Along the Nomad’s trails in North Tien-Shan

The former Soviet Central Asia republic of Kyrgyzstan has a wealth of nomadic traditions plus some of the most beautiful mountains in Central Asia: the celebrated Tian Shan, the traditional mountain homeland of the Kyrgyz and Kazakh people, who have a colorful history of nomadic wanderings. Our trek focuses on the Kyrgyz-Alatau section of the northern range of the Tien-Shan. A continuous wall of ice and rock forms the central portion of the range, crowned by Semenov-Tien-Shanski (4895m), the highest peak in the region. The trek takes us along alpine flatlands, grassy hills choked with pretty wildflowers, through forests of unique Tien-Shan blue fir trees, and close to stunning glaciers. As we hike along the deep Alamedin, and Tuyuk gorges, we’ll keep to the tracks beaten by sheep and horses that are taken to high altitude summer pastures by local Kyrgyz shepherds. On trek we’ll gain insights into the lifestyle of these local nomads who have grazed their flocks here since ancient times. Hospitable and friendly, they will welcome us to their summer huts (called yurts) and persuade us to try kumyz, the national fermented drink made of mare’s milk, and airan (a yogurt-like dairy product).

The gorges are laced by great 5000m summits whose glaciers feed numerous rivers, both large and small, with crystal clear water. We cross the range twice: via Alamedin pass (3964m) and Tuyuk Pass (4004m). The Alamedin gorge also has something special to offer: a soak in thermal springs! With the breakup of the former Soviet Union, this region is rarely visited, and we have good chances to see the diverse wildlife, including mountain turkey, mountain hen, golden eagle, mountain sheep, goat, and perhaps even a rare snow leopard. A caravan of packhorses carries all the gear (we hike with only a day pack).

Trip rating and details :

• 14 days

• 9 days (medium, intensive hike)

• maximum elevation – 4004 m

• 11 nights – camping

• 2 nights – hotels

• best time to visit – June 15 – September 20

• no climbing equipment is needed

Day 1: Arrival to Bishkek.

Day 2: Salyk River.

Day 3: Altyn-Tor River.

Day 4: Ashu-Tor. River.

Day 5: Upper reaches of Ashu-Tor River.

Day 6: Alamedin Vostochniy pass (3964 m).

Day 7: Karakol pass (3486 m).

Days 8-9: Tyuk pass (4004 m).

Day 10: Crossing over Kok-Moinok pass (2911 m). End of Trekking.

Day 11: Transfer to Boomskoe gorge (130 km). Kanar-Sai canyon.

Day 12: Rafting along Chu River.

Day 13: Transfer to Bishkek.

Day 14: Transfer to airport. Fly home.

Services :

All transfers; full board; double room accommodation in hotels and in tents during the trek; guide-interpreter; excursions in cities; visa support, registration at OVIR; horsemen with horses for carrying all trek equipment including cook staffs during the trek; group gear, etc.

Extra services :

Single supplement in hotels and in tents; extra horse during the trek; airport fee upon departure from the airport in Bishkek.

More detailed itinerary

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