Mount Khuiten Ascent

A climbing expedition to the world`s most remote peak





From $4,180 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Mount Khuiten, Mongolia`s highest mountain
  • Climbing in the land of Ghengis Khan
  • At Nairandal`s summit, Mongolia, China and Russia meet
  • An insight into Mongolia`s Wild West

At the heart of Mongolia's Altai Tavan Bogd (Five Holy Peaks), Mount Khuiten is one of the least accessible mountains on earth. This massif lies on the border with both Russia and China, some 2000 kilometres west of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. After sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar and enjoying a day's preparatory trekking in the nearby Bogdkhan National Park, we continue our journey to the remote Kazakh province of Bayan Olgii. On our 1-day trek to basecamp we are assisted by camels and their drivers and there should be the opportunity to meet and take tea with nomadic herders at their traditional ger encampments. Starting out with the straightforward trek to the summit of Malchin (4037m), we gain dramatic views of the Potaniin Glacier and of our subsequent climbing objectives; the relatively steep and challenging Mount Khuiten (4374m) and the easier, non-technical snow dome of Nairandal (4082m). More than just a superb climbing expedition, this is also a fascinating travel experience in a rarely-visited corner of the world.


explore international

Explore International. This is one of our Explore International holidays. Participants on these trips can book through KE or through one of our international partners. This helps us to gather together sufficient numbers of like-minded adventurers to get your holiday up and running quickly. Led by an English-speaking guide, the cosmopolitan nature of these groups can be an important part of the experience!

Is this holiday for you?

The group of peaks which provide the objectives for this great climbing holiday in Mongolia are quite high, at around 4000 metres. However, our 3-day approach to the region, together with the 15 kilometre walk-in to our basecamp, should provide the group with sufficient preparation. Certainly, by the time we have ticked off the straightforward peak, Malchin, everyone should be in good shape. Our well-established itinerary, including the use of a high camp, makes our 3 objective peaks more easily attainable within the timescale of the expedition. This is not a long or sustained trekking trip, but each of the climbing days will present a fairly tough challenge, with 500 to 1100 metres of ascent. The group will be roped together during the 8 kilometre approach to high camp across the Potaniin Glacier. This is relatively straightforward glacier travel, but there are some crevassed sections. For this part of the expedition, group members will need to carry all of their personal equipment, plus a share of the group's equipment. Previous experience of walking incrampons is essential for this holiday.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Ulaanbaatar. A single airport transfer is provided. Afternoon city tour.
  • Short transfer and trek to the top of Mount Tsetseguun (2256m). Return to Ulaanbaatar.
  • Walk in the Terelj National Park and return to Ulaanbaatar.
  • Fly to Olgii and drive to the roadhead with visit to a Kazakh herder's home en route.
  • Trek to our Base Camp (3095m). beside the Potaniin Glacier
  • Trek to summit of Malchin (4037m) for views of Khuiten. Return to basecamp.
  • Acclimatisation day. Glacier skills.
  • Cross the Potaniin Glacier to our High Camp (3775m).
  • Climb to the summit of Khuiten (4374m) and return to High Camp (3775m).
  • Climb Nairandal (4082m) where Russia, China and Mongolia meet. Return to Base Camp (3095m).
  • Morning relaxing. Afternoon return trek to the roadhead.
  • Drive to Olgi stopping off en route at a nomadic Kazakh herders' camp.
  • Morning relaxing or sightseeing. Afternoon fly to Ulaanbaatar.
  • Contingency day for possible delays, or free time in Ulaanbaatar.
  • Departure day. A single transfer to Ulaanbaatar Airport is provided
Sat 06 Aug - Sat 20 Aug Code KHU /01/16/ Adult$4,180 Status Available Book now
Sat 20 Aug - Sat 03 Sep Code KHU /02/16/ Adult$4,180 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Ulannbaatar International Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to Joining Arrangements and Transfers in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

Note that the above dates for KHU.1 are different to those originally advertised.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Ulaanbaatar. A single airport transfer is provided. Afternoon city tour.

