A legend of Kazakh mountaineering trains a new generation of mountaineers

ASTANA – Sport climbing has been officially included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Kazakh Mountaineering and Climbing Federation has received Olympic status and will now start preparing athletes to compete in the Games.

Photo: tourism.kzpi.kz

The Astana Times spoke with Kazbek Valiyev, the first Kazakh mountaineer to conquer Mount Everest and president of the federation, to learn more about his current activities and the country’s climbing achievements.

“The foundation has a long history of more than 60 years,” said Valiyev, who is also an honored Kazakh mountaineering coach. “We carry out mountaineering and sport climbing activities in the country; among them, the biggest competition is the Kazakhstan championship in these sports. We also organize cup tournaments for young people and children. In addition, the national team participates in international competitions, including the Russian Youth Championships, World Championships and Climbing World Cups.

The country holds more than 40 mountaineering and rock climbing competitions annually. Climbing is divided into aid climbing and indoor climbing.

Kazakh athletes won three gold, three silver and one bronze medal at the Asian Youth Championship in Tehran. He is scheduled to compete in the Youth World Championship in China in November.

The Eurasian Mountaineering Championship between Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Ukraine was held in Shymbulak as part of the Almaty Mount Fest. The Kazakh team won the gold medal, the Russians took second place, and the Ukrainians finished third among the men’s teams.

A unique international festival, Almaty Mount Fest was imitated by the Kazakh Geographic Society and was held for the first time from September 9 to 11 in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. It attracted over 4,000 people.

“The event included different types of mountain sports including rock climbing, mountain biking, climbing and descending in Talgar Gorge and uphill sprinting or so called running. We also organized the Olympiada. About 1,000 young people participated in the ascent of the summit from a height of 4,127 meters,” he said.

The federation provided guides and instructors, a rescue team and route planning with the support of the emergency situation committee.

“Everything was quite interesting and the weather was relatively good. I guess the festival was a complete success. I hope now that it will take place every year. Currently, the decision to hold Mount Fest in early September 2017 is under consideration,” he added.

The federation is considering hosting the International Indoor Climbing Championship, which will require the construction of an 18-20 meter climbing wall like the artificial rock near Almaty to hold various competitions at the same time.

Valiyev also runs Khan Tengri Expeditions, which offers different types of active recreation such as mountain hiking and biking, tours and trips to the best places in the Almaty region.

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Mount Almaty Festival

Youngsters begin by competing in indoor rock climbing and progress to mountaineering as they get older. Children aged six and over are allowed to take part in competitions and can be officially engaged in mountaineering at the age of 16.

“We have special schools for mountaineering instructors. Each year, approximately 15 to 20 instructors are registered. Then, the instructors work with beginner climbers and young people. I believe anyone can become a good climber. Hard work combined with good physical training is required,” he said.

Mountaineers go on long expeditions that last weeks and months. Climbing helps enormously in developing the best qualities in people such as willpower, discipline and perseverance. Communing with nature also evokes many positive emotions.

Valiyev remembers climbing Mount Everest as a member of the Soviet Union team.

“We climbed from the southwest wall to a height of 2,500 meters,” he said. “This course is still considered the most difficult. No one could repeat this route. Only 11 out of 16 people were able to climb to the top. This is the best result in world mountaineering.

Valiyev thinks mountains are generally the most beautiful things on earth.

“We have different types of mountains and there are no mountains with similar shapes. There are huge glaciers and beautiful gorges, rocks and plateaus and everything is beautiful, especially at sunrise and sunset. sun. The colors change in the day as well as your feelings. You get a big emotional impact from being in the mountains,” he added.

Climbing brings joy and happiness when one is physically and mentally prepared. There are climbing peaks for beginners and high level mountains for highly skilled climbers.

“The highest point in Kazakhstan is the peak of the Tien Shan – Khan Tengri mountain range (7,010 m). Climbing Khan Tengri requires good preparation. There are 14 peaks over 8,000 meters which are the every climber’s ultimate dream,” he said.