Friday, 25 March 2011

Altai. Teletskoye Lake

Somehow I can't stop writing about Altai. Perhaps I would write about Caucasus if I lived close to Caucasus, or about the Alps, if I lived there.
But I happen to live in Siberia and one of its main attractions is Altai.
Today I'll write about Teletskoye Lake.
It's the biggest and the deepest lake in Altai.
Situated at a height of 434 m above sea level, the lake is 78 km long and 5 km wide. Its surface area is 233 km²; however, due to its considerable depth (325 m), the lake contains no less than 40 km³ of fresh water. The lake transparency is high, with the visibility of the lake water ranging from six to fourteen meters. The water temperature is no more than 8-10 degrees C in summer, but there are small bays where it can be up to 15-17 degrees C warm, thus it's possible to bathe there.

Here's what Wiki says about Teletskoye Lake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Teletskoye



I visited the lake many times. Twice I made a hiking tour there, it was about 15 years ago. Once I made rafting along the Biya river. The river is the only one flowing out of the lake, and  there are hundreds of them flowing into it. By the city of Biysk the Biya joins the Katun and they form the Ob there.

There are numerous rest houses, campings and hotels at the northern coast of the lake and some of them at the southern one. There is a good road leading to the northern coast and only two ways the reach the southern: by a boat (I'm not sure there's a ferry) and by car, but it is quite a long journey. One has to drive along the Chuya Road to Aktash village, then turn in the direction of Ulagan, reach Katu-Yaryk mountain pass, go down it and drive along the Chulyshman river. The same road, but in the opposite direction, will take you back. The journey will be long, but full of adventures and impressions.
I wrote about our travel to Katu-Yaruk, but we stopped there. not wishing to go down the pass, which is quite dangerous, with the kids. Moreover, we were unsure if our car (Toyota Raum) will be able to go up the pass.
They say it's better to try making this trip by an off-road car or at least by a rear drive vehicle.

Still we visited the northern coast with our kids in summer 2009.
We spent just two days there, but it was fun, thought the weather was rather wet. But it's typical for that region.

One and almost the only attraction there is a boat tour along the lake. It is an expensive thing. We paid 4000 (about 100 Euros)  rubles for a trip up to the middle of the lake only for 4 adults and 3 small children, and it would have cost us 8000 (200 Euros) rubles to reach the southern coast and back.

And one of the main attraction along the coast is Korbu waterfall. It's not high and not especially wide, but it's definitely the widest and the highest one near the lake. Each visitor of the place should have paid 200 rubles (5 Euros) just to come to the waterfall (children were allowed for free).

There are a number of smaller waterfalls there, and the 'access' to them is free. Some of them are at a little distance from the coast, but it's nice to have some hiking.

the mountains around the lake are not high, and the hiking tours offered there are suitable even for people without any preparation and skills. But as the weather is usually wet there, you will definitely have some interesting experience.

There are various lodging opportunities there (I mean the northern coast of the lake now, as there mostly campings ate the south coast). There are good and comfortable hotels for about 1500-2500 rubles a night. And there wooden summer guest houses and rooms for as little as 350-400-500 rubles a night for one person. Children up to 6 or even 10 years go free, but there may be no comfortable sleeping place for them in such a case. In any case you are recommended to take either a sleeping sack or warm clothes with you as nights may be quite cold even in the middle of summer.
View of the lake with an old Soviet ship. There are no trips offered by that ship and it's a sad sight...

Our guest house and an open veranda for meals

Stage for open-air concerts

Lake early in the morning

Korbu waterfall

On a small hiking tour

Unknown waterfall

Me and my small son

Just the lake

Stone bay

Stone bay

The beginning of Biya

The very beginning (end) of the lake

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