At the beginning of 80-s many travelers start to compare the Pamir-Alay region in Kyrgyzstan with the South American Patagonia. In the “Asian sister” of Patagonia the visitors suddenly discovered same South American wilderness, fresh winds blowing gently, mountain streams with pure water, alpine meadows. And glaciers, surrounded by 5000+ meters peaks where the Sabakh (5823m) and Aksu (5365m) peaks shine like pearls. Once unknown, the region began to show its amazing nature and beauty. Today all these high ragged peaks and endless numbers of pioneering treks are bringing climbers and trekkers from all the continents. Next to the unique nature every visitor is amazed by the local hospitality. Locals are always ready to show the best of their cuisine and to tell the most interesting legends.
♦ Osh - Ancient important center on the Silk Road
♦ Sabakh Peak - Over 5000-meter giant with ice glacier in his bowels
♦ Aksu Peak - Cone-shaped snow peak
♦ Udobniy Pass - Offering fantastic panoramic views of Uryam river and the ridges around, with their majestic peaks
Day 1. Arrival to Osh
Meet and greet in the airport. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation.
Osh is a hospitable Kyrgyz southern capital known for its melons and watermelons, high midday temperatures and velvety starry nights. The city is one of the ancient suburban centres of Kyrgyzstan and the whole Central Asia. Archeological findings testify to the fact that the city has existed for 3000 years. In the 10th century Osh was the third biggest city in the Ferghana valley at the intersection of caravan trails from India and China to Europe - the Great Silk Road.
Day 2. Uzgarysh village
Uzgarysh is a typical Kyrgyz mountain village with established centuries-old lifestyle. The country folk are amicable and hospitable. The majority of the local villagers are engaged in animal husbandry, tobacco cultivation and flour milling at small watermills. Today we drive into the village and stay over in a local guesthouse or tent camp.
Altitude of Uzgarysh village: 1800m; Driving distance for the day: 290 km; Travel time: approx. 7hrs; Altitude difference: +800m
Day 3. Laily - Mazar - Uryam
After short preparations we set up for our first day of trekking. From the village we’ll continue our journey accompanied by horses which will help us carry the loads throughout the whole journey.
Approaching Laily-Mazar canyon and becoming more and more enchanted by the surrounding landscapes we reach the right tributary of the river. Step by step, marching along the mountain path, we reach the locality intended for the camp. The camp site is chosen in a really picturesque setting, next to a mountain stream whose murmur will serve you a sweet lullaby.
Camp 1 (Altitude: 2100m; Trekking distance: 10km; Travel time 6-8hrs; Altitude difference: +300m).
Day 4. Laily-Mazar - Uryam - Sabakh
Passage from the confluence of the Laily-Mazar and Uryam rivers to the confluence of the Laily-Mazar and Sabakh rivers - the upper reaches of the Sabakh river.
After short detour to the bridge we take on the picturesque Laily-Mazar valley. This is not a leisurely journey as we are to reach the river confluence before lunch and then to ascend along the Sabakh river canyon. The river valley is dotted with birch trees lining the river banks, juniper thickets scattered all around, and even mountain ashes that spread out on the canyon slopes. Here and there rocks bear the tracks of ancient glacier activity.
We reach the foot of the lower moraine where we pitch a camp on a cozy glade. The nature itself seems to have created this ideal site for the camp: the imposing rocks covered with juniper trees of peculiar forms guard the tents of the travelers. After a long and a bit tiresome trekking we can now relax, delight in a delicious dinner and have a full night of sound sleep.
Camp 2 (3000m; Trekking distance 8km; 7-9hrs; +900m).
Day 5. Sabakh Peak
Radial trek to Sabakh peak (5300m). Today’s trekking pace is rather relaxed and comfortable. We’ll make a radial passage to Sabakh peak (5283m). First we’ll ascend the moraine rampart from the top of which one can see a beautiful panorama of mountain valley with a small river meandering amongst pastoral setting. This is also the place of herdsmen camps. We’ll make a stop and visit one of these camps to find out more about herdsmen’s life in the severe conditions of highlands.
Continuing our way to the peak we cross one more moraine rampart behind which Sabakh Peak opens up in its full splendour. Standing at the foot of this forbidding 5000-metre-high giant we feel the cold breath of the glacier. The high altitude mountainscape is really spectacular. The pictures of the Peak itself taken from different angles present this giant differently depending on the light.
After a short rest and energizing lunch at the foot of the Peak we’ll set out for our return trip. The pleasant descent will bring us to the camp where the warmest welcome and hot, delicious dinner await us.
Camp 2 (3600m; Trekking distance: 8km; 3-5hrs; +600m,-600m)
Day 6. Udobniy pass (4140m) - Uryam river valley
Passage through Udobniy pass (4140m) to the Uryam river valley.
The height of Udobniy pass cannot embarrass high-spirited trekkers. So after breakfast we’ll start our ascent. Your efforts will be well rewarded. The view that opens from the pass is absolutely magnificent, almost spellbinding. We stop here to savour the grand vistas: a fantastic panorama of the Uryam river valley and neighbouring ridges with their majestic peaks including Parus (Sail) peak (4883m). It really looks like a filled out sail. The peak is much loved by local and international climbers. Elated by the thrilling sight we descend to the valley. The camp will be pitched on a mountain meadow next to the river and we ‘ll have a long-expected rest in this idyllic location. Sitting round the dinner table laid in a warm cozy dining tent, surrounded by the fellow-travellers, you can congratulate each other on the first pass you have surmounted, and exchange the impressions of the day.
Camp 3 (3000m; Trekking distance: 7km; 7-9hrs; +1100m, -1100m).
Day 7. Uryam river
Trekking rest day and radial trek to the upper reaches of the Uryam river.
