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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).


This is our camp at the pass Terimtor 4000 m above the sea level. We set our tents just on the pass ridge because all other places were under the big amount of wet snow.There is a small piece of Ala-Kul Lake is on the picture if you look to the right part.We're going to go back down to "Sirota" refuge. Peak Prjevalsky with its summit is for other time, when the weather will be better (we didn't know yet that the weather will be like this almost all the days)
Our camp at Terimtor pass 4000m.
Once we had a chance to see the summit of Prjevalsky Peak 4271m from the pass. That was for a few minutes and then clouds covered it again. Usual route is from the pass by the right ridge of the peak to the summit. But usually we have less snow at this time and the snow is more stable.
Prjevalsky peak 4271m
Valerie says 'goodbye' to surrounding mountains or maybe tries to push Greg down from the pass after his porridge cooking. :-) In a few minutes we should go down to Sirota place.
Valerie: Bye peak and pass!
When we were ready to go down the weather became bad again. I used all my wind- and waterproof clothes and went down the pass.
I'm going down from the pass.
The wet snow was falling down, we were going down from the pass too. Level of snow seems to be lower than yesterday, that was a good news and we continue our descent with the hope about the better weather.
At the bottom of Terimtor pass
When we left the snow area we stopped to have a rest and lay off the jackets. "Sirota" refuge gonna be soon down there.
Time to lay off the jacket.
When we arrived to "Sirota" place all from us decided to have a good rest after two days of snow walking. Moreover the sun was suddenly shining during this hours. Erwin and Greg found a lovely place on the bank of the river that flows from Ala-Kul lake.
The rest near the river.
Girls were sitting in the hut around the fire trying to get wet clothes dry. Left to right: Christine, speeping bag, Valerie.
Christine and Valerie in the hut.
"Sirota" refuge, 10 July 2007. Sun appeared, clouds went away and we got an idea to use our ropes at least for making a drying.
Time to dry all wet.
We hanged all our stuff to drying and got some time for different activities. For example that was slacklining . Greg is fond of this kind of activity and has shown us his skills between two trees at "Sirota" refuge.
Greg and slackline.
I have tried slacklining with the help of Erwin and Greg. That was really interesting to feel how slackline is going away from under your feet every second - support of guys was necessary.
I am slacklining.
This evening we had a perfect sky and all clouds went away. We had a good view of other side of Karakol valley and Ayu-Tor peak (Aiutor).
Evening view of Ayu-Tor peak.
Morning 11th July was sunny, uncloudy and everybody had a good mood. After breakfast we went out from the hut to the sun and discussed our plans. That was decided to go up along the Karakol valley to the bottom of Djigit peak. At photo: Erwin, Christine, Greg.
Morning 11th July. Plans discussing
We started our way down to Karakol valley where we should turn to the left and go up until we reach the glacier. The view of small lake, peak Ayu-Tor and other mountains was wonderful. Weather was very good and encouraging.
Ayu-Tor peak view from "Sirota" place.
Peak Ayu-Tor was standing in his beauty during the whole our way down from Sirota refuge. The summit of this peak is at altitude 4382m above teh sea level and this peak one of many beautiful peaks of Tien-Shan mountains of Issyk-Kul region.
Peak Ayu-Tor 4382m.
We reached the place where the car brought us to 3 days ago. It's a Karakol valley. At this place you have some kind of crossroads: you can go to Ayu-Tor to the right, to Sirota refuge to the left or to five thousand peaks if to go straight forward and choose one of two ways to go left to watershed ridge to Djigit Peak or right - to Karakol Peak. Our way was to the right canyon.
Watershed range in Karakol valley
Crossing the river flowing from the valley where peak Ayu-Tor is situated.
Crossing Ayu-Tor river
In one hour we had a new river crossing. This river is flowing from the valley where Telety pass is situted (this pass is between Karakol and Djety-Oguz valleys).
Crossing Telety river
Every big rock was the object for climbing for Greg and Erwin on the way up along Karakol valley.
Rock climbing.
I was a spectator of the rock climbing of Greg and Erwin sitting nearby and having a rest.
I am spectator of rock climbing.
That was a long way fir that day but at last we met a master of this valley - Peak Karakol 5216m. The weather was not very good again and we were not too sure about the better conditions for the next day.
First look at Karakol peak.
The view of peak 30 years of VLKSM from the side of Karakol Peak. Terimtor pass is behind this peak from this point of view.
The look back down to valley.
On the next rest pause in Karakol valley guys run to the other rock to climb and have fun.
Guys found new rock to climb.
Our next campsite was ot far from Karakol peak and it's glacier. We set our tents when the dark was already coming, campfire was very good and in time and we had a tea and dinner talking about this day and next plans to realize. After some chat we went to sleep - that was a long and hard day.
Camp before Karakol Peak.
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