Conquer Heart Lake at the 2090-meter-high Chersky Peak

Oksana Vasilieva | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Travelling to Lake Baikal is not only about water sports. More often than not, you will have to climb mountains as** there are a few of them there. However, the most reachable and spectacular is the mountain of Khamar Daban with the heart-shaped lake hidden among the summits. If you are not afraid of two-day-long climbing activity, I recommend you to ascend the 2090-meter** Chersky peak of Khamar Daban and conquer Heart Lake!

© Anastasiya Kozlova

Khamar Daban and Chersky Peak

Chersky Peak is the highest point in Khamar Daban mountain chain situated in the south part of Baikal. The peak is named after Ivan Chersky who was a famous geographer and explorer of Siberia. The path to this peak goes through Slyudyanka (an administrative center near Kultuk). The climb to the peaks of Khamar Daban is considered relatively hard. If you are not an experienced climber, be prepared to spend two days climbing. There are yearly contests, however, when people try to rush their ascent, it can take only around 2 hours to climb (this extreme kind of climbing is called sky running). You are probably thinking why would anyone leave their relaxing guesthouse on Lake Baikal and go to this mountain. Well, I am going to show you why!

© Anastasiya Kozlova

Overcome your physical limit

If you are an experienced hiker, then 20 km up to Chersky Peak is not such a big deal for you. However, if you never climbed a mountain before, but are eager to, this ascent can be a true challenge. The first few kilometres from Slyudyanka are relaxing and nice; you go along the river, and the road is not steep. You can even have a break in a café there. After the café, be ready to sweat. You will have to climb 1500 meters above the sea level to have your next stop – weather station and a small camping point. You can sleep here if you feel unprepared to climb further. While hiking, pay attention to the scenery around you, it is spectacular. When you reach the weather station - relax! It's a sign that the first half of the way is behind!

© Anastasiya Kozlova

I suggest you spend the night at the camping area because after the weather station the trail becomes very hard. If you conquer the peak in the fall, take your waterproof and warm shoes and clothes with you. Although it is advisable to hike** with a guide, you can do it on your own too. You can hire a guide from the Russian Geographical Society, as they are real professionals there. The guide will warn you that the last kilometre of the ascent is the hardest one, but do not give up! To climb Khamar Daban and Chersky** Peak is a test for your physical but also mental abilities. Nevertheless, the end of the ascent is so rewarding!

Spectacular views from Chersky Peak

Seeing Slyudyanka from the top is such a treat. The cliffs are covered with trees that grow from the cliff cracks; you will see the snowy white marble quarry and giant rocks with moss. With every kilometre of your ascent, the views become broader, and the clouds and the fog slowly drift below your feet. Curiously enough, the path to Chersky Peak goes through the old Great Tea Way. This path** served as a main mean to transfer tea from China to Europe **in the 18-19th centuries.

You can stay in a tent here and in the morning conquer Heart Lake that is located on the 2090-meter-long Chersky Peak!

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