White Water Winter Altai
Matchless wilds of Altai in winter are not only a place of punishing cold. Altai in winter is strikingly static. The dominant color is the noble white with ultramarine of the sky and dark- grey mountains as the background. Motionless, impeccable beauty!
Altai is well known for its diverse landscapes: pointed peaks, glaciers, fast rivers, turquoise lakes, ancient cedar forests, steppes and deep boundless taiga. All this creates varied snow situations and adornments. Forested valleys, rivers and lakes in the western and central regions are covered in deep snow and only in rapids and between rocks can one hear the roar of water rushing over rocks. Steppes of the southern region are rocky, with rivers under smooth ice crust.
Mountains seem higher in winter, mother nature creates a world of peace and tranquility. Yet, one of your biggest surprises will be your sense of a connection with Altai’s mountains, it’s as if you see them live and breathe. Their rocky bodies, covered with forests are always coated in smooth clouds, frozen water crystals, the breath of the mountains. You can stand on a mountain pass and look for hours at the movement of clouds. Early in the morning they slowly crawl out of a gorge and start climbing up the slopes, then straighten up their wings and fly to the nearest peak, dancing around the peak and flying higher and higher. The most courageous of them come together in a group of winged camels and fly to the highest one, the queen of Asian mountains, Belukha, to form a luxuriant turban around her head.
The best time to experience winter Altai is February and March when the
temperature comes lower to a more comfortable mark, there is less snow and
more sunny days but the rivers are still under ice cover. Frosty mountain air,
sparkling ice, whispers of snowbound taiga, hot sauna, fragrant tea, scent of
Siberian cedar and a homemade dinner at the sizzling oven … a real Russian