Khan Tengri lies in the Issyk Kul oblast near the border with Kazakhstan, it is a Kyrgyzstan's third 7000-meters' peak. The name is translated variously as "Prince of Spirits" or "Ruler of the Sky".
Until recently the summit was said to be 6995 m a.s.l. but a recent survey made announced that it is, in fact, 7010m - however, some people treat this figure with an element of suspicion.
In the past, there has been some confusion between Khan Tengri and Peak Pobeda - Semyenov Tianshansky, mistakenly identified the latter as Khan Tengri when he first reached the region in 1857. The local name for the mountain is Kan Tau (Blood Mountain) - perhaps because of the burning red color it adopts at sunset or perhaps because of the numbers of climbers that have died in attempting to climb the peak. It was first climbed successfully only in 1931 by a Ukrainian team.
In a sensitive border zone, special permits are required to visit Kyrgyzstan. In the Soviet period, even local mountaineers needed special permissions from the government and foreigners were totally prohibited access until 1989. The mountain makes for spectacular photos with its pyramid peak - and there are photos which appear to show a face in the snow on the mountain sides -
At the foot of the mountain lies the Enilchek Glacier, the largest glacier in Kyrgyzstan described in many tours and the mysterious Merzbacher lakes which appear each year in summer only to drain away in August when the ice bank breaks. It is not included into tours in Kyrgyzstan, as it is part of alpinist route.
The Ak Togue pass marks the watershed of the Terskey Ala Too range, one of the most popular ranges in Kyrgyzstan. The highway passes through gorges covered in Tien Shan fir, and follows the valley of the Karkara river to the high mountain valley of the Sary Zhaz river. Karkara valley is also a highlight of tours in Kyrgyzstan.