The 5th Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2013
May 28th to June 29th 2013
Route Survey Three – Mongolia – July 2012
Immediately following his route surveys to Russia Kim Bannister flew to Ulaan Baatar to carry out comprehensive Mongolia survey looking for a new route through this remarkable country.
The challenge set by the rally office was to find a new and interesting Mongolia route for the 2013 event and this I feel has been achieved with the route being 95% new from Ulaan Baatar to the Russian border and much changed from the Chinese border to the capital
Erenhot to Altanshiree
Leaving the border town of Zamlin Uud, the hottest and driest town in Mongolia, the route follows a slightly different route from 2010 towards the town on Sainshand where or camp site was located for the previous two events through Mongolia.
The roads in this area are sandy and there is a fair amount of truck traffic caused by the increasing prosperity of Mongolia and the numerous mineral finds in the country but the roads are wide so overtaking is easy.
We join a new tarmac road for 80 kms before turning off over little used country roads for our first time trial sections of the event close to our new overnight camp site at Altanshiree.
Altanshiree to Ulaan Baatar (UB)
Leaving the camp we head west along a lovely track for 100 kms to the village of Ayrag where we join the 2010 route to the tarmac road at Choyr. There is a new tarmac road under construction and parts of this may be open when the event arrives, if not we will use the sandy and dirt tracks which closely follow the new road before joining the tarmac at Choyr for the run in to Ulaan Baatar and a well earned rest day.
Ulaan Baatar to Russian border
We will have a ceremonial re-start from the main Sukhbaatar Square in UB before heading west on the tarmac road for about 100 kms then turning north to leave the tarmac behind and enter the true Mongolian countryside. There will be very little other traffic as the route for 2013 goes into even more remote territory to experience the amazing scenery this beautiful country has to offer.
The roads are a mix of dirt, baked mud and stone so can be challenging at times but the required average speeds will be low so there is no need to try and drive too fast over any rough bits. Our first two camp sites will be near to the towns of Bulgan and Murun. These towns are regional capitals so have a basic infrastructure such as shops, fuel stations and even Internet Cafes and you will also find a good mobile phone signal in the area.
Our next three nights camping will all be by some beautiful lakes and crews will have the opportunity to swim in the lovely clear waters as in June the weather is usually fine and dry. The first is at Telmen Lake a gathering point for a host of migratory birds, the second at Chjargas Lake which has never experienced human settlement on its shores so is wonderfully clean and the third is at Uureg Lake. This lake is another visiting point for migratory birds and is surrounded by mountains making the views in the morning particularly spectacular.
Our final camp in Mongolia is near Tsaaganuur and the Russian border. This is close to the Altai Mountains and is 2500 metres above sea level so will feel quite cold at night. June is one of the nicest months in Mongolia. Rain is very rare and the temperatures during the day should be in the 25 to 28 degrees centigrade range. At night the countryside cools down very quickly and some of the route is at quite high altitudes so the nights can feel very cold.
Taking the advice of my Mongolian hosts I used a fleece liner for my sleeping bag although if you have a 4 season’s type then this is fine. I also used an inflatable mat and ground mat to make sure no cold came up through the ground.
One other item to pack is also a woolly hat as this will be needed at the last night’s camp. Of course on the event our Mongolian partners, Nomads Tours, will be providing a full service at each camp with food tents, toilets and hot showers and crews will put up their tents as close or as far away from these facilities as they like. Mongolia is probably the last great wilderness and camp ground.
We have one other bonus for the 2013 event which was not enjoyed by the 2010 version and that is the long hours of daylight. We sat and talked well past 22:00 each evening and this will create a great “camp fire” atmosphere as we enjoyed in 2007.