Route: Jungar Alatau (Almaty Region, Kazakhstan)
Best Period: August-September
Complexity: Average Complexity Trekking
Height Difference: 760-3500 m.a.s.l.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Day 1. Almaty - Taldykorgan - Sarkand
Departure from Almaty at 07:00. Arrival to Taldykorgan at 10:00 and visit to the Local History Museum of Almaty Region. Lunch and transfer to Sarkand (approx. 159 km). During the 2-hour trip there are expected 2-3 stops near interesting and memorable places, as well as visit to the central office of Jungar Alatau National park.
Sarkand was mentioned for the first time in Shokan Valikhanov’s articles about Semirechye study. These references date back to 1857 of the last century. Initially Sarkand was a village, based by Siberian Cossacks. The first solid settlements appeared on the banks of Sarkand river in 1858, when 22 families relocated from Kopal and Lepsinsk counties. In 1872, there was opened the first school. In 1928 Sarkand District was formed. It was composed of Cherkassk and Lepsinsk counties. Since 1964, Sarkand was urban-type settlements, and in 1968 it was transformed into the city. Today it is a small but very pretty town. The main activity of the locals is agriculture, production of excellent wines. There is even a small brewery and a cheese production plant.
Arrival to Sarkand at 18:00 and accommodation at the hotel. Dinner, free time and preparations to the route. Overnight in the hotel. *Total automobile milage in this day approx. 400 km
Day 2. Sarkand - Small Baskan Cordon - Valley of Small Baskan River
Wake-up at 07:00, breakfast. Transfer to Small Baskan cordon. Lunch at the cordon, crossing the river and trekking up the Small Baskan gorge. The first 2 km will lay at quite a difficult path with high thorns, nettles, windbreak. Further, quite a good dirt road will lead to the place of the first overnight stop.
Small Baskan Gorge is located on the northern slope of the central mountain range of Jungar Alatau, in its highest part, and is oriented from north to south. The length of Small Baskan river until the confluence with Big Baskan river is about 40 km. The confluence takes place near Ekiasha village, and our way to the top of the gorge will pass through this village. The gorge starts with Zhambyl glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the area. In the eastern part of the glacier the three highest peaks of Jungar Alatau are located: Semenov-Tien-Shansky peak, Shumsky and Abay peaks. Zhambyl peak is located in the western part of Zhambyl glacier.
Arrival to an overnight place. Setting a camp, dinner, rest. *Total automobile mileage on this day approx. 50 km, trekking distance - approx. 7 km
Day 3. Valley of Small Baskan River
Early wake-up, breakfast and disassembling of the camp. Moving up the gorge to the upper border of the forest. During the whole day we move over rough terrain, the trail periodically appears and sometimes disappears at all. In some places there is a good dirt road. On the road, we meet a few small streams flowing into Small Baskan river, which need to be waded. After passing an abandoned frontier, and fording Kumbasay river, we have stop for short rest and lunch. After rest we continue the movement. After fording two more influxes of Small Baskan river, we reach the upper boundary of the forest and choose a place for overnight. Setting a camp, dinner and rest. *Trekking distance on this day approx. 14 km
Day 4. Valley of Small Baskan River - Zhambyl Glacier
Early wake-up, breakfast and disassembling of the camp. Trekking to the largest influx of Small Baskan river - Juniper river, which originates under Shumsky glacier. We pass several branches of the river spill. Depending on the time of year it can have different level of water, and may be we have to ford the river. The short trekking through alpine meadows will be changed by very unpleasant obstacle, a huge stone rubble. After passing the rubble, we again find ourselves at the alpine meadows and move to the moraine lake, which water level is changing several times during the year. Short rest and lunch on the shore of the lake, which was formed by partitioning of the gorge by the ancient moraine. Then we move to the moraine formed by Zhambyl glacier. Setting a camp, dinner, rest. *Trekking distance on that day approx. 12 km
Day 5. Zhambyl Glacier - Valley of Small Baskan River
Early wake up at 04:30, breakfast and disassembling of the camp. Radial hike to Zhambyl glacier, to overview point of Semenov-Tyan-Shansky peak.
The total length of Zhambyl glacier is about 6 km, of the open part of the glacier - about 5 km. The surface area of the glacier is 11.5 sq.km. According to experts, the glacier is reduced by approximately 2.5 meters every year. It is quite intensive melting for this region. The glacier is named in honor of Zhambyl Zhabayev, a prominent Kazakh poet.
Descent on the glacier moraine, dinner, rest. In the afternoon, descent to Archevaya river. Passing a stone dam, choose an overnight place. Setting a camp, dinner and rest.
Trekking distance on this day approx. 16-20 km
* For experienced hikers, on request, climbing to Semenov-Tien-Shansky peak (4665 meters above sea level) is possible. To do this, you need to add 1 more day to the program.
Day 6. Radial Hike to Shumsky Glacier
Breakfast. Radial hike to Shumsky glacier.
Many tourists say that Shumsky glacier is the most beautiful one that they had ever seen. Locals call this glacier "Saukele" (traditional headdress of Kazakh bride), because its shape is very similar. The size of the glacier is very similar to Zhambyl glacier, its length is about 6 km, and the square is approximately 10.7 sq.km. The glacier is named in honor of Peter Shumsky, Soviet scientist, one of the founders of Soviet glaciology school, researcher of Arctic and Antarctic.
Return to the camp site, dinner, rest. *Trekking distance on this day approx. 10 km
Day 7. Valley of Small Baskan River
Wake-up, breakfast. Disassembling of the camp and hike down the gorge to the upper border of the forest. Having passed an abandoned frontier, choose a place for overnight. Setting a camp, dinner, rest. *Trekking distance on this day approx. 13 km
Day 8. Valley of Small Baskan River - Small Baskan Cordon - Sarkand
Wake-up, breakfast. Disassembling of the camp and hiking to Small Baskan Cordon, lunch. Transfer to Sarkand. Accommodation in a hotel, dinner, rest. *Тоtal automobile mileage on this day approx. 50 km, trekking distance - approx. 7 km
Day 9. Sarkand - Taldykorgan - Almaty
Breakfast and departure to Almaty at 09:00. Lunch on the way in Taldykorgan. Arrival to Almaty at approx. 20:00. *Total automobile milage on this day approx. 400 km