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Kurchum ridge.

Where to Go Trekking in Kazakhstan Altai Mountains.

“Sweetness shudders through the land
as if, freed from the heat,
nature’d scooped spring waters in her hand
and splashed her burning feet”

Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev. “Summer evening”.

Hiking Kazakhstan a trekker's guide to Altai Mountains.

The Kurchum ridge (Kaz. Karshim zhotasy) is located between the Bolshenarymsky and Sarymsakty ranges in the north and the Irtysh river valley in the south, located in the Kurchum region in the eastern part of the East Kazakhstan region.
The Kurchum ridge stretches in a sublatitudinal direction from the eastern end of Lake Zaisan to the valley of the Karakoba River. The western end of the ridge is bordered by a small mountain range Arkaul, in turn located in the eastern part of the bay of the Bukhtarma reservoir.
The eastern part of the ridge is bordered by the western end of the South Altai ridge. In the southeastern part, the ridge is bordered by the small submeridional Altai ridge located in the northeast of Lake Markakol and the northern coast of Lake Markakol.
In the northeast, the ridge adjoins the southern spurs of the Sarymsakty ridge. The northern and northwestern end of the ridge is the Kurchum River, which flows into the Bukhtarma reservoir from the east. The southern end of the ridge from west to east is supported by small mountains: Kokarsha, Karazhurek, Tarlauly and Asutau. In the western part of the ridge, there are small mountains Zhylytau and the Kyzlsoran ridge.
In the central part of the ridge in the north are the Zhandy-Karagai mountains. The ridge is 130 kilometers long from southwest to northeast. The greatest width in the western part of Lake Markakol is 64 kilometers.
The prevailing heights are from 700 - 1000 m in the west to 2500 m in the east. The northeastern part of the ridge is the highest, with the dominant Aksubas mountain 3305.6 meters above sea level located here. The next highest mountain is Mount Sarytau, 2646.2 meters above sea level, located in the central part, in the main ridge of the ridge.
In the western part, in the crest of the ridge, there is Mount Salkynshoky, 2084 meters above sea level. The Southern Altai ridge, in turn, passes in a southern direction to Tarbagatai, located at an altitude of 2200 to 3000 meters above sea level, and Sarytau, and in the north to the Sarymsakty mountains with heights of 3000 to 3400 meters above sea level, from which it branches off Kurchum ridge, bordering the Zaisan depression in the southern spur.
The Kurchum ridge, together with the Dzhety-Kizen mountains, constitutes the middle branch of the Southern Altai, or its southern chain, the link of which limits Lake Markakol from the southeast. The ridge is composed of Paleozoic metamorphic rocks.
The lower parts of the steep slopes of the ridge are covered with steppe vegetation, which gives way to herb-cereal meadows, the northern slope is covered with larch forests. Altitudes over 2000 meters above sea level are covered by alpine tundra. In the southwestern part of the Kurchum ridge, there are steeper and shorter slopes facing the southeast.
The hydrography of the ridge is quite extensive. In the gray-eastern, most elevated part of the ridge, the Kruchum River originates from high-mountain, moraine lakes at an altitude of 2624 meters above sea level.
The right tributaries of the Kurchum flow down from the northern slopes of the ridge (from the southwest to the northeast): Kumurbulak, Karazhal, Koishilik, Kulai, Kazachya, Karasholak, Syroy Maralenok, Sukhoi Maralenok, Sornaya, Parenka, Ultabar.
The rivers flowing from the northern slope of the ridge belong to the basin of Lake Markakol: Kalzhir, Pervaya, Vtoraya, Mostovaya, Glukhova, Ioninskaya, Zvontsovskaya, Pesochnaya, Tasbulak, Kokterek, Elovka, Sosnovskiy, Olmanskiy, Blizhnyaya, Topolevka.
From the Kurchum Ridge, the Kalguty River flows into the Zaisan Basin and flows into the Turangy-Kul Bay. In the foothills of the southern part of the Kurchum ridge, the fine-tailed snake lives, the range of which is in Manchuria and Korea.
Several snow leopards live in the mountains of the Kurchum ridge, and occasionally a red wolf can be found. On steep cliffs, in gorges, the mountain goat - teke is common, on slopes with moderate vegetation - argali. In the taiga and the alpine zone, where groups of rocky outcrops meet, the smallest fanged deer, musk deer, is kept. Its number is growing.
Occasionally a wild boar enters the southern mountains from the Zaisan depression.
Geographic coordinates of the Kurchum ridge: N48 ° 43'43.78 "E85 ° 16'01.50"

The mountains Kurchum ridge.In the mountains Kurchum ridge.

Alexander Petrov.
Book "Altai Kazakhstan", publishing house Kaynar, Almaty, 1986.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.