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August 2010. Ala-Kul Lake - from Karakol to Altyn Arashan

August 2010. Ala-Kul Lake - from Karakol to Altyn Arashan

The trekking to Ala-Kul lake was planned a few years ago. Initially Azat, my classmate, asked me to organize the Ala-Kul Lake visiting in 2008. But we didn’t realize this plan because of some reasons – once that was awful weather during weeks, then we had no the group participants gathered together. And at last in this February 2010 when I visited Karakol ski base and met Azat and Ainura we decided to do this trekking in August 2010.

In 17 of August 2010 we planned to have the main meeting to decide about trekking itinerary and see how many people go with us. It’s appeared that instead of us 3 we got group of 9 (nine) people. That was great that our idea interested other guys. Mostly that was because we announced our trekking to Ala-Kul Lake at out classmates’ meeting before.

So the members of the group were:

  1. Azat (Bishkek) – classmate, the one who offered idea of trekking
  2. Ainura (Karakol) – classmate, the most beautiful and kind guide of Kyrgyzstan
  3. Alina (Saint-Petersburg) – pupil of 9th form, niece of Askha
  4. Askhat (Karakol) – classmate, and simply my best frien
  5. Volodya (Karakol) – colleague (Kumtor) of Askha
  6. Janyl (Bishkek) – classmate, she is a friend of Ainur
  7. Larisa (New Urengoi) – classmate, she is resident of north currentl
  8. Lyuba (Novosibirsk) – my daughter, the youngest trekking member (she is nine)
  9. Sergey (Novosibisk) – it's just me

On 17th of August 2010 we meet each other in the center of Karakol, decided what will be our itinerary, what will we eat each day and when to start our trekking. We also rent some equipment some members of group needed and found a driver with good 4WD van to bring us as far to Karakol valley as we need for the first day. So on 18th of August we were ready and after the tasteful lunch in Karakol’s café we started our journey.

The itinerary was:

Day 1. Transfer by 4WD van from Karakol to Karakol valley (20km). Hiking from bridge over Karakol river to refuge “Sirota” (2800m). Overnight.

Day 2. Trekking from refuge “Sirota” (2800m) up to Ala-Kul Lake (3532m). Lunch. Over the pass Ala-Kul (3800m) down to first water and good place for tents. Overnight.

Day 3. Down to Altyn Arashan resort (2300m). Hot springs. Overnight.

Day 4. From Altyn Arashan resort to Ak-Suu resort over the pass Ortok. Back to Karakol.

This plan and itinerary was realized very well. The weather was amazingly good during the whole trekking, in spite of heavy rainfall in the first (while we were driving in van) and last day (when we were driving back to Karakol).

Thanks to all members of group for their endurance and patience in difficult moments. Especially we are glad Lyuba was very strong for her age, that was a first time when she is in such a mountains and such an altitude without any experience before. Also great thanks and many kisses to our beautiful guide Ainura – she is the most wonderful and kind mountain girl I seen before (I can repeat it many times).

Please find the most interesting pictures of our trekking below. Each photograph is followed by our comments and description. Use navigation links under the each photo and you will see how we spent days of our trekking 2010: Karakol (1800m)Karakol valley (2000m)refuge “Sirota” (2800m)Ala-Kul Lake (3532m)Ala-Kul pass (3800m)Altyn Arashan resort (2300m)Ortok pass (2300m)Ak-Suu resort (1900m)Karakol (1800m).

If you have any comments, questions use my email to contact me. Sergey Shetinin.


