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Khan-Tengri peak. Kazakhstan.

Highest peaks of Kazakhstan.

“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news” 

John Muir.

Adventures in mountains of Central Tien-Shan.

Khan-Tengri peak, 6995.2 meters above sea level, is located in the main ridge of the eastern part of the Tengri tau ridge in the Narynkol district of the Almaty region. Khan-Tengri (translated from Mongolian - "lord of the sky"). Kazakhs from time immemorial have called it Kan-Too (from the Turkic “Kan” - blood, “Too” - mountain).
Khan-Tengri Peak is the highest point in Kazakhstan and the second highest peak in the Central Tien Shan mountains (after Pobeda Peak, 7439 meters above sea level). This one of the most beautiful mountains in the world is adorned with a perfect marble peak.
More than 1200 years have passed since Khan-Tengri was first mentioned in Chinese chronicles. This name is explained by the fact that under the reddish sunset rays of the sun, the upper part of the summit becomes almost red, and the shadows from the clouds sweeping over it create a semblance of red streams flowing from it.
At its top, the borders of the three states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Republic of China almost converge. A triangular, impeccable in shape, pointed pyramid with marble sickles, it penetrates the clouds, rushing with an ice cap almost into the stratosphere.
The mountain is visible from afar, since it is much higher in height than all neighboring peaks. The uniqueness of this peak lies in the fact that its three-kilometer north wall is the longest of the walls of such an exposition, (the most severe and difficult in mountaineering terms) among all the seven-thousanders of the world, including the Himalayas.
The mountain is one of the most popular mountaineering centers. Rare peaks can match the beauty of this snowy giant, especially at sunset, when the surrounding mountains are plunged into darkness, and only the higher Khan-Tengri peak turns red.
“A man’s foot will never set foot there,” exclaimed the famous Gottfried Merzbacher when he saw Khan-Tengri. For climbers, this peak is one of several in the world, at the top of which every self-respecting athlete wants to visit.
But you should not try to conquer this peak, having in your "track record" only a few simple routes and without appropriate altitude and physical training. The lord of spirits, the king of the Heavenly Ridge, inaccessible to a mere mortal, the top - such was the opinion about this graceful marble triangular pyramid.
“It looks like a giant pointed tulip emitting a fiery light” - the legend of Kazakhstani mountaineering Valery Khrishchaty will say about the peak. So much this creation of nature is more beautiful and grandiose, one might say, even more airy than the heavy creation of Egyptian architecture "Each facet of it is unique and beautiful in its own way.
One is a solid, bottom-to-top, cut of pale pink, as it were, warm marble, the other is an ice wall with outcrops of dark, gloomy rocks. On the right side, you can see a part of the snow-white southwestern edge. At the foot of the peak, from the north side, the Reznichenko glacier (Northern Inylchek) flows like a river.
Pobeda Peak is visible beyond Khan-Tengri in the south. Its almost even, long ridge with a prominent shoulder in the eastern part does not attract attention. Pobeda Peak, almost half a kilometer above Khan Tengri, the gaze involuntarily turns to him.
However, Khan-Tengri immediately makes such a strong impression that it is quite understandable why the higher peak of Pobeda remained unnoticed for so many years.
History of the discovery of the Khan-Tengri peak.
The first scientific information about it goes back to the middle of the 19th century. Khan-Tengri saw and described during his outstanding trip to the Tien Shan in 1856-1857 the famous Russian geographer and traveler P.P. Semenov-Tien Shansky.
This is what he wrote in his diary: “When we got about one o'clock in the afternoon to the top of the mountain pass, we were blinded by an unexpected sight. Directly to the south of us rose the most magnificent mountain range I have ever seen. It all, from top to bottom, consisted of snow giants, which I, to the right and to the left of myself, could count at least thirty.
This entire ridge, together with the intervals between the mountain peaks, was covered with an uninterrupted veil of eternal snow. In the middle of these giants there was one, sharply between them, a snow-white pointed pyramid that stood out in its height, which seemed from the height of the pass twice as high as the height of the other peaks ... This was Khan-Tengri peak."
Description of the mountainous country made by P.P. Semyonov-Tien Shansky, attracted the attention of compatriots, many foreign researchers and climbers to her.
Expeditions to the Central Tien-Shan took place in the following order:
- 1864 - N.A. Severtsov,
 A.V. Kaulbars,
- 1876 - A.N. Kuropatkin,
- 1886 - A.N. Krasnov and I.V. Ignatiev,
- 1889 - Hungarian zoologists G. Almasi and S. Stummer-Traufels,
- 1900 - Italian scientists and climbers C. Borghese and G. Brocherel,
- 1902 - 1904 - botanist of Tomsk University B.V. Sapozhnikov,
- 1912 - Russian topographers.
At the beginning of the XXth century, the Central Tien-Shan was also studied by German scientists G. Merzbacher and M. Friedrichsen.
All these expeditions have sufficiently advanced the study of the Central Tien-Shan. The location of Khan Tengri and its height were also clarified (information about the height was initially different: I.V. Ignatiev determined it at 7320 meters above sea level, and G. Merzbacher - 7200 meters above sea level, which, as is now known, is incorrect ).
The systematic exploration of the Central Tien-Shan began in 1929 with complex expeditions initiated by the tireless traveler and climber M.T. Pogrebetsky. As a result of these expeditions, the geographical study of the Tien-Shan advanced significantly.
By that time, Pogrebetsky had a better idea of ​​conquering Khan-Tengri. It was this goal that was set for his 1931 expedition. The ascent was made from the South Inylchek glacier over the shoulder of Chapaev Peak along the southern side of the pyramid. At 12 o'clock in the afternoon, on September 11, 1931, Mikhail Pogrebetsky, Boris Tyurin and Franz Sauber stood at the top of Khan-Tengri. This ascent can rightfully be called a feat. The route taken by Pogrebetskiy is still considered classic today.
Khan Tengri is located in the very center of the Tien Shan on the border of Kazakhstan with Kyrgyzstan and China. The classic route from the Northern Inylchek glacier was first completed in 1974 by V. Solomatov, difficulty category 5B
The most favorable season for climbing Khan Tengri is July - August. During this period, the warmest and most stable weather sets in. For climbing in the winter season - February - early March. It should be noted that Khan-Tengri peak has two heights, 7010 meters above sea level, which is commercial and fictitious.
This height was simply inscribed in the itineraries of programs and tours of tourist companies in the late 80s of the last century, without conducting topographic research. Somehow it was necessary to attract foreign climbers to the unexplored regions of the Central Tien-Shan, which until the mid-80s was reliably closed due to the proximity of the state border in this area.
With the light hand of businessmen from mountaineering, this height began to compete with the true topographic height of 6995.2 meters above sea level.
Geographic coordinates of Khan Tengri peak: N42 ° 12'35.10 "E80 ° 10'22.55"

Khan-Tengri peak.Khan-Tengri peak. Peak of Khan-Tengri. Sarydzhaz ridge. View from lake Tuzkol. Peak of Khan-Tengri. Sarydzhaz ridge. View of the natural boundary Dzhaman-Echkilitash. Kyrgyzstan.

"On the glaciers and peaks of Central Asia", 1948, (D.M. Zatulovsky).
Alexander Petrov.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.