Flight results of Ile Alatau July 2022

 A joint overflight of the mountainous regions of Ile Alatau was carried out on July 18, 2022.

 Specialists of the State Institution "Kazselezashchita", the Department of Emergency Situations of Almaty, the Republican State Enterprise "Kazhydromet" and the Institute of Geography and Water Security participated.

The purpose of the flight was to survey the state of mountain glaciers and moraine lakes.

Conclusion on the state of glaciers - most of the glaciers in the Ile Alatau Mountains are 50-80 % covered with snow. The summer season of 2022 until mid-July was characterized by a low level of glacier melt, as the air temperature was below long-term values, and heavy snowfalls occurred in early summer. On some glaciers, traces of the fall of cornices and snow-ice avalanches are visible, which often happens in the warm season.

After the collapse of the hanging glacier in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the question arose about similar phenomena in the mountains of Ile Alatau.

Comments from glaciologists: in the mountains of Terskey Alatau and the Caucasus, a large number of unstable hanging glaciers and their collapse cause damage to the economy. Information about this gets into the media and causes concern among the population of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Unlike Terskey Alatau and the Caucasus, hanging glaciers in our mountains make up 2-3% and are small in size. Therefore, most of the glaciers in Ile Alatau belong to the valley and cirque types of glaciers. Now they are covered with a neve layer and do not pose a danger. No extraordinary events related to the collapse of hanging glaciers in Ile Alatau have been registered over the past 100 years. The probability of such phenomena is minimal, and so far no glacier collapse has been predicted anywhere in the world.

However, in the glacial zone, small collapses of ice ledges, cornices and ice-snow avalanches occur regularly during the warm season. These phenomena are not large in scale, but they threaten groups of tourists and climbers located in the glacier zone. For ordinary tourists traveling on trails outside the glacial zone, there is no threat of ice collapse.

Recently, the large number of small firms providing mountain guide services has been of concern. Rescue services regularly leave and face the incompetence of the organizers of mountain tours. This is because there is no mountain guide profession in Kazakhstan. Accordingly, there is no standard for training and state control. The Federations of Tourism and Mountaineering are working with the Department of Sports and Tourism to give this profession an official status. This should improve the skills of tourism specialists and ensure the safety of firms' clients.

Now, we advise everyone who wants to make an extreme trip to be attentive to the choice of a company and a mountain guide. The safety of the mountain tour depends on their qualification, especially in the dangerous zone of glaciers.

Photos of the survey of glaciers in the public domain on disk


Senior Researcher

Institute of Geography and Water Security,

Candidate of technical sciences                                                                                          Zhdanov V.V.