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Backcountry Adventure in Tuyuksu (5 days)

January 10, 2018

Ski Tours, Freeride & Backcountry | 3-days backcountry program in the upper reaches of the Small Almaty Gorge in the cirque area of Tuyuksu glacier. Accommodation in the iron barrels or carriage transformed into the mountain shelters. Every day we will make radial exits to the nearest summits and glaciers.



Season: April - June

Best period: May

Complexity: intermediate, demands mountaineering skills (using ice axe and crampons). Duration of ascent from "Memorial to the Fallen in the mountains" to glacier station T-1 will take about 3 hours on first day. On second day ascent from glacier station T-1 to Molodyozhniy peak will take about 4-5 hours, depends on level of physical fit of participants. This route suits for physically fit skiers and snowboarders with confident level of riding off piste. It is desirable to have a good physical training. It is necessary to have a set of avalanche equipment. 

Heights difference: maximum elevation gain – 1600 m. Memorial to the Fallen in the mountains – Molodyozhniy peak. Dropping about 1000 m. If there is enough snow, it’s possible to make descent till Mynzhilki dam.

Route: Almaty region, Kazakhstan. Almaty - the Medeu meadow - Memorial to the Fallen in the mountains - the dam Mynzhylki - the glaciological station T-1 - the western glacier of Ordzhonikidze peak - the North Molodyozhniy pass - the shoulder of Tuyuksu - Molodyozhniy pass - Molodyozhniy peak.

Tour program:

Day 1. Almaty – Circus of Tuyuksu glacier.
Departure from Almaty about 10 a.m. Transfer to "Memorial to the Fallen in the mountains" with altitude 2550 m.a.s.l. After that we will continue ascent by feet following the road along Small Almaty river to “Mynzhilki” dam. This name can be literally translated as “good pasture for livestock”. Here is also located stationary meteorological station at an altitude of 3000 m.a.s.l
Light snack and short break in shelter near Mynzhilki dam. After break will move uphill again. When we cross the river, if it’s enough snow, it will be possible to continue on skis. Here long ascent is waiting for us on the way to Tuyuksu glacier. We will turn to the right before reaching the glacier and get to glacier station “Tuyuksu Glacier T-1”.

This station is situated at an altitude of 3450 m.a.s.l. Station was established in 1956 and it is one of the oldest glacier stations in the world. When soviet glaciologists built their houses here on the tongue of the glacier after Second World War they couldn’t have imagined that dozens of years later the glaciers would retreat by hundreds of meters. Tuyuksu glacier is included in world network of glacier changes observation. Nowadays it is the only one glacier in Central Asia where observations are still contunied after the collapse of USSR. 

Approximate time of reaching glacier station T-1 – 14.30 – 15.00 p.m. Break, dinner, walking around if desired. Night in Tuyuksu Glacier T-1 area.

Day 2. The western glacier of peak Ordzhonikidze.
Early wake up, about 5.00 a.m. Breakfast, preparations for the route. Start the route not later than 06.30 a.m. We will be moving in east direction, cross Tuyuksu glacier and start to make ascent on west glacier of Ordzhonikidze peak. It’s altitude is 4024 m. Almost all descent can be overcome by skis, despites one short rocky part where we will have to climb by feet, may be even in crampons. Entire descent from T-1 station till top of the glacier will take about 4 hours. In the middle of the route it’s possible to make short break, have a snack, drink tea and admire surrounding view to majestic mountain ranges.

After reaching the top of glacier with gendarmes we will start to prepare equipment for descent. From this point view on Molodyozhniy peak is opened.
Ordzhonikidze peak (4410 m) is situated between Mayakovskiy peak and Partizan peak. It is the highest summit in Small Almaty gorge. It is a large rocky massif with lateral ridges, which extend to the north-west and north-east. The Eastern Ordzhonikidze glacier descends in Left Talgar gorge, on the western side it is surrounded by the hanging West Ordzhonikidze glacier. Peak was named after soviet political leader-revolutionary Sergo Ordzhonikidze. First mountaineering was arranged successfully by Almaty alpinists in August 1936. Leader of the group was Mamontov.

Descent along the central part of the glacier to the left of the line of ascent. Slope angle about 40 degrees, some parts can be hard and icy. Quiet sloping ski run afterwards on Tuyuksu glacier, where we will have to put on skins and continue to move on skis towards T-1 station. Break, dinner, walking around if desired. Night in Tuyuksu Glacier T-1 area.

Day 3. Station Т-1 – circus “Green Kar”, North Molodyozhniy pass.
Early wake up, about 5 a.m. Breakfast, preparing for the route. Not later than 6.30 a.m. start the route in west direction towards Molodyozhniy pass.  Not reaching the pass after overcoming wide smothing part of mountain valley, we will turn to the right and start to move up to the south slope on the ridge of North Molodyozhniy pass. This part of the route from station T-1 till the pass will take about 2 hours. Here, may be, we will have to continue by feet because of the hard snow crust which will not let to go on skis. After reaching the saddle of the ridge we will move further to the left where North Molodyozhniy pass is situated. It’s altitude is 3880 metres.
From the pass fascinating view on Molodyozhnaya summit, Amangeldy, Teacher, Pioneer peaks and also Kumbelsu mountain gorge is opened. Rest, snacks, preparing for descent.  Usually at the edge of the ridge from the north side mighty snow cornice is formed. We will start to make descent from cornice on the line with the most comfortable angle of the slope. There are many couloirs and varieties of descents, so on request after descent from the pass to the circus it is possible to make couple descents more from another points.  We will continue to make descent along the valley to the serpentine of the road goes back to station T-1. 
After getting the road we will continue to move on skis uphill. The way will take about 30 minutes. After coming back to the station T-1 you will have a rest, lunch, walking in surroundings, avalanche safety lessons on request, dinner and night in T-1 area.

