Teskey Ala-Too Ridge

Jeti-Ögüz District

Our tours passing through Teskey Ala-Too Ridge

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Teskey Ala-Too (Terskey Ala-Too) and Kyungyo Ala-Too are the largest mountain ranges of Kyrgyzstan, located in the northeastern part of the country. The range of Teskey Ala-Too stretches for 375 km. In the latitudinal direction from west to east, like an arc, skirting the Issyk-Kul basin from the south, then it joins the Küngöy Ala-Too ridge encircling the basin from the north.

Ala-Too means "piebald mountains" in the translation from Kyrgyz, and the term "ala" indicates a pronounced altitudinal zonation of the mountains, since the Kyrgyz have long named their high snow and glacial mountains, partly white due to snow and ice and partly dark in snowless areas. The name "Teskey" is due to the fact that the mountain range was opposed to the Küngöy Ala-Too Ridge lying on the northern shore of the Issyk-Kul Lake. After all, "kyungyo" means "sunny side", and "teskei" means "reverse", i.e. Opposite to the sunny side.

The people still live a legend associated with the emergence of these mountain ranges. It says that the Almighty shared two deep warring tribes with a deep lake and high mountains, in order to save them from complete annihilation.

The Teskey Ala-Too ridge is asymmetric: it has a short gentle southern slope and a long northern slope, with huge ledges descending to the lake. The average height of the ridge is 4,500 meters, and the highest point is the peak of Karakol, located at an altitude of 5,280 meters above sea level. In addition, there are numerous mountain passes and gorges (Barskaun, Dzhuuka, Kashka-Suu, Ashutor, Karakol, Chon-Ashuu, etc.), covered with vast tracts of spruce forests.

On the slopes of the ridge there are about 1100 glaciers, their total area of ​​glaciation is 1081 square kilometers. Thus, Teskey Ala-Too is rightfully considered to be the second largest center of the Tien-Shan glaciation. Glaciers and snowfields of Teskey Ala-Too feed their melted waters with mountain rivers, which often flow from the peaks with rapids and waterfalls. The rivers of Teskey belong to the Tien Shan type: the water in them is clean and transparent, and the largest flooding occurs from July to August.

With the difference in climate and natural landscape at different altitudes above sea level, a variety of flora and fauna is associated. High-grass steppes with bushes of honeysuckle, dog rose, mountain ash, black barberry and currant in the middle mountains, at an altitude of 2100-3100 meters are replaced by spruce forests. Against the background of eternal snowy mountains, Tien Shan firs rise. Here you can meet the very four hundred-year-old trees, up to 60 meters high and with a crown diameter of more than two meters.

At an altitude of 3,000 meters, the subalpine and alpine meadows are variegated with bright, large and fragrant flowers, so necessary to attract pollinator insects in high-altitude conditions. Golden, scarlet alpine poppies and tulips coexist with blue gentcians, mauve-alpine alpine asters (ancestors of garden asters), purple chorispores and white edelweiss flowers. Among them, one should especially highlight aconite - a plant with purple and white flowers, collected in long inflorescences.

Tourists need to be careful, as the aconite contains a potent poison, which is dangerous for animals and humans. Above 3,500 meters the mountain landscape is represented by rocky ridges and slopes covered with moss, snowfields and glaciers.

Among the animals in the foothill and middle mountainous areas there are many rodents (hamsters, red pika, Altai mountain hare, etc.), as well as predators living at their expense (fox, porcupine, wolf, steppe cat, steppe ferret, weasel, etc.). Forest zone at an altitude of 3000 meters you can find brown and Himalayan bears, ermine, lynx, red wolf, and among the steep rocks and snow ridges, there is a mountain argali and ibex tree.

The world of birds also impresses with its diversity, but the real pride of these places is the Himalayan ular (mountain turkeys), which inhabit the alpine meadows and cliffs. It is hard to imagine the dawn in the mountains without their melodic singing. On the highest trees and inaccessible rocks, nests are arranged with vultures, sipes, and, of course, golden eagles. Since ancient times Kyrgyz have tamed this strong, predatory bird for traditional hunting.