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Western wall peak Talgar.

Climbing the three peaks of the Talgar massif.

“And if these mountains had eyes, they would wake to find two strangers in their fences, standing in admiration as a breathing red pours its tinge upon earth's shore. These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, long to thunder praise but stand reverent, silent so that man's weak praise should be

Donald Miller. «Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road».

The highest point of the Northern Tien-Shan is Talgar peak.

On a clear cloudless day from the outskirts of Almaty in the southeast, against the blue sky, a three-headed massif traced by a thin contour, covered with eternal snow and ice, is visible. This massif and snow-white chain of the Trans-Ili Alatau ridge attract the attention of everyone who happens in these places.
Three dome-shaped tops of the Talgar massif are covered with a powerful snow-ice shell. The main one is the middle one, with a height of 5017 m - the highest point of the Trans-Ili Alatau. One of the first descriptions of Talgar ("Talgarn-tal-check") belongs to P.P. Semenov-Tian-Shan.
The summer of 1938, when a group of mountaineers from Stalinsk - L. Katukhtin, G. Makatrov and I. Kropotov - first climbed to the main summit of the massif along the north-eastern ridge, should be considered the beginning of Talgar's development of Talgar.
In the summer of 1940, the author of these lines had a chance to be in the gorge of Left Talgar, and at the same time he and G. Makatrov had an intention to traverse the Talgar massif. Meeting with G. Makatrov, his story about the ascent and the desire to join the group strengthened our desire to go along the planned route.
By five o'clock in the evening in August 1940, in a snowstorm we passed the northern summit, and then in a spacious depression between the northern and main summits we found a small lake under the snow, familiar to us from the story of Makatrov.
At the site of the destroyed rocks, far from the slope, we laid a note in the still preserved large stone tour. Having climbed to the main summit of Talgar and first descended from it along the southeast ridge on the plateau of the Korzhenevsky glacier, we successfully completed the first traverse of the massif.
In the fall of 1943, a group of D. Gorin consisting of M. Agranovskii, A. Erokhin, Yu. Menzhulin, A. Thomberg, and P. Kriventsov, having climbed Talgar along the way of our descent, discovered this note. Further attempts by several groups to cross the Talgar mountains ended in failure, and only in 1949, the climbers of the Metallurg camp, led by F. Lemstrom, made the second Talgar traverse with a rise along the north-western ridge and a descent to the southeast.
In 1951, A. Alekseev's group conducted a traverse from the south-west to the north, rising to the southern summit from the “dip” between the southern and western summits and descending the north-east ridge. The five main, completely independent routes, distinguished by a large variety of relief (slopes, ridges, walls) and cover (snow, ice, rocky), degree of difficulty, which we have mentioned, indicate that a five thousand massif can be an excellent mountaineering “stadium”.
Until now, the full development of the Talgar massif cannot be considered complete; four routes remain unfulfilled. We will acquaint readers with the route that the Spartak group of companies traveled in the summer of 1953.
... Over the past twenty days, the weather in the mountains was bad, the low-hanging clouds brought rain every day. Only in the first days of August it was possible to foresee the end of bad weather by hardly noticeable signs.
We arrived in Alma-Ata in the middle of the day, the clear sky went north to the sun-scorched Ili valley. Only in the south did the dense wall of clouds at the chain of mountains obscure the horizon. By evening, we had to get to the transshipment base in the gorge of Middle Talgar, where our auxiliary group had left the day before.
The next day, all the members of the expedition and the Kara ¬ dan loaded with packs of horses moved up the gorge r. Middle Talgar. It started to rain. At times, the shower pushed us under the shelter of thick crowns of spruces.
When the sky was cleared, it was possible to continue movement along the river bank to the powerful spurs of the mountains rising from the cloudy clouds. On August 11, having parted ways with the hospitable camp “Metallurg”, where we stopped along the way, the detachment of Sparta went to the foot of the Talgar massif.
After two hours of travel, we pitched our base camp in a green glade against the grand western wall of Talgar hidden in the clouds. By evening, the blue sky had opened again, the clouds began to thin. Slowly sliding down the slopes, they opened, finally, hidden behind their cover tops.
