It’s a 14 km walk to Peak Furmanov and back along some wonderful alpine scenery. Very lovely and sweet, far away from the maddening crowds. Take 4 hours to get to the top and 3 more to get back. Some minor climbing is required at the end, otherwise this is an easy walk, albeit with a decent elevation. Lowest point is 1.609 m, highest point is 3.029 m. Best time is June – September. Look here for a gpx trail and altitude profile.
We start at Medeu (1.609 m) and go northeast in the direction of the Kim-Asar Valley. From where the bus stops, go down a little bit and turn right in the first street. Follow the road past the blue gate and along the canal. The road then bends right past a toll barrier. Walk around 10 minutes further and you will come across different forks in the road as you go along.
All roads lead up to the same point – turn left to get more shade from tree cover, the right road gets more sunshine. I recommend following the route in the gpx.
Once you arrive on the ridge, you can see Peak Furmanov popping its craggy head up on your eastern side. Follow the walking path in the direction of the peak, on the left side of the valley. Don’t forget to look back to start getting great views over Almaty.
You will come across an old ski lift. It was hand-built by Soviet engineers in their spare time. They brought up all the pieces by hand. Now Peak Furmanov is in clear view. Follow the ridge from the ski lift up and traverse the open field to climb Peak Furmanov from its eastern face.
This is the most difficult part. You will need to do a bit of minor bouldering and clattering up the rock field for 100m. Then you heave reached Peak Furmanov (3.029m). A beautiful 360-view unfolds on a clear day: behind you, the first peaks of the Tien Shan, before you, the city of Almaty and the steppes beyond.
Peak Furmanov acts as one of the gateways to the Tien Shan beyond, and multi-day treks start from here into the south. If you follow the ridge in southwestern direction for another 20 minutes, you will find a lovely bench on the next peak. Going back, use the same route.
Medeu. From this point of view, find the street to start the trail in your back.
Start of the trail. Follow the road to the left here and then along the canal.
In summer, the lower reaches see plenty of activity. Here is a fit pensioner collecting mushrooms. She taught painting at the arts academy and used to go skiing on these slopes.
The road forks several times. The gpx file is the best way to find the right fork up, although all roads lead up eventually.
On the ridge. Follow the trail on your left. Peak Furmanov is now in clear view on the right.
A remnant of the ski lift. Follow the trail on your left along the ridge to reach the base of Peak Furmanov.
Looking back to see the haze over Almaty, and the steppes beyond.
On the top, you are rewarded with the first views of the Tien Shan (until now, you are still in the Zailiski Alatau, not the ‘real’ Tien Shan). This picture was taken in August.
The ridge to the southwest leads to a little bench.