To the heart of Tien – Shan
14 days Trekking tour
SEASON 2023 DATES
- Experience with nomads
- Amazing nature and beautiful mountain views
- Experience nomadic life sleeping in a yurt
- Breathtaking mountains
- Trekking along the glacier
- Enjoy the quiet charms and warm hospitality of Kyrgyzstan
During the tour, we work with local communities and the resources available to them. Many of our local service providers are working towards a more sustainable future of local tourism through efforts to reduce/recycle plastic waste, compost in yurts and homes, and use locally produced materials. You have the opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable future by bringing a reusable water bottle with you, reducing waste when possible, and properly disposing of items when they run out
Route: Bishkek Karkara ⇒ At Jailoo ⇒ Iva Camp ⇒ Glina camp ⇒ Merzbacher glade ⇒ Komsomolskiy glacier ⇒ Dikiy glacier ⇒ South Enylshek BC ⇒ Karkara Issyk-Kul Lake ⇒ Bishkek
Upon arrival to the international airport “Manas” meet local guide and driver and transfer to Bishkek city. Upon arrival accommodation at the hotel (early check-in is included).
After rest and breakfast, we start drive to Karkara valley. The road is going through Boom gorge and further along the north shore of Issyk-Kul lake. Lunch en route at a local cafe. Upon arrival to the town accommodation at base camp. Diner. Overnight in Base Camp
Drive 470 km, 8 h, +900 m.
Overnight and dinner in the Base Camp
Easy walk through the alpine area to Chymyn Sai pass. You will walk along the border between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, then start ascent to the pass 2700 m, from the pass you will see the entire Karkara valley, whole Char Kuduk area and Tup gorge.
The hike is not difficult and allows hikers to prepare for higher altitudes, also it requires a clear knowledge the route from the guide. The trail goes along a wide gorge settled by yurts of nomads, and presenting a good chance to see the the life way of disappearing culture. Dinner and overnight at the base camp.
Hike 10 km, 3-4 h, +400m – 400
Overnight in tents.
Breakfast. Helicopter flight to trek start point in Inylchek Valley to a place which called Prijim. Then we trek up along valley to the foot of Inylchek glacier. On the way you can see Nansen peak (5690 m) and Tuz pass (4001 m).
In 1902, Nansen peak was noticed by the German geographer Gottfried Merzbacher. Even he, who had seen the panorama of many mountains on the globe, such as the Alps, the Caucasus, the Himalayas and Karkorum, had a feeling of surprise and delight at the sight of the giant ridge that bounded the valley of Inylchek from the South. Its mighty snow-capped peaks of the most varied sculptural forms, of which the creative forces of nature are capable, are visible all the way from West to East.
And in his opinion-this is one of the greatest Alpine paintings of the globe. “Among all the proud phalanx, the most magnificent is the peak that rises opposite the Tuz Ashu pass. It is difficult to conjure up a picture of the mighty, extended slopes of this giant, the wildness of its many crests, the splendor of the rapid glaciers, cut into a thousand different shapes and broken into endless fragments. I do not hesitate to extol this wonderful mountain range as the greatest in the Tien Shan mountains. He should certainly be given an appropriate name, ” wrote Merzbacher.
Arrival to the tent camp called Iva. Meet by local staff and get accommodated. Dinner and overnight in tents.
Trek 10 km, 3-4 h, +100 m
Overnight in tents.
The Inylchek Glacier is the largest glacier and centrepiece of the Central Tien Shan. Extending 62 km in length with a width of over 3 km, the Inylchek Glacier is the third longest glacier outside the Polar Regions.
It is estimated that Inylchek glacier holds enough ice to cover the entire country of Kyrgyzstan in three meters of melt water (Stewart, 2002). The first outside to travel into the area and visit the glacier was the European Pyotr Semenov in 1857. Climbing in the area began in the early 1900’s and continued through the 1930’s.
