Awesome Legends of the Tien-Shan Mountains

легенды альпинистов Тянь-Шаня, призраки в горах

One can hear any chills from experienced climbers! The Black Climber, the Mountain Maid and other mysterious characters become alive during night time near a fire. The most surprising thing is that many of the legends of Zailiyskiy Alatau is not a fiction only! They are based on real facts! 

Black Climber

Perhaps, it is the most famous legend of those that were born in our mountains. The climbers tell it near the fire even at Everest Mount!

It is believed that a spirit of the Black Climber supposedly lives in the gorges impassable mountains, he takes revenge on people for not saving him from a terrible death one day. This spirit does not simply evokes fear through anxious howling but can cut the rope, which insures lives of climbers. But only few persons are aware of this legend’s source and of its author, a Kazakhstan climber.

It all began almost half a century ago, in post-war times. A group of local teenagers climbed on the mountains. Old climbers told us that at that time there were no organized climbs, so young people have conquered peaks by themselves, climbing up on uncharted paths and often risking their lives. In one of such groups of teenagers have found themselves Alexey Mariyashev, nowadays a well-reputed climber and Sarym Kuderin (which later has become the famous poet).

легенды альпинистов Тянь-Шаня, призраки в горах

For several days teenagers with heavy backpacks full of food, went to the top. They have settled down for the night on a small canopy indenting mountains. The night was dreadful, very dark and moonless. There were raised voices of the wild animals that come out to hunt. At that time, in our mountains have an abundance of wild boars, bears, wolves and snow leopards. All night the guys burnt fire and because of fear were unable to wink. In order to cheer up his friends, Sarym took a guitar, and on the fly has composed a song about the Black Climber. He had heard that somewhere in the Caucasus region one climber died; he almost reached the top, a little bit was left ... But he twisted his ankle and he fell down. His body hovered over the dreadful precipice, and nobody could get to the deceased climber, to commit his body to the ground.

Overall, Sarym Kuderin has got a down hearted song. Even terrible. But it has become very popular, many climbers sang it around the campfire. And troubled spirit of the Black Climber has not forgiven such liberties to the teens. A rumour goes round that all the guys who were sitting around the campfire that night, when the song was born, lost their lives in the mountains under the ridiculous circumstances. The curse of the Black Climber spared only Alexey Mariyashev, the author of the book describing the history of the legend occurrence. 

Good Joke

Mountains. Mountaineering base where an experienced instructor coaches people walking on the rocks, glaciers, walls, etc. Somebody of learners are beginners, the other ones come over to this area for many years. In the evenings, during gatherings in front of the fire, before going to bed, traditional chills, histories, tales and legends are told. Of course, such a detail of climbing folklore as a Legend about the Black Climber is not left without attention: once upon a time he had been a man, but had been betrayed and thrown in the mountains, from then onwards he walks ... Further details is under the teller’s fantasy.
The base instructor had a good fantasy. And he had been a good teller.
The audience shuddered and drawn up closer to each other by throwing timid looks to darkness around the campfire. And at the end of the story the instructor added: "Well, do you know that the Black Climber sometimes comes into our camp?” He slips his hand in one of the tents, and requests a piece of bread. In no way you can refuse him, otherwise, he will take you away with him...".

легенды альпинистов Тянь-Шаня, призраки в горах


It is clear that nobody believed this statement, all were going to sleep in tents. Waiting for a while, an instructor, got a jar of paint out of his backpack ... Having painted his hand in black colour, he approached the tent of newcomers, put his arm inside and with sad voice said: «Please give some bread...».


Curiously, the newcomers have had a fun an hour ago, gave so called «credit to it». In no case, someone questioned or made a guess on this joke; all urgently and almost in a panic started searching peace of bread in their backpacks...

Many people arrived to the base for several years – and, of course, knew well the instructor’s habit, as they have followed it some time ago. And somebody of the base’ «old-timers» also possessed the imagination and sense of humour...

So, once again, black hand squeezed into the tent to newcomers and sad voice asked: «Please give me some bread..». And a second later, somebody put back the black hand on the shoulder of the instructor, and equally sad voice asked, «Why do you need my bread?...».


