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Pamir Mountains

Pamir Mountains

September 7th to September 28th 2008

The first group horse trek across the Pamir Mountains was lead by Domenico Mocchi for Wild Frontiers

The journey is split up as follows.

Tajikistan - Dushanbe to Khorug

                   Khorug to Ishkoshim

Afghanistan - around Ishkashem

Tajikistan - Ishkoshim to Langar

                   Ride over the Pamirs

 

For the original Flikr page please link to Pamir Mountains 2008.

 

Dushanbe to Khorug

After a delayed start due to the late arrival of Ann's flight we were taken into the town where we visited several of the main sights and then spent several hours in a park as Ann's flight was now expected at midday.

Monument in Dushanbe

 

The 'White House'

Dushanbe

Monument in Dushanbe

 

As Anne's bag did not arrive we did not start our road journey towards Khorog until 1330.  The road was mainly rough but the views were amazing.  Leaving at 1330 meant that we have to stop at Kalaikhum for the night.  Stops for lunch and dinner meant that we arrived at 2345.

Road from Dushanbe

to Kalaikhum

Road from Dushanbe

to Kalaikhum

 

 

Road from Dushanbe

to Kalaikhum

Road from Dushanbe

to Kalaikhum

Road from Dushanbe

to Kalaikhum

Road from Dushanbe

to Kalaikhum

Road from Dushanbe

to Kalaikhum

Road from Dushanbe

to Kalaikhum

The next morning we left at 0800 for Khorog.  The views were again very dramatic as we drove alongside the Pyanj River looking across at Afghanistan.  After several stops for Walnuts and Peaches we arrived at the Serena Hotel.

Before breakfast,

Kalaichum

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

 

 

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Khorog Serena Inn

 

Road from Kalaikhum

to Khorog

Khorog Serena Inn

 

 

Looking across the

Panj river from

Khorog Serena Inn

Khorog Serena Inn

 

Lunch break on

road to Khorog

On the road to Ishkashim

 

 

 

The five bedded hotel was of a very high standard overlooking the river and Afghanistan.

Khorog to Ishkashim

The next morning we drove into Khorog to the market and up to see the site for the new Central Asia University and to the museum where everyone wanted to see the Cross-bow Mouse Trap. 

Looking across at the

Botanical Gardens, Khorog

Road from Khorog

to Ishkashim

Looking down at Khorog

 

Road from Khorog

to Ishkashim

Road from Khorog

to Ishkashim

 

 

Pied wagtail

 

The Varduj valley,

Afghanistan

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

The Varduj valley,

Afghanistan

 

 

 

 

In the afternoon we continued our drive beside the Pyanj River to Ishkashim where we crossed over into Afghanistan.

Eskahem in Afghanistan

Our lodging for the following two nights was in a nice homestay in Eskashem. 

After visiting the town in the morning where we made several purchases in the market and then made a visit to the school.

Probably a Pipit, near

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

The Varduj Valley,

Ishkashem, Afghanistan

Ishkashem, Afghanistan

 

Ishkashem, Afghanistan

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

Ishkashem, Afghanistan

 

Ishkashem, Afghanistan

 

 

 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

Outside the school,

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

Crossing into Afghanistan

 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan

 

After lunch we drove up the Varduj valley to see the beautiful countryside and people.  We ventured into the poppy growing area of Qazaleh.  Here we were advised not stop and to avoid taking photos.  However as we were about to turn around we had a puncture and whilst changing the wheel were entertained by half the village!

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

European Roller,

Varduj valley

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

The Varduj Valley

 

 

 

The next morning we visited the town again while our vehicle was being repaired.  In the afternoon we drove up the Wakhan valley to see the Wakhi people bringing in the harvest before crossing the border.  We arrived at the Afghan border to learn that they had decided to close it!  After lengthy discussions we were allowed to cross to the Tajikistan border on condition that our passports after being stamped by the Tajikistan authorities were held in Afghanistan until they could be stamped the next day!  Hence we crossed into Tajikistan the day before we left Afghanistan.

