For several years, dedicated to Astana’s birthday, Alpiniad takes place in Almaty each first Sunday of July. This is the time when Almaty inhabitants and South capital guests climb the Komsomol\Nursultan mountain at the elevation of 4376 meters above the sea level.
Certainly, not everyone can get to the top. Many people are glad to take a trip form a high mountain skating rink Medeu to the upper station of Shimbulak resort on gondolas, that are free that day, and then at the elevation of 3200 meters start climbing to the level everyone is physically prepared to.
July the 6th of this year wasn’t an exception. It is a symbolic that this time the date of Alpiniad coincided with Nursultan Nazarbaev’s (the President of Kazakhstan) birthday. More than 1500 people of various ages, from three to seventy and eighty, participated in mountain climbing. Only 240 people managed to get to the top. This information was reported by Nurbol Tursunaliev, the head of the rescue service, who together with his team was meeting people at the beginning of the route. They were sitting at the formal tables, near to the big tent, where the registration of all the participants took place. As it turned out later, they’d set up their dismountable temporary habitation two days before the climbing started, and for the third time saw the sunrise at the picturesque place near to the high mountain lake.
“Was it cold last night?”, I asked thinking to myself how cold it must had been.
“No. it wasn’t very cold.”, the Rescuer answered, “ but water got frozen.”
“Nursultan, do you assist in organization of this kind of event for the first time?”
“Oh no.”, the head of the rescue service answered. “Our work is well organized, we have 35 people in our staff, four cars and a helicopter ready to come to rescue to anyone who needs at any part of the route.”
“What about this day? Did you have any incidents?”
“All in all we had a good day; only one person injured his knee. Dmitriy Matkarimov, our doctor, gave him a full measure of medical help.”
“What can you say about the number of participants? Is it constantly growing?”
“Of course it’s growing. Last year the number of people who took part in this event was over 800. This year we have 1500 participants, that is twice as much. So we have much more work to do. We still in time have to notify people of the equipment they need. As there are those who seems to take it unserious and look like they have just decided to go for a walk. We supply people with water and offer peppermint… And high in the mountains, at the glacier head, there is a camp, where our republican security service representatives Ivan and Baurjan work.
For ten years old Aspan and Nastya it was the first time they climbed at such a height. That is why they didn’t manage to reach to the top, but they still sprightly climbed 2-3 kilometers up to glacier and eternal snow at the elevation of 3500 meters. Though at the beginning they were determined and thought they had enough strength. But when Aspan and Nastya got to the edge of the ice they felt sudden dizziness and weakness. It was the first symptom of mountain sickness. You shouldn’t put your organism to test if you are not experienced enough in climbing and didn’t have a sufficient period of adaptation. So our friends were satisfied with the results. Anyway emotions they were filled with were more than enough! It was so amazing, for the first time in life, to get out of the hot summer right into the white kingdom of magnificent snow! They had much fun changing clothes: have a t-shirt on in the morning, than put on jumper, than cardigan, than coat together with warm hat and gloves and by the evening do the same clothes changing thing but the other way around.
Many things they saw for the first time. The most unusual one was a little spruce that grew at the height of 3285 meters above the sea level. A man that was passing by the tree that moment recorded this with his height indicator. Just imagine how high it is. That is 100 meters higher than Kumbel mountain, that can be seen from any part of Almaty. Though it is thought, that 2800 meters is the upper limit, where conifers could grow.
But Alexander Lysenko, for whom this Alpiniad wasn’t the first, managed to climb to the Komsomol/Nursultan Peak and admire the magnificent landscape that opened before him. The truth is that not only positive emotions Alexander had that day; there were things that really disappointed him. That is because the skiing run areas at some parts looked like a bald patches. There were no deep green grass with bright flowers that are commonly seen on Alpine meadows. “Well…”, Lysenko thought, “I hope other parts of alpine meadows and mountain forests of National Park would escape that fate…”
May this kind of mass climbing instill in people love of nature and promote environmental friendliness!
It is thanks to annual Alpiniad, that became a good tradition for Almaty inhabitants and South Capital visitors, once a year people have such a great and accessible opportunity to get to snowy mountain tops and feel conquerors.
Not every megacity of the world because of the nature features can set up this unique tradition called to bring people closer “in a spirit” to a snow leopard.
It is notable that Kazakh alpinists lead the world in climbing the Himalayas eight thousanders .