Across the Shakhdara range: From Vrang to Jelondy
This 10-day trek starts in Vrang, a village in the Wakhan corridor that separates the Pamir (Tajikistan) from the Hindu-Kush (Afghanistan). It crosses the Shakhdara range at the Vrang Pass (5067m). It ends in Jelondy, a small village along the so-called Pamir Highway connecting Khorog to Murghab in the Eastern Pamir. Jelondy is locally famous for its hot spring. The stunning Karl Marx and Engels peaks are highlights of this trek.
The Buddhist stupa above Vrang village, with the Panj river in the background and Afghanistan across the river
Views of the gorge of the Vnukut river above Vrang
Looking back toward peaks of the Hindu-Kush and Karakoram mountains
The upper valley of the Vnukut river: mostly rocks, and a few flowers
The glacier at the top of the Vnukut valley (where it bends toward the East) with some peaks (Ostraya, 5822m, and Ovalnaya, 5780m) of the Shakhdara range in the background
Our camp at 4560m below Vrang pass
The climb to Vrang pass is easy, but steep and mostly on loose scree
Descent from Vrang pass. This side faces North, so there is much more snow.
Looking back at Vrang pass (center)
View of the Shakhdara range between Vrang pass and Karl Marx peak (none of them visible here), while climbing above Vrang lakes
View of 6723m Karl Marx peak (center) and 6507m Engels peak (left) from a sharp ridge above Hatsak river
Hatsak river viewed from the same ridge
View of the Shugnan range (and perhaps some peaks of the Rushan range) in the background
Peak Engels from the valley of Redzhig river
Inside a shepherd house near the junction of Hatsak and Redzhig rivers. We ate wonderful yogurt there.
The small village of Jawshangoz on the Shakhdara river. We spent a night there.
Above Jawshangoz village with the Shakdara range in the far background
Typical syrt terrain above Turumtajkul lake
Beautiful Turumtajkul lake
Descent toward Jelondy village
Jelondy village in the valley of Gunt river
Jelondy has an unexpectedly decent hotel (a former Soviet sanatorium) with an inside swimming pool filled from the hot springs. The hotel lobby is equipped with this impressive sound machine.