On August 13, the assault group (Honored Master of Sports V.S. Pelevin, Master of Sports V.L. Rubanov, V.A. Nagaev, and First Discharger KF Korolev) went up along the North Talgar Glacier to the foot of the western wall of the massif.
In the base camp, the head of the auxiliary detachment V.D. Klochko, doctor L.I. Abrosimova, radio operator G. Bobkov and a group of dischargers. After a long bad weather the sun shines brightly in a clear blue sky. Slowly climbing the moraine, we see friends seeing us for a long time.
The distance is rapidly increasing, the figures of people and tents merge with the stony background of the valley, and only through binoculars one can see that the rest of us are still watching us for a long time. Hot, the sun is high above his head.
A narrow strip of the glacier is sandwiched on both sides by high rock walls. They are covered with ice and so steep that to the right and to the left there are traces of falling stones that have traced stripes across the entire width of the gorge.
By three o'clock in the afternoon, they reached the even middle part of the glacier and stopped to spend the night behind a large stone. From here you can clearly see the whole wall and the planned route of ascent along it to the northern summit.
Before dusk, the entire rock buttress, departing from the northern summit to the west, was examined in detail, found the most likely places of rockfalls and avalanches, finally chose the ascent route. The majestic massif of the peaks of Talgar is no less a popular target for climbers who come to Kazakhstan than, for example, the Bezengi region of the Caucasus Wall.
Here, as well as in the Caucasus, after the paths to the main peaks were covered, the search began for more difficult routes, ascents along the routes that allowed testing the growing skill and maturity of the climbers. These routes should include the path along the western wall to the northern summit of Talgar.
Inspection of the wall convinced us that the most difficult sections of the route would be: 
1) the beginning of the wall, the ascent along its lower part, with a height of up to 300 m and a steepness of 75 – 80 °, especially difficult in the upper section, the flattened rocks of which did not allow to find a passage to the tower towering above the wall;
2) the second, middle wall, whose height was determined in 120 - 150 m.
View the details of the path because of the high altitude was not possible. It was clear that the narrow front of the wall up to 100 m would not allow to freely maneuver and choose the path on the spot. Another serious difficulty of the route was a large elevation difference - 1900 - 2000 m - from the base of the wall (piedmont crack) to the top.
The exit along the rocky-ice ridge to the snow cap of the summit did not inspire fear. The lower part of the route along the steep (50 - 55 °) snow-ice belt before going under a wall 800–900 m in length was  especially dangerous because of the avalanches coming down from left and right from the side corridors; here you can move only in the early morning.
Inspection completed. But even when setting up a tent, we did not stop watching the entire front of the wall with binoculars. For the most thorough study of the route, you should use the cut-off method to “feel” the relief of the wall.
At different hours, the sun changes the location of the shadows from the protruding areas, and upon careful observation throughout the day, it is possible to accurately determine the relief features. August 14, woke up in the dark. The night was cold ¬ round, everything was shackled by frost.
Looking out of the tent, we see the entire wall, towering right in front of us; all is quiet, bright stars are scattered across the still dark sky. Putting backpacks, at 6 o'clock in the morning set off. Talgar storming has begun!
Having passed the upper reaches of the glacier, they crossed the Podgorny crack and reached a small section of the rocks of the ice belt. The rocks are slabs and “lamb foreheads” smoothed by avalanches and stones and almost completely covered with a transparent thin crust of ice. From the very beginning we go in pairs in pairs: Pelevin - Nagaev, Rubanov - Korolev.
From the very first steps, one has to go very carefully: there are no cracks for hooks. One hundred meters of ascent along this section required a lot of stress. Leaving on the upper edge of the plates, fasten the rope, on which the others quickly climb.
The slope of the steepness up to 55 °, which seemed snowy below, turned out to be icy; the snow covered it with a layer only 10 - 20 cm thick. In hot summer this slope, obviously, should be purely ice. Moving on cats.
The simultaneous movement of the ligaments at the beginning, where a thin layer of snow still allowed to knock out the steps, slows down after 100 - 150 m: the steepness increases, the thickness of the snow layer decreases. Ice ax and ice hooks were put into operation, without which it is impossible to advance here.
We strive to go as quickly as possible to the place of the junction of the two corridors, enveloping the wall to the left and right, to find ourselves under the protection of the wall itself. Good physical training of the participants, our training ascents conducted by us allow us to maintain a high rate of non-rest movement.
