A unique backcountry program with full escape from civilization, ski-touring in wild areas, heli-skiing on glaciers, introduction to ancient culture of nomads and visiting Kazakhstan nature miracle – Singing Sand Dune.
Route: Almaty - Medeu Sport Complex - Shymbulak Ski Resort - Talgar Pass - Bogdanovich Glacier - T-1 Glaciological Station - Cosmostation - Altyn Emel National Park - Singing Dune (Almaty Region, Kazakhstan)
Tour Dates: May 11-20, 2019
Route Complexity: Intermediate level of complexity with elements of mountaineering (skills of hiking in crampons and using ice-ax are required). Suits for fit and well-trained skiers and snowboarders with confident level of riding off-piste. It is required to have set of avalanche equipment. H difference: base camps will be set up at an altitude 3200-3400 m.a.s. Daily elevation is approx. 1200-1500 meters. gth of descents is from 500 meters up to 3 kilometers. Steepness of the slopes is from 15 up to 45 degrees.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Day 1. Almaty - Talgar Pass
Having met your guide, you will board a comfortable minivan to start driving to Medeu Gorge, where you will take a cable car to to the highest point of Shymbulak Si Resort - Talgar Pass at an altitude of 3163 m.a.s.l.
Accommodation in traditional Kazakh yurt on Talgar Pass. Hiking on Shymbulak summit (3450 m.a.s.l.) located nearby for acclimatization. Watching sunset, admiring stunning panorama of the high mountains and the city.
Coming back to the yurt. Dinner in Kazakh national style. Overnight in the yurt. There is traditional yurt, so the sleeping places will be straight on the floor in sleeping bags. The whole yurt and the floor are heated.
Days 2-3. Talgar Pass - Bogdanovich Glacier
Early wake up at around 05:00. Breakfast, preparing equipment for the route. No later than 07:00, you will start moving to the west, in direction of Bogdanovich Glacier. This day and after you will make radial hikes to the peaks located in the cirque of Bogdanovich Glacier.
Bogdanovich Glacier is located under the eastern slope of Nursultan peak. The glacier is named by glaciologist Dmitriev in 1911, in honor of Karl Bogdanovich, the Polish-Russian professor-geologist, researcher of the earthquake that occurred in the city of Verny in 1910. After the earthquake, he came to Verny for research. The result of his stay in Verny was the work that contributed to the seismology and outlined the tectonic scheme of the region. Together with I. Karl and D. Mushketov in 1910, he drew up a plan for Verny city. From the observation point of Bogdanovich Glacier a magnificent view of the surrounding peaks opens: Amangeldy Peak, Nursultan Peak, Karlytau Peak and many other.
Coming back to the yurt, rest. Lunch in the yurt or in “Bar 3200” located on Talgar Pass (not included into the tour price). Dinner in Kazakh national style in the yurt. Overnight in the yurt.
Day 4. Talgar Pass - T-1 Glaciological Station
Wake up at 07:00. Breakfast. Preparation and testing of the equipment for heli-skiing and packing stuff for moving to Tuyuk-Su Glacier. Brief instruction from the pilot and guide. Transfer by helicopter in the highlands to the glaciers.
Cirque of Tuyuk-Su Glacier is the upper part of the Malaya Almatinka river basin, flowing down from the northern slope of the Trans-Ili Alatau ridge and located between Small Almaty spur and Kumbel spur. Cirque of Tuyuk-Su Glacier is represented by two valley-type glaciers and glaciers of the mountain slopes, four of them are hanging, two - crust-hanging, one - crust glacier and one - loopback glacier. The Central Tuyuk-Su Glacier itself is symmetrically located in the center of cirque, which closes the valley and stretches from south to north. This glacier is a classic valley glacier, with a clearly defined feeding area and an elongated tongue. Central Tuyuk-Su Glacier is located on the slopes of Pogrebetsky Peak, and flows into the valley. The slopes in the upper part have steepness 35-40 degrees and are broken by numerous crevices.
Guided heli-skiing in cirque of Dmitriev Glacier and glaciers of Ozyorniy (Lake) Gorge. During one heli-skiing day it will be possible to make up to six descents. The lines of descents are on glaciers at an altitude of over 4000 m.a.s.l. Altitude sickness may be occurred.
