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SNOW LEOPARDS – ALTAI MOUNTAINS MONGOLIA

Expedition Overview

Join photographers Jordan Banks & David Gibbons for an expedition with a difference. Deep in the winter of 2026 we will travel to Mongolia’s Altai Mountains in search of one of nature’s most elusive mammals, the Snow Leopard. This expedition won’t be for the faint of heart, conditions will be harsh butthe rewards will be even greater. Very few people have ever had the privilege to witness these incredible cats in the wild and we are giving ourselves the best possible opportunities.

Yur expedition will be led by world renowned photographer and JRNY Magazine founding editor, Jordan Banks. Jordan has been a part of and lead expeditions to some of the most remote regions of the globe over the past three decades. The images from these expeditions have graced the pages of National Geographic, BBC & Time magazines, documented by Sky Tv and lead to multiple awards from National Geographic for his travel, landscape and wildlife photography.

  • When: FEB 2026 (exact dates TBC)
  • Photographic Experience: Intermideate/Proffesional
  • Photography Oppurtutnites: Wildlife, Landscape & Cultural
  • Expedtion Start: Ulaanbaatar
  • Expedtion Finish: Ulaanbaatar
  • Country: Mongolia
  • Region: Altai Mountains
  • Fitness level: Good level of fitness required
  • Climate: 0°C and below
  • Alltitude: 3000m / 10,000 feet
  • Trip Leaders: Jordan Banks & David Gibbon
  • Expedtion Team: Enlgish speaking guide, trackers, drivers & cooks
  • Price: £10,500

What to expect

About Snow Leopards winter expedition

Our time will be focused on both birding and mammal watching with a strong focus on trying to watch Snow leopard. In summer they live generally at altitudes 3000 and 4500 meters. In winter they may migrate to lower elevations of 900 meters, following their preferred prey. The best season for watching the mountain ghost is cold seasons in lower elevation. The trip is one of the special ways to mitigate snow leopard hunting by local people who lost their livestock to the carnivore

Observe the elusive Snow leopard; Mountain camp is in Altai Mountain (1500 km west from Ulaanbaatar). The10-14 days of trip focuses on the elusive life of the snow leopard in Western Mongolia, as well as providing a chance to see mountain mammals’ birds and additionally water birds in a lake. Also possible to watch Siberian ibex, saiga antelope, black-tailed gazelle, Altai snowcock, and various birds, hiking in mountains etc.

Ancient rock paintings; A cave has Palaeolithic art (c 13000 BC) near the mountain camp site. The paintings represent animals including ostriches and mammoths, which testify to their former presence in the region. Traces of smoke in the cave close to 20 meters high seems to attest that it was already a shelter to the Paleolithic population

A unique chance to see and to take pictures of the elusive cat intheir preferred habitat;

  • Proximity to a big city and a developed infrastructure.
  • We work with sustainable & ethical guides and operators
  • A good chance to see the clear night sky and stars with no effect
    of light.
  • witness the Mongolian culture first hand
  • Snow leopards are well adapted to the cold, higher mountain environment found in
    the Western Mongolia.
  • An unusual way to have a comfortable rest in a traditional ger.
THE WORLDS MOST ELUSIVE CATS
8 Night Itinerary

Crossing the Drake Passage by air instead of by sea will provide a safe, fast and efficient crossing of one of our planet’s most notorious bodies of water, deemed by many to be the roughest seas in the world. Using a multi-engine jet aircraft cuts the crossing time from two days to under two hours. Flying from mainland Chile to Antarctica is perhaps one of the most exclusive intercontinental flights possible!

 

Day 1 – Departure in Ulaanbaatar. Sleep in a hotel.

Day 2 – This morning, we will take a domestic flight to the small city, from where we travel overland to the
Altai Mountains for 2-3 hours, in a beautiful located mountain ger camp. With the mountains to the west and
a vast lake surrounding by semi-desert steppe to the east, our base is operated by a local wildlife protection
organization that has been aim of protecting this extremely rich wildlife area

Day 3-6 –  Search for snow leopard with binoculars or telescope in the mountains (lunch pack or go back for
lunch). Additionally, watch petrography to cave near mountain camp, water and shore birds and Gobi
wildlife in lower elevation. Professional trackers and local guides will search for the elusive snow leopard in
the magnificent landscape of the Altai Mountain the next six days. The majority of observation points can be
driven 5-12 km with 4×4 vehicles, followed by a short walk of a couple kilometers over largely flat terrain.
However, on occasions it will be necessary to take a short-medium length walk that will demand basic fitness
and the ability to walk on rocky, uneven or steep terrain.

Day 7 – Fly to Ulaanbaatar city (from mountain camp 1500 km).

Day 8 – Departure

MORE INFORMATION

Accomodation

We have settled an eco-friendly mountain camp where you can experience the nomadic dwelling. A ger that is includes 3 beds in a ger, layers on the bed, blanket, sheet, pillow and hand washing sink. Toilet and shower are out of Ger. There are two generators for electricity and each ger has an electric plug in. Kitchen and dining ger is separated from the living area.
Mountain camp is closer to Khovd city so stable mobile (4G) and internet connection is available (Wi-Fi).

English speaking biologists & guide for the whole period of the expedtion. Water supply: we use water from a deep well for food. In the field we use bottled pure water.

 

Food

Breakfast – oatmeal, fried egg, cheese, sausage and bread, homemade
traditional cookies.

Lunch – Russian and Mongolian type of food. Most of them include meat (eco-meat) such as mutton, beacon, and chicken, rice, various noodle, vegetables, and salad.

Dinner -soup and other food and dessert; beverages: coca a cola, coffee, bottled fruit juice. If you have a special preference for food, please tell us. We also have vegan food such as tofu, soya meat and vegetables.

AT THE HEART OF THE ADVENTURE

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