Central Tien Shan. Khan Tengri peak (7010 m) climbing from South side. Approaches to Peak Pobeda.

Trekking and climbing fotoreport.

Tien Shan - "The Celestial Mountains" is one of the world's biggest and highest (up to 7,439 m - Peak Pobeda) mountain land on the south of Central Asia where virtually all kinds of mountain outdoors are possible - from easy trekking to extremely difficult mountaineering. The entire area keeps ecological purity and untouched wild nature so far.

The marble pyramid of Khan Tengri (7,010 m high) attracts the people's attention for thousands years - it is seen from the ancient Silk Road, which is crossing so-called "Junghar's Gate" on the present-time Kazakh - Chinese border. The climbing of Khan Tengri from South Inilchek glacier via Western Col (5A CC mountaineering) is perfect adventure and requires good physical conditions of participants, previous climbing skill is also strongly recommended.

Bear in mind that what is concerned for approaches of Khan Tengri South is also related to Peak Pobeda (7439 m) - one of most difficult mountaineering goal!

There are 4 different approaches to South Inilchek glacier BC covered here:

  1. From Almaty: Transfer to Akkol intermediate camp (about 360 km, 7 hrs, by truck, overnight there in tents), then helicopter flight to BC;
  2. From Bishkek: Transfer to Karakol (about 8 hrs, regular bus or rented minibus or car), overnight there (yurt camp, homestay, guesthouse), then transfer (about 6 hrs, by truck, high pass - 3800 m - en route) to Maida-Adir border checkpoint, overnight there (camping, huts), then helicopter flight (about 25 min) to BC site at 4,100 m;
  3. From Bishkek (w/trek): Transfer to Karakol (about 8 hrs, regular bus or rented minibus or car), overnight there (yurt camp, homestay, guesthouse), then transfer (about 6 hrs, by truck, high pass - 3800 m - en route) to Maida-Adir border checkpoint, overnight there (camping, huts), then trek (medium to difficult, about 3 days) to BC site at 4,100 m.
  4. You can also fly by helicopter from North Inilchek BC (Khan Tengri North) to South Inilchek BC (about 15 min). See Khan Tengri North chapter.

Take a look also: the places worth to visit in and near Almaty; near Bishkek and Karakol.

See related pages: Khan Tengri North pass hopping (heavy trekking) and climbing fotoreport; one more Khan Tengri South climbing fotoreport; Peak Pobeda (7439 m) climbing fotoreport; Khan Tengri South climbing route.

Photos by: Igor Fedyaev, Nikolay Gonenko, Georgy Regetsiy; taken in several expeditions. Comments: Igor Fedyaev.

to enlarge picture click on thumbnail image

If you starts from Almaty (the former capital of Kazakhstan), after long (about 7 hrs) army truck driving you get in the Akkol BC site in Bayancol gorge on the China border. It is recommended to stay here at least for 1 day to obtain proper acclimatization. You can make simple above 4,000 m climbing out there.
Tien Shan. Akkol BC. Truck.
This is how Khan Tengri marble pyramid is seen for thousands years from the Silk Road (and Akkol BC of course ;-)...
Tien Shan. Khan Tengri from Akkol BC.
Then, you go aboard helicopter (powerful Mi-8MTV) and in approx. half an hour you get to one of South Inilchek BCs - jump to next step.
Tien Shan. Akkol BC. Helicopter.
If you starts from Bishkek, after 8-10 hrs bus trip (relatively good road, Issyk Kul lake and many resorts en route, public buses, scheduled minibuses - "marshrutka", and taxis are available from bus station in Bishkek), you reach the small town of Karakol on the Issyk Kul lake shore. Here you can stay either in national Kyrgyz dwelling- yurts or in a guesthouse. The tourist infrastructure (cafes, shops, guesthouses, banks, Internet access) is surprisingly well developed in this remote place...
Tien Shan. Karakol yurt camp.
Taking into account the prices are raising up few times for everything in BC, it is worth to taste local fruits and vegetables as much as it possible before say "good-bye!" to civilization...
Tien Shan. Karakol mountaineering base.
Before you back the truck, it is recommended to put the climbing gear and extra supply (not for trekking if you go to!) into separate marked bags for delivering by helicopter.
Karakol. Mountaineering base. Truck.
The road is far from highway quality but lays in amazing mountain gorges and climbs to high (3,800 m) Chon Ashuu pass...
Tien Shan. Chon Asuu pass.
...where there isn't too far to the glaciers.
Tien Shan. Chon Ashuu pass. Glacier.
Not far from the end of the road you meet the dead city of Inilchek. The was a mining site with even it's own airport (now part of the road to Maida Adir) but after the collapse of USSR any activity here was frozen and all the population left the city...
Tien Shan. Dead city of Inilchek.
At last, you get to the Maida Adir- the border checkpoint, helipad and intermediate camp site. You can either flight to the BC from there (about 25 min, $100) or go trekking (3-4 days, serious obstacles en route!). In case of trekking to BC site, it is recommended to send extra luggage (climbing gear, extra supply, etc.) directly to BC via helicopter. Use marked bags or plastic barrels for it!
Tien Shan. Maida Adir checkpoint.
At the Maida Adir checkpoint your papers should be checked by mounted border guard.
Tien Shan. Maida Adir checkpoint. Mounted borderguard.
Then, if everything is o'k, you will be allowed to go aboard helicopter. If you're going to do so with all your stuff, jump over the trek here, if not and you do prefer trekking to BC - go to the next page!
Tien Shan. Maida Adir checkpoint. Helipad and chopper.
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Book the climbing tour "Khan Tengri- The Lord of The Sky"!
Book the trekking tour "To the Icy Giants of Central Tien Shan"!