The route to many alpine peaks, crowning the Almaty scenery, goes through the Small Almaty gorge, nearest to the city, known far beyond the borders of Kazakhstan for its high-altitude skating rink "Medeo".
To start ascent you need to wake up early in the morning, take the regular bus from the hotel "Kazakhstan" to “Medeo”; from the skating rink you can use the cable way to get not only to ski resort “Shymbulak”, but also to Talgar Pass (3200 meters).
Low peak “Shkolnik” is a "category" peak closest to the city; it towers just above the ski-run. It is the unchanging arena of dozens of mass climbing competitions since the 30s. And even today, the peak “Shkolnik” (schoolboy) is lives up to its name, and continues to be an initial step for many people who try their first steps in mountaineering.
Glacier cirque Bogdanovich lies right on the other side of Talgar pass with peaks: Komsomol (4376 m), Phiskulturnik ( 4068 m), Chkalov (3892 m), Karlytau (4100 m), Pioneer ( 4031 m), Teacher ( 4045 m) and others. Easy accesses to these peaks made them the most visited sites of "climbing weekend".
In 1934, Bogdanovich glacier area has been developed before others in Ile Alatau. Almaty climbers led by B. Lobanov summited peak Karlytau, a snow-white the year a round top with perfect clean lines. In 1937 A. Bekmetov’s group summited Peak Phiskulturnik (Athlete). Chkalov peak was conquered by S. Pasterevov, B. Pomeranzova and X. Rakhimov in 1936.
But if you do not ascend to the Talgar pass and walk from the Shimbulak along a Small Almaty gorge, you will get to other placer of even more interesting peaks at the riverhead. When you get to the upper border of the spruce forest (it runs in Ile Alatau on altitude 2,500 - 2,800 meters), you will see gloomy, bleak cliffs of another popular peak for ascents - peak Abai. It was summited by local climbers led by G. Beloglazova in 1933.
After a small alpine hole Mynzhilki, the road begins to rise onto the chaotic pile of stones of the huge moraine Tuyuksu. And from there, you can see a beautiful alpine panorama that worth looking at. This is the peak of Great Patriotic War (4050 m), Antikainen (4000 m), Panfilov Heroes (4120 m), Pioneer and Teacher (we have seen them from Bogdanovich glacier) and Amangeldy peak (3999 m).
As you learn the names of the peaks, you can clearly see the connection with the events of the Great Patriotic War. Indeed, the first ascents happened at beginning of the cruel 40's, when Ile Alatau mountain were used for training instructors the for the Soviet Army. Names of peaks carry responses to the front-line events. The 28 Panfilov heroes performed their feat near the Moscow, and in that winter, group led by A. Maleinov, named one of the peaks in their honor. Other names of peaks appeared on the map later (1944): Manshuk Mametova, Great Patriotic War, Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya (in the area of Tuyuksu glacier).
Ascent to the moraine ends, and we can see even more spectacular and majestic landscape that attracts with its beauty and purity. The peak Youth (4147 m) stands right in front of us, entirely covered in ice shell wall. Peaks Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya (4108m), Lokomotiv (4182 m), Pogrebetsky (4231 m) and Tuyksu (4218 m) are located further along the ridge; there you can also find seven small sharp peaks - Tuyuksu Needles (4213 m).
A traverse (route over all the peaks) lies under the Needles; it has the fourth category of difficulty, for the first time, climbers passed it in 1940. Another popular traverse terminates here; it calls Horseshoe Tuyuksu, for the first time, G. Kolenov and B. Nearonskiy conquered it in 1945. This route also includes peaks Partizan (4390 m), Ordzhonikidze (4410 m) and Mayakovskiy (4208 m).
Peak Mayakovskiy well known for its north-western side, one of the most difficult climbing route in the area lies there; authors of this route are G. Petrashko, V. Saviny, B. Shklyar and B. Reznik (Spring 1962 ).
Now, the reader knows that Ile Alatau is a unique training complex for climbers. According to its geographical position, this ridge is one of the most northern highlands on the planet. So peak Talgar (4975m), for example, is not inferior in climatic conditions to the southern mountains over 7000m high. If we take into consideration the fact that the ascents take place in Ile Alatau almost the whole year round (except for short breaks because of avalanche danger), then it becomes clear that Kazakhstan sportsmen and mountains lovers have unlimited possibilities. Indeed, they have a wonderful alpine stadium.