Issyk-Kul (also Ysyk Köl, Issyk-Kol: Kyrgyz: Ысык-Көл; Russian: Иссык-Куль) is an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is the tenth largest lake in the world by volume (though not in surface area), and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes; hence its name, which means "hot lake" in the Kyrgyz language (Chinese: 熱海; literally: "Hot Sea" in Chinese). The lake is a Ramsar site of globally significant biodiversity (Ramsar Site RDB Code 2KG001) and forms part of the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve.
Open Water Swimming
The Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation is an open water swimming governing body established by IronMike of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for lake swims across Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan. The Federation has established different lake crossings.
- Crossing 1: 13.15 km (8.17 miles) between the villages of Kara-Talaa in the south and Toru-Aygyr in the north. This route is based on a Kyrgyz myth about a horse, named Toru-Aygyr.
- Crossing 2: 17.05 km (10.6 miles) along the northern shore.
- Crossing 3: This 32.94 km (20.47 miles) route is the (currently successful crossing done on Lake Issyk Kul by Akhmed Anarbaev, a Kyrgyz Olympian, who completed this 33 km route in 1982 in a time of 10 hours 42 minutes. This route connects the villages of Ananyevo and Kyzyl-Suu.
- Crossing 4: This 60.28 km (38.46 miles) routing is the longest crossing in the lake. Akhmed Anarbaev attempted this solo crossing in 1985, but was unsuccessful. He formed a 4-person relay and in 1991 they completed this crossing in a time of 18 hours 0 minutes.