Under Soviet rule, the permitting system restricted foreign access. It was not until after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that foreign climbers began to climb in the area (Stewart, 2002).
Breakfast. We take our lunch boxes and leave at about 9 am. Very steep ascents and descents take exhaust. We will try to go through to the right slope of the terrace. The trail crosses the terrace, later small rivers, washes out mountain slope, Putevodnyi glacier.
We go up and down, up and down all the time. Lunch on the glacier at about 1 pm. Then we ascent another steep terrace along a narrow trail. The variety of terrains and the steepness of the slope trails will add some more adrenaline in blood.
Arriving in Glina Camp we will have some tea or coffee and rest. The camp has got its name (which means “clay” in Russian) because of its location on a green clay field. Dinner at 6 pm.
Trek 8 km, 5-6 h, +200 m.
Overnight in tents.
Breakfast at 9 am. Again we trek up and down various terraces though have also about 10 km of straight path. Only once we trek across a small glacier, passing a river and have lunch on the shore of a small lake, swim and rest. It will be an hour left to get to the Camp. Upon arrival we have some tea or coffee, then dinner at 6 pm. Wonderful views of Merzbacher lake open to us from the Camp.
Merzbacher glade is the last grassy place in the area located just across the unique Merzbacher Lake. There is a scientific research station on the glacier. Scientists from all over the world come working here every summer. They study glaciers moving, meteorological situation of the region and the lake Merzbacher itself. There is a large green area around which is flat enough for camping.
Trek 9 km, 5-6 h, +300 m.
Overnight in tents.
Breakfast at 9 am. We take our lunch boxes and leave at 10 am. Across South Inylchek glacier up to Mertzbacher Lake. The glacier terrain is ice covered with rocks and stones, sand and mud. The trekking time both ways is 4-5 hours.
Sandwiched between the Northern and Southern branches of the glacier lies the mysterious Merzbacher Lake, which form every summer and then, sometime in August, burst through the ice banks and the waters flow into the Inylchek River. (Actually, the timing varies – for example in 2012 it happened on 10,July.) In reality, only part of the lake drains – the lake, which is 6 kilometres long and one kilometre wide, is in fact divided into two by a bridge of ice and whilst the lower half empties regularly, the upper part is always full of water. Also, the lakes empty twice a year – once in the summer and once in the winter – but most people only know about the summer event. In 1903 the German geographer and mountaineer, Gottfried Merzbacher, first discovered the lake while leading an expedition into the Tian Shan Mountains aiming to reach the summit of Khan Tengri. Forced back by ice, from their originally intended route through the Byankol Pass and along the Semyenov and Mushketov glaciers, they attempted a different approach – along the Enilchek glacier. Once again they failed, but they had shown that Khan Tengri was in fact on a ridge and not in the centre of that particular knot of the Tian Shan Mountains as had been thought. The expedition will be better remembered, however, for the discovery of the mysterious lake that now bears Merzbacher’s name.
Overnight in tents.
Trek 10 km, 4-5 h. -50m, +50 m
Breakfast at 8 am. We take our lunch boxes and set off at 9 am. It is a long day of trekking surrounded with beautiful landscapes – snow, rocks and multi-colored ice – black, white and sometimes even striped. The first part of our trek goes along the right side over terraces and, right before we reach Shokalskyi glacier it smoothly goes down. The trail reaches the glacier and the black moraine which flows out of Komsomolez glacier. We follow it up to the glacier itself. The terrain is very diverse: rivers, crevices, ascents and descents, the hikes around those take much time and energy. It will be our first night at the glacier. Strong wind usually starts here after 4 pm. It might be much colder than before. Hot drinks are very helpful here, the dinner is as usual at 6 pm.
Trek 12 km, 4-6 h, +400 m.
Overnight in tents.
