In the Wilds of the Khamar Daban Mountains - 1

Summer projects
From 19 July to 28 July, 2020
(10 days)
In the Osinovka River Valley, which is part of the Baikalski National Nature Reserve in the Republic of Buryatia, Russia
Long-term goal of the project
In the Osinovka River Valley, which is part of the Baikalski National Nature Reserve
in the Republic of Buryatia, Russia
Project languages
Russian, English
Anticipated Extent of Work
Clearing a trail corridor (of fallen trees and underbrush). Construction of a new trail bed with special fortifying walls along a somewhat
waterlogged slope. Also upgrading and upkeep of an existing trail.

On average the working day will last 6 hours, with a full lunch break. Depending on weather conditions and the physical condition of the group,
this daily routine may change.
Living Conditions and Food
The project will be organized and led for the duration by an experienced trail-building crew leader. There will also be a translator on hand who will make sure that communication runs smoothly for all the participants.

Our volunteer teams will help us set up a stationary campground in a tranquil meadow that lies along the banks of the Osinovka mountain river.
The crew leader will establish an after-hours work schedule for participants to share duties in preparing meals and keeping the campsite in good order.

Project participants will look after order in the camp and make food at the campfire for the whole group based upon the schedule of duties made by
the brigadier. You can familiarize yourself with an example menu.

The GBT will pre-purchase all food stuffs for the duration of the project. We will also provide a full inventory of trail-building equipment and tools,
along with two-person tents.

Please note: there will be no hot shower at this project; but you you will be able to heat up water over the campfire. You also can wash or swim in
nearby Lake Baikal at one point during the project.

We can't really call this a project on Lake Baikal, since our volunteer camp will be located several kilometers inland. But in reality this location might be more of an advantage than a disadvantage. Our camp will be right on the banks of a river, comfortably sheltered from our Baikal winds.
Project Assignments and Days-off
On the first day of the project our crew will need to tote their own personal belongings, along with our camp equipment and food, out
to the project site (a 7 km hike).

The work site itself will be located some 2-3 km from our base camp. At this site our volunteers will be working with various tools (shovels, picks, hand saws, etc.). We will also be moving larger logs and rocks off of the trail. And at several points we will build special structures for the trail. There may be times when it will be necessary for us to carry our backpacks, along with our camp equipment and food, to a new site.

Your backpack should be large, with a capacity of at least 70 liters. The local climate will make it necessary for you to bring a windbreaker or rain coat, along with a warm sweater and durable pants. Please be sure to bring shoes that are comfortable, lightweight, and with non-slippery soles.
Please also note that you will absolutely need to bring rubber boots to this project.

We strongly recommend future participants of the project to familiarize themselves with the list of necessary equipment, information about tick safety, and also with the general information for GBT volunteers.

Weekends: Weather permitting, at the half-way point of the project, we will take the group up into the mountains for a hike.
Then 2 days before the end of the project our volunteers will return to the village of Tankhoi, where they will be taken on a guided tour of Baikalski Reserve's "Museum of Nature" and the Reserve's visitor center with its interactive exhibits. Also at this time all project participants will have the opportunity to take a short hike down to Baikal and enjoy a Russian banya (or steam bath).
All volunteers will be asked to meet up in the city of Irkutsk.

The meeting place and time will be at the GBT Hostel on July 6 at 9.00am. You will therefore need to arrive into Irkutsk either the day before
the project starts, or very early in the morning on the first day. From Irkutsk the group will travel by bus to the village of Tankhoi.

The distance from Irkutsk to Tankhoi is about 230km, so travel time will be about 4 hours in all.

The village of Tankhoi was once one of the most important transportation hubs along the water (during the winter, it was along the ice!). But then the Trans-Siberian railway came in along Baikal's shores. The headquarters of the Baikalski National Nature Reserve is now located in Tankhoi.

At the end of the project our group will be taken back to Irkutsk from Tankhoi by bus.
Participation Fee
The participant fee for this project will be 15,000 rubles for the full 10 days.

It will be paid on the first day of the project. Volunteers can register for this project by sending us copies of their travel tickets. We therefore advise that you read everything carefully in this project description before submitting the application.

The GBT provides:
  • transfer from the city of Irkutsk to the village of Tankhoi and then back to Irkutsk
  • accommodation for the last night in an Irkutsk Hostel
  • crew leader,
  • interpreter,
  • full first-aid kits (if you have a chronic issue and require certain medications, please be sure to bring them with you)
  • all meals and food for the duration of the project
  • all the necessary trail-building tools and equipment, including a tent (each tent can accommodate 2 participants)

In the case of unforeseen circumstances the GBT reserves the right to cancel this project, or to make changes to the program itinerary, while at the same time informing all participants of these changes.

Note: if you do not receive a response to your initial online application within one week, then please contact our volunteer coordinator directly at: