Route: Almaty – Big Almaty gorge – Big Almaty lake – Cosmo-station – TAU Spa complex - Almaty
Season: April – June
Complexity: moderate, for fit skiers and snowboarders with confident level of riding on wild terrain. *It is required to have set of avalanche equipment.
Heights difference: mountain hut is located at an altitude 3350 m.a.s.l. Daily elevation gain: 350-2000 meters. Length of descents: 500-3000 meters. Steepness of the slopes: 15 up to 40 degrees.
Cosmostation is Tien-Shan alpine scientific station of cosmic rays and high energies researching, located 30 kilometers from Almaty city on Zhosaly-Kezen pass in the mountains of Trans-Ili Alatau. The history of the station began in the late forties of the last century. In the Soviet Union, nuclear weapons were being created, but scientists did not have enough knowledge about the physics of high and super high energy elementary particles. At that time, super-power accelerators, like the Large Hadron Collider, which was built in Switzerland, have not existed yet, they were invented in the 1950s. High-energy physics could be researched only on natural material - exploring cosmic radiation. By a special order of Stalin, an expedition of nuclear physicists was sent to Pamir, where a high-altitude station was founded. In 1958, the station was moved to the Northern Tien-Shan closer to the capital of Soviet Kazakhstan - Alma-Ata. Since then, all the research that is being conducted here is overseen by the Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Science named after Lebedev.
DAY BY DAT ITINERARY
Day 1. Almaty – Big Almaty Gorge – Cosmo-station – mountain hut.
Meeting the guide in the lobby of your hotel at 6 o'clock in the morning. Transfer to Cosmo-station by comfortable 4WD vehicle. (40 km) Passing military check-point, where you will have to show your passports (boundary zone with Kyrgyzstan Republic). Arrival to the Cosmo-station at about 7 o'clock. Accommodation in the mountain hut with electricity, tab water, stove heating, rest room is outside. There are three bedrooms and dining room in the hut. Backcountry to the nearest ridge of Almaty-Alagir mountains - western couloirs (north, north-east aspect) to the right side of old ski-lift. It will be possible to make three-four descents this day. Length of descents: up to 1 km each. Elevation gain/loss: 350-400 meters. Steepness of the slopes: from 15 to 40 degrees. After skiing lunch in the mountain hut. Rest, walking around. Evening hiking to Big Almaty peak upon your wish. Dinner and overnight in the hut.
Meals included: L, D
Day 2. Cosmo-station – Summits of Almaty Alagir Mountain Ridge
Early awakening at 6 o'clock. Breakfast and preparing for ski-touring. At 7.30 start moving along the route towards Tourist peak. Elevation gain: 1600 meters. Length of descent: 1,5 km. Steepness of the slopes: from 15 to 40 degrees. Descent by north, north-west face of the peak to the middle section of the old ski-lift. One more ascent by the same line and descent to the east couloir of the peak to the neighbor gorge. Length of descent: 3 km. Elevation gain: 500 m. Elevation loss: 900 m.Steepness of the slopes: from 15 to 40 degrees. Coming back to the mountain hut. Lunch, rest, free time. Tour around Cosmo-station and meeting with researchers who study cosmic particles in their laboratories. Dinner, overnight in the hut.
Tourist Peak (3954 m.a.s.l.) is located in the Big Almaty Spur, south of the Big Almaty Peak, Zhosalykezen Pass and west of Turan Peak. The top is simple and accessible from all sides. In winter, a small ski drag-lift operates on its slopes from the side of Zhosalykezen Pass.
Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 3. Cosmo-station – Summits of Almaty Alagir Mountain Ridge – Big Almaty Lake – Tau Spa complex – Almaty.
Early wake up at 06:00. Breakfast, preparing equipment for the route. Start is not later than 07:30. Getting to the start point of backcountry route to Turan peak, one of the summits of Almaty Alagir mountain ridge by car. Ski-touring to the top with descent along the line of ascent (north-east exposure). Elevation gain: 715 meters, descent length ~ 5 km, duration: 4-5 hours. Slope gradient: 15 – 40 degrees.
