Ask Baikal

Hi there! My name is Maxim Milyutin. I am based in Irkutsk, Russia's Siberia. Traveller, organiser of local travel talks, and owner of Irkutsk hostel. Travel for me is not necessary movement to some place far away from home, it's a state of soul. That's why I like to travel around my home region and and abroad as well. I'm happy to share my knowledge about Baikal with everybody! Feel free to ask me about Lake Baikal via the contact form Tatiana Baksheeva, our previous blog runner, remains with us as a contributor.

The King of Iced Seas… continued)

Here are some more beautiful Lake Baikal ice panoramas… You know. these pics really make me thinking about hiking on frozen Lake Baikal… What about you?

Scientists predict that Baikal will exist even when the face of our planet will change beyond recognition - and it's many thousands of years.

Locals call Lake Baikal – the Sea. Its length is 636 kilometers and its width is only 80

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The King of Iced Seas

I found these amazing panoramas at the and definitely wanted to share. The web-site is on Russian language, so I translated captions for pics. Enjoy!

Every year a solid ice cover binds waters of Lake Baikal. In this respect, Baikal is an exception among the larger lakes in the world. These panoramas were made by Andrey Kamenev at a -20C temperature

The temperature on Lake Baikal shores is higher than in neighboring cities – Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude. On average, it is-21C

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How huge Baikal waves are?

I’ve been recently asked if strong winds ever whip up giant waves on Lake Baikal and where on the lake would large waves be most likely to form.

As in any lake, waves in Lake Baikal arise from the effects of wind on water, on the difference of atmospheric pressure on different parts of the valley, from earthquakes, from the tides, from undersea volcanic eruptions, from the vessels motion and other external forces.

Lake Baikal waves. Photo by

Lake Baikal waves. Photo by

Lake Baikal waves. Photo by

Waves on Lake Baikal may reach a height of 4 meters. Sometimes they evaluated as 5 and even 6 meters, but it is most likely an estimation “by eye”, which has a large error. Height of 4 meters obtained by instrumental measurements on the high seas. The waves are usually strong in autumn and spring, and even in winter before lake freezes. In the summer on Lake Baikal strong waves and storms are rare.

Waves at summer time. Photo courtesy Yaroslav Vityazev

Waves in October. Photo courtesy R.Sinitsina

Waves in January. Photo by

There are winds that blow along the valley, and also transverse winds, that associated with the atmospheric general circulation – transit and local. There are several strongest winds at Lake Baikal:
  • north-western wind – Gorny (Mountain wind);
  • Barguzin, or north-eastern;
  • then Verkhovik (in the northern part of the lake it’s also so-called Angara);
  • Kultuk, or south-western;
  • Shelonnik, or south-eastern wind;
  • and Sarma, north-west wind in the area, opposite the mouth of the Sarma river.
Almost every wind may cause strong waves, but the most severe is Mountain wind. It’s associated with largest disasters at Lake Baikal and is very dangerous for navigation, especially in the middle of the lake. In 2009 during the storm a ship was thrown to the coast, none of the four crew members were injured.

Baikal Superlatives #8. Chilliest Lake

Even in June the Nerpa are found basking on ice floes. The water temperature by mid-June is normally only 4 degrees Centigrade (amazingly, millions of years ago Baikal was a warm swallow lake with tropical plants growing on its shores).

Nerpa at Ushkaniy Island, Photo courtesy Vasiliy Maslukov

What is the Best Season for Visiting Lake Baikal?

Spring at Lake Baikal, Russia. Photo by Andrei Sobetov.

Spring at Lake Baikal, Russia. Photo by Andrei Sobetov.

Lake Baikal is beautiful and interesting to visit in any season! No doubts. Check the following information, videos and photographs.

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Photos: Golden autumn at Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal in autumn. Photo by Vasiliy Maslyukov.

Autumn comes to Lake Baikal in mid August and lasts until late September. During these autumn days, the lake releases its warmth accumulated in hot summer days, and thus maintains a special microclimate on its shores with sunny and warm weather during the days and chilly nights. 

Autumn at Lake Baikal is perfect for your visit to this sacred lake, should you be willing to enjoy solitary and meditative holidays away from city hustle and bustle. Indian summer in late September, that colours forests in bright yellow and red, is attractive for artists and photographers who intent to get beautiful pictures and paintings of the local nature. Multicolored mixed forest at Peshanaya Bay and Chivyrkuy Bay, bright-yellow deciduous forest of the Small Sea shores are especially beautiful in late autumn. 

Read more and see more Vasiliy Maslyukov’s photographs of Lake Baikal in autumn. Read more »