Traverse of Turkestan range, South-West Kyrgyzstan (2011)


Return to my mountaineering-trekking-travel webpage


The Turkestan range lies at the remote south-western end of Kyrgyzstan, on its border with Tajikistan. It boasts a wide diversity of spectacular sceneries, including sharp peaks rising above 5000m, large glaciers, huge granite walls, green lush valleys, and deep gorges. I had made two previous trips to this range, in 2004 (Aksu peak and Karavshin areas) and 2005 (Matcha area). My goal in 2011 was to ″connect these dots″ and traverse the entire range from its western end near the village of Andarak (located a dozen kilometers south-west of the small town of Isfana) to its western end at the village of Zardaly (located on the Sokh river, south of the Uzbek Sokh enclave). I did this traverse with Maksim and Slava, two Russians who live in Tashkent. I had already traveled with Maksim in 2005 and 2010, and with both Maksim and Slava in 2008. They are terrific companions and guides, and have become good friends over the years. The logistics for this trip was organized with the help of Boris Karpov in Tashkent (Boris had helped me on all my previous trips to Central Asia) and Aksai Travel in Bishkek. All the topographic maps shown below were provided to me by Boris Karpov.


Slava, left, and Maksim, right, on Minteke glacier.



Location of the Turkestan range, in red box:



Approximate itinerary below: on foot in red, by car in blue (more detailed maps will be shown for each ″leg″ of the traverse, see links below). The distance between two vertical black lines in this map is 42.5 km. We did the traverse in 23 days. We had initially arranged two food deliveries by horses, one below Aksu peak and the other in Kshermish valley. Amazingly, both deliveries were done right on time.



The pictures of the traverse are divided below into 7 ″legs″. To see them click on the following links:


Leg 1 (July 9-12):

From Andarak to Sarkat valley

and back to Sary-Kyngoy valley 

Leg 2 (July 13-17):

From Sary-Kyngoy valley 

to Aksu valley

Leg 3 (July 18-20):

From Aksu valley

to Karasu pass









Leg 4 (July 20-22):

From Karasu pass 

to Djaupaya valley

Leg 5 (July 22-25):

From Djaupaya valley

to Shirovsky glacier

Leg 6 (July 26-28):

From Shirovsky glacier

to Kshermish valley

Leg 7 (July 29-31):

From Kshermish valley

to Kan village











Return to my mountaineering-trekking-travel webpage