To the foot of Khan-Tengry peak

Trekking along Inylchek glacier


Tour destinations: Kyrgyzstan, Tian Shan View the route map »»
Itinerary duration: 14 days / 13 nights
Tour itinerary: Bishkek – Karkara base camp – Inylchek glacier – Putevodniy glacier – Merzbacher Glade and Lake – Komsomolskiy glacier – Dikiy glacier – South Inylchek Base Camp – Karkara Base Camp – Issyk-Kul Lake – Bishkek

Trekking along Inylchek glacier

Trekking to the foot of the Khan Tengri mountain is a breathtaking adventure in the midst of the tall Tian Shan mountain range:

  • We will ride in a helicopter twice and experience the incredible panoramic views of the mountains from up-high
  • We will walk up the ice kingdom of the Khan Tengri and will see the giant glaciers, including the largest of them – Inylchek
  • We will see a natural wonder up close – the phenomenal “disappearing” lake Merzbacher that is located at the altitude of 3304 meters. The lake is famous for driving into the valley of Inylchek river every year and completely losing all its waters. Later it fills up again and huge ice rocks start floating on its surface again
  • We will travel to the “South Inylchek” base camp located at the altitude of 4100 meters. Two seven-thousand meter peaks can be seen from its territory: Khan Tengri (7010 meters) and the highest mountain of the Tian Shan range – Victory Peak (Pik Pobedy) (7439 meters)

The participants of the tour are traveling lightly and enjoying the beauty of the Tian Shan mountains. All the food and personal belongings (up to 12 kilograms) will be carried by handlers. The program of the tour includes stopping at campsites along the route and our service staff will take care of cooking all the meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.



Day 1. Arrival in Bishkek. Transfer Bishkek – Karkara base camp (400 kilometers).
Travel time: 7-8 hours; altitude variation: +900 meters.
Early arrival in Bishkek, pick-up from Manas International Airport. Transfer and check-in to the hotel for a short rest.
Transfer to Karkara base camp with a route lying through a scenic Boom gorge and further along the northern shore of Issyk Kul Lake. Lunch break.
Entering the border zone. Arrival at the Karkara base camp in the evening.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the “Karkara” base camp (altitude: 2200 meters).


On a hot August afternoon you arrive in the capital of Kyrgyzstan. You leave a huge building of the airport "Manas", involuntarily looking out for someone with the placard where your name ought to be flaunted. It would be a true sign that since this moment you need not think about how to get to the hotel, and, in general, what will happen to you onward. Do not worry! The very person with the placard where your name is written, certainly, is waiting for you. He looks out in the motley crowd of newcomers a person with a backpack, dressed obviously not to the standard norms of civilized townspeople. Then we gather our things - of course, everyone in his own guest room! - then in an orderly manner we embus and start off to Karakol, mentally painting the nearest future, choosing the paints depending on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist (there are not so many options). En route we stop over at a small restaurant, where everyone can choose something tasty to stay his stomach, because it is a long day’s journey, one might feel peckish. We will reach Karakol only by the evening.

Day 2. Roundtrip hike to Chamyn Sai passage (10 kilometers).
Duration: 3 hours; altitude variation: +500 meters/ -500 meters.
Light jet-lag-fighting hike to the Chamyn Sai passage (altitude: 2700 meters) near the Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border. From the passage, travelers will be able to see the entire Karkara valley, Pereval Char-Kuduk, and Tup gorge. Along the way you will get to witness the lifestyle of nomads, whose colorful yurts are located along the route.
Return to base camp.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the “Karkara” base camp (altitude: 2200 meters).


Now little by little we switch over to mountainous landscapes because today we shall get to lower reaches of the Inylchek river gorge, where the first stationary camp - C1 is located. That is, though you will station yourself overnight in the mountains, but civilization amenities (almost all) will still surround you. It will manifest itself in warm lodging, hot supper, hospitable personnel of C1 and the radio communication between all stationary camps throughout Inylchek glacier. What advantages? As easy as ABC: you practically need not carry anything: neither a tent, nor utensil, neither gas, nor food! Only personal things you like - clothes, footwear - to whom what is near and dear. Even downy sleeping bag is available for rent, but it depends on your habits.

