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Touyuk Su glacier hike


Hiking to the Touyuk-Su glacier

 Touyuk-Su glacier hike

Radial day glacier hike: having started from Almaty center, you will find yourself at a height of 3500m above sea level within just few hours, surrounded by majestic peaks of the Zailiysky Alatau mountains. Will be able to see a moraine lake and how a mountain river is born, seeping through a moraine of a glacier.

The track starts from the Shymbulak ski resort and then follow the road up the gorge. While trekking you witness dramatic change of geographical zones. At the start point, at an altitude of 2200m, coniferous forest prevails. But at 2800m you see that trees disappear (upper forest line) and the landscape changes into the zone of alpine meadows, which are perfect in early summer when colorful alpine flowers are blooming. Above 3300m there is already a zone of glaciers - there is almost no vegetation here, only rare specimens are found on southern exposures. Varieties of plants and flowers also change as the altitude rises.

The route all the way follows the main grount track. You walk through so called "Touyuk-Su gates" - the narrowest place of the gorge with high vertical rocks both sides. Then pass by Mynzhylki dam with oldest kazak meteostation, locataed at a height of 3000m. Then cross a stream (this is the beginning of the river Small Almaty), move to the left side of the gorge and follow hiking up to the T1 glaciological station. Behind the station, if walk further along the path, you can find the moraine lake under Molodyozhny peak. The lake is formed by Molodyozhny glacier, "hanging" on the northern slope of the mount. The panoramas are indeed great - even on the way up to the station: stunning view of the circus of the Touyuk-Su glacier, surrounded by peaks over 4000 meters.

As for logistics - it is not complicated. You can come to Shymbulak by cable car from the Medeo skating rink, which is reachable from Almaty by bus.

Important: It is not recommended to hike up the glacier in Spring (March - early May) and late Fall (November) due to high avalanche danger. Also, when planning a trip, consider appropriate clothing and footwear.

You may also inquire a guided hike to the Touyuk-Su glacier: if we organise it, then a start point will be above Shymbulak (we provide with private jeep transfer from Almaty and professional guiding).

 Season   December - February, June - October
 Distance one way  8.7km
 Ascent/eleveation     1300m
 Descent   1300m
 Highest point  3500m
 Lowest point   2200m
 Trekking time  6 hours
 Difficulty  moderate

Touyuk Su hiking map

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