boasts a number of 7000m peaks, several of which have been climbed only
relatively recently, as well as many virgin peaks. It has been
suggested in the Western press that there is a "name that mountain"
scheme where, in exchange for a fee, it is possible to have a peak
named after you. However no such scheme exists and it seems to be just
another modern myth. In 2002 a 5000m peak was named after former
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and another peak was named in honor of
the Kyrgyz Police. Also in 2002 a team from Azerbaijan was reported to
have climbed a 5632m peak and named it "Azerbaijan Peak". It is not
clear if these are examples of naming previously unnamed peaks or
renaming existing ones. In 2003, a mountain with two peaks was climbed
and named "9/11" in memory of the events in New York on September 11th,
There are over 88 major mountain ranges in Kyrgyzstan, most of them
forming the Tien Shan System - the Celestial Mountains. The others,
such as the Chon Alai range in the South of the country, belong to the
Pamir system. They effectively divide the country into a number of
distinct regions. The northern and southern regions, for example, are
separate and connected only by a single road (the main Bishkek-Osh
Most of the ranges vary in length from 100 kilometers to 300 kilometers
- the longest, (Kakshaal) is 582 kilometers long and the Kyrgyz Range,
lying to the South of Bishkek, is 454 kilometers long. Most ranges are
between 10 and 40 kilometers wide.
Tien Shan Range - one of the largest in Asia - stretches across several
countries and about two-thirds of the system lies in the territory of
the Kyrgyz Republic. They are usually described as being divided into
northern, western, eastern, central, and inner ranges and most of them
exhibit typical "alpine" features. They are made up of sedimentary,
metamorphic and igneous rocks.
The area surrounding the Enilchek Glacier has two peaks over 7000m,
(Pobeda and Khan Tengri), 23 higher than 6000m including 3 virgin peaks
- and more peaks between 5000m and 6000m including 14 virgin peaks. The
Terksey Ala Too range - (the "shady" mountains) - is located along the
Southern shores of Lake Issyk Kul.
The Kungey Ala Too range - (the "sunny" mountains) is located along the
northern shores of Lake Issyk Kul and forms the border with Kazakhstan.
Kyrgyz range runs from Issyk Kul across the northern length of the
country, about 40 km south of Bishkek.
The Pamirs are found in the south of the country. Actually only the
most northerly ranges of the Pamir system are in Kyrgyzstan - the
The Pamir-Alai mountains - which separate the Pamirs and the Tien Shan
- consist of the Turkestan (including a number of virgin peaks) and
The ranges which are snow-capped throughout the year are distinguished
by the phrase "Ala Too" - although in Kyrgyz the phrase means "many
colors" or "colorful" or "bright mountains". The snow-line lies at
There are many smaller ridges, such as:
Ak Sheirak, Chatkal, Fergana, Keolu, Kok Shaal, Talas and Zaalainsky.