3 Popular Ice Climbing Destinations in Kyrgyzstan
The wild, pristine terrain that covers Kyrgyzstan is prime ground for a wide variety of extreme sports. Since Kyrgyzstan is over 90% mountainous and hosts massive glaciers, one extreme sport that’s perfect to indulge in in this country is ice climbing.
Ice climbing tours will either contain some elements of ice climbing (in order to ascend a peak, for example), be entirely devoted to ice climbing, or involve ice climbing training.
WHERE IS GOOD ICE CLIMBING AVAILABLE IN KYRGYZSTAN?
- ALA ARCHA GORGE (AK SAI GLACIER)
Ice climbing destinations in Kyrgyzstan are numerous, but some of the most popular spots include Ala Archa Gorge, Kegety Gorge, and peaks such as Khan Tengri (7,010 m). Ala Archa Gorge is the most visited by ice climbers by far. Set up in the gorge is a school that offers rock climbing, mountaineering, and ice climbing training courses. Anyone from beginners to experts can attend. Courses normally last from 12-15 days and participants stay at a base camp within the gorge. Routes utilized by this school for ice climbers usually run up Ak Sai Glacier.
- KEGETY GORGE
Kegety Gorge is a particularly unique destination for ice climbing. Within the Kegety Gorge resides a waterfall that freezes in the winter, creating an enticing challenge for ice climbing enthusiasts in Kyrgyzstan. Due to Kyrgyzstan’s harsh winters and high elevation waterfalls, frozen falls actually exist in abundance within the country come wintertime.
- PEAK KHAN TENGRI
Another ice climbing destination in Kyrgyzstan is Peak Khan Tengri (7,010 m). This massive pyramid of a mountain has sections that call for ice climbing skills in order to reach the summit. Khan Tengri is the 3rd highest peak in Kyrgyzstan and is one of five 7000+ peaks in the former Soviet Union that, once all five are summited, earns climbers the Snow Leopard mountaineering award.
WHEN ARE ICE CLIMBING TOURS AVAILABLE IN KYRGYZSTAN?
Availability of tours depends on the type of ice climbing involved in the tour. If climbers are attempting to climb a frozen waterfall, the best time for this is between mid-late December and mid-February. While ice climbing is available year round at Ak Sai Glacier in the Ala Archa Gorge, most climbers take advantage of this in the colder months.