ADVENTURE

PHILOSOPHY       HISTORY       ADVENTURE       CONSERVATION 

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Robert Comstock has made a name for himself as a designer of some of this country’s most innovative leather outerwear, an avid outdoor adventurer and a tireless supporter of animal and wilderness conservation
— GQ & CFDA
 
Adventure is adrenaline for the soul. 

Conservation like evolution exists only with an understanding of the past with an altruistic focus on the future.

Fashion is the innate expression of one’s self without the need for verbal articulation.

Together they provide substance, balance and definition.
— Robert Comstock
 

ADVENTURE NARRATIVES

 
 
 

 
 

ADVENTURE TRAVEL 2020

 

 Robert Comstock is no stranger to adventure and conservation. Already recognized as the only luxury designer who derives inspiration from expeditions to the furthest reaches of the globe, Robert Comstock will lead brand enthusiasts on a series of inimitable global adventures. Partnered with award-winning Nomadic Expeditions and The Peregrine Fund, RC Travel will offer five-star expeditions in the most spectacular wild reaches of the globe—e.g., Bhutan, Africa, Greenland, Papua New Guinea, and more—where RC enthusiasts will make exciting discoveries and share experiences few individuals ever encounter. 

 
 

OUTER MONGOLIA ITINERARY

September 14-27, 2020

 

Monday, September 14

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

 

Geographically the world’s 19th-largest country, Mongolia is so sparsely populated that barely 3 million live here—and over 1/3 of them in capital city Ulaanbaatar, which juxtaposes traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries to contemporary high-rises, bringing ancient culture and the 21st century face to face. 

VIP staff will greet and accompany you to a private room in the airport’s VIP lounge, and a chauffeur will drive us to the Shangri-La Hotel in the heart of the city.  

Shangri-La Hotel

 

Tuesday, September 15

Bayan-Ölgii Province / Mogoit Pass

 

A 3½-hour morning flight to Ölgii, capital of Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia’s westernmost province, continues with a beautiful drive through mountain valleys along the Sagsai River to our private ger camp in the Mogoit Pass Valley. Here we meet and hunt for two days on horseback with native Kazakhs, Mongolia’s largest ethnic minority. Descendants of Genghis Kahn, Kazakhs raise, train, and hunt with golden eagles, powerful creatures that on 7-foot wingspans dive up to 150 miles-per-hour, bringing down deer, mountain goats, antelope, and other small game. Our adventure will include direct handling of these magnificent birds, insight to their behavior, and techniques to their training.

 

Since the early 1800s, when a few families settled in this remote, rugged, beautiful region, the Kazakhs comprise 90% of the population. The Altai Mountains stretch for 1,242 mi (2,000 km) from northwest to southeast, reaching a height of about 14,783 ft (4,506 m) at Belukha. In the shadow Mongolia’s largest and most spectacularly scenic range, isolation has preserved their traditional language and culture. In 1913 Mongolian ruler Bogd Khan granted continued residence here to 200 Kazakh families. In 1990, when Mongolia transitioned from communism to a democracy, some Kazakh returned to their native Kazakhstan; but subsequently, many have returned.  

Private Camp: B, L, D

Wednesday, September 16 

Bayan-Ölgii Province / Mogoit Pass

 Training Your Golden Eagles

 

In the morning, wearing thick leather gloves that extend to our elbows and bracing our arms in forked wooden supports attached to our saddles, we will ride 3 hours into the mountains with the eagles perched on our forearms.  This is a developmental stage in eagle balance training to help ensure that the horses and birds get along. At about noon we will return to camp to share a lunch with the eagle hunters, and afterward ride another 2-3 hours, learning and practicing how to release and retrieve the eagles. Once released, the birds attack lures made of animal skins dragged by other horsemen, after which we call them back to their perch on our forearms. Late afternoon we’ll return to camp for dinner, and in the evening enjoy a performance by a Kazakh musician and stories about the eagles.

