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July 2007. Kirgizia (Kyrgyzstan). Trekking in Karakol valley.

July 2007. Kirgizia (Kyrgyzstan). Trekking in Karakol valley.

Starting from 2006 we were gathering for the trip to Kirgizia (Kyrgyzstan) for trying to climb at some beautiful summits of Karakol Valley (Tien-Shan) near Issyk-Kul Lake.

Initially this idea appeared in the mind of Quentin, the crazy Belgium guy, who decided to take a bike trip over the huge distance starting from Aral Sea in Kazakhstan to Tibet in China crossing the wild mountains of Kyrgyzstan on the way.

He contacted me (because he is a friend of my good friends with whom we had an unforgettable trip to Altai in Siberia in 2004) and I suggested him a few variants for the routes in Karakol, Ak-Suu and Djety-Oguz valleys. Quentin also invited three friends of him to join to this adventure.

In 6th of July everybody was in Karakol. Quentin arrived by bike, his friends had a flight from Brussels to Bishkek via Moscow and I had a train from Novosibirsk to Almaty and then taxi to Karakol. We had a first meeting at the base of Turkestan Company where guys were staying for the days when they were off the mountains.

The full list of our group was:
1. Quentin Moreau - BE
2. Gregoire de Hemptinne - BE
3. Erwin Frets - BE
4. Valerie Dupont - BE
5. Christine - FR (this girl joined us after Quentin met her in Bishkek)

6. Sergey (me) - RU

After we bought all necessary food for the trekking we started our way to Karakol valley area in 8th of July. Our trekking lasted seven days and we spent this week with great pleasure in spite of the cloudy, rainy and snowy weather for the most of the days. "Thanks" to this weather we couldn't reach our summits (Prjevalsky Peak 4271m and Djigit Peak 5173m), but we have got a lot of positive emotions, wonderful views of surrounding mountains and pleasant evening-morning friendly chats around the campfire with tea and coffee.

There are pictures from this trekking below. Every photo should have the comprehensible comments so you can feel that situation it was taken. We've visited the following places in Karakol valley: "Sirota" refuge (2800m), Terimtor or Terim-Tor pass (4000m), Uyuntor or Uu-Tor valley, Karakol glacier. The summits which unfortunately we could only observe: peaks Przhevalsky, Ayu-Tor, 30 years of L.Y.C.L.S.U. (means Leninist Young Communist League of the Soviet Union), Djigit, peak Karakol 5216m(the highest point of Terskey Ala-Too range).


Left to right: Erwin, Greg, Valerie, Quentin, Christine.
Basecamp of Turkestan company, first meeting.
The group members.
Going back from the market we met the old woman with baby carriage full of flowers on the Lenina street of Karakol. The guys surrounded woman trying to talk with her and take some photographs.
Old woman with flowers.
We hire a 4wd car for the first day to economy our time and not walk long distance in the beginning of the route. The road was dangerous because of the bad weather but we were safe thanks to driver skills and good car potential. Once we had a stop to switch on the second pair of weels for 4wd full drive.
Driving in Karakol valley.
We reached the last point where from we should go up through the forest to refuge called "Sirota" at altitude 2800 above the sea level. That was a rainy day and we were obliged to wear all our waterproof clothes and cover our backpacks with similar tippets.
Last point for the car.
Valerie and Erwin are crossing the bridge. Bridge's logs were slippery and there was some risk, but all was fine and nobody swam in the roaring river.
Crossing Karakol river.
My turn to cross the river. The logs were slippery indeed.
I'm crossing the river.
Quentin and Greg are crossing the bridge.
Quentin and Greg on the bridge.
All the way we were under the rain. All stones, trees and rocks were wet, trail was full of mud. But we knew that in one hour we should reach the refuge "Sirota" where we can have hot dinner and campfire.
Rocky trail to the camp.
Crossing the forest, high grass and bushes on the way up to "Sirota" refuge I became to be wet - same as my backpack in spite of all was covered with waterproof clothes. But being a real kyrgyz batir (batyr - hero) I wasn't care about this and continued our climbing.
I'm almost wet everywhere. Sergey-batir.
The first camp we set at the place wich is called "Sirota". There is a small wooden hut there which was good for the weather we had that day. We set a campfire and cooked a hot dinner and tea. Altitude here is about 2800 above the sea level.
Refuge "Sirota" hut
My tent was set under the big fir-tree at "Sirota" place. This tent was bought in 2004 and I have no any bad comments about this kind of tents. All was reliable and qualitative these years.
My tent 'Normal'
We set up our tents, started a fire and boiled a wather for tea and coffee. That was a great pleasure to drink something hot after the wet and long way to here. Most of the clothes was wet.
Here is a hot tea
That was a lovely place inside of the hut after the wet day. We set the fire, sat around, boiled a tea and began to talk about the beginning of our trekking.
Inside of the hut "Sirota".
That was unusual to see the snow so close in July. The good example is view of Ayu-Tor in 8th of July.
The view to Ayu-Tor 08.07.2007
After the breakfast we all sat around the big stone (which acts as a summer table at "Sirota" refuge) and had a conversation about the next day of our trekking.
That was decided to continue our climbing from "Sirota" refuge to Terimtor pass (4000m) and try to set the camp there.
The morning chat about plans.
We've packed our backpacks, left unnecessary food and stuff at "Sirota" and started our way up to the pass Terimtor (4000m) where from we will see the way to Prjevalsky peak (4271m) and decide is that possible to climb to the summit or not. We shot a last look at lovely place of refuge and continued our way to the snow.
Started our climbing.
The trail to Ala-Kul Lake is going to the right. This lake is very popular to visit for tourists. The altitude of it is 3532 m above the sea level. The color of water is changing depending on the current weather. The depth of this lake is unknown, at least I didn't hear about it.
Our way is going to the left and up to the snow from this point.
The trail to Ala-Kul lake.
We have reached the first snow after one hour of climbing from Sirota refuge. FAt the photo: Valerie, Greg, Erwin.
Here is a snow.
There was more and more snow on the ground on the way to pass Terimtor. That was unusual to see it in this time of the year. At photo: Christine.
More and more snow.
We've reached the place where we could see the last point of our climbing for today - the pass Terimtor 4000m. We had a short stop to have some rest and wait for other group members - moreover we've covered by clouds and snow. At photo: Christine at the left and Valerie.
Some rest on the way up.
After the rest and waiting for the clear weatehr around we could see "our" pass. There - in between two rocks - is the pass Terimtor 4000m - our last point for today. Usually I didn't see so much snow in this time (there was a small 'tongue' just before the passage last years) of the year, but we had it everywere from a lower altitude now.
We organized a chain and, changing the leading man, moved up.
The climbing to the pass Terimtor.
The weather was not so good this day, but sometimes we've got some sun and had a better mood to climb further.
On the way up to pass Terimtor.
Erwin and Christine were first who reached the pass terimtor this day. We were too tired and needed some rest before searching a good place for our tents. Usually there was a perfect small flat platfrom just after the pass on the glacier, but now all was covered with a great wet snow that was very risky to step to the slopes.
First guys on the pass.
All the night long we're listening to the weather and didn't hear something good for us: was windy, snowy and cloudy. At the morning we decided to go down and not continue our climbing to the peak Prjevalsky because of bad snow conditions. Snow was wet and unstable.
This morning Greg cooked an unforgettable porrige for us - by some mistake he used our vodka, that we had for some cases, instead of water. Porrige-of-Terimtor was smelling wonderful but nobody could eat it. Unfortunately we were obliged to pour it out but this humorous event was good to lift up our mood this morning.
Morning at the pass Terimtor (Termi-tor).
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