Breakfast at 8 am. Departure at 9 am Lunch boxes. Trekking in this part of Tien Shan is absolutely fabulous. The distinctive characteristic of the region is a great number of nameless peaks, unclimbed yet, about 5000m above sea level high. Straight from the camp we cross Proletarsky glacier moraine, get to the middle of Dikyi glacier moraine and walk along it up to the Dykyi glacier. The first part of the way is uneven, we walk up and down. Closer to the glacier the moraine becomes more even, without so many crevices, creeks and, no needs of working around to escape crossing small streams. Lunch break. In front of Proletarsky glacier we go up straight. Dikyi camp is located behind Pesnya Abaya peak (in 30 minutes). From Dikyi camp you have beautiful view of Khan Tengri, Pobeda, Gorky, Chapaev, Trehglavaya peaks. Tea, coffee and dinner at 6 pm.
Trek 10 km, 3-5 h, +100 m.
Overnight in tents.
Optionally: Climbing to Pesnya Abaya – 4901 a.s.l.
Breakfast at 5 AM. Early in the morning at around 6:00 AM start the climbing to Pesnya Abaya about 4 hours up and 3 hours down the Dikiy camp. After arrival to Dikiy camp trek to Inylchek BC about 4-6 hours. Overnight in the BC.
Breakfast at 8 or 9 am. Short trek this day so we can depart at 10 am. We take our lunch boxes. We cross the whole glacier till the central moraine where the base camp is situated. The path is covered with rocks, ice, creeks, lakes and cracks. But it is possible to do without any ropes and crampons. We arrive in the base camp (4000m) at about 2 pm. We have our lunch, tea or coffee. Dinner at 7 pm.
INYLCHEK Base Camp is ideally situated in the heart of North Tien-Shan at the South Inylchek glacier approximately at 4000 m. above the sea level. It has a picturesque view of Khan-Tengri ( 7010 m .) and Pobeda ( 7439 m .) peaks.
Trek 8 km, 4-6 h, +200 m.
Overnight in BC in tents.
Rest day at South Inylchek BC. “South Inylchek” BC is open from 3 of July till 30 of August every year and might be interesting not only for alpinists, but also for usual travelers, who would like to enjoy the views of beautiful mountains on the flight by helicopter.
The beautiful pyramid of Khan Tengri is without doubt the Jewel of the Tien Shan. It is the second highest mountain in this most northerly and remote of the great Asian mountain ranges. Among the local people, the white peaks are known as ‘The Mountains of Heaven’.
Khan Tengri peak was first climbed by a Soviet expedition in 1931, via the West Col and West Ridge. Since then, most of its ridges and faces have been climbed – all by Soviet teams.
Overnight in tents.
Breakfast. Helicopter flight from BC to Karkara helicopter pad. Transfer to Issyk-Kul Lake. In the afternoon three hour drive to the Issyk-Kul Lake, lunch on the way. Issyk-Kul is the second largest alpine lake in the world after Lake Titicaca in South America.
Measuring 182 km long by 58 km wide, the lake appeared as a result of volcanic activity. It is heated from below by thermal activity and never freezes even in the depths of winter. In the summer the water temperature reaches 25-28 degrees centigrade (warmer than the air) and you can swim in the lake enclosed on all sides by the snowy peaks of the Tien Shan Mountains. Extremely deep and nicely warm over the centuries the lake has been something of an oasis in this inhospitable mountain environment. With diverse flora and fauna Issyk-Kul Lake and the surrounding environments are rightly considered to be one of Central Asia most remarkable locations. Arrival to the hotel.
Drive 200 km, 3 h, -2500 m.
Overnight and dinner in hotel.
Breakfast. Time at leisure. Lunch. In the afternoon transfer to Bishkek through tight Boom Gorge where boisterous Chu River, so much loved by rafters (routes up to 6th category difficulty!), cuts its way. On the way visit Burana Tower (old minaret) near Tokmok town. That minaret was constructed in Balasagyn town; one of the capitals of Karakhanid State existed in 11-12 centuries AD. Explore ruins of that important trading point at the Great Silk Road and visit a little local museum telling about that civilization. Also watch a collection of Balbals, Turkic ancient tombs. Arrival to Bishkek.
