ASTANA – On July 2, the residents of Almaty celebrated their annual Alpiniada at the Shymbulak Ski Resort outside the city.
The festival, a massive joint climb of a 4,376-metre peak called Nazarbayev Peak, marks Astana Day. This year, more than 5,000 people, including foreign tourists, took part, according to the Almaty Physical Culture and Sports Department official website.
“For the first time I have decided to climb to the top of the mountain, although I always liked the mountains. I am here on a business trip and my colleagues recommended me to attend this event. It is very interesting. I am planning to stay for another couple of weeks, ” said Sergey Sadovsky from Russia at the event.
Aigerim Zhumadilova from Astana said, “My aunt told me about this event. … I came from Astana to test my strength. It is hard for a beginner, but I regularly do dancing and athletics, so it helped me.”
Only 290 people actually made it to the highest point of the mountain. The absolute winners were two marathon runners who do sky running – high altitude or very technical mountain running. The fastest among men was Malik Abdu-Asset, who made it to the pinnacle in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Among women Aizhan Zhombatyr was the fastest with a time of 2 hours and 27 minutes.
At the finish line were entertainment programmes for participants and visitors at the ski resort.
Nursultan Peak is one of the highest and most beautiful peaks near Almaty, and is visible from almost anywhere in the city. It is always covered with snow, even when temperature surpasses 40 degrees Celsius in the city below.
The Sporttyk Almaty programme, a citywide initiative to develop mass sports in Almaty and popularise active leisure among young people, helped organise this year’s event. The Almaty Physical Culture and Sports Department and the Mountaineering and Climbing Federation of Almaty also supported the event.