Visokiy Alay (Summer 2008)

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This trek starts about 20km south-east of the town of Khajdarkan and ends about 10km east of Khajdarkan. The itinerary is shown in red line in the map below. (For full-resolution topographic maps covering the trek area click: 100K-Visokiy-Alay-1 and 100K-Visokiy-Alay-2.) Our initial plan was to cross Allaudin pass and return through other passes. However, hard ice on Allaudin pass and lack of proper equipment led us to modify our itinerary. Instead, we crossed Yachiy pass and visited the valleys of Allaudin, Kora-Kazik, and Aksuu rivers, as well as Gadjir canyon. The last east-west section of the trail was along a less interesting dust road.

 

 

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We initially spent a couple of days in Osh to buy food and organize transportation for the trek. These are some photos from Osh:

- In the colorful market.

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- Woman pushing a heavy load.

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- In a cafe-restaurant.

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- Small street shop.

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- Typical apartment building dating back to Soviet time.

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On our way to Khajdarkan and the start of the trek, we drove through the industrial town of Kyzyl-Kija:

 

- Old plant.

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- Beauty salon.

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Start the trek south of Khajdarkan, at the end of the road visible on the right of the valley‛s flat bottom.

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A small kosh partially set in a cave, near the start of the trek.

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On our way to Kumbel pass.

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Views from Kumbel pass (3958m). First photo: climbing side. Second photo: descent side.

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Looking back at Kumbel pass after the descent.

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Valley of Eki-Daban river below Kumbel pass.

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Glaciated peak in the clouds seen from the Eki-Daban valley.

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Vyacheslav crossing the Eki-Daban river on a late afternoon.

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We set up a camp in the Eki-Daban valley near a small shepherd house (visible at the bottom-left corner of the photo below) on our way toward Alaudin pass.

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Horns of a mountain goat mounted on a pole marking a graveyard near our camp. It is a rather frequent sight in Central Asia, where Muslim rites remain influenced with older beliefs. Horns on graves or cemeteries are intended to fight off bad spirits.

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The pristine water of Eki-Daban river in the morning.

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Our next camp, much higher up in the valley below Allaudin pass.

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Rock formation above our camp at sunset.

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Successive views during our ascent toward Allaudin pass.

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View of Allaudin pass (4300m). The last slope below the pass is not very steep, but it was still covered by blue ice late in the day. With no appropriate gear it would have been unsafe to cross the pass. So, we decided to retrace our path back along the Eki-Daban river and, instead, switch to the next valley on the east (the valley of the Allaudin river) by crossing Yachiy pass.

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Snow/ice-free Yachiy (which means ″Yack″) pass (4107m) between the valleys of Eki-Daban and Allaudin rivers.

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5077m peak viewed from Yachiy pass.

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The same 5077m peak viewed a few days later from the upper Kora-Kazik valley.

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5005m peak viewed from Yachiy pass over the Allaudin and Kora-Kazik valleys.

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After descending from Yachiy pass we hiked up the upper portion of the Allaudin valley (south of Yachiy pass).

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We then hiked back down the valley to reach the Kora-Kazik river. Horses in the lower Allaudin valley.

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The Allaudin valley just before reaching the Kora-Kazik river.

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Vyacheslav crossing the Kora-Kazik river on a narrow slippery bridge, with Maxim watching.

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Successive views while hiking up along the Kora-Kazik valley.

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Our camp in the upper Kora-Kazik valley.

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Further up on the next morning toward Kora-Kazik pass. Remains of former (Soviet-time) mining operations above 4000m.

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Views from locations near Kora-Kazik pass.

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We retraced our path down along the Kora-Kazik river, back to its intersection with the Allaudin river, where the two rivers merge to form the Aksuu river. Successive views of the valley of the Aksuu river.

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Mountain cherries with dragonfly.

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In the Gadjir canyon, a side-canyon of the Aksuu valley.

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In a smaller side-canyon branching up from Gadjir canyon.

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Along the lower portion of the Aksuu valley.

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Last sunset at the end of the trek.

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