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WildTicket Asia » Kazakhstan tours and excursions » Rivers of Kazakhstan » Katun river in Altay district, Kazakhstan.

Katun river in Altay district, Kazakhstan.

Rafting Katun river.

The Katun River is the left component of the Ob. The length of the river is 688 km. The pool area is 60 900 km².
Katun River Physical and geographical characteristic.
Katun originates on the southern slope of the Katun ridge at the foot of Belukha Mountain, at the southern tip of the Gebler Glacier.
According to the general character of the valley, the river is divided into three sections: Upper Katun - from the source to the Koksa River, 186 km long; Middle Katun - from Koksa to the Bolshaya Sumulta River, 206 km long; Lower Katun - from Bolshaya Sumulta to the confluence with Biya, 296 km long.
In the upper section, the river bends around the Katunsky ridge from the southern and western sides and has the largest slopes with a total fall of up to 1000 m.In this section, the Katun receives many tributaries from the southern and western slopes of the Katunsky ridge, as well as from Listvyaga and Kholzun ranges. Forests are represented by black taiga.
Middle Katun, from Koksa to Bolshoi Sumy, passes in the area of high mountain ranges. The total drop in this section is about 400 meters. Here the main tributaries with glacial nutrition flow into the river: Multa, Kuragan, Akkem, Kucherla, Argut and Chuya. Below the village of Tungur to the Argut River, Katun flows in a rapidside gorge. From Argut to the Chuya River and somewhat lower, it flows among high terraces and bombs. The composition of forest vegetation in the middle section of Katun is dominated by larch.
Lower Katun, from Bolshaya Sumulta to the mouth, is located in the midlands and low mountains. The total fall of the river is about 400 m. The prevailing character of the valley is the ever wider development of terraces. Of the tributaries in this section, the most significant are the rivers Chemal and Sema. The slopes of the valley are mainly occupied by larch. Starting from the mouth of the Sumult, a pine appears.
Below the village of Maima, Katun takes on the character of a steppe river. The total fall of the watercourse from source to mouth is 2000 m, which determines the high flow velocity - 5-6 m / s [3].
Katun, merging with Biya, 19 km south-west of the city of Biysk, forms the Ob, one of the largest rivers in Siberia. The river crosses territories with different climatic conditions, having a flow direction from south to north. The general climatic trend in the river valley is characterized by the fact that in the south the climate is colder and drier, and in the north it is warmer, where there is more rainfall. River valleys are subject to winds, there are often snowstorms that flood roads with snow. In the area of mountain ranges, winters are calm and snowy. The thickness of the snow on the forest slopes can reach one and a half meters.
The geological structure of the Katun valley is very diverse both in composition and formation time - from the oldest Proterozoic rocks to modern ones. Slates, granites, limestones, marbled limestones dominate. The river is characterized by floodplains of moderate distribution, which are located along the channel. There are many islands with a base of pebble, sandstone and, less often, a rocky substrate covered with almost virgin forests.
Katun water belongs to the hydrocarbonate class of the calcium-magnesium group. Exceeding the MPC for heavy metals is not observed. The exception is mercury. For mercury ions, the maximum excess is 3 MPC and is observed during the flood period, when mercury ions are transported along the river slope by suspended particles. When considering the possibility of building the Katun hydroelectric station, the river basin was investigated more thoroughly. Scientists have found that the highest mercury content is localized within the Aktash and Chagan-Uzun deposits. Characteristic concentrations of the dissolved form of mercury in water were found, from a few tenths to several units of micrograms per liter (the maximum value is 917 mg / kg). The presence of mercury in the Katun’s water is explained by the fact that the Kurai and Sarasinskaya mercury-ore zones adjoin the Katun River basin, accounting for a rather significant percentage of the catchment area.
The Katun River has a capacity of 4 million kW with a possible generation of electricity of about 31 billion kWh per year. There are many alloys of various categories on the river. Along the Katun valley, the Chui tract goes for a considerable length.
During the year, the river changes color: in spring and summer, small rock from beneath the Altai glaciers turns it dirty milk, and closer to autumn it becomes more transparent, with a turquoise hue due to the greenstone formation of sandstones in the upper and middle reaches.

