Staying in a big city during "big" holidays - is a big sin. Despite the stories about the long road and how good it is to sleep on a highway and what happens after, I got ready to go. We got ready to go.
Bektau-Ata. For the first time in my memory rumors about the place reached me in the year 2011. Russian reports on the internet, then our climbers went there, told us stories... Despite the distance I just wonder - HOW?! HOW can you be a rock climber, but never visit the place!
Well here's the story.
Bektau-Ata - is a mountain region to the North of Balkhash town, the distance is about 70 km. Well, to get to Balkhash you need to drive for about 700 km. There is one road, so it's hard to go wrong. Route M36.
It's a governmental highway, so the quality is shitty.
For me it was the first experience of driving for such a long distance, so there was no way I could be falling asleep on the road. For some reason, there are just a few photos from the road.
Missing the sign is pretty hard
The road, that made me so happy right after Almaty, then after lake Balkhash, got bad again. Well it's okay, the worst is over - asphalt tracks (like ice tracks in winter, but out of roadbed).
It's even harder to miss the mountain range, as it can be seen 30 km away.
Having done some exploration, we have found a great camping spot, hidden from the eyes of unwelcomed tourists.
We have stayed at the stop till the end of the trip, making everyday explorations of the area. The Sun in May is relentless, it's almost a desert after all. The wind and the overhands are the only saviors.
Well it's not a big deal, the real problem is - mosquitoes. They are angry and there are lots of them. Warning: light clothing does not stop them...
The place is amazing! World class climbing crag - is an understatement. It is possibly the best climbing crag in Kazakhstan, perhaps even in the whole CIS.
We haven't really explored lead climbing spots, but those we have seen were pretty impressive. We left the camp in the morning and only came back in the evening, yet we still have explored a tiny piece of the place.
Bouldering sections start five minutes away from the camp. You won't find anything like that in Almaty or in its surroundings.
Maybe I'm biased, but I think that Crimean bouldering crags are much weaker. And it is not only about quantity, the quality of the crag is high as well - flat landing areas, route height is from 2 to 4-5 meters and even higher.
The lines are ideal! Overhangs everywhere, crimps, pinches, slopers, kneebars - in the Bektau-Ata a climber has to use all moves available.
Well, better check the photos out!
I remember the road back with my eyes closed
I'll definetely be back! Many many times!