Petrun Village

Located on the right hand bank of the Usa River, 168 km from Inta. It was founded in 1871 by the brothers Simon, Pyotr and Ivan Khozyainov from Mokhcha (Izhma area). It stands on a site where Nenets reindeer herders used to make sacrifices to their gods (idols-bolbans). That is why the village was first called Bolban, but was later renamed Petrun after the father of the first settlers. The village was a trade center for reindeer herders who roamed the area. Nowadays, the village has the largest reindeer farm of the Inta area, and it is still owned by the government. It is better to arrange trips to the Petrun village in winter and spring, before the reindeer migratory period.

The village has retained traditional trades: sewing from reindeer skins, suede, weaving from leather straps, and bone and wood-carving. Among the holidays, Reindeer herder's Day is the most remarkable and popular. It is held one week before the migration of the reindeer herds to the mainland tundra.

Balvanyu Valley

While the Inta area has no Orthodox cathedrals, it does have quite a few pagan religious places. The toponym "bolban" (idol) is rather common. For instance, the Balbanyu river (idol river) flows into the Kozhim river. A trip along the Balbanyu valley is one of the easiest, since cars going to Zhelanny, a mining community, regularly drive to the valley, as well as the cars of geologists prospecting for manganese, gold and other mineral resources in this area of the Pre-Polar Urals. A one-week exploratory trip to the bolbans and "sacred peaks" is best accomplished in summer, making separate small "radial" trips from the Sanavozh camp of the Yugyd-Va National Park. Protected natural and historical monuments include the stone ¡mage on the bank of the Kozhim river at the mouth of the Balbanyu river. Natural sacred objects Include Erkusey mountain (Shaman Mountain in Russian), mountains Starik (the master of the mountains) and Starukha (the mistress of the mountains). It should be noted that Starik and Starukha exchanged places on some maps because of errors made by the first topographers.

Climbing Shaman Mountain

Erkusey Peak is located within a 2-3 hour hike from the community of Zhelanny on the right bank of the Balbanyu river. It is 1,099 m above sea level. Locally, people refer to it as Shaman Mountain. Since very long ago, the shamans of the Ob Komi reindeer herders, who themselves used to herd reindeer, had a summer camp at the foot of Erkusey. Even today, reindeer herders use the area of the shamans' camp. It is presumed that reindeer herders made ritual ascents of Erkusey for sacrifices fusing the northwestern crest and slope, since Erkusey was regarded as the abode of the Northern wind spirit - Voypel.

Erkusey Peak has one good place for sport climbing - the northern wall composed of thick dark rock. Climbing starts from the shamans' camp area. The distance between the base camp near the reindeer herders' balok (movable dwelling) on the right bank of the Balbanyu river and the foot of the mountain is 500 m. The climbing route begins along the snowy slope, which is 30 degrees steep, and then 150 m to some cliff outcroppings. Then along slanting shelves that are 50-80 degrees steep. It is another 250 m to a vertical wall that is 4 m high. Then it goes around the wall along the shelf to the left, turning around the edge. Then for 75 m it follows a traverse along the slanting shelf to the left, leading to a snow-covered corner. Then it goes up to the upper part. The climb to the next cliff outcroppings is 300 m. It then has a 50-m climb along sloping plate-like shelves of 40° - up to the snowy ridge leading to the pre-peak plateau. The peak is plateau-like. The highest peak is a conglomeration of fragmental debris.

To Starukha Aling the Left Trouser Leg

Starukha Peak is located in the mountain horseshoe of the Balbanyu River Valley between Starik Peak and Severny Peak. One of the significant landmarks for identifying the peak is Lake Maly Balbanty. Going up the valley. Peak Starukha is on the left bank of the lake. This tent-like mountain of heavily broken rock - with three piles of rocks on the top -has always been a good guide for reindeer herders. That is
why there is a permanent summer site here used by the Ob Komi, who drive their herds to the mountain pastures from the Urals in summer. The official name on maps is not correct. Local people call this peak Starik (master), and it is the opposite peak (marked as Starik on maps) that is called Starukha.

The most interesting place for sport climbing is the northern wall, which attracts climbers with its cliff bastion. Two interior angles merging with each other in the upper part can be seen distinctly on the wall. These interior angles have been named the "stone trousers".

The base camp at the reindeer herders' balok on the right bank of Lake Maly Balbanty and the foot of the wall are 1000 m apart along slopes, mountainous tundra and overgrown stone taluses. One should use safety ropes when climbing the wall. The route then follows along the slanting wall of the left interior angle ("left trouser-leg") at 55°. It then goes upward to the right for 500 m on slab-like cliffs of medium complexity. In winter, the slope and the slanting slabs are almost fully covered with a thin layer of ice. It is not easy to cross this area, since the ice is not firmly attached to the stone.