The map of our four-days trekking from Karakol via gorge Karakol to Ala-Kul Lake then trough Ala-Kul pass to Altyn-Arashan resort and then via Ak-Suu resort back to Karakol.
Red is our way by van.
Blue is our way hiking.
Overnights are marked with 1, 2, 3.
Day 1. Karakol town - Karakol valley - refuge "Sirota"
Day 2. Refuge "Sirota" - Ala-Kul Lake - pass Ala-Kul - overnight after the pass
Day 3. From overnight place to Altyn Arashan resort
Day 4. From Altyn Arashan to Ak-Suu resort via Ortok pass and then back to Karakol
The itinerary map of Karakol - Ala-Kul Lake - Altyn-Arashan - Ak-Suu trekking
August 18, 2010. After lunch in Karakol's cafe we dropped our rucksacks in the van and took our seats and started our drive to Karakol valley, 20 km far from the town.
At photo (left to right): Askhat, Lyuba, Alina, Volodya
Karakol after lunch - sitting in van.
The weather is chaged while we were driving in the van. From sunny weather we got heavy rain, so we even thought that the first overnight will be under the first tree near the road when van is stopped. But at the end of road we decided to start our hiking to refuge "Sirota" because clouds became lighter and rain became weak.
At photo: Lyuba, Larisa, Vova, Askhat, Janyl, Azat
Karakol Valley. The bridge over Karakol river.
Azat is crossing river Karakol by bridge. This bridge is wider than I saw before, when it was 2-3 logs tied together. Our driver Kolia said "Good Luck" and moved down to Karakol with his 4wd van (you can see him at photo behind Azat)
Azat crossing the bridge and driver goes down to Karakol
The weather was changing when we were hiking up to refuge "Sirota". Rain is almost stopped and clouds became lighter. Everyone was glad to see these changes and was smiling.
Hiking up to refuge "Sirota". Weather becomes better
We reached the good place for the first stop and relaxing - that was a greeny meadow and flat stone surrounded by forest. Sun was already here. We could see the highest point for today. On the photo it is a big stone on the slope just above and left of the forest.
Up to "Sirota". The first stop on the way. Sun is coming.
The way to "Sirota" refuge goes via stones. At photo: Lyuba is feeling well after 1.5 hours of hiking up.
The trail to "Sirota" in the stones
The trail goes via some strange trees.
The trail to "Sirota" in the trees
The trail goes via jungles of juniper bush.
The trail to "Sirota" in the juniper
After hiking through stones, bushes, trees you reach the lovely place where you see forest, river with crystal water and small lake. The ideal place for the camping - refuge "Sirota". Oasis in wild area.
Oasis with forest. Refuge "Sirota"
The wooden hut of this place. Refuge "Sirota" (means "orphan") is famous with this building. That was built a few years ago by Serebrennikov Valery - known man in Karakol town and this area.
Wooden hut of refuge 'Sirota"
We set up our tents around hut of refuge "Sirota". The weather was already sunny and evening was lovely.
Our first camping. "Sirota" 2800m
The boys of the team - Azat, Volodya, Sergey, Askhat.
Brave guys - Azat, Volodya, Sergey and Askhat
Our beatiful girls of Ala-Kul trekking: Alina, Janyl and Ainura, Larisa and Lyuba (the youngest trekker in our group)
Girls of the trekking: Alina, Janyl and Ainura, Larisa and Lyuba
The dinner was ready when sun was already under the horizon line. We had candles so that was a kind of romantic evening.
Dinner with candles at first overnight.
The morning met us with the sun and warm weather. We had a tasteful breakfast and everyone was glad to continue our trekking to Ala-Kul Lake. At the photo you can see the smiling faces of all members of our friendly group that had overnight at refuge "Sirota".
Breakfast. Morning on the refuge "Sirota"
After the breakfast we went further up to Ala-Kul Lake. The forest of refuge Sirota ended very soon and we found trail in stones and along the river flowing from Ala-Kul Lake.
From refuge Sirota further up
Going higher and higher we saw the place called refuge Sirota in new look. From this point it is really looking like oasis between stones and rocks. Wonderful place. At the other side of canyon we could see Ayutr peak.
Look down from the trail
On the way to Ala-Kul Lake. Rocks and stones are more wild.
The way to Ala-Kul lake along the river
Janyl and Ainura are helping Lyuba to climb a small morain wall near the waterfall from Ala-kul Lake.
Girls are climbing on the small wall.
The wonderful waterfall of Ala-Kul Lake. the ideal place for photo sessions.
Waterfall from Ala-Kul Lake
On the way to Ala-Kul Lake, near waterfall we met a winter children - small glaciars and snow.
Small glaciears near Ala-Kul Lake
Climbing higher in rocks we heard the happy crying of Volodya about the Lake. Coming closer we told him that his joy was a little bit in advance. The real lake should be bigger.
False Ala-Kul and Volodya
We reached Ala-Kul Lake after 2 hours from our start from refuge "Sirota". For this time we climbed from 2800m up to 3532m. The Lake met us with great weather and beautiful color of water. Lyuba was really happy to reach this place and photo session began immediately.
Lake Ala-Kul. Lyuba at altitude 3532m.
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