First female glacier expedition in Central Asia successfully completed

24 September 2019

Adventure of Science: Women and glaciers in Central Asia is an expedition that brought 15 women for a 7 day trip to Golubin glacier in the Ala Archa, Kyrgyzstan. During this time, the team discovered the nature around them, trained their mountaineering skills and improved their scientific knowledge about glaciers and mountains.

The program ended with a public presentation event at the Central Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG) in Bishkek on the 10th of September. The group was led by two young female glaciologists from Switzerland and the only certified female mountain guide from Kyrgyzstan. Furthermore, four women from Central Asia co-instructed and coordinated the expedition. Eight participants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan completed the team. They were selected from almost 200 interested applicants.


The expedition team left Bishkek on the 2nd of September and set up their tents at Alplager, the entrance of the Ala Archa National Park. On the following day, the team hiked up the Ala Archa valley and installed their base camp near Golubin glacier. During five days, the team investigated the Alpine environment, practiced mountaineering skills and documented their observations with art works. The participants were taught about the cryosphere, increased their outdoor skills and got an introduction into glacier travel. Furthermore, the young women elaborated research projects for which they collected data in the field. Despite challenging weather conditions with considerable amounts of fresh snow, interesting measurements could be performed. The research projects were presented within the public event on the 10th of September in Bishkek. Kristine Tovmasyan, representing UNESCO office in Almaty, was among several female speakers, who provided interesting insights into their professional expertise in promoting gender equality as well as personal experience. The next edition of the program will take place in summer 2020.


The concept of the expedition is adopted from Inspiring Girls Expeditions and combines science, art, and mountaineering to inspire the participants to proceed a scientific career, become more self-confident and to follow their dreams. The Adventure of Science: Women and glaciers in Central Asia program is financed by the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. UNESCO office in Almaty supports this program, which is in line with its priority Promoting gender equality.



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