Historically, nomadic people used eagles and falcons for hunting, and the first records of this tradition date back to the Khitan Empire, around 907 A.D. Today this ancient tradition remains at the heart of Kazakh culture, proudly passed from generation to generation. There are about 250 eagle hunters living in Bayan-Ölgii Province, who continue to train and hunt with these remarkable birds of prey. 

Private Camp: B, L, D

 

Thursday, September 17

Bayan-Ölgii Province / Mogoit Pass

Hunt with Your Eagles  

 

After breakfast we begin riding in the mountains with the eagle hunters. Young hunters will ride ahead, using noise to chase animals down into the valley, where we will release our eagles to catch the prey. A GoPro camera will be used to film the action from the eagle’s-eye view. We will ride and hunt in nearby valleys across varied terrain, taking a break for a packed meal at lunchtime. 

We will return to camp in the afternoon for dinner and entertainment, i.e. eagle hunter singing and a traditional Kazakh game. 

 

Private Camp: B, L, D

 

Friday, September 18  

Jargalant Khairkhan

 

Early in the morning we will embark on our drive to Jargalant Khairkhan Mountain in Hovd Province, home of the elusive snow leopard. Scientists estimate the total world population of these creatures is less than 7,000, and less than 2,500 are thought to be part of an active breeding pool. Of this limited number, the densest concentration is in Mongolia–as many as 1,000.

 

Our journey of several hours will wind through mountain valleys and over a 9,000-foot pass, affording views of the snowcapped summit of Tsambagarav Mountain; and along the way, at the site of an ancient deer stone, we will hike to observe ancient petroglyphs.

 

Our private base camp is in the Tsagaan Sair valley of Jargalant Khairkhan, an 8,000-foot peak that stands isolated from the main range of the Altai and has retained its own distinct wildlife, including the snow leopard.

 

Mongolia has become a major focus for snow leopard conservation research, which reveals that the animals’ alarming demise derives directly from the loss of cats shot by nomadic herders.  A key strategy for protecting the leopards is to financially compensate the herders who refrain from shooting the cats that prey on their livestock and instead help researchers better understand leopard behavior. 

 

Private Camp: B, L, D

 

Saturday – Monday, September 19 – 21

The Elusive Snow Leopard

 

Each of our three days in this remote area, with the help of a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) biologist, a guide, and local herders, we will explore a different valley in search of the elusive snow leopard. The 4-6 hour treks will be at 8,000-foot elevation and scour different parts of the animals’ extensive mountain habitat, looking for and carefully noting any signs that we discover. Our destination on the 12th will be the site of a purported snow leopard den, where we hope to find cat traces, if not the animal itself. 

 

WWF scientists have installed approximately 40 motion detector cameras in this area and will be checking them for new images of snow leopards. During our expedition we will have the opportunity to converse with the team about all aspects of Mongolian natural and human history, the latest research on snow leopard ecology, and the traditional nomadic lifestyle. Working with biologists, our goal is to find and put a transmitting satellite collar on a snow leopard. At the end of each day’s exploration, we will return to camp for a hearty dinner and conversation. 

Hiking along the rivers of Tsagaan Sair, straight north from the base camp on the first day and west on the next, our focus will be snow leopard footprints and territorial markings. Four hours of hiking will bring us to a mountaintop that affords great views of the surrounding area, where we will scan the terrain by telescope to check all possible snow leopard sites. In the afternoon, a 3-hour hike via a different route will bring us back to camp. The evening will feature cocktails, khorkhog, and discussions with rangers who explored a different valley. WWF staff members will continue to share their experiences with snow leopards, presentations enhanced with videos and photographic images; on this second evening, we will enjoy a cultural performance from members of the theater based in Hovd.  

 

Private Camp: B, L, D

 

Tuesday, September 22  

Ulaanbaatar

 

Early in the morning, we will travel for 1 hour to Khovd for a scheduled flight to Ulaanbaatar, stopping on the way at the picturesque Khar-Us Lake. 

