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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 31 Oct 2007
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Around north side of Baikal

I dont suppose any of you intrepid Siberians have followed the western arm of the BAM railway from Taishet (on the Trans Sib, west of Irkutsk) past Ust Kut and to Severobaikalsk on the top end of Baikal.
And who knows, even over the Severo ranges to Tynda?

thanks

Ch
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  #2  
Old 31 Oct 2007
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changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes...

Hi Chris, it will take some time, but I hope to do just that. Heading west out of Vlad, I plan to round the lake before heading south to Mongolia...long story. By the time I do it you'll no doubt have another guide coming out- keep 'em coming! Hook.
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Last edited by hook; 31 Oct 2007 at 19:01. Reason: oopsy
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  #3  
Old 31 Oct 2007
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Good on you Hook, just followed it on Google Earth - it cant fail to be interesting and if it all gets too much I suppose you can throw yourself onto (or under) the train. That whole region holds a kind of fascinating horror for me.
Dont know if you know but Trailblazer who publish my books produced a guide to the BAM line (the 'northern Trans Sib'). Google: <Siberian BAM Guide>.
The effort in producing that book kind of matches the whole BAM project, but it's pretty good for maps, etc.

Let us know how you get on and do me a yarn for AMH 6.

Ch
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  #4  
Old 3 Nov 2007
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I hope it's not off-top, I'd like inform everybode about great place near BAM.
This is the Chara Sands (or Chara desert).
In Russian: Чарские пески (Чарская пустыня)
It close to Chara and New Chara villages.
This is amazing sand desert about 5x12 km
You can see this place in GoogleEarth.

I've never been there, but really hope to do it in the future on enduro (such as Suzuki Djebel, DR250 or simular)

Here is pictures of this place which I find in internet:

ôîòî.ñàéò | ïðèðîäà | ×àðñêàÿ ïóñòûíÿ(2)
ôîòî.ñàéò | ïðèðîäà | ×àðñêèå ïåñêè. Áàðõàí
ôîòî.ñàéò | ïðèðîäà | ×àðñêàÿ ïóñòûíÿ(3)
ôîòî.ñàéò | ïðèðîäà | ×àðñêàÿ ïóñòûíÿ
ôîòî.ñàéò | ïåéçàæ | ×àðñêàÿ ïóñòûíÿ
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  #5  
Old 3 Nov 2007
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Hm. How do I find the Chara Sands on Google Earth? All the keywords Shustrik mentioned wouldn't work for me.

Lars
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  #6  
Old 3 Nov 2007
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It's at N56 50 E118 8 west of Tynda

Ch
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  #7  
Old 3 Nov 2007
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Thanks Chris!
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  #8  
Old 3 Nov 2007
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No worries! Leave some for us.

Ch
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  #9  
Old 3 Nov 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shustrik View Post
I hope it's not off-top, I'd like inform everybode about great place near BAM.
This is the Chara Sands (or Chara desert).
In Russian: Чарские пески (Чарская пустыня)
It close to Chara and New Chara villages.
This is amazing sand desert about 5x12 km
You can see this place in GoogleEarth.

I've never been there, but really hope to do it in the future on enduro (such as Suzuki Djebel, DR250 or simular)

Here is pictures of this place which I find in internet:

ôîòî.ñàéò | ïðèðîäà | ×àðñêàÿ ïóñòûíÿ(2)
ôîòî.ñàéò | ïðèðîäà | ×àðñêèå ïåñêè. Áàðõàí
ôîòî.ñàéò | ïðèðîäà | ×àðñêàÿ ïóñòûíÿ(3)
ôîòî.ñàéò | ïðèðîäà | ×àðñêàÿ ïóñòûíÿ
ôîòî.ñàéò | ïåéçàæ | ×àðñêàÿ ïóñòûíÿ
That is a strange and small desert in what appears to be, on Google Earth, a well watered area (river courses nearby).
Does anyone know why this sand desert exists over such a small area?
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  #10  
Old 8 Nov 2007
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Been looking at the same trip myself Chris ... with a twist ... out to the far east via the BAM road (I have an up to date Russian Road atlas if you need a peek, just give me a bell mate), then fly up to Magadan, and back west via the Kolymna Road (Road of Bones) to Yakutsk and then the really challenging bit ... the Lensky Trakt ... a zimnik (winter road) that follows the Lena from Yakutsk back to Ust Kut. If you get stuck there are plenty of boats and hydrofoils to bail out with.

There is also a decent road from Yakutsk to Lensk (2/3 of the way back to Ust Kut), that heads West first and then south ... and not following the Lena river.

I wouldnt want to do the Lensky Trakt solo tho .....