...It is commented that the instructor had the courage of going back to the camp only to the next noon. It is unknown weather he has repeated his cantrips for the regular beginners or not . It is annoying if he has not repeated it, all in all, this joke is not bad.

легенды альпинистов Тянь-Шаня, призраки в горах

White Old Man

Asylbek, a shepherd, riding herd at Asy upland told us a story about the mysterious old man. Supposedly, a strange ghost in kind of old man of two meters height with a knee-length grey beard roams the mountains. He always keeps ...a Chess Board. He suddenly appears and suddenly disappears in the same manner. He comes to shepherds and invites them to play chess with him. If anyone plays with him and serves the tee, then after the old man’s thanks and going away even more amazing things will happen. Flock becomes as if it is bewitched, no one of wolves touches to the animals. Hospitable shepherd becomes all aspects lucky guy. The flock is getting grow and multiply.

But if you refuse the White Old Man in this game, it seems to be a trouble.

This intriguing legend has also appeared not in an empty place. White-bearded old man is not a ghost. He was an amateur of mountains, often adjacent to the expeditions. Stanislav Potapov was a participant one of them, who has been fortunate enough not only to play with an old man in chess, but ask about his life, and has revealed us the history of this legend.

-We met in another expedition, and rode stately old man went with us. His name was Dadon, he was a surveyor. It turned out that he was a handyman and knew so much, that we called him a «walking encyclopedia». But most of all he loved to play chess, he always carried it in the backpack. The old man had really fantastic strength, both physical and the power of the spirit, – says Stanislav Potapov. – I remember, we were raising on the Turgen Gorge by car. Over 40 km the old man asked to stop the car, unloaded his heavy backpack. And went by foot. On the way to the top, he managed to enter the Observatory and play chess with old-timers, stroll through encampments of shepherds and play with all, have a tea. Having made a huge hook along forests, valleys, he reached the camp at night, which we broke on a top of the mountain. An old man was moving with great speed, it is no wonder that later shepherds said that saw him at the same time in different places. So, like this was born the Legend about the White Old Man. In-fact, he has been a legendary personality.

легенды альпинистов Тянь-Шаня, призраки в горах

Who is living in the Royal House ?

Seasoned climbers admit that legends is an integral part of their life. This is a kind of homage to the climbers. When a rookie comes to the mountains, he gets frighten by the different stories. However, modern youth cannot be scared by «old» ghosts. But there is a story that leads to shaking even the most intrepid teenagers – the legend of the Royal House, which stands high at the mountains.

Terrible trouble had happen while building the House for noblemen, and since then, the House has been empty. Supposedly, its walls are cursed, and anyone who crosses the door of this House, is lost. We heard other versions of the legend from climbers. The Royal House is supposedly guarded by strange creatures looking like monkeys. They attack those who dared to disturb the Royal Walls. People die from fear.

– I heard that on one day a group of climbers found this House, entering, and saw something terrible, so that they died on the spot,” – said mountain fan Alexander Nemov. - And even a kind of rescue operation had been organized. Some time ago we climbed to the mountains, and we met two lifeguards. They were completely gray. My friend mentioned that these guys supposedly took part in rescue activities, but have survived upon entering the house, however, turned grey in a moment.

Unfortunately, we have not succeeded in finding out when this legend was born and who was an author. But it is clear what purpose for this ghost story might appear. There are many houses at mountains to stay in for those who need. Doors are never closed there so that any needy person may stay in. But some cases of grabbing and damage do happen.

Naturally, mountain fans do not do it, it is a drunk youth, unskilled teenagers, who are not familiar with the mountain social norms. So this Legend about the Royal House is intended to frighten away such strangers.

легенды альпинистов Тянь-Шаня, призраки в горах

The Mountain Maid

A silhouette of the Mountain Maid appears at the most complex passages. Meeting with her means a trouble, you should better skirt a passage. The Legend fables that. And there is more than a dozen of people which would persuade that had actually seen white shadow figure among rock dark shapes. At mountains people become particularly superstitious and fond of telling spooky stories heard near a fire. It is believed that tourists walked over pathways, in front of them there was a passage, a daylight was failing. They decided to come over and make an overnight stop higher at mountains. The Mountain Maid threw herself in a way of walkers. It was light obliterate phantom of young lady. But the tourists waved aside of her, and thought that they seemed to see something. And took a step towards complex bit of road with a courage. Nobody has seen them since then.