The wall is 90° steep in its upper parе, where the right and left angles of the "stone trousers" merge. Then there is another 40 m of climbing of medium complexity with railing. The wall can be passed on the right along interior angles up to 80" steep for 60 m. Then it moves to the left along the horizontal shelf and reaches a difficult cliff wall 4 m high. Then there is a cliff ridge along an 8-m slanting shelf. Then it follows a traverse of the ridge slope on broken rock for about 400 m, up to the lop. The peak is the left-most of the three towers, and is separate from the others. One starts climbing the upper rock from a vertical crack with a stone plug to the left on the vertical wall up to 5 m high (complicated climbing) to a horizontal shelf which can be used for reaching the foot of the tower, to a series of shelves leading to the top. One moves down the northwestern slope along fragmented taluses to the Balbanyu River Valley. The route on the northwestern slope (subject to avalanches in winter) is not complicated in technical terms {a 1A level of complexity). That is why climbers can pack up their climbing gear (except for helmets) right after moving down from the tower. The downward trip back to the camp along the Balbanyu river is approximately 2.5-3 km. The cliff route corresponds to a 3B level of complexity. The first climb of the northern wall of Starukha Peak was made in April of 2003 by a group under the guidance of S. Kiselev (Inta) during the Komi mountain-climbing championships.

Narodnaya - Tallest of the Urals

Narodnaya Mountain - the tallest mountain of the Urals (1895 m above sea level) - is one of the most popular natural objects in the Komi Republic. Mountain climbers and tourists from Russia, the CIS and other countries are attracted by its height and relatively good transport accessibility (as compared with the other mountains of the Pre-Polar and Polar Urals). The fact that during the ascent one crosses the boundary between Europe and Asia, running along the Urals, also appeals to tourists. The names of the first Narodnaya-climbers can be found among the names of the participants of geodesic expeditions in the 1930s or earlier. The etymology of the mountain's name is still debatable: it may be named after the Siberian Naroda River, which flows from the slopes of the mountain, or after the word "narod" (people). The climb features a route with an elevation of 320 m above sea level at the foot of the mountain and 1895 m at the summit.

From the geologists' base - the community of Zhelanny - one goes up the Balbanyu river along its left bank for 3-4 hours to the reindeer herders' camp at Lake Mały Balbanty. There is a shallow ford across the mountain stream just before the camp. Then within approximately the same distance, there are traditional camps on the slopes of Narodnaya Mountain, near the Limbeko Pass. There is a good landmark here - a burnt-out offroad vehicle. It is near this point that the Balbanty river should be crossed, along the rocks. It takes less than one hour to get from the remains of the offroad vehicle to the traditional camps. After the camp near the Limbeko Pass it is necessary to cross a stream - one of the tributaries of the Balbanty river - and start to climb along the right slope of the northern crest of Narodnaya Peak. The climb then goes along a poorly marked mountain tundra path (for about an hour) to the first step of the slope leading to the Kar-Kar Pass. Then, looking at the left part of the northern crest, one can distinctly see (when there is good visibility) a wide snow and ice couloir leading to the northern crest of Narodnaya Peak. Climbing along the couloir takes about an hour and a half and leads to a wide rocky plateau. This continues along the cliffs of the northern crest to the right, in the direction of the Kar-Kar Pass to the place where the cliffs markedly level out. Then before the pass there is a climb along a large interior angle in the cliffs of the right part to the northern crest of Narodnaya Peak. From there, it goes along the crest to the cross erected at the boundary between Europe and Asia. After the cross, the route goes a short way along the wide part of the crest, after which the crest becomes more narrow and rocky. The rocks are dense. For an average climbing group, it takes 1-1.5 hours to get from the cross to the top along the rocky crest. The top is quite distinct, and is marked by numerous memorial signs left by different mountain-climbing, tourist clubs and federations.

Karpinsky Peak

In the previous route, it was described how to get to the Limbeko Pass from the geologists' base - the community of Zhelanny. After the camp under the Limbeko Pass one should cross the Balbanty river and start to climb along the tundra, which turns into a medium-size rocky area in the direction of a well-defined rocky counterfort in the central part of the northern crest of Karpinsky Peak. This is the third counterfort to the left of the pass, and the best-defined one. At the base of the counterfort it is necessary to use ropes. Then one moves along the rocks and the crest until coming to the first rocky section. The 10 m rocky wall should be gotten around on the left along the fireplace. In June, the fire-place is filled with accumulated ice, and one must move carefully along its borders.

After passing the key section one moves along the crest, where the rocks do not exceed average complexity, to the second rocky section. Movement is simultaneous, using a shortened rope. After the second rocky section, the difficulty and steepness of the rocks increase. This section is not long and leads to the northern crest - within 200 m of the top. The northern crest is large in area, with no rocks of any difficulty. The top is a rocky tower 15 m tall.

