Under The Shadow of the Tien Shan Mountains

Travelling through the Tien Shan Mountains in the middle of winter with my skis and snowshoes is something really special to me. Im always in love with mountains, it gives a sense of calmness in my soul and standing on top of a mountain, I feel nearer to heaven. Nothing between me and the blue sky and the stars, the clouds are moving below me, in the same direction of the blowing wind. Each of the elements here up in the high mountains is different than being on lowlands. The strong wind, the air that contains less oxygen, the smell and the quietness made me feel more aware of the right here and right now. It made me feel less about the worldy things and more aware about the existence, both inner and the outer world. After all, Im surrounded by the mother nature.


Travelling on my skis here in the Tien Shan Mountains also gives me totally new challenge and fresh experiences. I have travelled about 20000km on my bicycle since the past 4 years and I fell down only twice through really bad roads. Here in the Tien Shan, I have covered about 400km sliding the skis that are attached on my boots… and I fell countless times. And everytime I fall down… I fell down hard since the heavy sledge is attached to my body. Sometimes I fell down hard on slopes and the sledge hit my back from behind. It was painful but beautiful… a beautiful pain. Its beautiful because I learned new things… from the hard way but I think the best way to learn things is to learn it the hard way, so I will remember. And it’s a beautiful pain because the pain will go away, but not the memory. The memory will last until its time for me to close my eyes one day.


I moved slowly pulling my sledge here in the mountains for the whole day, watching the change of colours in the sky and different mood of the weather. Im trying to be like water in rivers, keep moving from the high mountains all the way down to the sea no matter what stands in between. It will flow calmly on smooth terrain, moving through different directions when there are rocks in between and moving fast when theres a waterfall in front… but no matter what, it will get to its destination… the vast ocean. Only difference is, the water is flowing down pushed by the force of the gravity… while I have to flow up pushed by the energy that I borrow from the mother nature, the energy I got from each breath.

jeti oguz

I was once had a sleepless night under the stars, when I woke up from sleep in the middle of the night by the sound of fox. There were 2 foxes walking around my tent probably looking for food. The smell of food attracts them to company me for almost 2 hours in the middle of the night. I tried to sleep but they were loud which finally made me decide to keep them away. Theyre very shy creatures, they ran away when they saw my presence. When I went down from the mountain, village people told me its dangerous to be up there in the high mountains. There are wolves and avalanche! I think danger exists everywhere. I can make a long list of the danger being on the street. The feeling of worry should be used correctly. The feeling of worry should make us prepare on the worst thing that can happen, not stopping us from doing the things that we need to accomplish.


the night where the foxes paid me a visit


The time for my ski adventure is coming to an end. I can feel it coming with the sound from the snow when my skis are sliding over it. Im no more skiing on soft snow powder lately… but Im skiing on wet ice even in the mountains. The sun is shining fiercely again now, the spring season is waiting right outside the door, waiting to be embraced. Rivers and waterfall started to flow as usual… with moving water. No more ice except on really high altitude lakes. I reached a place called Jety Oguz, sitting just south of the Issykkul Lake and realized that the snow has turned into water. Sometimes I even skied on rocks!… since Im too lazy to take off the ski, walked over the rocks and put the skis back on again, so I just skied over… yep… only lazy skiers will experience skiing on rocks!.. or through muds.


get to watch this almost every morning during breakfast

get to watch this almost every morning during breakfast

Jety Oguz, a lovely small village in the mountains

Jety Oguz, a lovely small village in the mountains

110 Comments on “Under The Shadow of the Tien Shan Mountains

  1. MaashaAllah ! Such a stunning view of the night sky, full of stars…..nothing like that here in my place – Penang. I’ve never seen the sky like that before . Thank you for sharing those photos Zahariz.

  2. Beautiful photos and what a wonderful adventure! Sending you good wishes from beautiful New Zealand for the next step in your journey.

  3. amd the great adventure continues… fantastic images, red and orange in contrast with the landscape.

  4. It all seems to be like a dream for me. Enjoy these adventures at fullest :-)

  5. Saw your big and heavy Canon equipment… I exchanged my Nikon against a Fuji X-Series-Camera. Take perhaps a look at such a camera it is just less big and heavy and excellent for travelling.

  6. I fear skiing so much..after multiple falls, p at St.Petersburg Omg! I loved ur article, inspired me to give another shot

  7. Highly inspirational. Alone with nature gets you closer to the Creator and it takes you away from the worries of civilization. Thank you for sharing the experience. I felt the fear when you wrote about those foxes.

  8. Reblogged this on GamingsFines and commented:
    Well what i think of what your doing is amazing. because you give the world that aren’t able to go to the place you been to a new sight on the world from inside their home

  9. I wish I could be there!! This makes me really want to start going mountain biking again. Going to places with great views, having fun. It’s such a good time!

  10. I envy you your silence and all the fresh, clear aromas that play through your memories. There is nothing like the mountaintop…or the sea…or the forest…or the grassland. Drink deeply, my friend.

  11. U adventure always be inspirational. One day, i pray hard that 1 day i can experience the same thing even it is not done alone. Jazakallah brother.

  12. Great adventure! I remember Tien Shan is mentioned in some Chingiz Aitmatov stories, is it in Cazacstan?

  13. Ski trekking is so cool! I have learned more about the ways in which one can travel by ski than ever before. I also love to deep thinking that accompanies your travel. It is insightful. Thanks!

  14. This is great! Looks like it’s a beautiful place. I agree with you, learning the hard way is sometimes the best way.

  15. Beautiful! was it difficult to get permits or were there permits required? I was wondering in the wake of recent Xinjiang events.

  16. I greatly enjoyed reading your story, and was wondering where exactly are the Tien Shan Mountains. Are they near heavenly lake (Tien Hu) outside Urumuqi, China?

  17. How do you begin on a travel like this ? You join friends of yours or you go with an organisation? I’d like to make a journey like yours one day.

  18. Im so envious of your trip. Stunning and serene. My heart beats a bit faster just looking at the photos. Adventure on!

  19. Such a lovely description of what it means to you combined with lovely photos really made my day. Excellent post!

  20. What an adventure and in a land that I think cries out for the souls of the modern man… Beautifully written ~ great photography as well. Well done!

  21. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I will never be able to travel like you but to see this part of the world through you is enough.

  22. Pingback: Under The Shadow of the Tien Shan Mountains | youshouldbeready

  23. Wow! This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your journey! I am climbing my first mountain this year and I am both anxious and excited. I loved your pictures.

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