    We meet at the group hotel in Ulaanbaatar. A single timed airport transfer is provided. KE Land Only package services begin with this transfer. After lunch we take a stroll in the city centre, which is close to our hotel. First stop is Sukhbaatar Square, the central square named after the revolutionary hero of 1921, Damdiny Sukhbaatar, who declared independence from China. Next, we visit Gandan Monastery, the largest and most famous functioning monastery in Mongolia. Here, we may be able to see monks in worship and we will also see the impressive Golden Buddha Statue of Migjid Janraisig. Another likely stop for the group is at the National History Museum. We have a welcome dinner and briefing in the evening.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals ld

  • Short transfer and trek to the top of Mount Tsetseguun (2256m). Return to Ulaanbaatar.

    Today we will stretch our legs with an acclimatisation hike over Mount Tsetseguun (2256m), the highest mountain in Bogd Khan National Park, which lies just to the south of Ulaanbaatar. Bogd Khan National Park was founded in 1778, making it one of the world’s oldest protected areas. The hike to the summit takes about 3 hours, through forests of larch and pine, and the panoramic views make the summit a worthy lunch spot. We return to by a similar route.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs walking

  • Walk in the Terelj National Park and return to Ulaanbaatar.

    Today we will head out to Terelj National Park. There are some excellent hiking options in the National Park aswell as the chance to ride on horseback. Terelj, a National Park since 1994, is a very impressive, wild landscape with unusual rock formations and wildlife such as moose, bear and an abundance of birdlife. We return to Ulaanbaatar.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 - 5 hrs walking

  • Fly to Olgii and drive to the roadhead with visit to a Kazakh herder's home en route.

    We have an early rise this morning to catch the flight to Olgii. On arrival we will be met by our transport where our kit will be loaded on to the jeeps. The terrain varies from undulating dry hills, to fertile river valleys, dotted with white gers and herds of yaks, camels and sheep. We stop en route to visit the Kazakh herders and their families, who ply us with copious quantities of tea (locally known as chai). It is apparent that we are approaching the mountains now, as the valleys that we are driving through have become distinctly U-shaped, evidence of the work of glaciers. We arrive at the roadhead late in the day and set up camp.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Trek to our Base Camp (3095m). beside the Potaniin Glacier

    In the morning we load up the camels and hike for approximately 15 kilometres to our basecamp at 3095 metres elevation on the edge of the Potaniin Glacier, at the foot of Malchin Peak. The hike takes us over lush alpine tundra, through herds of camels, with fantastic views directly across the glacier to our objective peaks. After establishing camp in the early afternoon, we take a quick lunch and then there is the opportunity to do some exploration in the vicinity of the camp.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs walking

  • Trek to summit of Malchin (4037m) for views of Khuiten. Return to basecamp.

    From our basecamp, we make an acclimatisation climb of Malchin Peak (4037m), which rises directly behind the camp. This peak provides a long climb, mostly on scree and requiring no technical equipment, yet affords tremendous views over Russia to the north and across to the glaciated peaks of Altai Tavan Bogd, including the very impressive Mount Khuiten, to the south. We return to our basecamp in the late afternoon for a well-earned rest and a ready supply of tea.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 9 - 10 hrs walking

  • Acclimatisation day. Glacier skills.

    At this stage, it is useful for us to take something of a rest day, before setting out to climb the next 2 peaks. So, we spend a day at camp, but also take the opportunity to spend some time on the nearby Potaniin Glacier, putting on our crampons, roping up and refreshing our glacier skills, before we set out properly onto the glacier tomorrow.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Cross the Potaniin Glacier to our High Camp (3775m).

    We have opted to make our first priority the ascent of Khuiten (4374m), since this is the most important of our objectives. Today, we make an early start for the walk up to our camp below our premier objective, Mount Khuiten. It is a 5 to 6 hour walk, following the right side of the Potaniin Glacier, before crossing to the centre. We rope up for this glacier travel and group members will be carrying their own equipment, plus a share of the group’s equipment. The views, looking back down towards the basecamp area, are truly spectacular, with the glacier sweeping off into the distance. Altitude at our high camp is 3775 metres.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs walking

  • Climb to the summit of Khuiten (4374m) and return to High Camp (3775m).

