The origin of mountaineering in Altai as sport, goes back to the beginning of the 20th century. In 1914, brothers Boris and Mikhail Tronov were the first ones to ascend Eastern Belukha, which is the highest point not only of the Katun ridge, but also of Altai Mountains in general. The numerous unsuccessful attempts following Tronov brothers’ ascension suspended the works of the tireless researchers, but in 1933 the team under the direction of Albakov managed to climb to the top. In 1935 the first All-Siberian Alpiniad was held in Belukha area. It served as the beginning of mass ascensions which continue to this day.
Belukha is two-headed, and because it is the highest one, it can be seen from all sides. The Western peak is slightly lower than the Eastern peak. Between each other, they are connected by a slightly concave hollow.
The climbing routes are divided into 11 categories from 1b to 6b. The classic route of the 3a category is the most popular one and it requires a less challenging climbing experience.
Besides Belukha itself, there are in the area a number of other peaks, where climbing of different levels of difficulty is possible.
Climbing to the top or just to admire the peaks of Belukha and their reflections in the waters of lake Akkem is possible even while on the shores of the lake. All automobile roads end in Tyungur village, from where, via different routes it is possible to reach the foot of Belukha on foot or horseback. Helicopter tours are also possible.
The main mount of the Mountain Altai has several names, plausibly reflecting its natural features. The most common name is Kadyny-Bazhi, translated from Turkic as “Head of Katun”, due to the origin of lake Katun in the depths of Belukha and the other one is Uch-Sumer, which in translation means “Three Peaks”. Basically, Uch-Sumer is: Eastern Belukha, Western Belukha and the Crown of Altai, which is actually a separate peak, but for the Turkic people all of this was an indivisible whole; they showed respect and reverence to the mountains.