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

Leg 6: From Shirovsky glacier to Kshemish valley (July 26-28)


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We hiked up Shirovsky glacier to Shurovskogo pass (marked 1.4.1 in the map below, 4300m). I had crossed this pass in the opposite direction in 2005. But there was much more snow at that time. While we did not have to rope on Shirovsky glacier in 2005, crevasses forced us to rope in 2011. In addition, the route that we used in 2005 to ascend the pass was covered by compact snow at that time, but there was no more snow on this route in 2011, just rotten rocks. This led us to cross the pass at a slightly higher point and follow a steep mixed snow-rock slope for the descent (see below). We then reached the Kshemish glacier and later hiked the Kshemish river down to the place where we had our second delivery of food.


Topographic map for leg 6. Click here to see the map at better resolution. (Black vertical lines in the map are distant by 9.5 km.)



Lower part of the Shirovsky glacier.





Further up along the glacier.



Slava taking a rest on the upper section of the Shirovsky glacier.


Looking at the Shirovsky glacier from above. Our ascent route was on the left-hand side of the glacier on this photo.


Reaching Shurovskogo pass.


At Shurovskogo pass.



Kshemish glacier as seen from Shurovskogo pass.


View over our descent route: a mix bag of loose rocks and rotten snow.


Maksim and Slava getting ready for the descent.


Slava leading the traverse of a steep patch of rotten snow.


Maksim climbing down.


Slava on another section of the descent.


Grazing sunlight on the snow during the descent.


Reaching the base of the pass.


Left: looking back at Shurovskogo pass. Right: our route from the pass.


The following picture is a photo that I took in 2005. Thanks to a much better snow coverage at that time, we had followed an ascent route leading to a lower point of the pass.



Our camp on the moraine above the Kshemish glacier and below Shurovskogo pass. We dubbed this camp the ″fakir″ camp for its obvious lack of comfort.


View toward the east from our camp at sunset.


Peak Kshemish Bashi (5290m) seen at sunset (first photo below) and in the morning (second photo) from our campsite.



Maksim and Slava reaching the lower part of the Kshemish glacier below our campsite.



View of Kshemish valley from below the moraine.


Bridge over the Kshemish river.


Lines of sheep and goats along the Kshemish river, slightly above the place where we had our second food delivery.


The Kshemish river seen from the place where we left it to ascend Dvoynoy pass (marked 1.3.6 on the map above). We had set up a camp there. The photo was taken in the evening and is aimed toward the north.


View (toward the south) of the Kshemish river on the next morning, as we were leaving our camp.



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