Some good reading on the area are Athol Yates' BAM / Kolymna guide, tho it is very Rail centric ... has good info on towns and Chara Sands and other bits of interest along the way. Also just read a good book on the Lena villages and towns ... River of No Reprieve, by Moscow based American Jeffrey Tayler
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Last edited by colebatch; 8 Nov 2007 at 13:14.
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  #11  
Old 8 Nov 2007
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Hi Walter, sounds like the ravings of a bloke who's been indoors looking outdoors too long! The RoB stage would be your only chance to relax!

Been in touch with the BAM author who tells me AFAHR there's is not much of a track alongside the BAM - no surprise there. And as there is a daily train the track would see a lot less traffic than the RoB so I wonder if it even exists much of the time? I suppose there is the railway between trains and over rivers.

up to date Russian Road atlas
Is that the £35 one - yes I'd like to borrow it as it happens. Had a quick look at it in Stanfords the other day, but not long enough to see much.

I read about some RTW HPV'ers who paddled and pedalled and skied across from Alaska in winter and planned to take the Lenska in summer but among other stuff (like falling out) got put off by ...
hundreds of kilometers of rough travel without access to immunization from a notorious tick (species Ioxodes) very active in the region at this time of year (one of ten bites is deadly, but immunizations are available in cities such as Irkutsk)
Still, they were on pushbikes so would have got eaten alive.

the Lensky Trakt ... a zimnik (winter road) that follows the Lena from Yakutsk back to Ust Kut. If you get stuck there are plenty of boats and hydrofoils to bail out with.
As I understand it the Lena River IS the zimnik, there is no continuous riverside road much as in summer the towns rely on boats. In between they bomb it asap to stop the block ice backing up the river and flooding like it did in 2001 (Lensk was ruined, Yak got flooded).

There is also a decent road from Yakutsk to Lensk (2/3 of the way back to Ust Kut), that heads West first and then south ... and not following the Lena river.
Yes, read about this one somewhere too - this would be the summer 'letnik' such as it is. Are you sure it's 'decent'? No trains or boats to bail you out on this one.

I think it would be a job for ag bikes - it's like the Darien but without so many bandits and about 80 times as long! To do it in one summer you'd have to take the rivers as you find them so would want something like this:
[landrover pic]
Stick a branch through each wheel of the bike and sit it on a blow up pontoon each side.

Or lay the bike on a pair of Alpackas - they weigh less than 2kg each:
https://www.alpackaraft.com/store/in...D=66&do=detail
Then followers could get towed over too. It all sounds so easy behind a keyboard!

River of No Reprieve
As it happens I just tracked that down yesterday and was going to buy it so I'll borrow that too if I may. Clearly we are on the same diabolical wavelength...

Ch

PS, nice westher forecast:
[yaktemps]
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  #12  
Old 8 Nov 2007
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Mad Buggers.

Here are a couple of maps from an atlas I picked in Russia.

The first shows a road to Severobaikalsk this continues to the tip of L Baikal and then east along the railway.
the second picture show the road "without covering" continuing on to Tynda.

Chris If you would like to borrow this map book I can send it to you.

Steve

Last edited by Guest2; 30 Jun 2009 at 17:49.
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  #13  
Old 8 Nov 2007
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excellent

Steve, Chris ... sounds like we have a plan ..... when do we leave?
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  #14  
Old 8 Nov 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
a notorious tick (species Ioxodes) very active in the region at this time of year (one of ten bites is deadly, but immunizations are available in cities such as Irkutsk)
Yes ... this little sucker is only really a problem in May and June (so I am led to believe). Going on a motorcycle gives you a bit more time flexibility than a pushbike, and as long as you stuck to July August September, the Ixodes doesnt come in to it
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  #15  
Old 8 Nov 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
Been in touch with the BAM author who tells me AFAHR there's is not much of a track alongside the BAM - no surprise there. And as there is a daily train the track would see a lot less traffic than the RoB so I wonder if it even exists much of the time? I suppose there is the railway between trains and over rivers.

up to date Russian Road atlas
Is that the £35 one - yes I'd like to borrow it as it happens. Had a quick look at it in Stanfords the other day, but not long enough to see much.
AFAIK Mr Yates was last there in 1999, so its very possible if not very likely much will have changed in terms of roads. More recent road atlases show a lot more "roadage" than ones I bought 3-4 years ago. That is possibly due to increased grader usage.

Just looking at my road atlas now ... and without any shadow of a doubt it is showing a definite road all the way from Bratsk (or even to Tulun if you want to go bank to the main trans siberian), through Ust Kut, Tynda and all the way to Komsomolsk. From Komsolmolsk to the coast at Sovetskaya Gavan there is no road marked on my atlas, yet I know for a fact Mr Attwood here in this very post rode a dirt track from Sovetskaya Gavan past Komsomolsk to Khabarovsk twice in 2004 and lived to tell the tale.
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