If you are reading this, chances are you are into mountain activities as much as we are. And if you love the mountain, being on the look out for new destinations is almost a second instinct. Today: the amazing Kyrgyzstan.
This small country in Central Asia with less than 6 million inhabitants offers an incredible variety of mountain activities. Many of them are also easily accessible from its capital city, Bishkek. From beginners to experts, winter to summer, find the right activity for you!
To get you started, we have asked several guides from the Kyrgyzstan Mountain Guide Association (KMGA) to help us put together a list of the Top 5 mountain activities in Kyrgyzstan, for every season and time of the year. Feel free to add any of these (or all of them!) to your own personal bucket list.
1. Rock and Ice climbing in the Ala Archa Valley
The Ala Archa National Park is one of Kyrgyzstan’s protected alpine areas, right on the Tian Shan mountains. It is also only 40 km south of Bishkek, which is incredibly convenient. If you are planning on traveling January-March or September-December, Ala Archa is one of the best rock climbing spots, with hundreds of climbing routes. Try this 7-day mountaineering program, with Anastasiya, to really get to know this area. And if you’d like to know more about rock climbing in this gorgeous valley, read about the trip an Explore-Share user took with Andrey.
Ala Archa is also a fantastic spot for ski touring, so check out our selection of trips if you are planning on visiting Kyrgyzstan during the winter.
2. Ski touring in Arslanbob
Located further south on the Tian Shan mountains, Arslanbob has amazing, stable snow conditions and some fantastic landscapes. Ski touring in Arslanbob is available from December till March. You will also fall in love with its beautiful village, its friendly neighbors and the traditional architecture. Ski touring is just the perfect activity to explore this area, with attractive steeps of up to 40-45 degrees and summits up to 2,000m. KMGA-certified Yaroslav offers an amazing 7-day ski touring program.
3. Climbing Lenin Peak
When you mention Kyrgyzstan, the first image that pops into many people’s head is that of Lenin Peak. This classic expedition takes you all the way up to 7,134m. Yet, it is considered one of the most accessible 7,000m peaks in the world, as it is not technically difficult. Right on the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the Pamir mountains, ascents to this peak usually start off from Osh, one of Kyrgyzstan’s most beautiful cities. You can check out Andrey’s 21-day program during July and August or take a look at our selection of trips to reach the summit of this amazing peak.
4. Climbing Khan Tengri
Khan Tengri (7,010 m) is the second highest peak in the Tian Shan range. This challenge is perfect for experienced climbers looking for new adventures. The 21-day expedition to the Khan Tengri summit usually covers a very large area and makes helicopter transfers a necessity. KMGA-certified Ivan Moshnikov, for example, guides groups on this amazing challenge every year during the months of July and August. Take a step forward and experience the fulfillment that comes with conquering the great Khan Tengri summit.
5. Heliskiing in the Suusamyr Valley
The Suusamyr Valley in the northern region of Chuy has unbeatable snow conditions, with dream-like powder and depths of up to 2.5 meters, at an altitude of 2,220-2,600m. It is every skier’s paradise! This is a perfect activity to pursue from December through March. Pavel, an experienced KMGA-certified local guide, offers an amazing 8-day guided heliski tour in the Suusamyr Valley you just don’t want to miss. Get ready to jump on the chopper and enjoy!
Kyrgyzstan is a true treasure for mountain-lovers. The variety and diversity of possibilities it offers, for any time of the year, make it an exceptional destination to explore. And these here are only the tip of the iceberg! Dive in and discover many other wonders of Kyrgyzstan, and get your adrenaline pumping.
Take into account, however, that in Kyrgyzstan the company of a mountain guide is even more essential than in the Alps. With very little infrastructure, a professional guide is key to keep you safe in the Kyrgyz mountains. Consider hiring a KMGA-certified guide to have a truly local experience: he or she will make it a lot richer by also teaching you about the country’s culture and its people.
The Kyrgyzstan Mountain Guide Association (KMGA) was created in 2008. Since then, it has incorporated 35 members in 8 different countries, from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Latvia, to Switzerland and Great Britain. The KMGA was created following the international UIAGM-IFMGA educational standards, and is now on its way to becoming an IFMGA official member.