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bei Tauturgen, Almaty Oblysy (Kazakhstan)
- It takes about 2 hours of driving from Almaty, make sure to wake up early.
- Weather in Turgen Valley proved to be wet (could be coincidence) and there are a lot of very annoying flying insects.
- At the waypoint "Intersection" the bridge is partially out. This seems to be the border of the Nature Reserve. This will require a quick step into 30 cm water.
- After this there is a moderately clear trail all the way to the glacier. I did lose it for a few sections. Especially between the third "Bridge" waypoint and "Camp1" I was too low (South) and passing though some wetlands. I found the trail again at waypoint "Panorama" above "Camp1".
- After the second "Lake" waypoint I lost the trail again on the moraine but I think my route provides a great view, and showed me a great camping spot.
- From "Camp 2" to the glacier I followed the rocky slope, so I didn't need to descent needlessly. Be careful on the loose rocks (which are probably still sitting on ice). Getting on the glacier is easy, and the bare ice part is easy as well.
- The upper part of the glacier is annoying and dangerous to cross alone. Even in late late August it had many patches of 40cm deep snow covering several crevasses. These were not visible at all on the sat images of Google Earth. Without a guide it takes a lot of time and careful probing.
- The top of Institute glacier at the pass is steep and iced, crampons are a must. There are also some big cracks in the ice.
- From the top of the pass the nearby summit to the North is probably easy to reach. I didn't attempt it since the view was totally clouded.
- After descending from the pass, follow the North side of Palgov glacier over the rocks until the ice is (almost) bare. No relevant crevasses from that moment on along my route.
- Palgov glacier has a big hole in the middle and down from there a big melt water river I jumped. From there on I followed the moraine, ended up crossing the water again to the East bank. Following that the easiest way to get off the moraine should be straightforward.
- Yssik river and Zarzai river are difficult (dangerous) to cross, unless in the morning when water level is lower. It is highly recommend to deviate early from the trail in Bear forest and move to the East riverbank as soon as you hear Yssik river come out of the ground. Otherwise you'll get stuck like me at the confluence, and even before that at some deep waters. Eventually I managed to cross Yssik river and camped on the East bank (no waypoint made).
- Follow Yssik river along the moraine (not through the forested slopes). There is a bridge (waypoint) to cross to West bank, followed a relatively flat forested area with an inhabited hut along the trail (a park ranger, I guess). After this, take the trail that brings you back to the river and keep following the river till the mud flow protection. Further down there is a guard house with dogs (you won't be able to pass undetected easily) and even further down a bridge with a closed gate. Better have your permission with you.