The sun probably rose high; there is a clear blue sky above us, but we are on the western slope, where the rays of the sun will appear only in the afternoon. Therefore, it is still cold here, but we all sweat from the continuous movement and work as an ice pick.
Slowly but steadily approaching the rocks; they are steeply protruding from the top of the base of the wall. Reaching them, we find ourselves in comparative safety. Rocks hanging from above protect against falling stones and ice.
We are pleased with Konstantin Korolev, who for the first time participates in such a difficult ascent. He goes all the time last, but everyone who overcame the ice slopes knows that the latter goes no less than the first: considerable strength, dexterity and patience are required to knock out the hooks deep in the ice.
Rounding the rocky protrusion to the left, we climb all the time on the ice, only occasionally approaching the rocks in order to score a hook for insurance. In the second half of the day, when the group approached the upper part of the rocky protrusion, under the base of the wall, the sun had already warmed the entire wall well, especially its apical part, sometimes covered with snow and ice.
Along the ice trench and Couloir, to the right and left of the wall, stones began to fall. Their fall brought down small avalanches, they went down, bending around us and the rocky ledge. It took at least eight hours of continuous work without rest; replaced by Rubanov and Korolev.
Very carefully they process the last, steepest, ice section with a length of up to 100 m; snow and shards of ice fly on top of us. Finally, with great skill, Rubanov climbs from the ice over a rocky plumb and disappears beyond the fold. Rubanov does not answer our questions, apparently does not hear.
Only a uniform upward movement of the rope indicates that it continues moving. After long minutes of waiting, a joyful shout is finally heard from above: “Done! Rise, the rope is fixed. ” One by one we climb up, coming close to the base of the wall.
On a small snowy shoulder, adjacent to its base, it is possible to cut down a part of the snow-ice ridge, level the good platform and fix the tent on the hooks. Ten hours of work make themselves felt. Pretty tired ¬ ing, with great pleasure we climb into the tent. The sun illuminates our bivouac until dusk, it soon becomes cold.
But it does not matter. After a lot of physical and moral stress, the tent clinging to the edge of the wall, noisy primus with boiling food and dry sleeping bags portend a good rest. Late in the evening the bad weather is played out, “Talgarskaya”, which I knew even from 1940.
Gusts of wind with a roar approach from below along the wall, at first they can be heard from afar, the wind blows with increasing force for several minutes, then another brief calm begins. Hurricane wind sweeps clouds of snow, falling asleep tent.
The group spent all night without sleep: gusts of wind are so strong that the four of us could hardly keep ice axes supporting the tent. Despite the fact that both the tent and all of us were attached with a rope to the hooks hooked into the rocks, the danger that the tent would be torn down seemed quite real.
In the afternoon the wind subsided, but the snowfall and fog forced the group not to leave the tent: it was impossible to climb the rocky wall up to 80 ° in such weather. The wind that raged on the second night made us keep on duty again.
Only by the morning of August 16 did it subside, a blue sky appeared at times in the gaps of rapidly moving clouds, in the west the distant edge of the clouds appeared.
- The weather will be - says Rubanov.
We write a control note, we hide it in a tin can and lay it on the tour of the first walkers of the route. At 11 o'clock began the assault on the wall. In the lower part, its steepness is 75-80 °, height is 300 m. It is impossible to ascend by means of highly smooth rocks with a small number of hooks without a hook guard.
The crevices, horizontal shelves and slabs are covered with ice, in many parts of the rock with a length of 10-15 m are so smoothed that the rise to each of them takes two to three hours. No detour. As we have indicated, one of the reasons that complicate the passage of the wall is that its rocky part is no wider than 100 meters.
Borders on the right and left are vertical gutters. From the middle of the day the weather is improving, there is not a cloud in the sky, but the rocks remain cold even after midday; you have to start the movement late in the morning, losing the best hours.
Despite good physical training, fitness and well-coordinated work of both bundles, we are moving along this difficult route rather slowly. For a whole day of continuous work for ten hours, we were able to climb only 200-220 m in height, having scored 26 rocky and 4 ice hooks on the way for insurance.