Day 3. Helicopter ride to Inylchek valley. Trekking to Iva camp (10 kilometers).
Duration: 3-4 hours; altitude variation: +700 meters.
Helicopter ride to the Inylchek valley, to the starting point of the trekking route; locals call this place “prizhim”.
Trekking to the foot of the Inylchek glacier – the largest glacier in all of the Tian Shan mountain range. Along the way you will see the Nansen peak (5690 meters) and the Tuz passage (4001 meters). The discoverer of this area, the German geographer G. Merzbacher called these views some of the most picturesque places in the world.
Arrival to the Iva campsite.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the “Ivy” campsite (altitude: 2900 meters).

Inylchek glacier

We start our trek route. The day will not be tiresome since our route is along the riverbank for the present. No ice, no any cracks, only walk up and admire the beauties. On the right of us there is the snow-covered Inylchektay ridge, on the left there is as much the snow-covered Sary-Djazz ridge. Nansen Peak looming up in the distance (5697m) gradually starts to increase in sizes, becoming higher and higher. And here, when it is already impossible to be higher for one, we approach our next shelter - C2. It is the most western edge of Inylchek glacier.

Day 4. Trekking from Inylchek valley to Guiding glacier (8 kilometers).
Duration: 5-6 hours; altitude variation: +200 meters.
Continuation of the trekking on the side of the Inylcek glacier until its connecting point with the Guiding glacier. Along the way we will walk through a difficult and steep part of the route, a location where rockfalls are a frequent occurrence.
Rest stop at the glacier. Walk to the Glina campsite (altitude: 3100 meters) located in a green valley.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the “Clay” campsite (altitude: 3100 meters).

Inylchek glacier moraines

As you have already guessed - trekking on Inylchek glacier edge starts up just today. From year to year the picture of all these faults and cracks varies, and each time, at the beginning of summer season, guides have to blaze a new trail. We are approaching to the glacier Putevodny (Guiding), sweeping into the Inylchek from somewhere on the right. Here you are again will be welcomed by the personnel and guests of C3 who arrived there a little bit before you.

Day 5. Trekking from Guiding glacier to Merzbacher meadow (9 kilometers).
Duration: 5-6 hours; altitude variation: +300 meters.
Trekking along the Guiding glacier. Short stop at the shore of a small lake.
Walkover on the side of the Inylchek glacier through the rocks and crags to the Merzbacher meadow – the last green “oasis” of the route.
This is the location of the science and research station where scientists from all over the world conduct studies and research about the glacier. Next to the meadow is the famous ice Merzbacher lake.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the campsite in Merzbacher meadow (altitude: 3400 meters).

Camp 4

Insidious Inylchek entertains us again with surprises in the form of labyrinths through which our trail makes its way. Not always they cause the attacks of unrestrained joy, but all these are trifles, because there is such a beauty around, and somewhere in the depth of the glacier the river makes noise, breaking through and washing away ice caves and corridors, boils and rushes, divided into the subglacial torrents invisible to eyes. Moving along the trail, which from time to time disappears somewhere, we reach the Mertsbaher glade - C4.

Day 6. Roundtrip hike to the ice Merzbacher lake (7 kilometers).
Duration: 4-5 hours
The hike lies through the South Inylchek glacier to the unique ice Merzbacher lake – a natural phenomenon, the most gorgeous mountainous body of water located at the altitude of 3304 meters, at the joining of South and North Inylchek glaciers, between the Tengri-Tag and Sary-Dzhas mountain ranges. The lake has two parts: the Upper and the Lower, which are divided by an ice bridge. Twice a year, in the summer and in the winter, the Merzbacher lake breaks through the ice covers, runs into the Inylchek river, and then fills up again.
Return to the campsite.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the campsite in Merzbacher meadow (altitude: 3400 meters).

Northern Inylchek glacier

This place is very strange and mysterious: it is here where the Northern and Southern Inylchek merge and then slip downwards already under one general name Inylchek. But what is absolutely not clear that how, under what physical law Mertsbaher Lake, functions, being located on the Northern Inylchek: once it is absolutely without water then suddenly it is filled with water violently to edges, then it remains so for some time, and again - as if due to some unknown signal - drops out its glacial waters into the river. All heard about this surprising lake, but few saw it. Today the list who has seen Mertsbaher Lake personally will add your names as well. The whole day is devoted to it and you!

