Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country, 90% of its territory is occupied by mountains. The majestic snowy peaks conquer people’s imagination with their beauty and attract brave travelers and extreme lovers from all over the world, creating excellent conditions for the development of mountaineering and mountain tourism.
The highest mountains of Kyrgyzstan
There are two massive mountain systems in Kyrgyzstan – the Tien-Shan and the Pamirs, which are the highest mountain systems in Central Asia. The northern part of Kyrgyzstan is fully occupied by the peaks of the Tien-Shan, and the Pamir Mountains (including the Alay, Zaalay and Turkestan ranges) are located in the south of the country. The most popular peaks among mountains climbers are the following:
- The highest peak of Kyrgyzstan is Pobeda Peak. It is located in the east of the country and and its height is of 7,439 meters. This is the northernmost 7000-meter peak of the world and the highest point of the Tien-Shan. This peak is very difficult to conquer.
- Not far from Pobeda Peak there is another mighty peak – Khan-Tengri Peak. Its height is 6995 meters, however, it is also considered as a seven-thousand-meter peak since there is a huge glacier on the top of the mountain. At the foot of these mountains, not far from the South-Inylchek glacier at an altitude of about 4,000 meters above sea level the same name base camp was established. From this camp mountain climbers start climbing Pobeda, Khan-Tengri and other nearby located six-thousand-meter peaks, such as Mramornaya Stena (Marbel Wall), Voennye Topografy (Military Topographers), Shater (Marquee) etc.
- Lenin Peak is located in the south of Kyrgyzstan among the Pamir Mountains and it is the second highest peak (7134 m). This seven-thousand-meter peak is the easiest to conquer. Its base camp (Achyk-Tash) is the most accessible among the peaks of similar height. That is why Lenin Peak is very popular among novice mountain climbers.
Climbing the above-described peaks requires a lot of preparation, good physical conditions and reliable climbing equipment.
Mountaineering in Ala-Archa National Park
However, in Kyrgyzstan there are easier routes for mountain lovers and those who want to test their limits with mountaineering. Thus, many novice climbers make their first ascents in the Ala-Archa Mountain-climbing Camp, located 40 kilometers from the capital of Kyrgyzstan – Bishkek.
“Alpiniada” is an event dedicated to the opening of the mountaineering season that is held annually on May 1 in Ala-Archa. During the event mountain climbing lovers climb Komsomolets Peak (4170 meters above sea level).
Everyone who wants to take part in “Alpiniada” should apply for it in the Mountaineering Federation of Kyrgyzstan in April. You can submit the application at any professional mountain sports club of the country. Alternatively, you may find and join groups of people united by the wish to conquer Komsomolets peak on social networks and get there all necessary instructions on how to apply for “Alpiniada”. The registration of the participants allows controlling the people’s flow and ensuring maximum safety for each mountain climber.
The main goal of “Alpiniada” is to promote mountaineering in the country, as well as an advanced training of mountain climbers and extreme tourism lovers. The event is organized by the Mountaineering and Ice Climbing Federation of Kyrgyzstan, which guarantees the safety of the participants. For this purpose the headquarters of “Alpiniada” includes a rescue squad that consists of 12 experienced mountain climbing instructors.
How to conquer Komsomolets peak
Everyone who is planning to conquer Komsomolets peak must prepare in advance for the ascent. The height difference is approximately 2000 meters, and this is a significant body burden, especially if you are going to climb for the first time. This is why you should arrive at the camp at least 2 days before the ascent to get acclimated and adapt to the conditions of the highlands. Moreover, you should begin physical training at least one month before the scheduled date. The exercises should include aerobic workout, in order to prepare your muscles for monotonous work.
In addition, the Federation recommends eating right before, during and after climbing. The night before the ascent you should have a big dinner, in the morning – a light breakfast consisting of cereals, porridge or something sweet and after the descent they do not recommend to overload the stomach with “heavy” food as your body will experience general weakness.
The total duration of the ascent is about 10 hours and the descent takes about 4 hours. At the top of the peak all participants are registered in a special logbook (as well as after the descent), so that nobody is lost or hurt. Afterwards, all the registered participants will be awarded with special badges and certificates of mountain climbers, who conquered Komsomolets Peak.
“Alpiniada” continues until May 9th. During these days sports and educational climbing events take place in the Ala-Archa gorge. This tradition exists since 1936 and allows mountain lovers to learn more about mountaineering.
Other mountain routes
Furthermore, there are more mountain routs in the Ala-Aracha gorge, not less fascinating than Komsomolets Peak. Namely, Uchitel (Teacher), Box, Agitator, Corona and Svobodnaya Koreya (Free Korea) peaks; and, of course, the highest peak of the Kyrgyz range – Semenov-Tianshanskiy peak (4875 m). The altitudes of the above-mentioned peaks vary from 4000 to almost 4900 m, but despite the relatively small height many of them are quite difficult to conquer.
Besides, Ala-Archa is a great place for rock and ice climbing training sessions. There is a permanent base camp for mountain climbers “Ratsek Camp” located at an altitude of 3300 m. The camp was named after a soviet mountaineer and Honored Master of Sports of the USSR – Vladimir Ratsek. This camp is the most popular place among local mountain climbers, since it is relatively warm there and all the surrounding peaks are located within 1-3 hours walking distance.
Another popular place for mountain climbing is Karakol mountain camp, located in the same name gorge. From here, mountaineering lovers may climb to the following peaks: Karakol (5281 m), Dzhigit (5128), Przhvalsky (4200 m), Zhukov (4450 m) and many others. This place is the center of mountain tourism in the Issyk-Kul region.
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