In order not to dump the stones on each other, both bundles are ledge, as well as both climbers in each of the bundles. The wall relief is such that over the course of 220 m of ascent we manage to get together only in two places.
The sun has already dropped to the horizon, another 30 - 40 minutes, and it will be dark. The air temperature quickly drops. It is necessary to quickly find a place to sleep, to find cracks in the rocks before dark, in order to score the hooks.
But nowhere, neither to the right, nor to the left, nor below, where Rubanov and Korolev are waiting, there is no place at least for a sitting overnight. We make an attempt to climb 8 - 10 m, our hands are numb, but you cannot work in mittens: minor irregularities of rocks covered with ice and snow can be used for holds only with your bare hands.
With the utmost care, while trying to work faster, I climb a small ledge. It is possible to securely secure three large ice hooks into the rock, hang a rope and attach to it. We sit without a tent, two by two, me and Korolev, Rubanov and Nagaev; you have to sit without moving, in a rather awkward position, afraid to fall asleep, so as not to be derailed.
After a day of hard work on the wall, everyone was tired, even Rubanov died down, an inexhaustible narrator of endless stories. Unwittingly we think about the unknown way ahead, especially since the possibility of passing exactly this part of the wall remained unclear when studying the route from below.
Leaving the place for spending the night, we leave a control note in the crevice of the rock. At 10 o'clock in the morning, having traversed to the left from the place of lodging with careful insurance by Nagaev, I enter the ice chute. The most difficult part of the road began: the ascent of 20 - 25 m along a narrow (1.5 - 2 m) chute.
In some places, it is possible to hammer hooks into the side rocks and climb, chopping down the steps in the ice. This site required 2.5 - 3 hours of work. Knowing that the comrades freeze without movement, I try to quickly get out of the gutter.
One more effort, one more step ... another, I am going to a more flat place. Here there is a rocky ledge, I quickly throw a rope on it; one by one, Nagaev, Rubanov and Korolev alternately rise. We do not know what lies ahead, but we feel that we have passed a key section of the wall.
Having traversed to the right a rocky shelf 30 meters long, we cross a thirty-meter section of steep ice, where we have to chop steps. We rise by 15 - 20 m along the rocky wall and get to the sources of the right ice trench. Another 15 m of ascent on the rocks of the chute, and, finally, we reach a small rocky shoulder filled with the sun, which was clearly visible from below.
A convenient place for a bivouac: safe from rockfalls and two tents can be well placed. After a hard journey and a sleepless night, we rest for more than an hour. So, the bottom, the most difficult part of the wall is passed! We approached the base of the rock buttress tower.
The sun warms us, chilled in the shade on the west side. Remove all warm things. You can not want better weather: the endless blue sky. We are trying to look through the field of binoculars at our base camp, alas, it is too far, and our observers are unlikely to be able to notice our figures on the yellow rocks.
Need to move on. The four of us fold the tour and lay in it another control note. The further path goes along the rocky shelf of the tower, then we go up the crevice along its right side. In the narrow crevice we encounter sludge ice, we have to go to the right rocky edge, rather steep (50 - 60 °).
But on such dry warm rocks you feel more confident. After climbing to two ropes, we reach a site where the edge does not end with a small ledge. The lower part of the icy-rocky couloir is visible in front (in the upper part, the couloir turns to the left and is not visible from here) up to 15 m wide. In the middle part, the couloir narrows to 2 m, and above it expands again, reaching Hume.
The bottom of the couloir from the narrow mouth and almost to the very top is covered with ice, it is necessary to chop down the steps and arrange a hook insurance. The couloir keeps steepness up to 50 ° throughout. The path is dangerous, loose stones can easily be knocked down with a rope or foot in any careless movement.
Using the corner ledges of the walls, we move from shelter to shelter, gathering as a group in the most safe places. By 18 o'clock on a sloping rock plate, which ends up at the top of the couloir, I climb a small platform. Nagaev follows me, then Korolev and Rubanov. A strong cold wind is blowing on the ridge.
The smooth, vertical wall of the “gendarme” leaves upward, and only to the left 10 to 12 m, above us, one can see a shoulder covered with snow. Coming along the ridge of almost 15-20 m, I climb this shoulder along the wall with a slope of 75 - 80 °.
