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Asia, Mongolia, Munkhairkhan

Munkhairkhan. The British Mongolian Altai Expedition consisted of Richard Wojtaszewski, Helen Sweet, Alan Hughes and me with Mongolian guides T. Byraa and Balto and cook Chegme. Our objective was the first ascent by Westerners of Munkhairkhan (4204 meters, 13,803 feet), whose massif lies about 80 miles southwest of Hovd in the far western part of the Mongolian People’s Republic. Though previously reported as the highest in the country, it appears to be third after 4374-meter Huithen in the Taban Bogdo massif and 4208-meter Tsast Uul just north of Hovd. After arriving in Ulan Bator on July 16, we flew to Hovd on the 18th and reached Base Camp in the Doolon Nuur (Seven Lakes) valley by lorry on the 19th. We established a high camp at 12,500 feet on a boulder field lying above a prominent outcrop to the southeast of the Doloon Nuur cwm. On the 22nd, the British members of the team and Balto climbed straightforward glaciated slopes to the summit. Balto and I later crossed a high pass to explore the upper Shurkhe valley, descending 14 miles to meet the others who had established a second Base Camp by lorry. On July 28, we five climbed the shapely Malchin (c. 4150 meters, 13,616 feet), the second peak in the group, last climbed in 1974.

John Town, Alpine Club