Kyrgyzstan (Summer 2008): Visokiy Alay and Western Kokshaal-Too

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In the summer of 2008, I did two treks in Kyrgyzstan: one in the Visokiy Alay region of the Pamiro Alay range that lies on the Southern border of Kyrgyzstan with Tajikistan and the other in the Western Kokshaal-Too range located in a rather remote area of Kyrgyzstan on the border with China.

 

Trek in Visokiy Alay

 

Trek in Western Kokshaal-Too

 

Visokiy Alay (red box in map below) is part of the long Pamiro Alay range. It is located in a complex political area, between Uzbekistan to the North and Tajikistan to the South. Moreover, there are several Uzbek and Tajik enclaves inside Kyrgyz territory. Visokiy Alay is just south of an Uzbek enclave.

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The Western Kokshaal-Too is a mountain range (red box in map below) south of Lake Issyk-Kul, on the boundary with China (Xinjiang). Its access is rather difficult. We eventually reached it from Naryn. Apparently, Kyrgyzstan has recently transferred a small portion of its territory to China, and the border with China has changed.

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On this trip I was accompanied by two great Russian/Uzbek guides, Maksim, with whom I already visited the Kichi Alay region of the Pamiro Alay range in 2004, and Vyacheslav, who had been twice before into the Visokiy Alay before. The logistics for this trip (transportation, permits) was arranged by Boris Karpov, who knows well the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Boris had already arranged my previous trekking trips in Central Asia in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

 

From right to left: Maksim, Vyacheslav, and me

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A few of the many flowers in the Kyrgyz mountains

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Monument to Kyrgyz ballet dancer Bibisara Beishenaliyeva in Bishkek

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