At times, further movement seems impossible, smooth snow-covered rocks are very difficult, hands become numb, but the consciousness that it is only ahead that we can find a resting place for our comrades standing below and freezing in the cold wind makes it go ahead.
From the bottom, the shoulder seemed like a good platform, in fact it is just an inclined section on the north side of the gendarme, sharp stones protrude from under the snow. Tent put here will not succeed. After cutting down a part of the snow-ice surface, we fasten the front side of the tent on hooks and attach ourselves to the hooks hooked into the wall.
We are pleased with this refuge, although the cold, piercing wind reminds us of the first night on the wall. Two days and two sleepless nights on the wall tired us, and we instantly fall asleep; only in the morning of the next day, when we wake up, we remember food.
On August 18, they began the assault on the middle wall, which was steeply rising upward under 60 ° to a height of 120 - 150 m. Fearing through the rocky hook, chopping down the stuopen in the ice, traversing the gendarme's wall to the left and descend 10 m into a narrow couloir, crossing it.
The wall is steep and goes far down, going down to the couloir. From the couloir straight up the wall it is possible to climb only 30 m, then the vertical part of the wall begins. I go out on the whole rope, Na-gai climbs up to me on the hook insurance, then we traverse to the right, up to a rocky angle along an inclined crack.
Only after that the second ligament begins to move. Today is the closing Rubanov. The large steepness (75-80 °) of smooth rocks necessitates careful insurance and requires great effort to overcome them. First-comers on the route are always concerned with three main questions: the patency of the route, the organization of reliable insurance and the unpleasant prospect of going into a “dead end”, from which you will have to return, losing time.
After 50 - 60 m of ascent we reach a rocky ledge resembling a “mutton forehead”. To the right, it is cut off by a vertical 200-meter wall, on the left it adjoins the smooth wall of the tower; there is no other way, you have to move along it.
Going down from the ledge at 5 - 6 m along the rope and using the narrow edge of ice and snow adjacent to the wall (0.5 m), we were able to traverse the wall. From here, along the ledges, I climb up to 15 – 20 m and reach the ridge with which the second wall ends.
The whole group rises quickly behind me. A short ridge of 20 – 30 m leads to a deep dip, beyond which a third wall rises 400 meters high with an average slope of 45 – 50 °. We stand for a long time, choosing the path of recovery.
The snow-covered cliffs of the wall are wide in front of us. It is already about one o'clock in the afternoon, you need to hurry, - according to my calculations, today we should spend the night at the top. The upper wall is hard only at the bottom. For an hour we were able to climb to a height of 150 m, overcoming areas of inclined plates.
The ascent ends with an exit to the rocky ridge, which leads to the beginning of the summit rocky ridge along the snowy couloirs and the crevice. All the difficulties of lifting behind. Ahead is a horizontal section (120-150 m) of a rocky ridge, it is very narrow, no wider than two palms with steep walls breaking to the right and left.
Heavily destroyed rocks of the ridge go into the gentle snow-ice slope of the dome of the northern peak. From here to the top of the hour. We rest before the last, final and fairly easy stage, examining in detail the route of ascent along the northwestern ridge through Iyin-Tau (“Leverage-mountain”) to the northern summit of Talgar, and no one has yet traveled the rocky buttress of the western wall to the main summit . Yiyin-Tau is incorrectly called apex; this is a fairly flat rocky shoulder, covered with snow and adjacent from the north to the snowy slopes of the summit of Talgar
Although at an altitude of about 5,000 m each step is difficult, but with what excitement, joy, and the influx of new forces, which seemed to be exhausted in four days of a dangerous and difficult journey, we climb the snow dome. At 1630 hours we are at the northern top of Talgar.
Traversing its snow dome, in half an hour we reach the depression between the main and northern peaks, where fourteen years ago I, G. Maslov and G. Makatrov were lucky to lay the first round on Talgar. It's getting dark. The wind pulls from below on the wall of the cloud, breaks out to the top of the dome, turns the ground.
The last look to the south, to the immense panorama of the mountains, and the group begins to descend along the southeast ridge to the plateau of the Korzhenevsky glacier.

The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.The environs of Almaty nature reserve.

Vs. Pelevin. "The western wall of Talgar passed." 1953.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov and Sergei Mikhalkov.