through Teletskoe Lake until 1989. Road descent has been begun in 1987, at the initiative of the director of the state farm "Soviet Altai". It becomes the longest and dangerous pass in Altay called Katu-Yaryk pass. Chulyshman valley stretches for many ten kilometers. River flows in a deep valley with more than half a kilometer depth. Rocks start right from the river and it is often possible to see small waterfalls on the right bank.
Ways of nomadic tribes to Western Mongolia lied here since the dawn of the century. Many mounds of various periods and different Asian peoples are found in this valley. The most notable complex of mounds is "Pazyryk mounds" a burial clan and tribal leaders (6-8 century BC).
Deep Chulyshman valley divides the area into two parts: Chulyshman Highlands (right bank) and Ulagansky highlands (left). The entire right bank of Chulyshman belongs to the Altai State Nature Reserve. The tops of some ridges reaches 3,000 meters above sea level. But Chulyshman plateau near Lake Dzhulukol has low and swampy riverbanks. The largest mountainous lake of Altai Dzhulukol lies here at an attitude of 2200 meters above sea as well as the largest cascade waterfall Chulcha Uçhar. Difficult path through rivers and streams leads to Uchar. Getting this sacred place is possible in the second half of summer, when the water subsides.
The long, narrow bay at low swampy shores in the north-western part of Dzhulukol imperceptibly becomes a Chulyshman River. Weak stream appears gradually increasing its speed, coast gets narrow, and rapids become more powerful. The increased speed of the river with rocks sticking out increases the danger of rafting. Going to the mountains, Chulyshman behaves as a mountain river already. Slopes reach 40 meters per kilometer below the mouth of Oin-Ora.
Chulyshman River brings 70% of water flowing to Teletskoe Lake. Perhaps, basin of Chulyshman River is the richest lakes in Altai Mountains. The largest are Dzhulukol, Terenkol, Tadinkol. More than 300 lakes are located around Dzhulukolya necklace. Total amount of lakes is around 1200 in the basin of Chulyshman River. Temperature of Rivers and Lakes is not higher than 7-10C even in summertime.
Feeding of Chulyshman is mixed, with a predominance of snow. Floods is usual for May to September months. Chulyshman freezes in late October and early December, openes in late March - early May. The highest water level is observed in early summer. Heavy rains rouse significant flooding.
The largest tributary is Bashkaus River begins on the western slopes of the Chikhachev Ridge, runs almost parallel Chulyshman and flows into it nearby Teletskoye Lake. Shavla and Chulcha rivers are powerful right tributaries originate in Shapshalskyi Ridge. All of them are typical mountain rivers, with a large drop,s streams rushing in deep gorges. Waterfalls of different heights and power fall from the steep shores of the rocks.
Chulyshman is known for its rapids and attracts a water tourists, wishing to try its skills at rafting on the clear waters of the Chulyshman. River Bashkaus is also interesting for rafting. Rafting on these rivers is characterized by 5-6 category of difficulty. Particularly difficult part of Bashkaus is Lower Gorge, with the length of 28 km, and Upper Canyon on Chulyshman River with the length of 50 km.
The climate in the valley, protected from strong winds, is much warmer than the highlands. Residents of Balykcha Village and Koo Village even grow cherry and apple trees planted in these places in the late 19th century by the monks of the Monastery of the Annunciation. Reason is warm and dry wind blows for 100 days in a year.
Flora and fauna of Chulyshman valley is very diverse. Thickets of dark coniferous taiga strech on valley, passing into woodland above the River. Vegetation of meadow steppes and alpine tundra adjoin on the western slopes of the ridge Shapshalskyi in Dzhulukolskyi hollow; one can meet curative golden root a radiogram pink. Maral root grows across the Chulyshman plateau.
Bear, lynx, wolf, wolverine live in the taiga as well as many fur-bearing animals, including a sable. It is found red deer, roe deer, musk deer and rare snow leopard – an ounce.
There are trade birds such as grouse, black grouse, hazel grouse, so area are interesting for hunting. Rare turkey- ular is inhabited in the mountains; there are hawks, falcons, protected species a peregrine and falcon. Migrant birds nest on the lake Dzhulukol and other lakes. Chulyshman is rich fish. The lower Chulyshman is rich of trout. Uskuch, whitefish, grayling, pike, dace, perch, burbot and other fish are also widespread, which makes the Chulyshman a very attractive place for fishing trips.