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Tourists flocking towards the magnificent glaciers of the Tian Shan mountain range near Kazakhstan’s biggest city, Almaty

Monitoring Desk

Peaks of the Tian Shan mountain range near Almaty in Kazakhstan
‘The number of tourists last year was several times bigger than in previous years, especially local tourists,’ says Mikhail Kamirasov, a mountain guide . ‘People can’t go abroad now and they have started going to the mountains. This is literally a pilgrimage site now’
Kamirasov takes visitors to the Bogdanovich glacier, which is 3,500 metres (11,500ft) above sea level and features a bowl-shaped formation that some have used to produce otherworldly landscape photographs
A tourist poses for a picture on the Bogdanovich glacier
A tourist visits the Oktyabrskaya cave in the Bogdanovich glacier
The glacier is dwindling due to global warming. Kamirasov says its lowest point has retreated about 1.5km (1 mile) since he first visited it about 30 years ago
Safety experts say some visitors try to save money and go without guides. ‘The higher influx of tourists affects their own safety because completely unprepared people have started going to the mountains now,’ says Viktor Blagoveshchensky, the chief researcher at the Institute of Geography and Water Safety
A tourist jumps for a picture during a hike towards the glacier
Kamirasov says parts of the glacier are only safe in winter and that once spring arrives the glacier moves and passage walls might collapse
A tourist poses for a picture
Photograph: Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters
The Tian Shan mountain range
As glaciers melt, they leave behind lakes that can overflow and cause mudslides, a significant hazard for Almaty. But for now, city residents are rushing to visit the glacier

Courtesy: The Guardian