Turan Peak (3960 m.a.s.l.) is located in the Big Almaty Spur to the east of Tourist Peak and north-east of Momyshuly Peak (formerly Cornice). The peak belongs to the Almaty Alagir mountain range. The former name is INP (in honor of the Institute of Nuclear Physics). Later it was renamed in honor of Turan University.
After coming back to the start point and transfer back to Cosmo-station. Lunch, packing stuff and departure to the open-air mountain SPA complex. On the way visiting observation view point, where breathtaking panorama of the Big Almaty Lake surrounded by white snowy peaks will be opened.
Big Almaty Lake lies in a hollow, surrounded from all sides by mountain peaks covered with Tian-Shan fur-trees, aspens and juniper. It was formed about 2000 years ago as a result of an ancient glacier activity. Receding, it has left a moraine - conglomeration of fragment material, rubble, stones, and soil. Afterwards, thawed water has filled the formed hollow. The lake bowl has length of 1,6 km and width – about 1 km. The maximum depth reaches 40 meters. The initial name of the lake has two versions of an origin. Due to the first version it was called as Zhosalykol that in translation from Kazakh means – "Ocher“ lake. Indeed, the east steep slope, descending to the lake, in some places has reddish color due to pink granites. Under the other version the lake was called a little differently – Zhasylkol, that from Kazakh means – “Blue” lake. And that is also justified because of its color, as you see. Then, in the beginning of the XX-th century the lake was called as Almaty lake, and later has got its present name, which defines its location in basin of Big Almaty river, and not because of the lake size as it seems at first sight. Depending on a season, the lake changes its color: it can be pale-green as well as deep-blue with turquoise.
TAU SPA or “TAU Dastarkhan” (what means “mountains and welcome served table”) is a unique high-mountain entertainment complex. Located at the foothills of Trans-Ili Alatau mountains, in the picturesque Alma-arasan gorge. Nine different steam rooms will help you to relieve tension in tires muscles. For you pleasure: Alpine, Himalayan, Turkish hammam, Japanese, Oriental Sufa, Scythians, Finnish, Scandinavian bath-houses, swimming pools with pure, salty, hot, cold water, whirl pools, sun loungers and restaurants. There is special bathing procedure in Scandinavian steam room, which is provided every hour.
From 3 p.m. till 6 p.m. staying on the territory of spa center and enjoying different types of steam rooms and sauna, swimming pools with icy and hot water, relaxing on sun loungers and admiring the view of Trans-Ili Alatau mountains. Transfer to Almaty city. Dinner in the local restaurant. Transfer to your hotel.
Meals included: B, L
*Depending on weather, temperature and snow conditions, the guide can make adjustments to the program.
Please, notice, that it’s required to have insurance for extreme sports for participating in this program!
Required equipment and clothing:
- Avalanche equipment (air bag system, shovel, probe, transceiver)
- Goggles with a spare lens for bright sunlight and cloudy weather
- Backpack with volume 25-35 liters with ski/snowboard fixation
Clothing and accessories
- Comfortable functional clothing for riding and ski-touring (base layer - thermal underwear, gore-tex jacket and pants, additional layers of clothing for insulation, downy sweater or vest, socks)
- Extra set of warm clothes, extra pair of shoes (sneakers or lightweight trekking shoes)
- Sleeping bag with a temperature zero – minus 5 degerees in comfort zone
- Gloves, mittens
- Hat, cap, neck gaiter
- Swimsuit, towel and flip-flops for visiting SPA-center
- Personal AID kit
- Thermos for the hot tea, water tank
- Head torch
- Personal hygiene stuf
- Proper ski-touring/snowboard boots
- Skis with ski-touring bindings/splitboard
- Climbing skins
- Ski crampons
- Snacks (protein and muesli bars, energy gels, ISOtonic or other special mount nutrition)