Maxut Zhumayev sets up the Kazakh Alpine Club
30 May 2013
Two years ago Maxut Zhumayev completed a remarkable achievement.
At age 36, he had climbed the last of all fourteen 8000 metre peaks without oxygen including K2 which he called the hardest of the lot.
“What is there for me after?” Zhumayev, a sergeant in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan recalled thinking.
What he did was set himself a new goal. He would establish the Kazakh Alpine Club which he envisioned as being modelled along the lines of European alpine clubs.
Maxut Zhumayev with his son Isatay (Photo: courtesy Maxut Zhumayev)
The Kazakh Alpine Club is today just over three months old but that doesn’t deter Zhumayev from describing an ambitious vision to connect mountaineers in Kazakhstan, including older ones who climbed under the banner of the former Soviet Union.
“We would like to build some special mountain infrastructure including rest and camping places, and a network of huts like those in America and Europe,” said Zhumayev.
Over the next three to five years he wants to establish a guiding and mountaineering institute where young Kazakh mountaineers can be trained formally and conducting youth camps.
Other plans include drawing up climbing maps, collating information for climbers, building viewpoints for tourists, even building bridges to cross mountain streams.
“It’s my new Everest,” he said with a laugh about the work that lies ahead.
To help him along, Zhumayev has sought the help of the Austrian Alpine Association (Edelweiss section) which will provide him with advice on how to establish and grow the club. A memorandum of cooperation was signed in October and Zhumayev said he believes this memorandum will be helpful in the future as the Kazakh Alpine Club builds its infrastructure and organizational framework.
Kan Tengri (7010 metres) the highest mountain in Kazakhstan (Photo: Maxut Zhumayev)
The most famous of the mountains of Kazakhstan is Kan Tengri (7010 metres) which is situated along the border with Kyrgyzstan and the country's highest peak.
Zhumayev said he is inspired by the fact there is tremendous interest in the mountains of Kazakhstan and thousands of people head there every weekend for various activities, including around Almaty, the largest city of Kazakhstan where Zhumayev lives.
An organized community or club which represents their interests is needed, he said.
“European alpine clubs were formed a long time ago,” said Zhumayev. “They have a history and a good system that has developed over many generations. In Kazakhstan, we don’t have this history.”
Fellow Kazakh mountaineer Andrey Verkhovod, a friend of Zhumayev said Kazakhstan is blessed with a natural mountain environment, and has produced elite climbers but the country lacks infrastructure that would be of help to novice climbers through well organized via ferratas and marked tourist routes.
"This may significantly increase interest and involvement of "ordinary" people in alpinism," said Verkhovod.
Maxut Zhumayev on K2 (Photo: courtesy Maxut Zhumayev)
Zhumayev can be found at http://www.kazpatriot.kz