    After an alpine start, we cross the glacier to begin our ascent, climbing snow-slopes of varying angle. The group will climb roped-together, since there are crevasses on our route. The middle part of the route follows straightforward mixed terrain on a rocky ridge and, if conditions dictate, we may fix ropes on a couple of short, steep sections. From the summit we look down into Russia, China and Mongolia – the landscapes of all three countries are distinctly different. We return to camp via the same route.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 8 - 10 hrs walking/climbing

  • Climb Nairandal (4082m) where Russia, China and Mongolia meet. Return to Base Camp (3095m).

    Another fairly early start today, even though our objective is only a couple of hours away. We again cross the Potaniin Glacier to climb Nairandal Peak (4082m). This is the so-called `Friendship Peak`, which gets its name from the fact that it lies at the point where the borders of Russia, China and Mongolia meet. The only opportunity that we will have to visit Russia and China on the same day without visas. This peak involves little more than an easy walk on glaciated terrain and we should be back in camp after 3 hours, ie. by mid morning. We may pack up the camp straight away and make the 5 hour return trek to basecamp or we may opt to stay a further night at the high camp and cross the galcier the following morning when snow conditions will be at their best.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 8 - 9 hrs walking/climbing

  • Morning relaxing. Afternoon return trek to the roadhead.

    A final, easy morning at basecamp. We can enjoy the views and pack up camp in preparation for the journey home. After lunch, we make the return hike to the roadhead and our jeeps.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 - 5 hrs walking

  • Drive to Olgi stopping off en route at a nomadic Kazakh herders' camp.

    Today, we drive back to Olgii, stopping along the way to visit local Kazakh families - no drive in Bayan Olgii Province is complete without stopping for tea breaks. We will have the opportunity to see the magnificent golden eagles which are used for hunting by the Kazakh people in the winter. Arriving in Olgii in the early evening, we check in at a ger (yurt) camp.

    • Accommodation Yurt

    • Meals bld

  • Morning relaxing or sightseeing. Afternoon fly to Ulaanbaatar.

    The morning is free to explore this Kazakh town. We then take the afternoon return flight to Ulaanbaatar, arriving in the evening. Transfer to the group hotel – hot showers and cold beers!

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Contingency day for possible delays, or free time in Ulaanbaatar.

    Today we enjoy a free day for last-minute sightseeing or souvenir purchases.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. A single transfer to Ulaanbaatar Airport is provided

    There is a single timed transfer to Ulaanbaatar Airport in the morning, timed to meet the check in for the Aeroflot flight. KE Land Only package services end on arrival at the airport.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • KE leader
  • Single timed Ulaanbaatar Airport transfers at the beginning and end of the trip
  • Internal flights to and from Olgii together with associated airport transfers
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • When camping all equipment (excluding personal equipment) is provided
  • Group mountaineering equipment is provided

  • Travel insurance
  • Mongolian Visa
  • Ulaanbaatar Airport transfers (other than the single timed transfers on Day 1 and Day 15)
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

During this trip the group will spend 4 nights in Ulaanbaatar at the comfortable and conveniently-located 3-star Palace Hotel (or similar). There will be a single night at a Yurt Camp at Olgii and a single night at a Yurt Camp in the Terelj National Park. There will be a total of 8 nights camping. Our basecamp includes two traditional Kazakh gers, one for dining and one for cooking and this provides us with a comfortable place to rest after our exertions. All accommodation is allocated on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to hire a single tent while on trek for an additional cost. Depending on availability it may also be possible to book a single room for the hotel nights. For additional hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

All meals included, from lunch on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary to breakfast on Day 15.

Once we leave Ulaanbaatar, the food which we provide is a mixture of local and European-style, all purchased in Mongolia and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. The emphasis is on a high carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible at high altitude.

