Tuesday, June 7, 2011

TAJIKISTAN - Pamir Plateau

Kyzyl Art pass to Murghab
May 19-22
Elevation gain: 1150m
Sealed:  151kms   Gravel: 45kms
Odometer: 2633m

At last, the Pamirs! A dramatic entry into Tajikistan and the Pamirs in a snowstorm, headwinds across the desert high plateau, the azure waters of Karakul lake and the highest pass on the route.

My route through the Pamirs. The dotted line is my proposed route in the Western Pamirs from Khorog to Karakul via the Bartang valley. (Click on map to enlarge)

Over the Kyzyl Art pass (Kyrgyz/Tajik border) in a snowstorm. 20km below the pass I was desperate for a campsite but all very exposed to the howling wind and little water about a parched landscape. Late in the day found a grassy bank for the tent and some dirty water from a pond.

My campsite in the morning after snow had blanketed the Pamir plateau overnight.

Footprints and tyre tracks leading from my camp back to the Pamir Highway.

Back on the M41, the Pamir Highway

Karakul lake, at 3900m with the Pamir Alay range in the background

A scene reminiscent of the Tibetan plateau - yaks, alpine grasslands, salty lake and snow-capped mountains.

I stayed at the small village Karakul, by the lake. The bush teresken is drying on the roof. Used as fuel, much of this vegetation has been exploited heavily and is now in short supply. Animal dung is also used, especially in the remoter areas.
A donkey leading the flock home.
Homestays are dotted all around the Pamirs. This is my room in a Karakul home - $10 a night with 3 meals.
Very cosy and warm - with wall-on-wall carpet.

Climbing up to Ak Baital pass at 4655m, the highest pass on the Pamir Highway

At Ak Baital pass 4655m, with the bandito mask to block the cold wind and stinging dust.

Just below the pass I met Sebastian, a German cyclist heading east. As it was late in the day we decided to camp in the same spot and share stories and information about the roads ahead.
Our campsite below Ak Baital pass

1 comment:

  1. the day we met...


    G + W