Drive 270 km, 5-6 h, -800 m.
Accommodation in guesthouse.
After breakfast a short sightseeing tour in the city.
The capital and industrial centre of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek is a city of wide avenues, handsome buildings and Soviet heritage. It is the permanently snow capped Kyrgyz Alatau mountain range which towers over Bishkek providing a quite stunning backdrop.
Visit Manas Monument, the main national hero of the Kyrgyz people. Then excursion to the State History Museum and walking tour around main Ala Too Square to watch ceremony of changing of the Guard of Honor, Independence Monument, and finish at the Old Square with Government House. Transfer to the Victory Square to finish the city tour by short excursion there. After excursion tourists may go shopping in the largest department store in the city – ZUM and a colorful oriental bazaar. Farewell dinner in restaurant.
Overnight is in hotel
Early in the morning transfer to the airport. Departure back home.
- Horses for carrying trekking equipment and luggage
- Entrance fees
- Accommodation in hotels and camps
- Meal based on full board
- Helicopter flights
- All transfers as per program
- Border zone permit
- Mountain guide service
- Porter service
- All ecological and entrance fees as per program
- Visa support and visa fee (if necessary)
- All optional deviations from the main itinerary
- Beverages and meals not included in main menu
- Personal expenses (extra luggage, room service, medical
- Sleeping bags
- Single room and tents
Single accommodation in hotels – 130 USD per person.
Single accommodation in tents – 110 USD per person.
Supplement for climbing to Pesnya Abaya Peak – 75 USD per person, including mountain guide service, rent of rope
Luggage allowance on the trek:
Your baggage on the trek will be carried by porters. The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking should be no more than 12 kg of personal belongings. For 1kg extra you pay 12 USD per program (the whole trek). It is possible to leave travel clothes or other items not required on trek in our office – we will deliver them to Karkara Camp on your arrival there after BC
Equipment for Khan Tengri Trekking Tour
OBLIGATORY TO HAVE DURING THE TREK:
- Waterproof trekking boots with ankle support
- Waterproof jacket or rain cape Sunhat or Cap with Ear and Neck Flap CoverDaypack 30 to 40 liters with rain cover
- Warm hat
- Sleeping bag (comfort rated -5°C, please ask about temperature)
- Trekking poles (highly recommended during stream crossings, steep incline or decline)
- Basic First Aid Kit including: antiseptic and antihistamine cream, throat lozenges, diarrhea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts
- Sun protection (including total bloc for ears, nose etc.)
- Fleece jacket or warm jumper
- Good quality sunglasses
- Warm gloves
- Trekking trousers
- Water bottles 1 litre (x2) (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)
- Water purification tablets
- Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents, laptops, phones dry during trek Lipsticks Headtorch and spare batteries Thermal underwear
OPTIONAL TO HAVE DURING THE TREK:
- 1 pair of tennis shoes or shoes for city walking
- Trainers / sandals for river crossings
- Socks (1 pair for 2 -3 days of trekking)
- 1 waterproof over trousers
- 1 scarf to cover your hair (during the visits of mosques and churches)
- Shorts and/or swimwear (camps near lakes, hot springs or rivers)
- Buff/scarf (to protect against dust and cold)
- Washbag and toiletries
- Antibacterial handwash
- Small towel (fast dry material)
- Thermarest or similar sleeping mat
- Pen-knife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
- Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
- Ear plugs against river noises, neighbor snoring
Level of difficulty:
This tour is recommended for people with good trekking experience (trekking time approximately 5-6 hours per day).
If you have some specific sicknesses you need to bring own first aid kit with necessary medicaments. Together with the booking of
the program please send us the copy of the tourists INSURANCE and your passport copy
BOOK YOUR TOUR HERE
Find your country from the list and check possible visa requirements for Kyrgyzstan
CHECK VISA POLICY
Other tours in Kyrgyzstan
Tour updated 14.1.2023