The Legend about the Mountain Maid has rich historical roots. White phantom of a young lady was mentioned even under Peter the Great. That time the White Maid preserved the wealthiest, the richest bowels of the earth. Land reclamation was run, ore production was actively commenced. As the Legend implies, if the Maid appears at the place of well drilling, this land disturbance is banned. Black curse will devolve upon anyone ignoring this warning. From olden times mine workers recited as people have violated a ban, died under preposterous circumstances. Somebody has been pressed by fallen tree, somebody has sunk in low river....

The Kazaks extracting ore patrolled campaigns. Someone tells, that they composed the Legend to simplify the warding of subsoil treasures. The Legend has arrived to foothills of Zailiyskiy Alatau together with the Kazaks. First of all, it had spread among shepherds, then they have quickly seen the point on how to use the horror story in-practice. To preclude beginning shepherd from falling asleep at night and missing stock he was told a story concerning the Mountain Maid for a night.

One instructor related to us in confidence told that he often used this remarkable story in his practice. When in the mountains gathered together inexperienced walkers, to avoid risks, an instructor before challenging, seats people for break and accidentally tells the story about the Maid. Very sensitive tourist obligatory will see something in a multi-coloured pattern of mountains. And the group will go to bypass the difficult pass, in order not to risk.

легенды альпинистов Тянь-Шаня, призраки в горах

Bear's path

Up the road from “Prosvyashenets” at Kok-Zhailau, do not lose the way! To the left from the main road in the thickets of shrubs is a narrow path called the bear path. It is dangerous to walk on! At least, so tells the legend, which presented another fan of mountains -Vladimir Komarov.

– In the last century, this place was inhabited by bears. For them there was a lot of food, and people then not cramping beasts. But once hunters came across on this path. They saw a bear that ate raspberries, and next to her sat a little bear. The hunters killed the mother, and picked out the taliped calf. Since then, the haunting spirit of mother-bear spooked on the path, looking for the calf and those who took away her teddy bear. Therefore, someone who risked to go out on the bear path, can expect accidents. And it is better not to tempt fate.

легенды альпинистов Тянь-Шаня, призраки в горах

Snow man

Many experienced mountaineers say that not once in their lives were greeted by mysterious creatures. But everyone calls them in his own way.

– When you see something strange, the first thought that comes to mind: this is the snow man! – Stanislav Potapov said. – But I think there is not be a Bigfoot in our foothills . But there are other creatures, not described by zoologists! I personally saw three beings who came to drink. The case was in a very wild place where rarely step human foot.

Many are skeptical of such stories. But there is one story about the unknown little animals, which described not teens, nut adult and experienced people. Many of them difficult to scare than ever. It was twenty years ago, behind the Bortogay reservoir, where there is a dry gorge. In Soviet times there were ephedra stock place – from it received drugs, which have a narcotic effect. Therefore, the place where grown ephedra, was under strict state control. The work was very hard, so it attracted criminals.

They lived in dugouts, with heavy iron bars on windows. One of the climbers asked local workers, why they put bars on the windows? And heard a strange story. As soon as autumn comes, at night in the valley descends a wild beast. And runs between the houses, picks, scratches at the door. Strange animal produces an eerie whine.

– I was in the valley again, the place is really very terrible, – said Stanislav Potapov. – Scientists tried to explore this riddle and thought that the eerie whining created the wind, which is walking among the rocks. But observations was not confirmed this hypothesis. According to local prisoners, worked here, animal whining was heard within a radius of five kilometers, this means that the animal must have very powerful lungs, which means it is of impressive size. When I surveyed the territory, then I noticed many holes of rodens. And some holes have been dug up in a strange way, the earth was spread out to the sides and were visible traces of powerful claws. It is no wonder that people who were telling this story, from fear changed in the face.

– You can hear in feral whining a cruel anxiety, we are sure that this is a reasonable creature, then said the prisoners.

Today this place is abandoned, work there has been no progress. Stanislav Potapov assembles an expedition in search of the unknown substance. He intended to record a spooky whinning and unravel this riddle.

Source: www.caravan.kz

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