Tour duration: 11 days
The route takes you to some of the remotest, rarely visited but extremely impressive valleys of the so-called Asian Patagonia - the Turkestan ridge.
This high mountain ridge is a continuous wall of granite peaks that form the southwestern border of Kyrgyzstan - the infinite quietness of the towering rock and summer pastures where ever since the times of the Great Silk Road the Kyrgyz nomads have been grazing their herds.
Very few foreigners, climbers and nature lovers have explored this mountain fortress so far.
You will walk across alpine meadows full of wild flowers (including the rarest Aigul flower) bordered by streams of meltwater from the glaciers, you will fall in love with this magnificent mountain landscapes at the foot of nearly 2,000-meter-high vertical granite walls.
Throughout the tour you will enjoy unforgettable encounters with nomadic families who spend the summer in this endless mountain paradise.
Great Silk Road
Tour program (may be linked with foregoing programs in Kyrgyzstan / Uzbekistan / Tajikistan):
Day 1. Osh and transfer to Ak-Suu Park
We leave Osh and head towards sky-scraping peaks of Central Asia along cultivated fields, orchards, villages, and grazing lands. Our first camp is located at moderate altitude of 1783 m. National dinner.
Day 2. Ak-Suu Valley. Start of trek
From Kyrgyz language “Ak-Suu” means “white water”. We will follow this raging river till it leads us to a green meadow of picturesque Ak-Suu Valley.
Breathtaking panorama of Ak-Suu Peak (5354 m) and Sabakh (4723 m) right behind our camp. Along the way we will pass Kyrgyz nomads that inhabit the valley in summer. Our camp is by Ak-Tubek Pass (3032 m).
Day 3. Ak-Suu Valley. Acclimatization.
Today you will have an easy day to absorb the surrounding beauty of the Ak-Suu Valley and snowcapped Ak-Suu Peak (5355m). This day will give us a chance to rest and acclimate before crossing Ak-Tubek Pass (4390 m). On this day we can always make a radial hike to the foothill of Ak-Suu Peak with famous granite rocks that are nearly 1800 m tall with glaciers at the top.
Day 4. Ak-Tubek Pass (4390m)
Today we leave the Ak-Suu Valley and cross 4390 m Ak-Tubek Pass to the valley of Orto-Chashma. This day will be pretty long but very rewarding with some excellent views of the high peaks of Iksender (5150 m), Alexander Blok (5269 m), and Petrograd (519 2m), as well as the hanging glaciers of Ak-Suu peak. We stop for lunch at a large outcrop not far below the pass, and then cross for the spectacular descent into the Orto-Chashma Valley with its high green meadows set amidst sharp granite crags. We’ll make camp at the altitude of 3500 m or we can proceed our descend if weather conditions are good and camp by the Orto-Chashma River.
Day 5. Kosh-Moinock
We have to cross the river this morning that may require us to do it on horseback. We set off down the Orto-Chashma Valley, at first walking alongside its rushing river. As we continue to descend we traverse the east side of Orto-Chashma and enjoy some wonderful views of meadows and herder encampments. Turning east, we take a steep climb before a brief descent that brings us to our campsite in a grassy meadow at Kosh-Moinock (3260 m). The meadow will be carpeted with a myriad of alpine flowers, including lupines, forget-me-nots and edelweiss.
Day 6. Eastern Kara-Suu Valley
A fairly steep ascent brings us to the top of Kosh-Mainock Pass. The views from the crest of the ridge are truly spectacular. Will we be able to look back at the Orto-Chashma Valley and up at the snow fields and hanging glaciers of Kara-Suu Peak (5304 m). Another steep descent brings us to a waterfall where we plan to stop for lunch. We continue and trek along the river, enjoying spectacular views of Asan Usen and snow-covered Pyramid Peak (5542 m), the highest in the range. Our camp is at 2971 m on a green meadow beside the Kara-Suu River.
Day 7. Eastern Karasu Valley & Pyramid Peak
From our camp we’ll explore the upper reaches of the Kara-Suu Valley, a spectacular spot that is coveted by rock climbers around the world and rarely visited by other trekkers. The twin-peak sentinel of Asan Usen stands at one side of the valley, with another huge granite butte called Yellow face at the other. Snowy Pyramid Peak forms the back wall of the valley. An old legend says: «It was in ancient times. An old man who lived in the mountains had two sons-twins. Their names were Asan and Usen. He brought them up as warriors and was very about them. What else do you need once you get old? But a war started and both sons were killed. The man who got out of his mind because of the grief and sorrow, rose his arms up to the sky and asked Allah: Oh, Allah! You give the lifes and you take them. Return my sons to me, and take my life instead. Let it be so! » And Allah heard his words, the ground opened and high peaks rose up. Many centuries have passed but people still name the rocks as Asan (4230 m) and Usen (4378 m).
Day 8. Karavshin Valley.
Today we descend along the Karavshin River down. We may have a couple of river crossings today. We hike through the Meshi Gorge by the river to the ruins of an old adobe fortress, then turn west through a stone gateway that is the entrance into another system of valleys. We head up into the system and camp amid berry bushes above a tiny creek.
Day 9. Upanym Pass
Today a long but gradual trek takes down. After lunch we cross 3467 m Upanym Pass and then descend through a series of watersheds with stream crossings. Our day ends beside another beautiful creek where a gathering of Kyrgyz herder families makes their home.
Day 10. Buldjuma Pass
Easy ascent to Buldjhuma Pass is hardly noticeable. Here you will have the last chance to observe magnificent Turkestan Ridge. Our last camp is at the altitude of 1182 m. Farewell dinner.
Day 11. Return to Osh.
We proceed another two hours to the village of Uzgurush. We drive out of the highlands past the homes and farms of our new Kyrgyz friends, perhaps dropping some of them off as we go. The high snowcapped sentinels of the Turkestan range hover like ghosts as they gradually recede behind us.
End of services. Further flight to Bishkek, transfer to Uzbekistan or Tajikistan.
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