Characteristic features. Some of the most popular canyons among climbers are Karakol and Jety-Oguz. The highest peaks, the most interesting itineraries and the highest walls of the Terskey Ala-Too range are located here. The highest peaks are Jigit (5,170m), Karakolskiy (5,256m) and Oguz-Bashi (5,120m). More than 150 routes have been developed here varying from the easiest to the very difficult ones. Mostly routes are rocky or combined, however ice-snow or snow routes are not frequently found. Elevation is 1,500 m. In the upper reaches of canyons routes are mostly combined and in the middle area are mostly rocky.
Location. The Karakol canyon is administrated by Aksuiskiy raion and Jety-Oguz canyon by Jetyoguzskiy raion of Issik-Kul oblast. Both canyons are located to the south of eastern edge of lake Issik-Kul on the northern slopes of Terskey Ala-Too range.
Climate. The climate of the region is considerably milder then of the Central Tien-Shan much depending on true altitudes and proximity to lake Issik-Kul. Annual precipitation is quite heavy – up to 2000 millimeters. It mostly falls in the beginning of summer, however snow and thunder storms are common for July and August as well. The weather is more settled in September but autumn is much colder in mountains than summer. The best time for climbing is July – September.
Climbing history. The records of first ascents date back to 1927 and were done by the group under Grechishkin, who was a dentist from Karakol town. After war the region became popular among climbers from all over the Soviet Union because of the easy access and many different opportunities for expeditions. Lots of different routes were developed during championships of various kinds. Well-known mountaineering camp Ala-Too was in operation here in 1970s-80s. Nowadays, due to the easy access and variety of routes of different grades many climbing teams from Russia come here for training, their rating and skill improvement.
Access. There is convenient access by road from Karakol town. The distance from the town to the end of the road in the Jety-Oguz canyon is 80 km. To get to starting point for climbing one should drive along the road along the southern shore of the lake then take turn to the mountains in Pokrovka village, which goes up to the Tilety Zapadnaya river (western) – right tributary of the Jetyoguz river. Horses or porters can be used to transport loads from the end of the road to base camps. Porters can be hired in Karakol and horses can be rented in the gorge from local people.
The distance from Karakl town to the end of road in Karakol gorge at the river Telety Vostochnyi (eastern) is 18 km. From the end of road to the base grounds for climbing it’s from 1-2 up to 5-8 hours walking. Horses or porters can be hired.
Logistics. Territory of the Karakol canyon belongs to national park and an admission fee is in force. Road conditions are very bad and off-road vehicles are advised. There is no admission fee to the Jety-Oguz canyon.
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