You can’t beat walking as the proper pace to discover a new place. Russia and its former Asian republics — an area almost as large as the continental US –now offer vast numbers of possible hiking routes for visitors. Some routes wander among ethnic villages and some head into the most wild places on earth. I’m goaded to try a ramble in the Caucuses by this guidebook full of trails and tips available no where else. Solo traveler is still rare here, but this guide will be your best friend.
Trekking in Russia & Central Asia
1997, 369 pages
AmazonRussians hike and climb in groups: it’s the communist way. While this may seem somewhat alien to us individualistic Westerners, it creates some very fine fellowships. The warm camaraderie I’ve found being in the mountains with Russians, especially the strong campfire singing tradition, is very moving.
There are so many mountains in Russia and Central Asia that any of the ranges can be called remote. There is not a mountain range in all the former Soviet Union where you could not find a place to go and not see another person for a whole month. The mountains of Siberia and the north are just more remote.
The Caucasus are the most accessible big mountains in the former Soviet Union, with an established (if not always simple) system of transportation and hotel services. You can drive there in several days from Germany, or fly in two hours from Moscow. There are roads to within spitting distance of many of the high valleys and major concentrations of peaks. And with a long, illustrious history of climbing and hiking, routes in the Caucasus are well established and documented.