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Across The Tian Shan

In ancient times they were referred to as the Northern Mountains,Snow Mountains, White Mountains, and Shade Mountains,and is one of Asia's biggest mountains systems. Its eastern section lies in Xinjiang, stretching 1,700 kilometersfrom east to west, and about 250-300 kilometers wide from north to south.The Tianshan Mountains divide Xinjiang into South Xinjiang and North Xinjiang. The mountain system is made up of approximately three ranges which are parallel, and between these ranges basins and valleys that varyin are and altitude. Among them,the Ili Valley, the Greater and Smaller Yulduz Basins, the Yanji Basin,the Turpan Basin and the Hami Basin are the better known ones. The Tianshan Mountains, withtheir snow-covered ridges and lofty ice-capped peaksgently slope from west to east. To the west,the Tomur Peak towers at an elevation of 7435 meters, and is the tallest of the Tianshan Mountains. The Bogda Peak, which is to the east of Urumqi, is 5445 meters.The Tianshan Mountains are China's biggest glacier zone, the glaciers have formed ice wells, ice caves, ice underground rivers, seracs and other spectacular sights, these glaciers of all shapes and features make up tile biggest solid reservoir of Xinjiang.

Originating in the great conjunction of mountains that form the Chinese, Kirgizstan, Kazakistan frontier, the Tian Shan or Heavenly Mountains run eastward with the Zhungar basin to the North and the sands of the Takla Makan laying to the South. This exquisite forest clad range continues across the Chinese province of Xinjiang until it finally peters out in the sands of the great Gobi desert.
Close to the Kirgiz border stand the sublime peaks of Tomur Mountain(7445m.) and Hang Tangri(6995m.), the highest peaks of the range.
Skirting the buttresses of these sentinel like towers, a rare opportunity is offered to walk amidst the rugged terrain of their extensive glacial systems.

A full week trekking is offered in this virtually unexplored region. Additional visits to areas of cultural and historical interest on both sides of the Tian Shan make this program a truly memorable experience.

No.1 Glacier

 

The Tianshan Mountains is the biggest glacier zone of China,with as many as 6890 of them, and covering an area of over 9500 square kilometers. The No. 1 Glacier is located at the source of the Urumqi River at an eievation of above 3545 meters in an alpine glacier zone 118 kilometers from Urumqi.


At the source of the Urumqi River are distributed 150 small glaciers made up of cirque glaciers that cover an area of 46 square kilometers. The No. 1 Glacier is the biggest glacier at the Daxigou source zone of the Urumqi River which is composed of two, east and west, branches of glaciers running 23 kilometers an covering 184 square kilometers, and reaching an elevation of 4476 meters whereas the average snowline elevation is around 4050 meters. The annual average temperature at the glacial zone is -53 degrees Celsius, average coldest monthly temperature - 159 degrees Celsius,and
average annual precipitation 430 millimeters. In 1959, the Tianshan Glacier Research Station was set up to study the hydrology, accumulation, melting, and movement of the glacier and to make relevant meteorological observations. The Station has been opened to the world.


As the head of Urumqi River, No.1 Glacier is located in the Tianger Mountain, 120 km southwest of Urumqi, 3800-4000 m above sea level. It is 2.4 km long, averagely 500 m wide and covers an area of 1.95 km2. Around it lay out 76 modern glaciers. These glaciers are near to one another, and typical of glacier landform and sediment, and the ancient glacial warping are well preserved, so they have a reputation of “living glacier fossil” and their site is the best place in China for observing and researching modern glaciers and ancient glacial warping. Land here is characteristic of alluvial by glacier, so those conducting geological survey can explore the development course of Urumqi River in the past millions and millions of years.