Pamir-Alai Mountains

  • Karavshin Valley - © Nick Ince
  • Ak-suu and Iskander from the Batken road - © Nick Ince
  • Ak-suu - © Nick Ince
  • Ak-Tubek Pass - © Nick Ince
  • Baggage horses - © Nick Ince
  • Campsite from the Dzalgychy pass - © Nick Ince
  • Ibex - © Nick Ince
  • Iskander - © Nick Ince
  • River Bridge - © Nick Ince
  • Towards Ak-Tubek from campsite - © Nick Ince
  • Trek route - © Nick Ince

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 rating

  • Walkopedia rating86
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest15
  • Human interest7
  • Charisma33
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating86
  • Note: Negs: Altitude

Vital Statistics

  • 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.

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Ak-suu - © Nick Ince

WALK SUMMARY

 

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.

We want to tell more - please send us your ideas, suggestions, experiences and photos.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Towards Ak-Tubek from campsite - © Nick Ince

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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Ak-suu and Iskander from the Batken road - © Nick Ince...
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