Day 7. Trekking from Merzbacher lake to Komsomolskiy glacier (12 kilometers).
Duration: 5-6 hours; altitude variation: +400 meters.
Trekking to Komsomolskiy glacier. The route lies along the right side, over the terraces, and right before we hit the Shokal glacier, it gradually goes down to the glacier and its side black moraine, that drives from the Komsomolskiy glacier. Our route to the campsite will lay along this moraine. You will need some warm clothes to put on, as the weather in this part of the glacier gets very cold and windy in the evenings.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the “Komsomolskiy” campsite (altitude: 3800 meters).

Camp 5 (3800m)

Yesterday brought new impressions and discoveries, but today we continue moving upwards along the glacier, now it is the Southern Inylchek. Soon, having passed the Shokalsky glacier, leftward of the trek we notice some very high peak. It is Petrovsky peak (5860m). It is just opposite to our next destination will be located - C5 which settled down comfortably under Komsomolets glacier. The nights are getting colder, landscapes are becoming more impressive. But you still feel comfortably and this quite expected feeling!

Day 8. Trekking from Komsomolskiy glacier to Wild glacier (10 kilometers).
Duration: 5-6 hours; altitude variation: +100 meters.
Continuation of the route through the Proletarskiy galcier’s moraine, walk to the Wild glacier. This is where a large amount of unnamed 5000-meters mountains are located, many of which have not been conquered yet. Short rest stop.
Walk around the Abay Song peak and arrival at the “Wild” campsite. This is where you will get a glance of the Khan Tengri peak, the Victory peak, the Gorky peak, the Chapaev peak, and the Three-Headed peak.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the “Wild” campsite (altitude: 3900 meters).

Dikiy (Wild) glacier

Rub your sleepy eyes - you are still in the mountains! It was not a dream, it is quite a reality, and this reality is amazing! We move forward and upwards, overcoming natural obstacles and reinforcing in the thought that we are heroes, and as is known «normal heroes always go detour», this is exactly what we try to do in order to avoid rolling down into some treacherous crevasse. We walk one after another and we reach Dikiy (Wild) glacier where the height already reached almost 4000m, and everyone can feel it.

Day 9. Trekking from Wild glacier to base camp “South Inylchek” (8 kilometers).
Duration: 5-6 hours; altitude variation: +200 meters.
Trekking up to the foot of the Wild peak; crossing of the South Inylchek glacier and arrival to the central moraine. Trekking across the central moraine until its joining with the Zvezdochka glacier – the site of the “South Inylchek” base camp (4100 meters). This is the starting point from which mountain climbers from all over the world begin to climb the two majestic seven-thousand-meter mountains – pyramid-like Khan Tengri peak (7010 meters) and a very difficult Victory peak (7439 meters).
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the “South Inylchek” base camp (altitude: 4100 meters).

Southern Inylchek glacier

The first beams of the cold dawn vigorously make the way into the tents scattered on Southern Inylchek glacier lateral moraine. Breakfast is already served in the comfortable tent, a companion cabin, and all are crawling quietly to the table. After that we collect our things and go ahead. It will not take long to get to the finish point of the trek. When we reach BC, the two well-known and stern giants will decorate our life, or rather its period which shall stay in our memory for ever, of course, and these are Khan -Tengri (7010m) and Pobeda (7439m) peaks.

Day 10. Base camp “South Inylchek”. Roundtrip hike to the foot of Khan Tengri mountain (5-6 kilometers).
Duration: 4-5 hours; altitude variation: +100 / -100 meters.
Rest at the “South Inylchek” base camp. At your own wish, you may take a roundtrip hike to the foot of Khan Petri mountain.
Khan Tengri peak (7010 meters) – «lord of the sky», a gorgeous pyramid-like peak of the North Tian-Shan with an unbelievable geometric symmetry. It is an incredible experience to take a look at this grand seven-thousand-meter-tall mountain up close!
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at the “South Inylchek” base camp (altitude: 4100 meters).

Base Camp Southern Inylchek

There is some category of people who stand in such a mystical awe from the mountains beauty; that they can even burst into tears. Music can affect some people the same way - great, sad, and thrilling. It is impossible to utter a word, simply one want to look at, be silent, and be choked with happy tears. Such emotions become sharp up to a limit at the foot of these tops. This is such a pure and high feeling that it seems as if all your previous life were nothing in comparison with this moment of nirvana. It is comparable with the purest sound, and you hear it, having grown dumb. There comes some spiritual purification, maybe, this way so many imagine Shambala … And it would be desirable that the shy touch to the great secret of this world will not came to an end.

