Almaty is the biggest city of Kazakhstan and is a perfect place in regards to any kind of mountain activity. It is surrounded by Trans-Ili ridge – one of the main ridges of the Northern Tien Shan: snow covered peaks and blazing glaciers are visible from any point of the city, so beckon the citizens and visitors to explore their beauty. Day glacier hike looks like great weekend option, since the glacier area can be reached in 1 hour from the centre of the city.
Bogdanovich, Manshuk Mametova and Touyuk-Su glacier areas are described in this section.
Roads: there are 13km of good asphalt road from Almaty to Medeo skating rink. You can take a cable car or eco-taxi further from Medeo to Shymbulak ski resort.
Trails: stony trails, often used. Normally follow the lateral glacier moraines.
National Parks: glaciers of Bogdanovich, Touyuk-Su and Manshuk Mametova are located in Ili Alatau NP, in the upper reaches of Maloalmatinsky gorge. This side of the gorge can be visited free (no NP entrance fee is required).
Petrol stations: the last petrol station is in Almaty city (Dostyk ave.)
Shops and cafes: there are cafes in Medeo area and in Shymbulak ski resort (also on a way to the Talgarsky pass at a cable car station). There are no shops of cafes along the trails.
Water: the water in Maloalmatinsky river is clean and can be used for drinking. There is a spring with crystal water in Touyuk-Su gorge, 500m above the Mountaineer’s memorial.
Cellular coverage: good cellular connection within 2 km around Shymbulak, but can be unstable in other areas
HOW TO GET FROM ALMATY
It is easy to reach Medeo rink from Almaty by bus (#12) or by car (following the Dostyk ave. up to the south). There are 2 options from Medeo: either with a cable car which runs with few stops (Medeo – Shymbulak – Talgarsky pass), or with an eco-taxi/eco-bus (Medeo-Shymbulak) and then walk up.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Winter activity options: mountaineering, skiing, ski touring, winter hiking
In March and April, due to warming and a large amount of snow there is a high risk of avalanches (really dangerous).
1. Hiking to the Bogdanovich glacier
Take a cable car from Medeo up to the Talgarsky pass via Shymbulak. The hiking part starts at a pass: move to the south by the trail: first along the slope, and then along the left lateral moraine. In some places the path looks lost in the stones – you should adhere to the stone mounds (they are marking the direction). A visible path ends at Nunatak (high rock in the middle of the moraine). There are 200m from this point to the tongue of the glacier. There are 2 hours of walking onу way from the pass to the glacier, the height difference is 100-150 m.
2. Hiking to the Touyuk-Su glacier
Having started from Shymbulak, follow the asphalt road up the gorge. After 400m the asphalt ends and a further path runs along a dirt road leading up the gorge. Having crossed another 800m you will see “Touyuk-Su gates” hotel (now closed), hydro-post, Mountaineering camp and Mountaineer’s memorial on the way: you will find yourself at a height of 2600m ASL. Do not turn off the road, continue ascent along the gorge. At an altitude of 3000m the Mynzhylki panorama appears: it includes an old mudflow dam and weather station. A way from Shymbulak to Mynzhylki takes around 2 hours. The dirt road, which have to be followed further, continues to rise up the gorge. After crossing the river, it sharply turns to the right and then again to the left (turn looks like a large zigzag). At a height of about 3450m the road bifurcates: the right one leads to the houses of glaciological station, the left one (after next 150 m) turns into the path which, along the left lateral moraine, approaches the tongue of the glacier. Walking time Mynzhylki – 3450m point approximately 2 hours, from 3450m to the glacier - 40 min.
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