Mong Stats:3 hour driving day (With a river crossing made it to Chowd by lunchtime)
100km All on tracks
Weather: Cloudy and Really Really Cold! Snowing afternoon – evening.
With a reasonable dirt track stretching ahead of us, and a mere 100km to go before our next stopping point of Chowd, we were confident of a warm bed for the night, and possibly even a hot lunch! Descending into a small gully, the track in front of us stopped and disappeared into a river of ice. Although a clear fording point, the ice had big cracks and although it could support our weight when we tested it (despite all the macarons in Barnaul!), it would obviously not be up to the 3.5 tonnes of Beaut. After a detailed inspection and a brief debate about the merits of snow chains (we put them on), our route was picked and 3 of us crossed on foot whilst Tom steeled himself in the drivers’ seat. Despite building up a slight head of speed before reaching the ice, all momentum was lost when we crashed through, and we stalled on exiting at the other river bank. Fortunately the river was only about a foot deep at this point, and, after a swift restart and switch to low range, she surged out and onto dry ground.
Around 13:00 we rolled into the small town of Chowd and with many Jerry cans full of ice to unfreeze we checked into the Minj Hotel for an afternoon of admin before heading to Altai.