 

Upon arrival in the capital, we will check into our hotel; in the afternoon, we will visit a paleontological lab in Ulaanbaatar to meet with resident scientists and examine fossils found during expeditions in the Gobi. 

 

Shangri-La Hotel: B, L

 

Wednesday, September 23

Khongoryn Els Singing Sand Dunes

 

In the morning, fly by private plane to the Gobi. The landscape unfolding below us will range from rocky hills covered in sparse vegetation to a multicolored, rocky terrain. With gers, we’ll proceed to the Arts Bogd Mountains with Ulaan Nuur Lake visible in the distance. 

 

A 20-minute drive from the landing strip will bring us to the camp site near Khongoryn Els and Chono Shurguul, a wild landscape of saxaul trees and sand dunes that affords vistas of the surrounding Gobi Desert. We will explore the site by camel, and in the evening we will hike atop the sand dune before retiring to our tents. 

 

Els is the Mongolian word for sand dunes, and Khongoryn describes the exquisite pale tawny color of one of the world’s most spectacular sand dunes, yet another noteworthy landscape of the inimitable Gobi Desert. These dunes are also known as the Duut Mankhan—“Singing Sands”—for the remarkable, low-pitched groan the surface emits emitted when disturbed by wind. The towering dunes of Khongoryn Els, which run 62 miles alongside the Gobi Altai Mountain range and reach upwards of almost 1,000 feet, are undeniably are the most magnificent in the Gobi. 

 

Private Tent Camp: B, L, D

 

Thursday, September 24

Three Camel Lodge / Bulgan

 

After a hearty breakfast, a private 30-minute flight will take us to the Three Camel Lodge. In the afternoon, we’ll ride through the Gobi to the Khavzgait petroglyph site on three-wheel Russian Ural motorcycles, and then explore the area on foot. Stargazing with a prominent Mongolian astronomer highlights our evening.

 

Three Camel Lodge: B, L, D

 

Friday, September 25  

Tugrugiin Shiree / Flaming Cliffs

 

In the morning, a short drive across the Gobi will bring us to the Tugrugiin Shiree paleontological site, where the famous “fighting dinosaurs” fossil was discovered. We will explore this important site and the surrounding area on foot, before returning to the lodge for lunch.

In the late afternoon, we will head to Bayanzag, an approximately 1.5-hour ride on three-wheeled motorcycles. Also known as the Flaming Cliffs for the orange glow of its rock at dawn and dusk, this site where, in 1923, Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his exploration team from the American Museum of Natural History found the first scientifically recognized nest of dinosaur eggs. The Flaming Cliffs are rich with dinosaur fossils and have been the site for many important paleontological discoveries. We will have the opportunity to hike in the footsteps of Dr. Andrews in search of dinosaur fossils.

Three Camel Lodge: B, L, D

 

Saturday, September 26

Ulaanbaatar

 

In the morning we will travel via 4-wheel-drive vehicles to the airport for a 1.5-hour flight to Ulaanbaatar to experience private blessings from devout lamas at Gandan Monastery, Mongolia’s seat of Buddhism, and visit the Fine Art School of Buddhist University of Gandan.

 

Woven through Mongolia’s nomadic culture is a rich Tibetan Buddhist tradition, in which ancient shamanist practices are still evident. Although Buddhist monasteries were either destroyed or converted into museums during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, Gandan Monastery continued to operate as a showpiece for government officials. Despite the communist government’s 1930’s efforts to suppress and abolish Buddhism and other religious beliefs, Mongolia’s spirituality persisted; a significant resurgence of Buddhism began in 1990, when Mongolia became a democratic nation. 

 

In the afternoon, we will have a private viewing of the country’s best antique gallery and meet some of Mongolia’s leading artists. 

 

Shangri-La Hotel: B, L, D

 

Sunday, September 27

Departure

 

Transfer to the airport and depart Mongolia. 

 
 
 

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