Matcha (Kyrgyzstan) ― 2005


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In July 2005 I returned to Kyrgyzstan for the third time in a few years. I went to the Turkestan range, a mountain chain also called Pamir-Alay located at the very south of Kyrgyzstan along its boundary with Tajikistan. In 2004, I had already visited two regions of this mountain, the Ak-su region on the west and the Kichi-Alay region on the east. For this new trip, I chose to visit the central part of the range, called Matcha. On this trip I was accompanied by two Russian guides, Slava (below, left), with whom I already visited Ak-su and the Fann mountains (Tajikistan) in 2004, and Fiodor (below, right), who had been twice before into the Matcha region (but that was more than 20 years ago, when this country was still part of the Soviet Union). Both Slava and Fiodor truly love mountains. It is a real pleasure to hike and climb with them, and to see how much they enjoy every minutes they spend in the mountains. The logistics for this trip (transportation, permits) was arranged by Elena Tours, a company competently managed by Boris Karpov. Boris, another veteran climber from the Soviet era, also knows well the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.


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Maps and Itinerary


The first map below outlines in red the area of our trek. This area is a relatively narrow band between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. To further complicate things, it is located south of two small enclaves inside Kyrgyz territory: an Uzbek one on the east (the Sokh enclave), which is near the start of our trek, and a Tajik one on the west (the Vorukh enclave), where our trek ended. [I flew into/from Tashkent. From Tashkent, a car took us to Osh through Fergana valley (one day), where we collected our permit, and then to the trealhead (another day). We returned to Tashkent the same way.]




This more detailed map shows our foot itinerary in blue, as well as the two enclaves.




The third map below is a compressed scan of a 1:100,000 topographic map (click here for a full-resolution scan, where all passes are conveniently numbered in red). The blue line shows the itinerary on foot. The green line is the road access to the start of the trek. The dots indicate the camp sites (red: 1 night; pink: 2 nights).




The itinerary starts at the Daugman village, goes along the Kalai-Mahmud river, does a side-trip to the impressive Raigorodsky glacier, traverses Kurdaktyr pass (numbered 1.3.9 on the full-resolution scan) at 3280m to reach Kara-Kul-Katta lake, reaches Kshemysh river through the double pass Dvoynoy (1.3.6) at 4090m, follows the Kshemysh glacier to the reach the spectacular Shurovskogo pass (1.4.1) at 4300m, descends the Shurovski glacier on the other side of the pass (the Shurovski glacier is at the high end of the Djiptyk valley that we will reach a few days later), ascends and crosses Mingteke pass (1.5.5) at 4180m to reach the Mingteke glacier, crosses the easy Taksatorov pass (1.5.3) at 3500m to reach the Kara-Tur valley, does a side-trip to the interesting Kara-Tur glacier, crosses the gentle Kingdyk pass (1.5.9) at 2740m to reach the lower part of the Djiptyk river, goes up along this river, ascends the long but easy trail to Djiptyk pass (1.4.8) at 3810m, and finally descends into the Tajik Vorukh enclave.


Virtual trek with Google Earth




Click on the links below to see photos of the four sections of this trek:

1. Daugman village to Dvoynoy pass


2. Kshemysh river to Shurovski glacier

3. Mingteke pass to Kara-Tur valley

4. Djiptyk valley to Vorukh enclave







During that trip I also visited Bukhara. Here are some photos



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