Cirque of Dmitriev Glacier is the left cirque of general extensive cirque of the Left Talgar Gorge origins. The glacier occupies a large four-chamber cirque and is the largest glacier in the gorge. In the east, two branches of the glacier flow from Constitution Peak and Dmitriev and Central House of Red Army Peaks. In the central chamber is the main part of the glacier, which flows from the Main Range of Trans-Ili Alatau. In the western chamber there are two small glaciers - Soviet Mountaineers Glacier and Glacier № 132. Two small hanging glaciers flow down from the slopes of Soviet Mountaineers and Sverdlovsk State University Peaks to the south. The total length of Dmitriev Glacier is about 4 km. The glacier is oriented in the northeast direction. This is the fourth largest glacier of Trans-Ili Alatau. For the first time the glacier was visited in 1936 by V. Gorbunov, who has named it after S. Dmitriev, the local historian and the first researcher of Trans-Ili Alatau glaciers, who laid the foundation of exploring Trans-Ili Alatau glaciers.
After last descent, transfer to T-1 glaciological station by helicopter.
T-1 scientific glaciological station is located on the moraines higher Mynzhilki dam. Station was built in 1956 as part of the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958) and it still works. The station holds long-term observations of Tuyuk-Su Glacier and records how it changes. At the moment, according to the results of glaciological researching, Tuyuk-Su Glacier is considered to be the most researched glacier in the world.
Arrival to T-1 glaciological station. Accommodation in mountain hut. Lunch and rest. In the evening, if desired, walking to the closest observation view point, from where a wonderful sunset and panorama of the city is opening. Dinner, free time, overnight in the hut.
Days 5-6. T-1 Glaciological Station - Cirque of Tuyuk-Su Glacier
Ealy wake up at around 05:00. Breakfast, preparing equipment for the route. Start is no later than 06:30. This day and after you will make radial hikes to the peaks located in the cirque of Tuyuk-Su Glacier: Youth peak (4150 m.a.s.l.), West Ordzhonikidze Glacier (4024 m.a.s.l.), shoulder of Tuyuk-Su Glacier (4200 m.a.s.l.), Pogrebetskiy Peak (4231 m.a.s.l.), North Youth Pass (3880 m.a.s.l.) in cirque of Green Kar. After coming back to the station T-1 you will have a rest. Lunch, walking in surroundings, avalanche safety lessons on request. Dinner and overnight in the hut.
Day 7. T-1 Glaciological Station - Cosmostation
Wake up at 08:00. Breakfast. Packing stuff. Descent to the Memorial to the Dead in the Mountains on skis/snowboards. Transfer by car to Medeu Sport Complex. Transfer to Cosmostation by comfortable minivan. On the way to the Cosmostation you will visit observation point where breathtaking panorama of the Big Almaty Lake surrounded by white snowy peaks will be opened.
Cosmostation is Tien-Shan alpine scientific station of cosmic rays and high energies researching, located 30 kilometers from Almaty city on Zhosaly-Kezen pass in the mountains of Trans-Ili Alatau. The history of the station began in the late forties of the last century. In the Soviet Union, nuclear weapons were beeing created, but scientists did not have enough knowledge about the physics of high and super high energy elementary particles. At that time, super-power accelerators, like the Large Hadron Collider, which was built in Switzerland, have not existed yet, they were invented in the 1950s. High-energy physics could be researched only on natural material - exploring cosmic radiation. By a special order of Stalin, an expedition of nuclear physicists was sent to Pamir, where a high-altitude station was founded. In 1958, the station was moved to the Northern Tien-Shan closer to the capital of Soviet Kazakhstan - Alma-Ata. Since then, all the research that is being conducted here is overseen by the Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Science named after Lebedev.
Arrival to the Cosmostation. Accommodation in the mountain hut. Lunch, free time. Hiking to the Big Almaty peak can be arranged upon request. Dinner and overnight in the hut.
