Key information: Pamir-Alai Mountains
- Explore the “Asian Patagonia”, a region of the famously tough and remote Pamirs known for its dramatic sheer-faced and sharp-ridged mountains.
- Walkopedia rating86
- Natural interest15
- Human interest7
- Negative points2
- Total rating86
- Note: Negs: Altitude
- Length: Your choice
- Maximum Altitude: 4,390m
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
Walkopedia friend Nick Ince trekked here in 2018 and kindly shared his thoughts with us:
“In July 2018 a small group of friends and I arranged a guided trip to the Pamir-Alai mountains in south west Kyrgyzstan. The trek was a strenuous nine day circuit over passes up to 4300m in a region that has become known as “Asian Patagonia”͛ because of the sheer rock faces and sharp-ridged mountains that have been a “big wall” climbing area since Soviet times.
The trek used horses to carry the main baggage between pre-set campsites, permanently staffed during the trekking season, and the route led from the local village of Uzgurush along the northern flank of the main mountain range and into the glaciated valleys running northwards from the main peaks, including Pyramidalnyi, Ak-Suu and Iskander.
The high pastures are used as summer grazing for fat tailed sheep, cattle and horses by the Kyrgyz and the hill sides are largely covered in juniper forests.
There were wild flowers, particularly alpines higher up, but not in abundance, plenty of butterflies and occasional birdlife. The only wild animals we saw were marmots and one group of ibex.
The trekking was on established paths, through the river valleys and over the passes. The passes involved steep ascents and descents, and scree slopes, but nothing difficult or technical. The rivers are fast flowing but were usually crossed by bridges of varying sturdiness.
The route is not well frequented and we only met one other party going in the opposite direction.
The length of day varied between 4 to 7 hrs, with stops to take in the views, including a couple of tea breaks enjoying the hospitality at Kyrgyz shielings, including fresh bread and finely sliced sheep tail fat.
The passes, particularly the Dzhalgychy (3774m), Kara Suu (3760m) and Ak-Tubek (4390m) all had tremendous panoramas of the mountain ranges to the south, and the Karavshin valley leads up between the impressive high rock walls to the glacier below Pyramidalnyi.
This is an immersive trek in remote country through wonderful mountains.”
Thank you so much for this contribution, Nick.
This is demanding walking in remote mountains with uncertain weather, where altitude can cause real problems. Come fully prepared, including proper acclimatization.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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