A single group transfer will be arranged to meet the Aeroflot flight on arrival at Ulaanbaatar Airport. This transfer will normally be at breakfast time on Day 1 of the trip itinerary. At the end of the trip there will be a single group transfer back to the airport to meet the check in for the Aeroflot flight. This transfer will normally be in the early morning of Day 15 of the itinerary. The KE guide or a representative of our local agent will assist with these group transfers. Clients not on a flight that can meet this transfer should make arrangements to meet the group at the hotel in Ulaanbaatar on Day 1. Independent transfers to the group hotel can be arranged in advance at extra cost, through the KE Office. Hotel details and an emergency number will be provided.

There will be a KE leader, plus a local climbing guide and a Mongolian trek crew. At basecamp, we will have a Mongolian guide to assist any group members on day-treks from this camp. Both our Khuiten trips in 2015 will be led by Tom Richardson, one of our most experienced climbing leaders. Tom has been leading for KE for over 16 years and is one of the UK's leading mountaineering journalists. Well known as the Gear Editor for Climb magazine, hisis book 'Judgement Days' which reflects on his 30 years of mountaineering all over the world, has been widely published.

Approximately £100 (or the equivalent in US dollars or euros) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses. You should allow around £25 for trek crew tips. You should also allow a small amount for excess baggage on the internal flights between Ulaanbaatar and Olgii (although we do all we can to avoid this). If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). Mongolia’s unit of currency is the Togrog. It is not necessary to purchase Mongolian currency outside the country. Your travel money should be carried in the form of cash in US dollars. Most local shops and bazaars accept only the Togrog or US dollars. Money can be exchanged at the airport on arrival and at your hotel in Ulaanbaatar.

Tipping is expected in this part of the world, although you should only tip for services which are well done. The total amount that you can expect to pay in tips for your local guide, trek crew and drivers is approximately £25 (or the equivalent in US dollars or euros). The local guide and the KE leader will help to coordinate these payments and decide on an appropriate level of tipping for each crew member.

Your baggage will be carried by pack animals on the first day's trek to basecamp. On the subsequent move to high camp, you will be expected to carry all of your personal equipment and a portion of the group camping equipment. The packed weight of your trek bag should be no more than 15 kgs / 33 lbs. It is possible to leave clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel in Ulaanbaatar.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. Please remember that you need to keep the weight of your equipment to a maximum of 15 kgs. / 33 pounds. Once on trek, your mountaineering equipment including your plastic boots will be carried separately in group equipment bags and will not form part of this weight limit.

Your must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots
  • Mountaineering boots – see separate section
  • Trainers / sneakers /or sandals for camp
  • Socks
  • Spare laces
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Gaiters
  • Underwear
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Thermal vests (baselayer)
  • Casual shirts and/or T-shirts
  • Fleece jacket
  • Windproof/waterproof jacket


Warm jacket (down)

  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat or balaclava
  • Eyewear – sunglasses with side protection
  • Lightweight thermal gloves
  • Warm and waterproof over gloves or mittens
  • Backpack c. 70 litres / 4500 cubic inches (for carry to high camp)
  • Headtorch / headlamp with spare bulb and batteries
  • Sun protection (including for lips)
  • Total block sun cream
  • Water bottles 1 Litre / Quart (x2)
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small towel
  • 4 season sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Thermarest or similar sleeping mat
  • Plastic bowl and spoon (for high camp)
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: A broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).
  • The following items are optional:

    • Smaller daypack c. 25 litres / 1500 cu. in. (for travelling)
    • Trekking poles
    • Travel clothes
    • Pee bottle
    • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
    • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
    • Camera and batteries


    Small padlock (too lock your KE trek bag)

    Mountaineering Equipment

    • Warm and insulated mountaineering boots
    • Ice axe
    • Crampons (preferably with ‘step-in’ bindings)
    • Helmet
    • Mountaineering or climbing harness
    • Carabineers (2 x locking)
    • Sling (120cm)
    • Prussik loops x 2 (5 meters of 6mm cord makes 2)


