In May we are heading to Northern Tian Shan Mountains in Kazakstan, to be precise to the Trans-Ili Alatau mountain range.There are several valleys rising to high mountain glaciers and 4000s peaks. Our destinations there are Tuyuk-Su and Bogdanovich glaciers and their surroundings.
Even close to Almaty (largest city and cultural capital of Kazakhstan) these places are still wild and untouched, very few groups visit them during the year. In May there is generally stable snowpack, long daylights and relatively easy access. All this allows us to ski truly big lines on 4000-meters peaks and experience the pleasure of ski-mountaineering.
And of course, not only superb skiing but also Kazakh cultural experience - is it a best way to wrap out your skitouring season?
The beginning of our journey is Almaty, the largest city and the former capital of Kazakhstan. There are both direct flights from Europe and connections via major hubs, such as Istanbul.
Arrival on Saturday, rest time, small cultural program. On Sunday early in the morning, we leave for the Shymbulak ski resort, which is the largest ski resort in Central Asia. There, in a comfortable hotel on 2300 meters above sea level we spend 3 days, touring on Bogdanovich glacier. Ski lifts will bring us to Talgar pass on 3200 and then we have an easy acces to the high alpine terrain. It also allows us to get better acclimatization before the main part of the program.
Then we move up the valley, to the foot of the Tuyuk-Su glacier. Our gear and belongings will be transported by a 4WD car, while we will hike / skitour. On the last stretch, we may have to skitour with our backpacks and all the gear to the base camp, about 300 vertical meters.
Next 5 days we spend here, in the tent camp on 3500 meters above sea level. Our peaks and goals will be determined depending on the situation (weather, snow and avalanche conditions) and the participant's wishes. The choice of routes and lines is more than sufficient for the entire period of our camping.
On our last day, Sunday, we’ll skitour till mid-day then ski/hike/ride down to the Almaty and spend the evening exploring the cultural capital of Central Asia.
Price: 2 290 € per person
- General organization of the program.
- 8 days of skitouring and guiding.
- Group transfers from Almaty to Chymbulak resort and back.
- Transportation of equipment to the Tuyuk Su glacier and back (depends on road conditions).
- Accommodation in Chymbulak ski resort, 2 nights, TWIN, with breakfast.
- Base camp kitchen equipment.
- Group glacier travel equipment (ropes etc)
- Use of satellite phone/messenger.
- International airfares.
- Accommodation and transportation in Almaty.
- Lift tickets
- Meals (except breakfasts on Chymbulak resort).
- Personal insurance (required).
- Advanced/expert level of skiing in any snow conditions.
- Very good to excellent physical shape.
- Basic ski-mountaineering skills (use of boot crampons and ice axe).
On this program the maximum group size is 4 participants and guide. I also can run the program for a group of 2 guests, which allow us to do more technical ski-mountaineering routes. Please contact me for details.
If you are experienced in winter camping, then this small expedition does not have anything special for you, it will be a standard camp with personal tents and a separate dining tent. Night temperatures are comfortable (about minus 5 deg Celsius) and in the afternoon there are stable positive temperatures.
If it will be your the first experience of a winter/spring tent camp, then I will do my best to make it as positive as possible. Advice on equipment and camping life and all I can help with 20+ years of personal winter camping experience. I assure you, such a camping is not only easy but a lot of fun!
During your stay at the resort, we have several restaurants with a variety of cuisines available nearby.
During the tent camp stay, a freeze-dried food is the best way to get a varied and nutritious meal. Lightweight, tasty, easy to cook are most important advantages. But also there is a huge choice of different dishes on the market and you can choose whatever suits your wishes and dietary requirements. I have been using this for winter and summer expeditions since 2008 and have never been disappointed. I'll be glad to share my personal experience and suggestion of brands, on-line shops etc.
Taking into account the fact that our touring and skiing will take place at altitudes from 3000 to 4000 meters, all participants will need an acclimatization. The first three days of the program will help to get it, but in the ideal situation, I would recommend pre-acclimatization before the trip, if possible. This will improve your well-being on the altitude and help you reach your goals. All recommendations will be given and discussed with you upon booking.
In addition to standard equipment each participant must bring ski mountaineering kit (ice axe, boot crampons, harness, several carabiners and slings) and base camp gear (tent, slipping mattress and bag). Full list will be sent and discussed with you upon booking.
Kazakhstan offers a visa-free policy for most nationalities including EU countries, USA, Canada etc. See here for the full list of countries included in this visa-free policy.