This scenic place dispose to relaxation and there is nothing shameful in your wish to just lounge on the grass or to loaf around. The most active, though, are invited to make a short hiking along the river meandering amongst the ancient moraines, and en route to marvel at the views of snow-topped peaks, a succession of lush meadows and juniper groves which remind Japanese gardens carefully groomed by a gardener. This is the land of pastures and now and then we encounter the herdsmen’s camps. A good opportunity for us to meet the local people, spend some time in their company and enjoying a cup of tea and a friendly chat to appreciate their well-known hospitality.
Camp 3 (up to 3400m; Trekking distance: 4-7km; 3-5hrs; +400m, -400m)
Day 8. Uryam Pass - Ak-Mechet - Ak-Suu - Kara-Suu
Passage across Uryam Pass (3760m) to the Ak-Mechet river valley, to the confluence of two rivers - the Ak-Suu and the Kara-Suu. Today’s goal is to ascend Uryam pass. Though in height it’s inferior to the previous pass it is no less spectacular. Approaching the pass once again we can see Parus peak, this time towering behind us, with a bladelike Sabakh peak emerging from behind it on the left. As we proceed further we can delight in observing the majestic views of the valley where the Ak Suu and Kara Suu rivers interflow into the wide, rapid Ak-Mechet river. And then, just in front of us, there comes into sight one more range crowned with glaciers. It separates Aksu peak region from Karavshin region. The cone-shaped snow-capped Aksu peak (5355m), which to the north drops off in almost vertical two-kilometre-deep rock precipice, attracts the mountaineers from all over the world. The majestic view of this natural amphitheatre is accentuated by imposing crecent-shaped Iskander peak (51220m), Admiralteyets peak(5090m), Petrogradets peak (5163m) and Blok Peak (5239m).
The descent is rather comfortable and soon we reach our campsite. It is arranged at the height of 2800 m, where you can feel the warmth of the summer air and smell the rich coniferous fragrance of the juniper wood. Sunset is the best time for picture-perfect views of Aksu peak.
Camp 4 (2860m; Trekking distance: 8km; 6-8hrs; +750m, -900m)
Day 9. Aksu peak
Trekking rest day and radial trekking to the foot of Aksu peak (5355m).
Today we’ll trek to the glacier that lies under the tops of several peaks - Blok, Aksu, Admiralteyets, Petrogradets and Iskander. Today hardly anyone would prefer idling in the camp to trekking to a spectacular destination. Though the glacier itself is hidden under the moraine and there will be only few occasions to feel its ice-cold breath through the sole of your trekking boots, the view that awaits us at the end is worth the effort. After several hours trekking you will find yourself standing in front of a 2-km-high Black wall of Aksu peak that seems to rise up from out of nowhere and to tower above you with all its might.
We’ll have the lunch at the Aksu river which springs from the glacier sliding from under Blok peak. Being among these eternal towering rocks fills you with a sense of belonging to macrocosm.
We’ll come back to the campsite by sunset and the fantastic images of the day will stay in your memory for long.
Camp 4 (3500m; Trekking distance: 8km; 4-5hrs; +700m, -700m).
Day 10. Ak-Mechet - Uzgarysh
Descent to the Ak-Mechet river and further to Uzgarysh village.
Today you will experience a relaxing stroll down the river. The juniper woods all around fill the air with coniferous fragrance and lift your spirits. The trail runs through alpine grassland dotted with flowers of every colour. And suddenly realizing that this is your last trekking day, you try to imprint in your memory, as well as to capture on your cameras, the stunningly beautiful surroundings. Who knows when there will be another chance to delight in the world of wilderness. Meanwhile we approach the river’s outfall and enter the Laily-Mazar valley. Our circuit closes up in Uzgarysh village where our trekking programme is completed with a celebration dinner. Today you can give vent to your appetite and eat your fill, since so many delicious dishes were prepared by our cook, and then to relax and share wine and laughter with new-found friends while recollecting every day of the adventurous journey.
Accommodation in the guest house (1800m; Trekking distance: 14km; 6-8hrs)
Day 11. Uzgarysh - Osh
Transfer from Uzgarysh village to Osh. Accommodation in hotel.
Today we return to the warmth of Osh where the benefits of civilization await you: numerous cafes and restaurants, comfortable hotels, supermarkets and bazaars, and free Internet access. Osh offers many interesting souvenirs that can become a good keepsake to remind you about your trip to mountainous Kyrgyzstan: felt yurt, Kyrgyz national hats, musical instruments and many other bric-a-brac that can catch your fancy.
Overnight in Osh (1000m; Driving distance: 290km; 7hrs; - 800m)
Day 12. Transfer to airport. Flight back home.
We hope your experience in the picturesque mountain areas of the Pamir-Alay was full of bright positive emotions. Aksu and Sabakh peaks provide an array of challenging untrodden routes for mountaineers, rock climbers and trekkers inspiring them to come back now and again.
This trekking is rather easy and is suitable for anyone with good physical condition. Tourist above 16 and under 65 years of age can join this tour provided they have no serious health problems and their doctor does not object to participation in such kind of tourist activities. Children younger 14 can also join this trekking tour provided they are accompanied by their parents.
Trekking on foot covers from 6km to 12 km a day with altitude difference up to 1000m. The route runs at the maximum altitude of 4140m above sea level. Each participant carries his own rucksack with personal belongings, supply of drinking water and first-aid kit. The rest of the gear (the weight of the gear should not exceed 15kg per person), as well as group camping equipment and supply of provisions is transported by pack-horses. Typically the region enjoys rather stable weather: it’s warm and sunny, though some rain is possible, which relieves the monotony of the trip. The daytime temperatures range between +15° to +30°С, whereas at night the temperature can drop as low as +8 or +10°С.