Katun River Hydrology.

In the river basin, there are more than 800 glaciers with a total area of 625 thousand km², so glacial nutrition plays a significant role. The average annual water discharge at the settlement of Srostki (53 km from the mouth) is 626 m³ / s. It freezes in the upper reaches in December, in the lower reaches - in late November, opens in the first half of April.
River Katun Merge with the river Biya.
The confluence of the Biya and Katun rivers looks very picturesque. Two rivers, simultaneously powerful, carry their waters, converging into an even more powerful stream - the Ob river. Both rivers have a different color. In summer and autumn, Katun is greenish (turquoise), and Biya is white (dirty gray). For some time, the rivers carry their waters almost without mixing, forming a “striped” white-green stream. In spring, there is no such contrast: the waters of Katun are muddy, gray-green, and Biya is cleaner. At the confluence is the island of Ikonnikov, it has the status of a specially protected natural area (natural monument).

Katun river shipping.

Katun is navigable from the mouth to the village of Shulginka (Sovetsky District), where a plant for the production of sand and gravel is built specifically for working with river transport. The length of the navigable section is 33 km, but navigation is very difficult due to pebble deposits, a strong and unstable current. From the beginning of the 1990s to 2014, almost no dredging works were carried out on Katun. It was possible to resume shipping in 2015, when the most difficult sections were cleared using floating cranes. In 2016, the Obskaya-103 multi-pack dredger was restored, with the help of which the ship passage on the section from the village of Ust-Katun to the village of Lesnoye is restored.

The legend of Katun and Bie.

Khan of Altai had a beautiful daughter Kadyn. Madly loved her wayward father. He understood that sooner or later he would have to give the girl in marriage, he would have to part with his beloved daughter, but he wanted to keep his Kadyn at home as long as possible. So that no one could see her beauty, the khan built a castle for her high in the mountains.

The beautiful Kadyn lived alone in her beautiful, impregnable castle. No one could get into these places because there were no roads there. But the birds, arriving from the east, sang songs for Kadyn about the beauty and mind of a guy named Biy, who lives far in the steppes.
The winds flying past the castle, proudly standing in its solitude, whispered to the beauty about Biya's love for Kadyn. Beautiful dreams of happiness with a loved one flared up in the girl’s thoughts. And then one day, having heard the chirping of birds and the rustle of the wind, Kadyn decided to escape from captivity and meet with long-awaited love.
A brave girl crouched when her mighty father fell asleep, jumped from a high cliff and ran towards her beloved. Having woken up, Altai Khan did not find his daughter. Realizing that his beloved daughter had left him forever, he sent in pursuit of the most dexterous and strong heroes with the order to catch up with the fugitive and bring him back.
But not one of the Khan’s warriors could overtake Kadyn, who, deftly jumping from stone to stone, winding between the rocks, quickly ran farther and farther. The fastest and most agile was a hero named Babyrkhan. He had already grabbed Kadyn by the sleeve of the dress, but, having rushed, tore off the sleeve and rushed on.
The heroes Kadyn, who met her beloved Biy, did not catch up with the heroes, and they ran further together, merging into one whole - the Ob river.
Since then, lovers are inseparable. And the formidable Khan Altai in his cruel anger and blind rage turned the warriors into stones. So they stand in stone masses: Sartykpay, Sarlyk and Babyrkhan, which became the last mountain of northern Altai.

Katun river legends of the Altai Old Believers.

The famous Biysk historian and local historian B. Kh. Kadikov said that according to the legends of the Altai Old Believers, the last apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and evil will take place precisely in the Biya and Katun interfluve.

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