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

Leg 7: From Kshemish valley to Kan village (July 29-31)

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We left Kshemish river after the second food delivery to ascend Dvoynoy pass (marked 1.3.6 on the map below, 4090m). This is a double pass that leads to Karakul Katta lake, which means ′big black′ lake. Then we crossed Kurdaktyr pass (1.3.9, 3280m) and descended into the valley of Kalay Mahmud river. We followed this river until Daugman village. We then hiked to Zardaly village after crossing Zardaly pass (1.2.19, 2850m). Our initial plan here was to continue hiking for at least a week to reach Abramov glacier further to the east. However, the chief of Korgon military camp (located near Zardaly village) did not give us permission to go further for security reasons. Apparently, he was concerned about possible infiltrators coming from the south. In fact, there had been several kidnappings in this area during the past decade (link1, link2). Slava himself had been abducted in 1999 by a group of Uzbek rebels near Abramov glacier. So, instead, we traced back our steps and went to Kan village by following the Sokh river. From Kan, we took a car to Batkent and the next day to Bishkek. Since I had a few more days to spend in Kyrgyzstan, we then decided to go to the city of Karakol and hike in the Tersey Ala-Too range (see link).

 

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

 

Landslide on the west side of Kshemish river seen while ascending Dvoynoy pass.

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Peaks above Kshemish river. Peak Kshemish Bashi is visible on the left.

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Between the two parts of Dvoynoy pass.

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Ascending the second part of Dvoynoy pass in loose thin scree. The scenery between the two parts is particularly grim.

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Eastward view from the second part of Dvoynoy pass.

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Karakul Katta lake.

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Light changes upon the ridge above Karakul Katta lake.

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Maksim and a local shepherd during the descent from Kurdaktyr pass.

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Big bonsai trees below Kurdaktyr pass.

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Raigorodsky glacier.

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Kosh above Kalay Mahmud river.

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Scenery along Kalay Mahmud river, near Daugman village.

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Gorge of the Sokh river seen from the trail across Zardaly pass.

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Beautiful Zardaly settlement nested between high cliffs.

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Sokh river, with peak Korgon (5170m) in the background, This photo was taken from the bridge separating Zardaly from the military camp.

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In the gorge of Sokh river on our way to Kan village.

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Drying apricots along the way. (Southern Kyrgyzstan has some of the best apricots one can find anywhere in the world.)

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Remains of the 19th century fortress of Kan. It was built under Khudoyar Khan, the last ruler of the Kokand Khanate. (Kokand is now a city in Fergana valley in Uzbekistan.)

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