Tien Shan is limited by the Talasskiy Alatau till the Ala-Bel and Otmek passes
in the north , by the Chuchkan, Naryn, Kekerim rivers in the west, by the Ferganskaja
hollow in the south and by the deserts of Middle Asia in the east.
Ridges and spires of Western Tien Shan differ from other mountains in Middle Asia. Almost all forms of the mountain relief are met here, except calgaspors and glacial bogs.
The Chatkal peak (4503 m) in Chatkal ridge, the Manas peak (4482 m) in Talaskiy Alatau and the Baubashata mountains (4427 m) in the west part of the Fergansky ridge are the highest points of Western Tien Shan.
All the rivers of Western Tien Shan refer to the basin of the Syrdarja river. They are its right tributaries. Generally, rivers, which are of latitude or sublatitude direction, are full -flowing. Narrow deep valleys of tributaries, narrow gorges are typical features of the rivers.
Rivers, which have their sources in highlands, have glacial and snow feeding. Flood-time lasts from the end of April till the end of June. As a rule it depends on the altitude of the feeding basin.
Small rivers, which have its sources in the low part of highlands, feed on subsoil melted snowy and rain waters.
The most fill-flowing rivers are Chatkal, Pskem, Naryn. It is impossible to wade Ugam, Koksu, Angren, Akbulak, Ters, Sandalash, Mayndantal, Oigaing, Padasha-Ata, Itokar, Aflatun Juzhny, Maili-Su, Kaaraunkur, Otuzaart rivers during spring flood.
The snow line in Western Tien Shan ascends the mountain system, from the northwest to the southeast. It depends on the dry climate to the southeast. In Talaskiy Alatau the snow line lies at 3600-3800 m in the north slops and 3800-4000 m in the south slops.
Freezing is not large, as a rule it is glaciers. The Kolesnika, Pahtakor, Koziy glaciers have large valleys. Glaciers in the short valley part (till 3 km) are limited by rocky gorges. They form multistage ice falls (the Ajutorsky glaciers, which is not far from the Sayarynsky peak, the Tekesh and Kogurgentor glaciers). The most dangerous glaciers are Jenushu and Karabulakulkun. They are till 2B category of complication. It is necessary to have good equipment to pass iced slops.
The most glaciers of Western Tien Shan are of «Turkestan» type with compound neve avalanche feeding. One should plan mountain route in the region of the Maydantalsky, Pskemsky, Sandalashsky, Chatkalsky, Talassky Alatau and other ridges, which are not more than 4000 m, keeping in mind that avalanches in this region happen from the middle of October till the middle of May.
Climate of the region is continental. Relief influences on the contrast of temperature and moisture. Neighboring deserts influences on the climate of foothills and lowlands. The average temperature in July in Western Tien Shan is +19-20° C, the maximum one reaches +30-40° C. In January in the lower reaches the temperature is from 3 till 8° C, in highlands it reaches 15-20° C, the minimum one is till 40° C.
The typical feature of the region is a little quantity of precipitation. It is till 1000 mm in the slops of the Chatkal and Pskem sources and till 600 mm in other places. Maximum precipitation is in March-April.
In the period from the end of April till the end of May precipitation reaches 200 mm, the sunny days are about 50%, cloudy days with mist and precipitation at the height of more than 2500 m are till 30%. All these are typical for the regions of the Ugamsky, Maydantalskiy, Pskemsky, Chatkalsky and Talassky Alatau ridges.
The northwest part of the Fergansky ridge (the Baubashata, Isfanjailau, Kekirimtau mountains) has the same features. On the Kuraminskiy, Sargardon-Kumbel ridges and the southwest part of the Pskemsky, Chatkolskiy, Ugamskiy from the Sairamskiy peak (4238 m), and Keksuyskiy ridges the quantity of precipitation reaches till 100 mm, the quantity of sunny days are about 60%, bad weather is till 5%.
Summer temperature at the height of less than 4000 m is positive. There is almost no precipitation in summer.
