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WildTicket Asia » Kazakhstan tours and excursions » Sights of Kazakhstan » Sights Almaty region » Tien Shan mountains and Trans-Ili Alatau mountains range

Tien Shan mountains and Trans-Ili Alatau mountains range

Hiking and trekking in Tien Shan mountains and Trans-Ili Alatau mountains range

The Trans-Ili Alatau lies within the four altitudes. Up to 1600 m, forest-steppe and deciduous forests dominate here, where wild apple, apricot, aspen and mountain ash trees grow. Above - up to 2800 m - coniferous forests, consisting mainly of Tianshan pyramid spruce, extend. Above them lies a zone of alpine meadows and creeping juniper, and from a height of 3,500 meters, bare rocks and glaciers begin. Passes, plateaus and peaks reach 4000-4600 m above sea level, so they are covered with snow and ice all year round. Here is the largest glacier site of the Northern Tien Shan - the powerful Korzhenevsky glacier, which stretches for 11 km, as well as the Bogatyr glacier, which is 9.1 km long. Other glaciers are inferior to them - Shokalsky, Grigoriev and Tuyuksu. Scientists counted 441 glaciers on the high mountain slopes, and the total area of glaciation reaches 171 km.

Information about Tien Shan mountains

The highest point of the Trans-Ili Alatau - the picturesque Talgar peak - has a height of 4979 meters. The three-headed peak is clearly visible from the city of Talgar and some districts of Almaty. No less impressive are the giant peaks of Aktau (4686 m), Metallurg (4600 m), Korp (4631 m) and Bogatyr (4626 m). The center of the mountain range of 71.7 thousand hectares is part of the Almaty Nature Reserve, which since 1996 is considered part of the Ile-Alaut National Park. In the spurs of the Trans-Ili Alatau are located the high-mountainous skating rink Medeu, the popular ski resort Chimbulak and the astronomical observatory Assy-Turgen. Here are the routes of sports tourist and mountaineering groups. Season for fans of mountain tourism begins from mid-July and ends at the end of September, and the most favorable period for skiing and snowboarding lasts from December to the end of March.

Climate in Tien Shan mountains

The Trans-Ili Alatau is located in a zone of a dry, sharply continental climate. In the summer in Alma-Ata it is very hot, but in the evening the breezes blowing from the mountains bring long-awaited coolness. From mid-summer to mid-autumn, a dry, comfortable climate reigns in the mountains. Rainfall is rare, and at heights above 3500 m, precipitation falls only as snow or hail. Over the course of the year, several cold snaps are recorded in the Trans-Ili Alatau. In the summer they occur due to the passage of powerful cyclones, and in the winter months - anticyclones. Snow cover on glaciers reaches a height of 1.5-2 m and lasts until mid-July.

Flora and Fauna of Trans-Ili Alatau

In the part of Zailiysky Alatau, which is included in the conservation area of the Almaty Reserve, there are Tien Shan brown bear, lynx, maral, mountain goat, roe deer, snow leopard, badger, hare and stone marten. The mountains are inhabited by black grouses, golden eagles, bearded vultures, mountain and bearded partridges, Himalayan snowcocks, juniper grouses, blue birds, woodpeckers and nutcrackers.
The flora of the mountain range is well studied, because next to it is the city of Alma-Ata, in which there are many universities and scientific organizations. On the slopes and valleys of the Trans-Ili Alatau there are about 1600 plant species. Over 50 species are rare and 26 of them are listed on the pages of the Red Book of Kazakhstan. In the undergrowth of coniferous forests you can see hawthorn, thickets of cotoneaster and rosehip, honeysuckle bushes, buckthorn and barberry.

Tourist information about Tien Shan mountains

Many travelers come to the mountains to admire the beautiful flowering. After winter, the first to dissolve their delicate petals are crocuses and goose onions. Then there comes a time when the mountain slopes stain tulips, irises and peonies. At the beginning of summer, bright bathing houses and buttercups, forget-me-nots, violets and anemones bloom, and aster, small-scale sparrows, hawks, and gentian complete the active flowering.


Near Alma-Ata, on the northern spurs of the Trans-Ili Alatau there is a unique ice rink. It is built at an altitude of 1691 m in the Medeu stow and bears his name. The high mountain complex is used for winter sports and has the world's largest artificial ice field with an area of 10,500 m². For its filling the purest mountain water is used. Medeu covers very high-quality ice, and, thanks to this, more than two hundred speed skating records were set at the high-mountain rink.


At altitudes of 2200-2500 meters above Medeu there is the popular ski resort Chimbulak. Here, in the northern spurs of the Trans-Ili Alatau, 8 routes were laid, with a total elevation difference of 900-1000 meters. The history of the resort began in the middle of the last century from the sports base Chimbulak. Nowadays, after a large-scale reconstruction, the ski resort meets the most modern requirements, and its tracks have been certified by the International Federation of Alpine Skiing. The skiing zone is located at altitudes of 2260-3163 m. The maximum slope on the slopes for skiing is 45 °. The resort has cable-chair lifts, several hotels have been opened, there are restaurants, cafes and ski schools. In addition, professional and amateur competitions in snowboarding and alpine skiing are held in Chimbulak.



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