The descent from the summit is along a wide snow couloir (the second from the summit to the north) to the valley of the Balbanty river, which does not cause any technical problems. In winter, the couloir is subject to avalanches, and it is therefore recommended to descend along the Asian slope to the pass located between Karpinsky Peak and Narodnaya Mountain, then to Lake Verkhny Balbanty, then return to the camp under the Limbeko Pass.

Varsanofyeva Mountain

This ¡s the highest summit of the Maldy-Nyrd ridge in the area between the Limbeko and Balbanyu rivers - the left tributaries of the Kozhim river. The Maldy-Nyrd Ridge is the northern extremity of the Issledovatelsky Ridge. Varsanofyeva Mountain is 1,538 m above sea level. It is convenient to climb this mountain from the "Sanavozh" base of Yugyd-Va National Park, both in summer and in winter. Climbing takes 8-12 hours, requiring basic climbing skills, - the ability to move along grassy slopes, screes, not too complicated rocks, and snow slopes with a steepness not exceeding 45 degrees. When the weather is good, it's possible to see the Pre-Polar Urals from Varsanofyeva Mountain.

Obe-Lz Ridge

The Obe-lz Ridge is located in the northwestern part of the Pre-Polar Urals. It is approximately 5 km long. The most attractive place for climbing is Krasny Kamen Mountain, which is 689 m above sea level. Climbing Krasny Kamen is one of the most popular hikes for school and family groups. It brings a lot of positive emotions and is easily accessible in financial, time-related and organizational terms. The trip starts from the Kozhim-Rudnik Station, and then continues on the unpaved road leading along the Kozhim river to the Syvyu river. After crossing the Syvyu river, the route continues to the barren zone, while progressively gaining altitude. The summit is quite distinct and well-located on the map. If the weather is fine, outdoorsy families with children over the age of 7 and school groups spend 5-7 days on the trip, including the return to the Kozhim-Rudnik Station.

Rafting Along the Balbanyu and Kozhim Rivers

The Balbanyu river, rich in rapids, will be always attractive for lovers of rafting and kayaking because of its obstinate character. Rafting is performed on catamarans, dinghies and rafts. In recent years, more and more extreme rafters have negotiated the rapids and hazards of the Balbanyu River onkayaks and mountain kayaks. The route takes 10-15 days (from Pelengichy to Kozhim-Rudnik). Transportation to the starting point of the route is carried out from Inta by chartered "Ural" offroad vehicles, or by hitchhiking. The Balbanyu river is a complicated river from the very beginning and requires a lot of attention in each section and throughout the entire route. There are many places that require well-coordinated work of the crew; for safety reasons, kayakers should look over the sections from the bank and plan ahead. The part of the route before the confluence of the Balbanyu and Kozhim rivers requires good skills of all participants as well as good equipment and mandatory means for life-saving and rescue in the water. The Kozhim river is a protected river. It is a right tributary of the Kosyu river with the Kozhim flowing into the Kosyu at a distance of 97 km from its mouth. The length of the river is 202 km. 141 tributaries flow into the Kozhim river. Salmon come to the Kozhim river for spawning. Many rare species of fish inhabit the river. It is part of the Kozhim Ichthyological Reserve created m 1984 to protect rare species of fish. In the riverside protected zone, prohibited activities include: Commercial and recreational fishing, logging, and extraction of minerals. The confluence is followed by a technically complicated section - the Manyuku Rapids (a funnel-shaped sink), then the river becomes even. It remains high-velocity and full of rapids but there are no narrow places. On the right bank of the Kozhim River at a distance of 11 km upstream from the railway bridge there is the Kozhim Geological Monument (designated as such in 1984). Low outcropping of carbonaceous argillites and picturesque calcareous rocks can be found there. The geological monument was placed under protection, since this is Russia's only large deposit of amrnonoids of the Early Carboniferous Period. They belong to 18 genuses. It is of scientific and esthetic importance. After the place where the Kozhim Road crosses, there are some camps along the route which are looked after by workers of Yugyd-Va National Park. Rafting from the crossing takes 5-7 days depending on the interests of the group.

Where to apply:

«Jjugyd Va» National Park

Tel./fax 8(82146) 24-7-63.


«Lingua Tour» Agency

Tel.: 8(8212) 20-18-59


«Inpolar» Tour Agency

Tel.:(8-82145) 6-37-01, 8 904 8639071


«Inta-Tour» Agency

Tel.:(8-82145) 6-13-06


«Vertas Tour» Agency

Tel. (8212) 280-444



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Национальный парк Югыд Ва / под ред. В. И. Пономарева. - М. : Дизайн. Информация. Картография, 2001. – С. 207 : ил.