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Arabel Valley.

Tours to Tien-Shan mountains.

“A vast plateau spread before the travelers - a syrt, along which small half-frozen lakes were scattered, located between relatively already low mountains, however, covered with eternal snow on the peaks, and on the slopes - with luxurious greenery of alpine meadows. From the top of one of these mountains, travelers could very clearly see the upper reaches of the tributaries of the Naryn, flowing from the syrt lakes spread at their feet, the main source of which was to the east of Yu.E. from here. Thus, for the first time, the origins of the vast river system of the Jaxartes were reached by a European traveler.”

P. P. Semenov. "History of half a century of activity of the Russian Geographical Society".

Geographical sights of Tien-Shan.

The latitudinal, high-altitude valley of Arabel is located at an altitude: in the western part from 3822 to 3858.6 meters above sea level, in the central part at an altitude of 3752 to 3779.1 meters above sea level, in the eastern part up to 3689.9 meters above sea level , is located between the southern slopes of the Terskey Ala-Too ridge and between the northern slopes of the Jetym-Bel and Sook ridges in the Jety-Oguz district of the Issyk-Kul region.
The length of the valley from the southwest to the northeast is 22 kilometers, the width in the western part reaches 4 kilometers, in the central 8 kilometers, in the east 3.5 kilometers. The area of ​​the Arabel highland valley is 105.52 square kilometers, the perimeter is 67.54 kilometers.
There are more than 15 large lakes in the valley, among them a group of lakes Dzhashyl-Kel: Western Dzhashyl-Kel, Southern Dzhashyl-Kel, Northern Dzhashyl-Kel, Central Dzhashyl-Kel. More than 15 small lakes.
The relief of the Arabel valley is represented by syrts, wide sloping valleys, bordered by mountains, sometimes steep. In some Turkic languages ​​"syrt" means "back". The Arabel valley is a residual, relict form, preserved from an ancient flat country from a leveled country, which in the Tertiary period was subjected to mountain-building processes, and individual massifs were strongly uplifted.
In the Arabel Valley it is always cold, even in the short summers, the winters are long and severe, the landscape is dull and inhospitable, the vegetation is mostly stunted and stiff, and only in places green and dense.
Cattle are driven here, as a rule, only in summer, but often on the southern slopes, in those places where there is little snow, winter grazing is also practiced. Numerous glacial boulders and moraines cover part of the valley surface.
There are many small saucer-shaped lakes, wetlands are common - according to the local "sazy". Frozen soils do not allow water to pass into the underlying horizons, therefore, water, collecting in the gentle basins of the syrt, where evaporation is very weak, swamps the surface.
In the Arabel Valley, snow also occurs in the summer, this phenomenon is not uncommon. Sometimes heavy snowfalls and frosts hit pastures at the very beginning of autumn. The surface of the valley is slightly (by 7 - 10 °) inclined to the south, to the sources of the Big Naryn - the Arabel, Sarychat, Taragay rivers.
Flat and shallow river valleys and wide hilly depressions alternate with smooth interfluves and low ridges. The relief and the whole appearance of the Arabel valley was formed as a result of ancient powerful glaciation, traces of it are visible everywhere: moraines ingrown into the ground, large boulders, sheep's foreheads, many swamps, small (less than 1 km square) shallow lakes with swampy low banks and swamps.
Permafrost here is also a remnant of ancient glaciation, it is widespread at an altitude of more than 3400 meters above sea level, its upper limit lies in the soil at a depth of 1 - 1.3 meters. By preventing seepage and runoff of groundwater, permafrost contributes to the formation of waterlogged areas.
The prevailing westerly winds, passing through the Terskey-Alatau, leave the moisture of the air masses on the northern slope of the ridge and fall on the syrts largely dehydrated. This circumstance, combined with the high altitude of the syrts, determines the severity and dryness of the climate: moderately warm summers and moderately severe, almost snowless winters.
Falls 150 - 350 mm of precipitation per year. There are frosts every night in summer. A strong wind blows during the day, calm happens only in the morning and in the evening. On the syrts, the unfavorable conditions for the existence of glaciers on the slopes of southern exposure are balanced by the severity of the climate at high altitudes.
The Arabel valley is a region of distribution of peculiar glaciers of flat peaks; they have neither a developed bed nor a rocky frame, and therefore are devoid of stone material and do not form large moraines. Such glaciers cover small, rounded peaks not affected by erosion, are fed by atmospheric precipitation and have a thickness of 100 - 150 meters. Snow line on the Terskey Ala-Too ridges.
Geographic coordinates of Arabel Valley: N41°50'54.20" E77°46'00.88"

Alexander Petrov.
B.I. Rukavishnikov. "Lake Issyk-Kul and Terskey Alatau Ridge". Moscow, "Physical culture and sport", 1970.
"Years of searching in Asia". Murzaev Eduard Makarovich.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.