Start of the Wakhan valley

 

The Wakhi people in the

Wakhan valley.

The Wakhi people in the

Wakhan valley.

The Wakhi people in the

Wakhan valley.

The Wakhi people in the

Wakhan valley.

The Wakhi people in the

Wakhan valley.

Start of the Wakhan valley

 

The Wakhi people in the

Wakhan valley.

Harvesting

 

Panz river valley

 

Wakhi lady.

 

The Wakhi people in the

Wakhan valley.

The Drive to Langar

After a night in Ishkashim we visited the school and museum while we waited for our passports to be returned.

After lunch we finally started our drive alongside the Pyanj River to Langar.

The views were again amazing and we stopped firstly at the ruined 12th century Yamchun Fort, a Zaroaskra fort, for some dramatic photos before making our way a little further up the hill to the hot springs of Babi Fatima.

The road from Ishkashim to

Langar, Tajikistan

The road from Ishkashim to

Langar, Tajikistan

On the road from

Ishkashim

View from Yamchun Fort

on road between

Iskoshim and Langar

View from Yamchun Fort

on road between

Iskoshim and Langar

View from Yamchun Fort

on road between

Iskoshim and Langar

View from Yamchun Fort

on road between

Iskoshim and Langar

View from Yamchun Fort

on road between

Iskoshim and Langar

View from Yamchun Fort

on road between

Iskoshim and Langar

View from Yamchun Fort

on road between

Iskoshim and Langar

Unidentified Wader

 

View from Yamchun Fort

on road between

Iskoshim and Langar

Pied Wagtail

 

Local near Langar

 

Yellow Wagtail

 

Our first day of riding from Langar

 

Our transport

 

Road from Langar

 

 

 

Road from Langar beside

the Pamir River

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

Road from Langar

 

 

 

 

 

View from camp

beside the Pamir River

 

 

 

 

Our camp

 

From camp

 

Camp

 

 

 

We camped beside the river overlooking a Kygyz village situated high up on the hillside in Afghanistan across the river.

9 hours riding

Second day of riding to Khargush

The day started with us continuing alongside the river where we encountered some Bactrian Camels.  Later we climbed up to the Khargush check point (3800m) and lunched near the pass at 4344m. 

On the way to the

Khargush check point

On the way to the

Khargush check point

On the way to the

Khargush check point

Bactrian Camels on the way

to the check point

On the way to the

Khargush check point

Bactrian Camels on the way

to the check point

On the way to the

Khargush check point

Near the Pass above

Khargush Check point

On the way to the

Khargush check point

43kms riding

Third day of riding to Alichur Valley

After a very cold night due to the altitude we left camp at 0915 and rode past several salt lakes and passing yurts and Yaks before finally crossing the river in the pitch dark to arrive at 1915.  Some of the group slept in a Yurt and some in tents.

Ready to go to

Alichur valley

Between Khargush and

Alichur valley

Between Khargush and

Alichur valley

Salt lake between Khargush

and Alichur valley

Salt lake between Khargush

and Alichur valley

Between Khargush and

Alichur valley

Between Khargush and

Alichur valley

The Alichur valley

 

The Alichur valley

 

Between Khargush and

Alichur valley

Between Khargush and

Alichur valley

Between Khargush and

Alichur valley

Between Khargush and

Alichur valley

 

 

 

 

55kms  in 10 hours

Fourth day of riding to the valley leading up to the Bosteri Pass

After breakfast we saw how our hosts wove wool rugs. 

