Reuniting the team
In 2004 Tusker’s founding guide, Eddie Frank ran a Kilimanjaro fundraising climb for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. It was an eventful trip that has had lasting impacts for all those on that journey. In July 2018 Mongolia will be the spectacular backdrop for a new charity expedition benefiting same foundation, now called the Canadian Cancer Society.
Mike Ramsden, a stock broker with CIBC Wood Gundy was the driving force behind the 2004 Kilimanjaro CLIMB. The inspiration for organizing the climb was his wife Marge who was battling breast cancer. Marge was good friends with another breast cancer survivor, Amy Micks, who was on the wait list to join the group. Fate smiled on both Amy and Eddie when a spot opened and she made her first African sojourn. While the group was conquering Kili, Amy conquered Eddie, and they married 18 months later.
Sadly, Marge’s cancer returned and she died in 2015, but Mike wants to memorialize her fight. He approached Eddie and Amy, and created the Mongolia Trek for the Cure, a fundraising trip for the Canadian Cancer Society. Tusker has designed a special trek into far Western Mongolia for the group that Eddie will lead in July 2018.
Mongolia’s Western steppes and riverine valleys are seldom traveled and considered one of the best adventure travel destinations in the world. Outside Magazine awarded Tusker’s Mongolia Trek a “Trip of the Year” citation in 2011. There are more wild horses roaming the region than people in this roadless outback that cradles the Mongolian/Chinese/Russian border. Rich in archaeology and pristine wilderness, it overflows with cultural and wildlife encounters.
The trip begins in Mongolia’s far west at the foot of the sacred Tuvan mountain, Sheveet Khairkan. The area is rich with thousands of petroglyphs, some of which date back to 10,000 years – well before Genghis Khan rode rough shod over this tundra turf.
Horses play a pivotal role in this part of Mongolia and Eddie designed the trip to allow trekkers to either ride horses or hike – or do a combination of botyh. It’s the only Tusker trip that is this horse oriented and Eddie runs a horse clinic for those who want to hone their riding skills.
The setting and geology is like no other in the Tusker pantheon with its high mountain flood plains, spongy tundra and the possibility of digging through snow drifts to cross mountain passes over 10,000 feet. It’s a challenge worthy of those who battle cancer as well as those who want a unique outdoor adventure in an increasingly commodified world.
Quest for Tavn Bogd
Mongolia’s largest glacier, the Potanin, provides the unofficial trail with its milky outflows, a rushing water course leading to a secluded base camp at the foot of Mongolia’s longest (14 kilometers) glacier. Above camp are the five peaks that are the centerpiece Altai Tavn Bogd National Park.
The trip’s culminating highlight is a full day climb of Malchin Peak (4,050 meters) that looks down on one side to the Potanin glacier and on the other to sprawling Russia. It’s a non-technical hike, but from the summit you behold magnificent views of its more technical sisters Khuiten (4,374 meters) the highest Mongolian peak and Nairamdal (Friendship) that provides the border between Mongolia, Russia and China. It’s likely the most spectacular border in the world.
Mongolia on my mind
The Mongolian Trek for the Cure is likely to fill fast from trekkers from Mike Ramsden’s contact lists, but Tusker offers an annual July expedition with an extended itinerary. It will satiate anyone with a hunger for pure off-the-grid adventure travel. Get ready to ride with the Mongols.