This is going to be slightly longer blog post than our weekend trip reports. We were 5 of us (myself, Stefan, Ivana, Tomas and Martin) going to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan this summer for 4 weeks. Our proposal was to spend 3 weeks hiking and one week sighseeing plus traveling. We split the trip into 4 parts.
Our entire hike is planned here on alpenvereinaktiv.
Using slazav map (very good map for fann mountains):
We used this map often to navigate.
The planned hike in numbers:
- 18 days in mountains
- 160 km
- over 12 km ascent meters
Hike split into 4 parts:
- Kulikalon lakes
- Chimtarga pass (Zamok and Energia summits including)
- Iskanderkul via Doinoi pass
- Hissar range (White Pyramid summit)
This is just part 1 of our hike, including visiting two cities - Samarkand and Buchara.
Samarkand & Buchara
12.7 - The beginning of our trip start in Samarkand. There’s small airport where only few flights land per week. Most of them are from Moscov, one we took as well. We arrived very early, at 5 am to Samarkand. Unfortunately, my backpack did not arrive with us so I had to deal with the crew of Aeroflot there. We were able to find someone to communicate in English however they were quite convinced my backpack would not be in the flight right after ours, few hours later as it was not Aeroflot. As we were exhausted and convinced my backpack will arrive on Sunday to Buchara - that was our agreement with the crew there. As soon as we left the terminal building one taxi driver approached us. We experienced the first what we later named “vulture”. His first proposal was way out of the price we were eager to pay. After our first refusal, he left and on the way to find other taxis, we agreed on the price. As our initial plan was to go directly to Tajikistan, we had to find a hotel and stay in Samarkand for a day. Hiking postponed until my backpack arrives.
Samarkand has lot of history. I was not aware of it much so discovering these new places with so much around them was astonishing. The first place we visited was Siyob bazaar. Tasty dried fruits, fresh products and our favorite restaurant in the centre of it. We had to return here on our way back from mountains to shop a bit. After two days of sightseeing, we traveled to Buchara. To catch a cab, you have to go north to the bus terminal. History repeates itself, 10 taxi drivers around us convincing us we should go with them. We agreed with one, 5 of us in one regular sedan car. He argued a bit with others for another 5 minutes while we waited in the car.
13.7 - We spent one day in Buchara, walking around the city. We caught a bus on our way back. We wanted initially to go by taxi again but people were pointing us to a bus. New comfortable bus (like we see here in Europe for long distance traveling), suprising. We experienced one problem when they allocate seat by just writing a seat on your receipt. After a while people came to us claiming that we are at their seats. We had to move after all but all good.
14.7 - As soon as we get to Buchara, me and Stefan went to the airport to collect my backpack. What we found out, it was there since Friday morning (the next flight after ours). I have it finally ! Time to go to Tajikistan. Our next town was Panjakent. We again had to take taxi to the bus station where we took a cab to the border crossing. It opened in the recent years. We had no issue to go through. Just received questions about what are our plans there and if we are alpinists. Plenty of taxis right behind the bars, waiting for us. We arrived to Panjakent in the evening, booked a hostel. There are always some hikers or travelers. We met lot of interesting people with various stories.
We arranged a drive the next morning to Vertical Alaudin. The drive was quite good. The half of the trip is on the new road they built, then at Sarvoda you turn to the gravel road that leads to Vertical Alaudin. 4 wheels drive recommended. It was bumpy and steep. We arrived to Vertical Alaudin in the early afternoon. We looked arond and saw still plenty snow in the peaks around. We talked to people, there were some russian expeditions, mostly climbers and some smaller groups like us. We prepared our things for the first trip - Kulikalon lakes.
Kulikalon lakes hike
16.7 - We started early in the morning to avoid afternoon sun. It was very warm during the day as soon as sun came out. Our first saddle was at 3800 m.a.s.l. We started feeling the altitude while ascending, almost all of us. Nothing serious just realizing we are going higher thus we should breathe more. As we arrived to the saddle we had plenty of time. Therefore we decided to walk on the ridge to reach the peaks nearby. We left backpacks and walked for a half hour to be on top of to us unknown peak. We saw first donkeys carrying things, coming from Kulikalon lakes. Apart from these local people, we haven’t met almost anyone on the way to the lakes. 2 more russian hikers only. Once we reached the lakes, we went for a swim. The lake was cold - very much appreciated after the hike with sun above us. There is “chcaychana” at the lake where they cook and also sell some beverages. We had to wait at least one hour, good we talked to them before our swim. We had late lunch there and rested in the shade. We decided to move higher to lake Duschaka which is at 3000 m.a.s.l. - less people and higher. We found nice spot under the tree for almost all of us. There were no people around, neither ranger. He came the next day and we paid for these 2 nights (2 dollars per night per person). As this lake is higher and surrounded by mountains, the sun goes down earlier. This means quite cold nights. The glacier is not that far from there.
17.7 - The next day was our first acclimatizaiton summit -Gouhona, 3600 m.a.sl. . We hiked down to the Kulikalon lakes, went around them and started ascending. There was no trail going to the peak in the beginning. We later found one but often just disappeared. We found our own way. The last part to the summit is easy scrambling. We had a quick lunch at the top and returned via the opposite site of the lakes. There are many streams so we had to cross them multiple times. The other side of the lakes was much easier to walk.
18.7 - We left Dushokha lake early at 6 am to go to Alaudin pass. Our destination for today was Alaudin lakes where we wanted to stay one night. There is also “cajchana”, I believe two but we went to only one. We had to return to the Vertical Alaudin to leave some things there and hike back in the evening. The next destination is Mutnyi lakes and its surroundings. I will write the part 2 of our hike in the next blog spot, stay tuned!
Note: Exluding sightseeing in Samarkand and Buchara
- Camp Vertical Alaudin
- Alaudin lakes
- 3 days