Day 1. Station Т-1 – Tuyuksu pass – Tuyuksu shoulder.
Early wake up, about 5 a.m. Breakfast, preparing equipment for the route. Not later than 6.30 a.m. start the route in south-east direction towards Tuyuksu glacier. From T-1 station in the beginning we will make descent on skis till the wide valley of Tuyuksu glacier. Then we will put on skins and continue to move on skis uphill with smooth elevation. We will move to the south to the Pogrebeckiy glacier.

Peak was named after mountaineer from Kharkov Mikhail Pogrebeckiy who first has reached the top of Khan-Tengri peak. During the War he headed School of Mountain Shooters. School was located in Gorelnik gorge between Medeu skating rink and Shymbulak ski resort. North slopes of Pogrebeckiy provide Tuyuksu glacier with feeding.

Passing the valley of Tuyuksu glacier will take about 2 hours, after it, we will get to the north slope of Pogrebeckiy glacier. We will move to the left from it to the Tuyuksu pass. Here before beginning of steep long ascent we can have a break, eat snacks and drink tea. After we will move on skis if conditions of the snow let us or by feet. It's not far till the pass, less than an hour. From the Tuyuksu pass with altitude 4120 metres breathtaking pamoramic view of glaciers and summits of Turists gorge –SGU and Soviet Alpinists, and panorama of Pogrebeckiy glacier will be opened. From the pass we will move uphill again, to the left on the way to the gendarmes. The way will take less than half an hour. We will find ourselves at the altitude of 4200 metres on the shoulder of Tuyuksu glacier – the end point of our route. Break, snacks, preparing the equipment.
Start to make descent on the wide field closer to gendarmes. Descent on more narrow couloir from the left is also possible, it will depend on snow conditions. After we get the valley of Tuyuksu glacier we will continue making descent to the T-1 station. In the end of the route we will have to make stop and put on skins. Last part of the route we will move uphill. It will take about 15-20 minutes.
After coming back to the station T-1 you will have a rest, lunch, walking in surroundings, avalanche safety lessons on request, dinner and night in T-1 area.

Day 5. Molodyozhniy peak - Memorial to the fallen in the mountains - Almaty.
Early wake up, about 5.00 a.m. Breakfast, preparing for the route. We should start to move not later than 06.30 a.m., in west direction towards Molodezhniy pass 3735 m.a.s.l. Ascent by ski-touring will take about 2 hours. Short break on Molodyozhniy pass, about 30 minutes. During our break on the pass we will enjoy view to surrounding summits and glaciers. After we will continue to move uphill by feet to Molodyozhniy peak., it will take about 1,5-2 hours. When we reach peak’s top we will have short break and preparation for making descent on skis.

Fist mountaineering on Molodyozhniy peak was made in 1940 by group of instructors from Tuyuksu alpine camp. From mountaineering view point summit is not difficult, classical route of ascent is 1B. The Almost all north slope of the summit is covered by ice in summer time and it makes it very frightening. In winter time summit is covered with snow because of heavy snowfalls, and it makes possible to arrange backcountry and make descent from the top by skis till the end of June. It’s altitude is 4150 m.a.s.l. Molodyozhniy peak is also popular among alpinists for acclimatization and preparation for more serious routes, for example, on Khan Tengri peak.

Descent will be made in classical way, along the line of ascent, which is called “chicken breast”. Or we can also make descent by north slope of Molodyozhniy peak. All depends on weather conditions and skiing level of participants. We will make descent to station T-1. At the station we will have break and lunch. After that we will move Mynzhilki dam, if it’s enough snow we will make descent on skis! Break in familiar shelter and then walk down to Memorial to the fallen in the mountains. Approximate time of arrival in Almaty 20.00 p.m.  

*** At the client's request, the program can be extended to 6-7 days. Continuing the radial exits to the tops of the locations in circus of Tuyuksu glacier.    

Required equipment:

- Alpine skis/snowboard with ski-touring bindings
- Ski/snowboard boots (for skiers with system of switching to walking mode)
- Snowshoes (for snowboarders without splitboard)
- Skins
- Poles 
- Ice axe
- Crampons
- Avalanche equipment (ABS system or avalanche safety kit: shovel, probe and transceiver)
- Backpack with volume 50 litres at least with ski/snowboard fixation
- Goggles with extra untifog lens
- Helmet 
- Gloves
- Sunscreen
- Sunglasses
- Thermos with tea
- Water tank or camelback
- Head torch
- Extra set of warm clothes for a night in the mountains
- Extra pair of shoes (sneakers or lightweight trekking shoes)
- Warm sleeping bag with a temperature below zero in comfort zone
- Camping mat
- Personal AID kit
- Snacks (bars, muelsi, special mount nutrition)

The cost of the program is 5 days / 4 night:

398 USD per Person, provided for 2 people travelling together
322 USD per Person, provided for 3 people travelling together
Each Additional Day:

134 USD per Person, provided for 2 people travelling together
111 USD per Person, provided for 3 people travelling together

% Discounts are available for the big groups!


1. Services of professional ski guide, English-speaking
2. Transfer hotel - gorge Medeo - hotel / station, airport
3. Specialized transfer to the memorial to those killed in the mountains
4. Accommodation in the vicinity of T1 station
5. Meals - lunch, dinner per day 1, three meals per day 2-4, breakfast and lunch per day 5.


1. Rental of ski equipment
2. Visa support and registration in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, if required
3. Meals (other than specified), personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program
4. Accommodation in Almaty before / after the tour
5. Insurance policy

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