Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here
Show/Hide Navigation
Tim Moss

Unclimbed Mountains in the Russian Altai

A first ascent with no climbing skill and not much cash.
I like Tim Moss’s attitude to adventure. I asked him to write something for Grand Adventures. He’s busy cycling round the world, so he’s kept it short… Short, but gloriously effective to leave you thinking “what’s my excuse..?!”

21st Century Altai

The Altai is the best mountain range you’ve never heard of. I found it on Google (“world mountain ranges”) and the more I asked around, the more I realised that no one seemed to know much about them (at least not from a British mountaineering perspective).
The expedition was pretty standard in mountaineering terms: fly to an unfamiliar country, spend a few days cobbling supplies from whatever shops you can find, take a bus to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, hike into the mountains with some pack horses, pitch your tents in a good spot and climb as many mountains as possible before it’s time to go home again.
My personal highlights were finding bear prints in the snow, tweeting from the top of a previously unclimbed mountain (something to be celebrated?) and the long evenings huddled around the stove beneath the stars in our big base camp tent.

But what I think is more interesting is:

  1. We recruited our team by just running an advert in the Royal Geographical Society’s Expedition Bulletin and soon grew from two to six. Not having anyone to go with is no excuse, you are not alone. Try also Explorers Connect and Escape the City.
  2. We made first and first-British ascents without undertaking technical climbing. In fact, one of our team had never even climbed before. These days, mountains are usually unclimbed not because they’re really hard but just because no one’s tried. Technicaly expertise need not be a barrier to a great expedition.
  3. We achieved this in two weeks’ holiday from work. I went a few days early and stayed a few days longer but most of the team were in and out within 15 days. Virgin peak glory and a Siberian summit photo without upsetting the boss.
  4. it cost £1,000 all in. A proper expedition, including flights to Russia, insurance, supplies and logistical support.
Read more about the trip here.

My new book, Grand Adventures, is out now.
It’s designed to help you dream big, plan quick, then go explore.
The book contains interviews and expertise from around 100 adventurers, plus masses of great photos to get you excited.

I would be extremely grateful if you bought a copy here today!

I would also be really thankful if you could share this link on social media with all your friends – It honestly would help me far more than you realise.

Thank you so much!

Grand Adventures Cover


Altai Expedition Life

Read Comments

You might also like

Committing to Providence, Creating Your Life  OK, so it’s a bit weird to post a blog post about yourself, especially one filled with so many kind things said about me. But if we leave that aside, I think this is a really interesting article about allowing […]...
The Beautiful Struggle I have been working as a partner of Haglöfs for three years now. They are good people, they make excellent gear, and they care about the sustainability of what they do. Last autumn I made a film in the Lofoten […]...
Las Vegas and Zion National Park – my thoughts I had never seen such anticipation from passengers on a plane. We have, us lucky few who travel regularly, come to take for granted the extraordinary aerial view of the world that flying offers. But dropping down over the Nevada […]...


  1. Cool stuff, I am not completely convinced about the “unclimbed” mountain idea. Someone could easily climb a mountain and not mention it online, or register it with an organization, and you would never know. I realize you allude to this a little in the article. but better to refer to it as “first documented ascent” or something.



Post a Comment

HTML tags you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

© Copyright 2012 Alastair Humphreys. All rights reserved. Site design by JSummerton