Sophia glacier (Софийский ледник)

Sophia glacier (Софийский ледник)

One of the most beautiful glaciers in Al

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Rating:Excellent
Overcrowding: Very small
Difficulty: Vigorous
Time: 6:00 h

Trek over Chuiskii ridges 10: Panorama of Sophia glacier (Софийский ледник) belongs to one of the most beautiful views on this trek around Altai. Multicolored lakes and panorama of rock towers and meadows are in good weather an unforgettable experience. It is worth to undertake a side trip here, and if you plan a rest day during a longer trek, it is certainly a good idea to spend it in this area, which is almost without any tourists.  

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Leningrad pass

We begin the journey from the lake below Leningrad pass, which is shown on the right. We descend through the side valley along the river Tura-Oyuk (Тура-Оюк) towards the river Akkol (Аккол).

 

Leningrad pass

Valley of river Akkol (Аккол)

From here we can walk downstream the river Akkol (Аккол) to the lakes of the same name, which are worth seeing, or we can choose a longer route to Sofia glacier (Софийский ледник). If we have time and the weather is nice, the trip to the glacier is definitely worth it!

 

Valley of river Akkol (Аккол)

Upstream to the glacier

We walk along the river and we soon see the end of the valley with part of the glacier and beautiful rock towers. Our destination seems within reach, but it will still take some time before we have it at our fingertips.

 

Upstream to the glacier

Wading

It is sometimes necessary to wade the river. However, except for the time after sustained rains, there is always a place where is the water only at ankle depth.

 

Wading

Front moraines

The glacier created numerous frontal moraines. Some, however, are now already overgrown with vegetation and directly on them or just before them can be found beautiful places to camp. It is necessary to ascend a few meters to have a view of the glacier.

 

Front moraines

View of the glacier and ponds

In nice weather we can enjoy beautiful views of the glacier and rock towers over it. In the foreground are glacial ponds that have different color of water as the water is filtered through the moraines. So we can find here gray, green, blue or brown ponds in such a small place.

 

View of the glacier and ponds

Towards pass Udachnyi ("Happy" /перевал

Another glacial river flows in from the left side, along which we head toward the pass with nice name of „happy pass“ (перевал Удачный). But the views of the glacier, however, will hide relatively soon.

 

Towards pass Udachnyi ("Happy" /перевал

Ponds

As we ascend, we have behind our back views on colorful lakes and beginning of the entire valley. The glacier itself, however, is slowly hiding, and if we want to see it, we'll have to make a small detour to the place, where the view will not be obstructed by the hill.

 

Ponds

Another moraine

On the left hand we can see another moraine, from which flows a stream, along which we ascended up here.

 

Another moraine

Herd of yaks

In some places we can see small groups of yaks. This is a sign that herder’s dwellings are not very far. However, you may not see any herders here, because yaks are semi-wild. It is also possible to see camels in Altai.

Herd of yaks

Glacier below "Happy pass"

Once we ascend to the moraine, we see below us the glacier that covers pass Udachnyi („Happy pass“ /перевал Удачный). Here is the last chance to find a campground, unless we want to sleep directly on the glacier or cross the pass.

Glacier below "Happy pass"

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