The biggest city of Kazakhstan, Almaty, is famous for its mountains and mesmerizing views for all travelers, especially those who adore outdoor activities like hiking. One of the best places to have a one day trip to the mountains, apart from Furmanov Peak and Kok Zhailau, is the gorgeous Manshuk Mametova Mountain Lake.
Manshuk Mametova Mountain Lake is located in the upper part of Maloalmatinsky Gorge, at an altitude of 3600 m above sea level. The lake is formed as a result of a split glacier. It is 280 long, 140 wide and up to 21 m deep. On the 2500-2700 m above the sea level, even in summertime, one can see the snow and glacier which rises above the lake. The lake is surrounded by famous four-thousanders like Amangeldy (4000 m), Pioneer (4031 m), Uchitel (4045 m), 28 Panfilovtsev (4130 m), Mametova Peak (4190 m), Antikainen Peak (4144 m). Among locals, the Manshuk Mametova Mountain Lake is shortened as 'Manshuchka', at the same time, it is called lake number 6.
Manshuk Mametova is a known hero of the Soviet Union and pride of Kazakhstani people in particular. Her real name was Mansia. Her mother used to call her Monshagym, which means 'the bead', and little Mansia always misspelt it and called herself Manshuk. She was born in 1922 in the West Kazakhstan region. In 1942 during WWII, she voluntarily joined the Soviet Army and became a machine gunner and a senior sergeant. In 1943, she bravely died in the battle for Nevel. In 1944, Manshuk Mametova was awarded the "Hero of the Soviet Union" title. There are songs, streets, monuments in Kazakhstan dedicated to her as an admiration for her humble heart, as it was a rare fact for women to fight in the war. One of the monuments can be found in Almaty's city center opposite Astana Square. Manshuk Mametova is sharing a monument with another Kazakh warrior woman Aliya Moldagulova. The park is only 20 min away from Almaty's Park of 28 Panfilov guardsmen, the second tallest wooden cathedral in the world – Voznesenskyi sobor and the Arbat Boulevard.
The whole roundtrip will last around 9-10 hours. Since Almaty has lots of hiking and outdoor destinations, this demand creates the majority of groups who gather together to have a trip. However, there is always an option to hire a professional guide from local tourism agencies. If one decides to hike with a group of people, then usually the trip starts at around 8-9 am, and you are back in the city by 6-7 pm. Some even get a camping tent and have a sleepover once the spot is reached. However, this is recommended for those who have a strong hiking background or a big strength to endure the cold night.
The trip is divided into four parts: Shymbulak, Mynzhylky weather station, Alpingrad and Manshuk Mametova Lake. This means that first, you need to reach the Shymbulak skiing resort by bus number 12, which leaves from the Kazakhstan hotel in the city center. It will take around 30 min, and from there, the walking trip starts. The Mynzhylky weather station is 3000 m above sea level. Mostly, all groups take a halt at this spot. The culmination starts on the way to Alpingrad Peak, where the easy way turns to herbaceous crest, and through some rocky roads, you should take your final climb up until you see Manshuk Mametova Lake. People say that every effort made on this trip, especially on the way to Alpingrad, is worth seeing this mesmerizing lake. The water's color changes from light beige to green and light blue depending on the weather. So, this exciting surprise appears to be the motivation to move on.
The hiking kit is as usual: comfortable clothes, extra clothes like sportswear, a raincoat, socks but most importantly a hat to avoid the sun heat, and really good and comfortable hiking shoes. They say, "Never underestimate the lord of these places - the mountains", so if you are thinking about sneakers, you are recommended to change your mind. Get some snacks for yourself like sandwiches, cookies, and do not forget to have some candy or a chocolate bar, since the blood pressure might need some sugar because of the change in the temperature and the height. One and a half liter of water per person is a must. All other stuff like sunglasses, photo shooting clothes will be up to your choice. Even though the water is cold, many people have the courage to get into the water and dive. Many people shoot a video of their humble act! For that case, keep in mind to bring a swimsuit and a towel.
What to expect? Fun time with new people, awesome views all the way to the spot, harmony with nature, and a glance at the glacier which towers above the Manshuk Mametova Mountain Lake. I am sure you will forever cherish the moment when you decided to take this gorgeous trip around Almaty!
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