Kora gorge at the moment is the most popular place of Zhetisu (Jungar) Alatau. It is located in the western part of Glavnyi ridge. Gorge from Sapozhnikov glacier till the confluence with Karatal river has a length of about 70 km and is oriented in the latitudinal direction from west to east.
Kora river is formed by the confluence of three rivers formed from Sapozhnikov, Bezsonov and Tronov glaciers.
Kora river takes the southern tributaries of Shegirbulak, Kaskabulak rivers in the upper reaches, then inflows of Tyuite and Sadyrtas. One of the major tributaries of Kora river is a tributary of Burkhanbulak. In the lower reaches – Asylbay river. There are 20 minor tributaries lower from Asylbay inflow, which do not affect the increase in water flow in Kora river from both the right and left sides of the gorge. Some of these streams, flowing down from the north left slope of the gorge, are seasonal in nature and operate only during the snowmelt.
Kora gorge in the north is limited by Karatau ridge and Mynshukyr mountains. The main ridge of Zhetisu Alatau stretches from the south, separating valleys of Kora and Koksurivers, as well as Zhamankol and Mynzhylky mountains, separating Kora river gorge from Chizhe river gorge. The maximum height of the gorge is 3919 meters at the top, towering above the circus of Bezsonov glacier.
Kora gorge is deep, in the lower reaches of its depth reaches 700-800 m. It is narrow, the river takes up almost the entire bottom of the valley, but the valley expands in the middle reaches, its depth is up to 1000 m. Mountainous part of the gorge reaches already a depth of 1200 m.
Northern (left) slopes are covered with dense mixed forest; southern (right) have meadow-steppe vegetation. Vast surfaces of the southern slopes differ by powerful rock outcrops of pink and gray colors.
The rocks on the slopes have stepped structure; and flowing water forms unique waterfalls. The northern slopes have also considerable toughness, and there are the waterfalls too. River flows from small circus Below Asylbay river in the first half of the summer. It runs down the slope with a series of stages, and little further 3-4 waterfall, falling from the rocky slopes, can be seen in the circus. An unusual waterfall called "Plachushie skaly" or "Stena placha" is located in three kilometers from the descent from Kapal.
Right tributary of Burkhanbulak river flows into Kora gorge and falls by three stages from 120-meter height in the valley. This is the highest waterfall in the Almaty oblast and called Burkhanbulak. the waterfall is probably named after Oirat military leader, who converted to Islam and moved to the side of Chinese troops that were sent to crush Jungar Khanate in the middle of the XVIII century. During this period he was the ruler of the land of East Turkistan and Zhetisu. There is speculation that his army was placed in Kora gorge little below the waterfall.
Waterfall is "dressed" in the snow and ice coat in winter, and ice bridge is retained over the cup until late spring. The maximum water flow occurs in July, it justifies its character at this time. Water flows down as the enormous flow, hiding ledges and steps, making millions of splashes all around.
Very beautiful small lake, framed by flowering fields, is at the confluence of Kora and Tentekbulak. The lake is called "Silver hoof", as the tale of the Ural writer P. Bazhov.
A large stone, lying separately, is located on the picturesque glade under the rocky slopes, below the falls. This stone, fallen from the cliffs, has dimensions of about 15x20 meters and a height of 7 meters. It is linked with a legend, which gave it the name "Holy Stone". The legend says: "Once upon a time, there was a small village in a mountain gorge. People lived in prosperity and did not know the ills and diseases. However, a strong earthquake had violated a steady flow of life. A huge stone, destroying everything in its path, rolled from the top of the hill. At this time the woman was giving a birth to a child in one of the yurts, which stood in the way of the stone blocks. There was a baby cry, and miracle happened: the stone suddenly stopped in a few centimeters to the yurt ". Since then, this stone is said to be saint.
Dirt road, which can be passed only on terrain vehicle or a tractor, was in Kora gorge until 2010. Ten apiaries are located in the lowest and steepest part of the gorge on different sides of the river and at some distance from each other.
One of sections of the gorge is called "Belyi yar". The water in this place sweeps so rapidly between huge rocks and through numerous rapids that becomes white, which also increases the lime slurry contained in the water of the river.
The spectacle of the falling river fascinates and gives you a chance to see and feel the power of the stream.
3 car and two pedestrian bridges were built all over the road into Kora gorge. Two summer tourist camp - "Elovaya" and "Taubulak" camps existed there until 2010. Only "Taubulak" base works currently.
The road at the bottom of the gorge and all the bridges have been washed away in 2010, after heavy and prolonged rains. The road through Kapal pass was partially restored in the same year. The name of pass was given in the beginning of the XIX century by the first settlers from Russia. Traveler and geographer P.P.Semenov Tien-Shansky visited this place during his stay in Tien Shan in 1856. Here's how he described these places in his book called "Journey to Tien Shan": "View of the valley of Kora river was amazing... Height of the ridge that I followed, seemed to me, at least 1,500 meters above Kapal plateau, but it’s more towered over the deep valley of Kora. Kora gorge. Wide and abundant river, through which, as they say, it is very difficult and sometimes even impossible to cross the ford. It seems narrow silver ribbon from the top, which, despite its remoteness, fills the air with a wild roar of its foamy waves, jumping over rocks. Foam and spray of the river have the particularly milky color, which is characteristic to rivers that generated by glaciers. The mountain rose beyond the river, firstly covered with Siberian fir, then with scrub, then naked and covered with alpine herbs, disappearing finally under snow mantle. In some places, the horizontal and vertical paths could be seen in the snow. Watching through the scope, it became known that horizontal paths were deep cracks and vertical – traces overthrew avalanches. No matter how attracted me charming valley, it was impossible to think of a descent into it..."
And in our time, climbing up to the pass and looking from bird's-eye view into the depths of Korinskaya valley, you feel genuine delight and excitement of the power and beauty of the gorge. The views of the west, down the gorge open from the pass. The river flows in depth of the canyon and is lost among the wooded slopes. In the south, the mighty rocks raise above the river. These rocks are hovering in the highest heaven, and alpine meadows, covered with dark spots of junipers, green on the north. Kora hospitably opens its valley in the east, showing space, power, and at the same time, the severity of the surrounding mountains and the river itself, which looks like a white ribbon on top. Valley beckons, but looking down and imagining the coming descent into the gorge, you feel the thrill of the challenges ahead.
Kora gorge has objects for every taste: it is mountain passes, leading to different gorges of Zhetisu Alatau. These are Koksu and Chizhe gorges on the south side. These are Aksu and Urman Bien gorges on the north side. Rock walls on the right bank of Kora give scope for climbers, practicing climbing on natural terrain. Athlete-rafters already began to explore Kora gorge, rafting on catamarans and rafts on the "Belyi Yar", which has the highest category of complexity (6B, 6C). Lovers of mount bikes and jeepers already paved their routes here. There are summits, which have not been passed yet, for novice climbers. Trekking, hiking of weekend days, paragliding also has its own perspectives.
Despite its increased popularity among tourists Kora gorge still retains the original purity. Scattered debris and fire pit remaining after Sunday picnics almost cannot be found there. And the best we can do is to develop domestic tourism and preserve this wonderful and beautiful world for our children.