is a huge nation, covering an area the size of Western Europe. It is also the fourth largest nuclear power in the world. Ninety percent of the country is grassland, but in the southeastern section, near the capital of Almaty, lies the northern slope of the Tien Shan Mountains. The peaks rise majestically on the outskirts of the city in this corner of and fill the region to the Chinese border and beyond.
Fitzroy Maclean, diplomat and writer, arrived by train in Almaty in the late 1930s, and described his first impressions thus: “Far to the south, dimly seen in the remote distance, towering high above the desert, rose a mighty range of mountains, their lower slopes veiled in cloud and vapors, their
Here in Kazakhstan, from atop a wide choice of nameless peaks, there are spectacular views over Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China. In the blink of an eye one can behold the world’s two northernmost 7000-meter peaks, a glacier which is over 50 kilometers long, and a lake full of icebergs which does a Houdini act every August and vanishes, only to reappear again the following year. If all this is not enough to get the adrenaline flowing, there is skiing to be had amidst the seracs of eternal ice almost in the shadow of these 7000-meter monoliths.
The only ski resort in Kazakhstan, Chimbulak, lies a convenient