Days 8-9. Cosmostation - Peaks of Almaty Alagir Mountain Ridge
Early wake up at 05:00. Breakfast, preparing equipment for the route. Start is no later 06:30. This day and after you will make radial hikes to the nearest peaks, situated in the area of Cosmostation:
Peak (3960 m.a.s.l.) is located in the Big Almaty Spur to the east of Tourist Peak and north-east of Momyshuly Peak (formerly Cornice). The peak belongs to the Almaty Alagir mountain range. The former name is INP (in honor of the Institute of Nuclear Physics). Later it was renamed in honor of University.
Tourist Peak (3954 m.a.s.l.) is located in the Big Almaty Spur, south of the Big Almaty Peak, Zhosalykezen Pass and west of Peak. The top is simple and accessible from all sides. In winter, a small ski drag lift operates on its slopes from the side of Zhosalykezen Pass.
Momyshuly Peak (4075 m.a.s.l.) is located between Almaty Alagir Pass in the south and Peak in the northeast. Formerly, the summit was called Cornice. Northern slope is covered by Glacier № 70.
Lunch, rest, free time. Tour around Cosmostation and meeting with researchers who study cosmic particles in their laboratories. Dinner, overnight in the hut.
Day 10. T-1 Cosmostation - Altyn Emel National Park - Singing Dune - Almaty
Early wake up at 06:00. Breakfast, packing stuff. Transfer to Basshi village. Distance is about 300 km. Lunch in the guest house in Basshi village. After lunch, transfer to Altyn Emel National Park and visiting Singing Dune.
Singing Sand Dune appeared on an open rocky plain between Big and Small Kalkan mountains. The area of sand dune is 240 hectares, it consists of two sand dunes: the southern one - 150 meters high, and the northern one - is about 100 meters. The absolute hs of the crests of the sand dunes reach 600-650 meters. A special impression is made by a large southern sand dune, which represents a mountain of pure crystalline sand without any grass, with steep slopes, on which it is impossible to climb up. The history of the dune origin associated with the wind - very often strong winds blow here. For centuries, the western and eastern winds blowing along Kalkan mountains and Ili River brought with them masses of sand and collided at the junction of Big and Small Kalkan mountains, i.e. "wind rose" was formed here. The grains of sand settled in this place and after centuries a huge sandy mountain was formed here. Strong wind and movement of sand on the slopes causes a hum inside the dunes, similar to the sound of a jet plane engine. In windy dry weather top of sand dune seems to be steaming because of the sand drifting. It is curious that the sand dune does not roam across the plain, despite the fluctuation of sand and strong winds, but stays on place for several millennia. Nature of the dune was studied by many scientists, but no single clue was found. The mystery of the sound of the dune gave birth to many folk legends, which still exist. Now Singing Dune is included in the list of "7 wonders of Kazakhstan" by public vote and has the official status of State Nature Monument of Republican Significance.
Hiking to the top of Sand Dune where you will see fantastic panorama of Ili River and Trans-Ili Alatau mountains where you recently have been skiing and snowboarding among glaciers and high rocky peaks. Descent from the dune can be made by feet or by skis or snowboards, what will give you unforgettable emotions and epic photos. Coming back to Almaty city about 20:00. Transfer to the hotel or airport.
* Depending on weather, temperature and snow conditions, the guide can make adjustments to the program
*** This program is calculated for a group of 6 people, with a smaller group, the cost will be revised.
Tour package price for 10 days/9 nights: 1750 USD per person, provided 6 people trvelling together.
***For the groups with more then 6 people discounts are available.
Tour Price INCLUSIONS:
1. Ski guide services.
2. All transfers according the program.
3. Gondola cable car ride Medeu-Shymbulak-Talgar pass.
4. Accommodation in yurt on Talgar pass
5. Meals during staying in yurt on Talgar pass; breakfast and dinner.
6. Accommodation in mountain hut at T-1 glacier station area.
7. Three times meals during staying at T-1 glacier station area.
8. One-day heli-skiing program.
9. Accommodation in mountain hut at Space station area.
10. Three times meals during staying at Space station area.
11. One-day tour to national park Altyn Emel with visiting Singing Dune.
12. All environmental and other fees during the program.
13. Bottled water during the tour to Singing Dune.
For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.
Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.