Across the Shakhdara range: From Vrang to Jelondy

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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.

 

Approximate itinerary

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Detailed itinerary (each square is 2x2km). Click map1, map2, map3, and map4 to get the four 100K topographic maps covering this area at full-resolution.

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The Buddhist stupa above Vrang village, with the Panj river in the background and Afghanistan across the river

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Views of the gorge of the Vnukut river above Vrang

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Looking back toward peaks of the Hindu-Kush and Karakoram mountains

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The upper valley of the Vnukut river: mostly rocks, and a few flowers

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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

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Our camp at 4560m below Vrang pass

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The climb to Vrang pass is easy, but steep and mostly on loose scree

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Vrang pass

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Descent from Vrang pass. This side faces North, so there is much more snow.

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Looking back at Vrang pass (center)

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Vrang lakes

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View of the Shakhdara range between Vrang pass and Karl Marx peak (none of them visible here), while climbing above Vrang lakes

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View of 6723m Karl Marx peak (center) and 6507m Engels peak (left) from a sharp ridge above Hatsak river

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Hatsak river viewed from the same ridge

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View of the Shugnan range (and perhaps some peaks of the Rushan range) in the background

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Peak Engels from the valley of Redzhig river

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Inside a shepherd house near the junction of Hatsak and Redzhig rivers. We ate wonderful yogurt there.

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The small village of Jawshangoz on the Shakhdara river. We spent a night there.

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Above Jawshangoz village with the Shakdara range in the far background

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Typical syrt terrain above Turumtajkul lake

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Beautiful Turumtajkul lake

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Descent toward Jelondy village

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Jelondy village in the valley of Gunt river

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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.

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