Yurt, Alichur valley,

 

Alichur valley

 

Alichur valley

 

Yak, Alichur valley

 

Alichur valley

 

Alichur valley

 

Yaks, Alichur valley

 

Northern Raven,

Alichur valley

Ducks, Alichur valley

 

Felt rug making,

Alichur valley

Yak dung drying for fuel

 

Alichur valley

 

Weaving rugs Alichur valley

 

Caroline and Eve in Yurt

 

Rob trying his hand

 

We rode for a good distance up the Alichur valley a lot of the time being on or just beside the road.  Then we turn off up a valley to camp.  Another cold night (4050m)with a lot of ice on the stream in the morning. 

The valley to Bosteri Pass

 

The valley to Bosteri Pass

 

The valley to Bosteri Pass

 

The valley to Bosteri Pass

 

The valley to Bosteri Pass

 

 

 

36kms in 7 hours

Fifth day of riding over the Bosteri Pass (4575m)

We set off up the valley with our first cloudy day.  The ride was slow as we climbed up to the pass where it was cold and windy.  From the top the north side of the pass was scree and we needed to go slowly but the horses were great as always.  The valley was very picturesque as the leaves of the willow bushes further down were turning yellow.  Our way at one point passed through a narrow canyon.  Down in the valley we had to cross the Aksu River before we could reach the camp.  A really great day of riding!

Riding to the Bosteri Pass

 

Riding to the Bosteri Pass

 

Riding to the Bosteri Pass

 

Riding to the Bosteri Pass

 

Riding to the Bosteri Pass

 

Rob riding up to the

Bosteri Pass

Riding to the Bosteri Pass

 

The Bosteri Pass

 

The Bosteri Pass

 

Riding down

 

 

 

Riding down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest stop

 

Riding down

 

Riding down

 

Riding down

 

Walking down

 

Riding down

 

 

 

Nearly there

 

 

 

6 km camping at 3005m

Rest day for the horses

To-day we had a late breakfast before driving up the valley to the Eli Su hot springs for a welcome bath and picnic.  A lazy afternoon spent reading and writing.

The Madiyan Valley

 

Eli Su hot springs

 

The Madiyan Valley

 

Eli Su hot springs

 

Picnic at Eli Su

 

Eli Su hot springs

 

Sixth day of riding to Čečekty near Murgab

The ride to-day was mostly on the road including a dash through Murgab so that we didn't get stopped by the police for a passport check.  We camped outside the village of Čečety once one of four sites used by the Russian Atomic bomb research.

Riding to Murgab

 

Riding to Murgab

 

Riding to Murgab

 

Riding to Murgab

 

Near Murgab

 

I'm tired

 

Near Murgab

 

Riding just north of Murgab

 

 

 

45 kms in 8 hours

Seventh day of riding north beside the Chinese border.

Another day of riding beside the road with the border fence on our right.  On our ride we disturbed a hare which was then chased by a Chough and later a Raven but it found a hiding place. We camped at 4050m for another very cold night about 50m from the Chinese border fence. The grooms said it was -8°C during the night.

Cecekty, near Murgab

 

Setting off from Cecekty,

near Murgab

Cecekty, near Murgab

 

Setting off from Cecekty,

near Murgab

Riding north of Murgab

 

Riding north of Murgab

 

37 km in 7 hours

Eighth day of riding over the Ak-Baital Pass.

To-days ride was on the road as we climbed up to the Ak-Baital or White Horse Pass at 4655m.  The views were beautiful.  Once over the pass we soon transferred to the jeeps at 1430 so that we could stay at Karakul (Black Lake).  The grooms brought the horses arriving at Karakul after spending two more nights beside the road.

