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Glaciers in mountains of Western Tien-Shan.

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Photos of mountains Central Asia.

The Talas Alatau ridge with spurs belongs to the Western Tien-Shan. This ridge has an almost latitudinal stretch and stretches for 270 kilometers. The average height of the ridge is 3750 meters above sea level, the highest point is Manas peak, 4482 meters above sea level.
The northern slope of the Talas Alatau, separated from the Kyrgyz ridge by the valley of the Talas River, is relatively short and dissected by numerous left tributaries of this river. Large spurs, commensurate in length and height with the main ridge, depart from the southern slope of Talas Alatau in a south-west direction.
These are the Ugam, Maydantalsky, Pskemsky, Sandalashsky and Chatkal ranges. The rivers of the Syr Darya basin flow along narrow deep valleys between them: Arys, Maydantal and Oygaing (the sources of the Pskem river) and Chatkal.
In the eastern part of Talas Alatau, the 120 km long Susamyr-Tau ridge with an average height of 3,500 meters above sea level southeast. The Uzunakhmat-Tau ridge connects the eastern tip of the Chatkal ridge with the Ferghana ridge separating the Ferghana Valley from the Inner Tien Shan.
The relief of the alpine zone is characterized by deep dissection and wide development of forms of ancient glaciation. The valleys open to the south-west between the spurs of the Talas Alatau facilitate the free penetration of western moisture-bearing air streams into their upper reaches, where 800-1000 mm fall, in some places up to 1,500-2,000 mm of rainfall per year.
On the leeward slopes, the amount of precipitation decreases to 500 - 600 mm. Their general decrease from west to east is also observed. The greatest amount of precipitation in the glacial zone falls in the warm period, of which 60 - 80% in solid form.
There are 1,073 glaciers on the Talas Alatau and its spurs with a total area of ​​453.3 square kilometers. Icing is dispersed. Caravan glaciers predominate - they account for 60% of the number and 43% of the total area of ​​glaciation of the region. 20% of the number and 43% of the area are glacier valleys.
The rest of the area belongs to glaciers of all other types. Glaciation covers mainly slopes and valleys oriented to the north. On the northern slope of the Talas Alatau, there are 278 glaciers with a total area of ​​163.4 square kilometers.
Small glaciers. Only a few hollow and cara-valley glaciers are larger than 3 square kilometers. The largest of them is the Vokrug Sveta glacier (3.6 km long, 6.8 km square) in the Urmaral River basin. Glaciers are concentrated in the highest parts of the ridge, the average height of their ends is 3520 meters above sea level.
About 30% of the surface of glaciers is covered with moraine. On the southern slope of the Talas Alatau and its spurs there are 795 glaciers with a total area of ​​289.9 square kilometers. Glaciers lie mainly in the Karas and narrow valleys in the altitude range of 3400 - 4000 m.
Small kar glaciers predominate, many of them are completely covered with moraine, they feed mainly on avalanches. Larger than the other hollow glaciers (there are 15), the average area of ​​the hollow glacier is 3 square kilometers.
There are several complex short-tongued valley glaciers formed by the merging of several valley glaciers. Valley glaciers have almost no firn areas and feed on avalanches. Most of the glaciers of the Western Tien-Shan bear obvious signs of retreat - fresh moraine deposits, numerous sections of dead ice, glacial lakes, etc.
From 1961 to 1971, of the 11 examined glaciers of the Western Tien-Shan, 5 retreated, 1 was stationary and 5 were advancing (Kanaev et al. 1974; Shchetinnikov. 1976).

"Glaciers." L.D. Dolgushin, G.B. Osipova. Series "Nature of the world." Moscow, the publishing house "Thought". 1989.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.