Alpinism in Kyrgyzstan is one of the most popular branches of tourism in Kyrgyzstan. The mountains of Kyrgyzstan hold many attractions for mountaineers and trekkers from all over the world. For most of the Soviet period, Kyrgyzstan tours with alpinism were off-limits to foreigners and even Soviet mountaineers had trouble obtaining the permissions necessary for an expedition. Although the system is less rigid to travel in Kyrgyzstan for alpinism these days, there are still some restrictions, and permits are necessary, in certain areas - especially in border zones. But the main difficulties faced by mountaineers are expected by the weather in Kyrgyzstan: it can snow suddenly and for several days at a time, increasing the risks of avalanches and crevices.
Mountaineers who can summit all five of the peaks in the former Soviet Union that are over 7,000 meters earn an award called the Snow Leopard. Two of these peaks are in Tajikistan, two are in Kyrgyzstan, and one (Peak Lenin) is on the border between the two. Since the award was started in Soviet times, over 600 climbers have achieved this distinction.