Cecekty camp, near Murgab

 

Cecekty, near Murgab

 

Cecekty camp, near Murgab

 

The Chinese Border

 

South of the Ak Baital Pass

 

Camping next to the

Chinese border

South of the Ak Baital Pass

 

South of the Ak Baital Pass

 

South of the Ak Baital Pass

 

The Ak Baital Pass

 

The Ak Baital Pass

 

The Ak Baital Pass

 

The Ak Baital Pass

 

The Ak Baital Pass

 

At the Ak Baital Pass

 

The Ak Baital Pass

 

Just north of Ak Baital Pass

 

Just north of Ak Baital Pass

 

Where we had to leave

our horses

Just north of Ak Baital Pass

 

Just north of Ak Baital Pass

 

About 22 kms  in 4½ hours

Day in Karakul

Karakul Lake was created by a meteor about ten million years ago.  The lake is lifeless and salty with ice and snow covering it until late May.  After a late breakfast we drove to walk around a Solar Calendar.  Then we drove around the lake and up to a view point overlooking the lake.  From Karakul we had good views of Zartash Peak and North Muzkol Peak.

Kara Kul, Tajikistan

 

Kara Kul, Tajikistan

 

Kara Kul, Tajikistan

 

Mosque at Karakul,

 

Kara Kul, Tajikistan

 

Plant at Kara Kul

 

Kara Kul, Tajikistan

 

Kara Kul, Tajikistan

 

Kara Kul, Tajikistan

 

Before breakfast at

Kara Kul

Kara Kul lake, Tajikistan

 

Plant at Kara Kul

 

Kara Kul lake, Tajikistan

 

Plant at Kara Kul Lake

 

Solar Calendar at

Kara Kul Lake

Kara Kul Lake

 

Kara Kul Lake

 

Kara Kul Lake

 

Rob in the wind

at Kara Kul Lake

Serina and Jonathan,

Kara Kul Lake

Kara Kul Lake

 

 

Crossing the border into Kyrgyzstan and on to Osh

We left Karakul at 0930 to drive to the Tajikistan border.  After waiting for the horses to arrive we crossed the border and drove over the Kyzyl-Art Pass (4282m).  At the Kyrgyzstan border, 20 kms further along the road, we again had to wait for the horses before driving down into the valley at Sary Tash where we had a late lunch.  In Sary Tash we eventually managed to get fuel (there was no electricity for the pumps) and continue on our way to Osh where we arrived at 2200 hours. 

Horses setting off from

Kara Kul Lake for

the border

Kara Kul Lake

 

Road to the Tajikistan

border

Waiting at the

Tajikistan Border

Horses waiting at the

Kyrgyzstan border

Horses at the

Tajikistan border

Pamir range including

Pik Lenin from our lunch

spot near Sary-Tash

From road to

Kyrgyzstan border

Border between Tajikistan

and Kyrgyzstan

From road to

Kyrgyzstan border

From road to

Kyrgyzstan border

From road to

Kyrgyzstan border

From road to

Kyrgyzstan border

From road to

Kyrgyzstan border

From road to

Kyrgyzstan border

Day in Osh

In the morning we walked around the Osh Bazaar before having lunch.  At 1600 hours we left for the airport and our flight to Bishkek.

Osh market

 

Rob, Osh market

 

Osh market

 

Day in Bishkek

A day of shopping and sightseeing with Nageisa, Domenico's wife. 

Photos of Bishkek may be found on Central Asia when I visited Bishkek previously.

Flight home

After a power cut during our farewell meal the night before we were up at 0300 hours for our taxis to the airport and flights to London via Istanbul.

Bird Photos

Tajikistan

Northern Raven,

Alichur valley, Tajikistan

Himalayan griffin

 

Ducks, Alichur valley,

Tajikistan

Afghanistan

Unidentified, Ishkashim,

Afghanistan

Yellow Wagtail, Ishkashim,

Afghanistan

Unidentified, Ishkashim,

Afghanistan

White-capped water

Redstart, Ishkashim,

Afghanistan

European Roller,

Varduj valley, Afghanistan

European Roller,

Varduj valley, Afghanistan

Bird List

Paradise Flycatcher

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Yellow Wagtail

Pied Wagtail

Tree Sparrow

Northern Wheatears

Barn Swallows

Red-billed Chough

Northern Raven

White-capped Water Redstart

European Roller

Kestrel

Himalayan Griffin

Hoopoe

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