Day 11. Helicopter ride to the “Karkara” base camp. Transfer to Issyk-Kul Lake (200 kilometers).
Duration: 3 hours; altitude variation: -2500 meters.
Helicopter ride to the “Karkara” base camp. Transfer to the northern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake, to the city of Cholpon-Ata. Guided tour to the ancient petroglyphs of the Scythians and Huns. Across the territory of about 42 hectares, you can see over 1000 rocks with paintings over them, ancient burials, as well as stone circles and ruins of walls.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at a hotel.

Southern Inylchek

Mountains are unusually beautiful. And through the window they are even more beautiful. And it is such a pity that snow-covered peaks keep away from us quickly, or vice versa: we become far and far away from this kingdom of eternal snow and eternal truths… So many rebellious thoughts there are in the head… So many sincere words we would like to whisper to someone under blades roar over the head… All of us are the same, but yet we are a bit different now.

In addition Issyk-Kul wave will freshen us in the evening; the lash of the wave will stir up recent memoirs. And one fine day when you wish again to go to the mountains, try to close your eyes and to hear noise of Issyk Kul water, howl of the mountain wind and an a gentle familiar voice of an old friend… And if you are lucky then some time… Some time…

Day 12. Issyk-Kul Lake – Bishkek (270 kilometers).
Travel time: 5-6 hours; altitude variation: -800 meters.
Transfer to Bishkek. Along the way there will be a visit to the Burana tower nearby the city of Tokmok. Burana Tower (minaret of Buraninsky settlement of the X-XIth centuries) is an archaeological and architectural monument and an important part of Kyrgyzstan cultural heritage. Visit to the site of the ancient stone statues – Balbals.
Arrival in Bishkek. Free time.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at a hotel.


Day 13. Bishkek (guided tour).
Guided walking tour of Bishkek: Osh Bazaar, central square Ala-Too, flagpole (shifts change), Manas monument, Lenin monument, Oak park, Fine arts gallery, Kurmanjan Datka monument, Victory Square.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Night at a hotel.


Day 14. Bishkek (departure).
Transfer to the airport. Departure from Bishkek.
Meals: breakfast.


The cost of the tour 2023:

The cost of the tour for 1 person 2850 USD
SGL accommodation in hotels: +130 USD
SGL accommodation in tents: +110 USD

This tour is guaranteed and will be arranged whatever final number of persons in a group.

The cost of the tour includes:

  • Meeting and seeing off in airport;
  • All transfers according program;
  • Hotel accommodation 3* in twins / double rooms, with breakfast;
  • Helicopter flight Southern Inylchek BC – Karkara BC;
  • Meals according to the tour program;
  • Service during trekking part:
    • Full board (three hot meals a day);
    • Accommodation in double tents;
    • Services of an English-speaking mountain guide, cook, service staff;
    • Porter service during the trek (your luggage on trek will be carried by porters; limit of weight of personal belongings carried by porter during the trek should not be more than 12 kg; we don’t return money for lower weight of your luggage; additional payment for 1kg extra – 12 USD per programs);
  • Preparation of necessary documents:
    • Border zone permit;
    • Ecological fees.
  • First aid kit.

The cost of the tour doesn’t include:

  • International air flights;
  • Individual equipment (shoes, clothes, sleeping bag);
  • SGL accommodation in tents / hotels;
  • Meals not according to the program; alcoholic drinks;
  • Photographing and video filming in museums;
  • Personal expenses, tips, porters in hotels;
  • Visa support;
  • Medical insurance.

Additional services:

  • Ascent to Abai Song peak – 75 USD.

List of required personal gear:

  • 4 season sleeping bag;
  • Trekking boots;
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers;
  • Fleece jacket or similar;
  • Warm hat and gloves;
  • Sunglasses;
  • Backpack 40 liters;
  • Head-torch and batteries;
  • 1 liter water bottles;
  • Sun cream;

On this route will be used the following type of transport (depending on the number of people in a group):

Group Type of transport
Group 1-3 pax "Toyota Sequoia"
Group 4-9 pax "Mercedes-Benz Sprinter"
Group 10-12 pax "Mercedes-Benz Sprinter"



Route Map

Route Map

Map of the trekking part

Map of the trekking


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