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

Leg 1: From Andarak to Sarkat valley and back to Sary-Kyngoy valley (July 9-12)

image004

Homepage of the traverse | Leg 1 | Leg 2 | Leg 3 | Leg 4 | Leg 5 | Leg 6 | Leg 7

 

We started our trek a few kilometers south of Andarak, a village located south-west of Isfana at the foot of the Turkestan range, near the south-western border of Kyrgyzstan with Tajikistan. Our plan was to cross Maran pass (marked 1.10.18 on the map below), south of Andarak, to reach the valley of the Sarkat river, then to follow the Sarkat river eastward, before proceeding further toward Uram pass (1.1.59), also called Prohodnoy pass (see leg 2). However, we found the upper gorge of the Sarkat river impassable, at least without very serious rock climbing, for which we were not equipped. So, we backtracked, crossed back the mountain ridge at Sarkant pass (1.10.16). In the valley below this pass we found a car to drive us to the valley of the Sary-Kyngoy river further east. From there our goal was to reach Uram pass by another itinerary (see leg 2).

 

map-100-1-it

(Black vertical lines in the map are distant by 9.5 km.)

 

Ascending Maran pass (3260m), the first pass of the trip.

DSCN0942

 

View of the valley below the Turkestan range from Maran pass. Andarak is the dark green area in the upper middle of the photo.

DSCN0946

 

Maran pass is a smooth, easy pass. Its climb was a good way for us to both acclimatize and get used to our heavy backpacks.

DSCN0953

 

Some high peaks of the Turkestan range on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, as seen from Maran pass.

DSCN0956

 

The valley of Sarkat river (looking toward the east).

DSCN1006

 

Slava crossing Sarkat river.

DSCN0962

 

Shepherd′s hut in Sarkat valley. Next photo: me with its resident at that time, Nosirjon, a very nice fellow who will help us a lot two days later by carrying our backpacks to Sarkant pass on his horse.

DSCN0966

 

DSCN1004

 

From this hut we moved up (toward the east) along Sarkat river.

 

Side valley.

DSCN0972

 

Later we passed by two small lakes, a green and a blue one. Both have crystal clear water.

 

The green lake.

DSCN0975

 

DSCN0976

 

The blue lake.

DSCN1001

 

DSCN1002

 

Maksim navigating among the boulders above the blue lake.

DSCN0987

 

The upper valley of the Sarkat river, just before reaching the ″impassable″ gorge.

DSCN0995

 

Homepage of the traverse | Leg 1 | Leg 2 | Leg 3 | Leg 4 | Leg 5 | Leg 6 | Leg 7