Mountainous forest-meadow-steppe vegetation begins from 1200-2000 m. Meadow steppes, bushes and deciduous forest are spread in the lowest belt of the zone. Deciduous forests of Western Tien Shan dont form dense belt. They are situated as separate masses among meadow steppes rocks and busheswood. Forests of walnut, birch, cherry-plum, apples and hawthorn grow on the south slops of the Chatkalskiy ridge, on the west slop of the Ferganskiy ridge, on the Ugamskiy and Pskemskiy ridges, in valleys protected by ridges in the north side from cold air masses. Deciduous forests stretches mainly till 2500 m. The next landscape zone begins from the height of 2600-2800 m. This is the zone of highland meadow steppes. Low meadow alpine vegetation ascends till snow.
Western Tien Shan can be referred to the middle category of complication in tourism respect. It is difficult here to make mountain routes which are of more than III category of complication. But this region meets all requirements for mountaineering and hiking routes which can reach V category of complication. Complicated orography, high temperature in summer, snow and high water-level in spring together with variety of passing slops and approaches to them need good physical training and good equipment. Especially it is necessary to know how to overcome mountain rivers, steep rocky-crumbling slops, brushwood of bushes to protect yourself from solar radiation and also to know poisonous plants and reptiles.
Development of tourism of in Western Tien Shan began from the southwest, west and central parts mainly because of the good approaches. Nowadays there are trekking routes in the Karzthantau, Ugamskiy, Maydantalskiy ridges, as well as Talasskiy Alatau from the east till the Pskemskiy ridges. Most tourists routes of Western Tien Shan lie in these ridges. The Kuraminskiy ridge, in the south of Western Tien Shan, is less visited by tourists, because it is situated far away from other ridges.
Full-flowing rivers Chandalash and Chatkal washing the Chandalashskiy ridge from the northwest and southeast are big obstacles in developing of the ridge by tourist groups.
Eastern Part of Western Tien Shan which includes the Atoynokskiy ridge, Talasskiy Alatau from the crossing of the Chatkalskiy and partly the Baubashata, Isfanjaylau and Kekirimtau mountains is not good developed by tourists, because of long approaches and lack of large spurs.
Hiking and mountaineering of I category of complication pass in the Kuraminskiy ridge, along the west end of the Chatkalsky ridge, through the Ugamskiy, the Keksuyskiy and Sargardon-Kumbel ridges. Mountaineering of II and hiking of I-III category of complication pass through the Talasskiy Alatay, Ugamskiy, Pskemskiy, Maidantalskiy, Chatkalskiy , Sargardon-Kumbel ridges of the Keksuyskiy ridge. Mountaineering of III category of complication and hiking of III-IV category of complication pass through the Talasskiy Alatau, Maidantalskiy, Pskemskiy, Chatkalskiy ridges, the Bailashata, Istanjaylau, Kekirimtau of the Ferganskiy ridge.
Several passes, which are of interest for tourists, are situated in the region of the highest points of ridges of Western Tien Shan : the Chatkal peak (4503 m ) of the Chatkalskiy ridge, the Manas peak (4482 m ) of Talasskiy Alatau, the Kattakumbel mountains (3950 m ) of the Sandalashskiy ridge, the summit ( 3363 m ) in upper reaches of the Shavursaya and Chonishkuldy rivers of the Pskemskiy ridge, the Chondyrtube mountains ( 1928 m) of the Keksuyskiy ridge, summit 4258 m of the Maidantalskiy ridge, the Sairam peak ( 4238 m) of the Ugamskiy ridge, summits ( 3363 m) in the upper reach of the Togutby river of the Karzhantau ridge, the Babayob summits ( 3769 m) of the Kuraminskiy ridge.
The best time for hiking and mountaineering in Western Tien Shan is from the end of April till the end of October. One should keep in mind that there are many tourists groups because popular season tourists Western Tien Shan is popular for tourists in spring.