The Ketmen ridge, just 20km from the Kazakhstan / China border, is almost untouched by humans, notwithstanding its proximity to Almaty. The unique geography of the ridge means it gets relatively early and heavy snowfall every year, allowing us to open the Tien Shan backcountry season early, which is why FrozenRocks team holds one of our earliest programmes here every year!
We can run this programme at any point between mid December and late February, whenever we have a group.
Accommodation for the five-day programme is in a comfortable, heated mountain hut in the Ketmen valley. A banya (Russian sauna) is also available. The route is on skins, through a picturesque pass.
Minimum group size is 4 people.
The Ketmen ridge is located to the East of the Zailiisky Alatau in the Northern Tien Shan. It’s up to 40-50km wide at some points, running from the Kyungei-Ala-Too ridge in the West to the Narat ridge in the East. It forms the Southern border of the ‘Semirechiya’ (‘Seven Rivers’) region, which surrounds Almaty. Its altitude ranges from 3,000 to 3,600m, with the highest point being Mount Aspan at 3,652m).
Please note that this programme is designed for skiers / snowboarders who are confident on the piste (including black runs), have some experience of riding off piste, and are in good physical shape.
€580 per person (for a group of 4-5)
“Guide, return transfer from Almaty (around 4.5 hours by car), further transfer towards the hut, transfer of buggage by horses to the hut, accommodation, full board, banya 1-2 times depending on tour’s duration.
Day 1. Meet in Almaty, transfer to Ketmen village and further on horseback (optional) or minibus, then ski touring to the mountain hut.
Days 2-5. Ski-touring / splitboarding from the mountain hut, exploring the surrounding ridges and couloirs.
We’ll choose our routes based on the weather, the snow conditions and the ability of the group.
Day 5. Ski-touring. Transfer (on horseback (optional) or minibus then by car) to Almaty.
Days 6-7 (optional). We’re happy to organise a 1-day tour to Shymbulak or Ak-bulak ski resorts (two main ski resorts in Almaty region) / a sightseeing tour in Almaty (visiting the most popular attractions of the city) / a sightseeing tour in Almaty region (visiting the best nature spots around Almaty such as Big Almaty lake, Charyn canyon etc).
If you’re interested we’re also able to organise a one/two-day trip to the hot springs at Chundzha and Charyn canyon on the way out or back.
What to bring:
2. Avalanche probe
3. Avalanche shovel
4. Ski / alpine crampons
1. Skis / snowboard / snowshoes
2. Ski boots / snowboard boots
3. Ski / splitboard poles
5. Climbing skins
Clothing and accessories:
2. Sleeping bag
3. Torch (with spare batteries)
4. Medical kit
5. Down jacket / vest
6. Waterproof shell (jacket and trousers)
7. Ski gloves
8. Thermal underwear
9. Fleece / midlayer
10. Thinner gloves for ascending / wearing at base camp
13. Skiing / trekking socks
14. Regular socks