Rafting in Kazakhstan
Information about rivers Ili, Chilik, Charyn.
Ili – first river for rafting. Ili river is 1001 km long. Summertime water quantity is 150 – 250 cube meters a second. Ili river is situated in Kazakhstan and China. It is formed by two rivers – Tekes river (Kazakhstan ) and Kunges (China) in Eastern Tien-Shan. Length of Ili is 1001 km , but if to count from the river-head of Tekes it is 1439 km. In the upper part, in China, Ili is a mountain river; down the stream, after Kash river falls into Ili, it is divided into the branches. Not far from Kapchagai town (70 km from Almaty) there is a Hydro-Electric Power station on Ili river and a water reservoir 70 km long and up to 5 km wide. Before falling into the water reservoir the water in the river is full of sand and other elements. After the reservoir water in the river becomes clear. After the reservoir Ili flows in a deep rocky canyon, up to 200 meters wide. River in this part is full-flowing with rapid current and clear water. The canyon is about 100 meters deep. When Ili leaves Kapchagai gorge, it flows on Near Balkhash plain and falling into Balkhash lake it forms a big delta – 9000 sq. km. The river has no technical difficulties.
Chilik – second river for rafting. Chilik river is 240 km long. Average annual quantity of water is 32,7 cube meters a second. Chilik river is the biggest river in Zailiski Alatau range (northern Tien-Shan). The river-head is situated on the eastern slope of Chilik-Kemin mountain bulkhead at height of 3350, the river starts from Jangyrak, Bogatyr', Korjenevskoi glaciers. Before the river enters Jalanash valley it flows under the name Tauchilik (Mountain Chilik). After the glacier valley, which is 40 km long the river enters a deep impassable canyon. At the entrance to Jalanash valley, the river abruptly turns to the north, here the depth of the canyon reaches 100 meters . In this part the river has several big tributaries: Jenishke river from the left, Saty and Kolsai rivers from the right. Totally there are about 45 small and big tributaries. Chilik is a typical mountain river with stormy water. The width of the river-bed in the upper part is 5- 6 meters , in the middle part it is 10 – 15 meters , maximum depth is 1,5 – 2 meters . The highest water level in Chilik is usually from the second part of June till middle of September. In hot periods April and May is the time for high water. Quantity of water in Chilik is 13,7 cube meters a second in April; 29,6 in May; 42,3 in June; 75,6 in July; 77,0 in August; 42,1 in September. From the obstacles point of view the river is divided into three main sections: Upper canyon; Blue canyon and Bartogai canyon. Right after the end of Blue canyon the river falls into the Bartogai water reservoir through the locks of Bartogai dam. The reservoir is 10 km long. After the reservoir the river enters another canyon, water in the river is clear.
Charyn – third river for rafting . Charyn river is 255 km long. Average annual quantity of water is 33,2 cube meters a second. In the upper part Charyn flows under the name Shalkydysu, in the middle part it flows under Kegen name. Just after Kegen river bends to north, it start to bear Charyn name. Charyn has many small tributaries and one big – which is called Temerlik. Charyn is a full flowing, stormy river. Charyn gets its water supply from the atmosphere precipitation. That is why it has its main water quantity in May and June, though most glacial rivers have their biggest water quantity in July and august. In region of Kuluktai mountains, Charyn flows through a canyon, which is 400 meters deep. Water quantity in Charyn is 43,3 cube meters a second in April; 64,5 in May; 54,9 in june; 42,3 in July; 33,3 in August; 26,6 in September; 27,3 in October. The river can be divided in four sections of rapids: Muinakskie cascades in the upper part - the cascades of waterfall type; “Toothbrush” rapids; Tau-Teke rapids; “Saigak” and “Armadillo” I and II rapids on the section from the Castles glade to the border check point at Charyn river.
Technical description about c ombine of rafting
Technical description of rafting on Ili river.
Rafting starts not far from Kapchagai water reservoir. In 1 – 1,5 hours a first mark is seen – it is an 8- meter high cylindrical rock on the left bank, called “Devil's finger”. There are small islands in the river-bed. Soon, a “Rocky town” is seen to the right. The rocks there are covered with the marks of climbing routes – it is a place where Rescue Service of Almaty city is training in summer. After the short excursion to the rock drawings, in 30 minutes mooring to the left bank – region of “Dinamo” training ground.
Technical description of rafting part on Chilik ri ver (Bartogay canyon)
Length – 20 km , duration of rafting – 3 hours.
Complexity – III with elements of IV category when evacuation of water through locks from Bartogay reservoir is 60- 80 cubic meters per sec.
Complexity – IV with elements of V category when evacuation of water through locks from Bartogay reservoir is 100- 120 cubic meters per sec.
River inclination - 7- 8 meters per 1 km
During 30-35 min after start of rafting – river is relatively quiet with periodic sand-spits with powerful billows.
Rapid ¹1. Is billows more 1m with sharp turn of river to right and pressing to right-bank, then river fluently becomes level. There are 2 powerful flows and one hole and it is very important – to come in rapid. There are 2-3 poured over stones in river bed more to the left of main flow. Rapid ¹ 1 with typical inclination of water 3 m per each 30 m . Rapid begins in 40-50 min after rafting start, length of rapid is more 100 m . After rapid ¹ 1 river is continuous sand-spit with powerful billows more than 1 meter in height. Token of rapid – inclination of water with suddenly turn of river to right. End of rafting at Malybai village.
Technical description of rafting on Charyn river.
Length of rafting – 24 km. Total time – 6-7 hours, time on the water – 3 hours
Complexity – category IV with the elements of category VI. River inclination in rapids is from 5 to 15 meters
Rafting starts from the Castles glade. The river has frequent bends.
“Saigak” rapids appears in 45 minutes after the start. It doesn't have any particular features and can be passed right away. In the rapids there is a big stone to the right, that is well seen. Before the rapids there are small sand-splits, river inclination is 3- 4 meters per 1 km . Recommended passing of the rapids: in the beginning to move on the left stream, then shift to the right, to the triangle stone; crossing the stream move on the main river-bed to the end of the rapids. The rapids is of category IV. After “Saigak” rapids there is one more rapids of category III with narrowing of the river-bed and big flow*. After Temerlik river (right tributary) falls into Charyn “Armadillo I” rapids begins. Time distance between “Saigak” and “Armadillo I” rapids is 1 hour.
“Armadillo I” features are: backwater from the right, abrupt inclination, typical sound of water in rapids, mooring to the right bank. This rapids is impassable. You must pass it by on the river bank. It takes 5 minutes on foot from “Armadillo I” rapids to “Armadillo II”.
After “Armadillo II” there are big sand-splits with stones in the river-bed of categories III and IV. End of rafting.