    • Mountaineering boots required for this trip - We recommend warm, insulated and substantial mountain boots, as temperatures can fall well below freezing. Plastic boots with insulated inners (eg. Scarpa Vega HA, Scarpa Omega IT) and also the new generation of synthetic double boots (eg. La Sportiva Spantik, Boreal G1 light), are the best to keep your feet warm at altitude in these low temperatures.  Also, you can sleep in the removable inner boots to ensure warm toes in the morning! You can also use 4 season insulated mountain boots such as La Sportiva Nepal Extreme and Scarpa Cumbre for this trip. All of these boots are also designed to take step-in crampons, quickly and efficiently, which is necessary in the cold conditions. Please note that at high camps night-time temperatures can reach 10 degrees below freezing, and on the summit day wind-chill can bring the effective daytime temperature to this range also. You must make sure that you are suitably equipped for these extremely low temperatures.

    PHD Gear Advisor

    PHD specialise in cold weather equipment, from the world’s lightest right up to the most protective for Everest or the Poles. It’s a large range. So to help you choose what you need to keep you warm, PHD have listed the gear that is appropriate for this expedition.

  • >> Click here to view the PHD Gear Advisor for Mount Khuiten
  • Needle Sports (specialist mountaineering equipment shop)

    • Needle Sports is the English Lake District's foremost specialist climbing shop supplying mountaineering, rock, ice, alpine and expedition equipment worldwide. Internationally recognised as among the very best of the UK's top technical climbing gear retailers. They have a good range of equipment appropriate for this trip and offer knowledgeable advice both on their website and in store.
    • View >>



    For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

    A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

    Visa Mongolia

    On 26 June 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that all British passport holders can visit Mongolia for tourist or business purposes without visa for 30 days. This arrangement is valid until 31 December 2015.

    Most nationalities other nationalities will need to obtain a visa for Mongolia. You should check this with your local Mongolian embassy.

    If you do not hold a Mongolian registration card you must carry your passport at all times - a photocopy is not sufficient. Failure to carry your passport may lead to a fine. Keep a copy of the bio data page in your passport and your Mongolian border immigration stamp separately in a safe place.

    British passport holders need visas to enter China or Russia. Passengers travelling through international airports do not need a visa for a transit of less than 24 hours, provided a confirmed onward ticket is held and the traveller remains in the international transit area (without clearing passport control). Note that Moscow has two international airports - Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo). If your flight schedule shows arrival at one airport and departure from the other, you will need a visa for Russia.

    You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

    We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    This is a physically demanding trip and you will enjoy your holiday more if you have an appropriate level of fitness for the activities involved. It makes sense before coming on any active holiday to make sure you are in good shape. We recommend that you adopt a weekly exercise regime building up to departure. Regular hiking in hill country is the best preparation for a trip like this but if this is not possible, jogging, squash, swimming etc are all good for building up cardio-vascular fitness and stamina.

    As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

    KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

    Mongolia is a land of extremes. Whilst winter temperatures can drop to minus 50 degrees centigrade, summer daytime temperatures can rise to a pleasant 25 degrees centigrade. Weather conditions are similar to the European Alps, with long periods of high pressure and stable conditions, followed by relatively brief storms. August usually sees the most favourable conditions, with daytime temperatures at basecamp of around 20 degrees centigrade, falling to zero degrees centigrade at night. Weather in the mountains is variable and we are likely to encounter some rain and even snow.

    Mongolia - Lonely Planet - Travel Survival Kit. Edge of Blue Heaven. Benedict Allen. Hearing Birds Fly: A Year in a Mongolian Village. Louisa Waugh. The Lost Country: Mongolia Revealed. Jasper Becker. In Search of Genghis Khan. Tim Sevrin. Nomads and Commissars: Mongolia Revisited. Owen Lattimore. Mongolian Phrasebook. Lonely Planet.

    Mongolia. Reise-Know-How Verlag. 1:1,600,000 Scale

    One of a number of maps at around this scale that manage to show the whole of this vast country. The map cannot provide much information about the area that we visit on this holiday.

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