Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

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raspberrysoda
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Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by raspberrysoda »

Hi everyone, I'm planning on hiking in TJ and KZ at the following places in the following dates, and wanted to ask if it's safe for a solo traveller/anything else I need to know about.

Day hikes in Nuratau mountains (Uzbekistan) - about mid-May

Iskanderkul to Haft Kul (late May/early June): Sarytag/Iskanderkul – Dukdon Pass – Sarymat/Archamaidan Confluence – Munora Pass – Tavasang Pass – Kiogli Village – Marguzor (five days)

Rasht valley - early June-ish, dunno about the specific trek yet. (three days?)

Archa Tor pass to Jeti Oguz - early/mid June (three days)

Skazka canyon (half a day?)


Thanks in advance!
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Christian77
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Re: Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by Christian77 »

Nuratau will be warm. Carry lots of extra water.

Dukdon pass at this time of year is a no-go if you don't have experience of and gear for snow travel. The good news is that the trail up high on both side goes up onto south facing slopes, so there will be less snow and avalanche danger than on the north facing slopes. But that means a steep slope on snow. So: waterproof gaiters, crampons, ice axe and full waterproof gear (including pants).

But.... you will be on the snow for ten kilometers. If you start post-holing, you will never make it. There is still a lot of snow at the end of May. It is not just that it's ten kilometers, it's that it includes significant elevation (3100 to 3800 meters in the snow). So, post-holing through the snow while in the rain for 10 kilometers with significant elevation gain/loss. Not worth it.

Maybe instead you can do Haft Kul to Kulikalon? Or reverse. You could also go up and down some valleys/gorges (Archamaydon, Sarimat, etc.) It would be a Panjakent and then return to Panjakent trip. If you are interested I can give you a decent itinerary and some suggestions.

Rasht will be nice and green and beautiful (but still rainy season). You won't be able to go very high because of snow. Maybe maximum 3000 meters. It would be more of a car trip.

Sorry, May/June is not hiking season up high in Tajikistan. High passes will be snowed in and some fords across easy streams will be difficult/dangerous crossings.
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raspberrysoda
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Re: Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by raspberrysoda »

Christian77 wrote:
Sun Jan 30, 2022 5:44 pm
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Thank you so much for your detailed response. I am very interested in your suggestions and itineraries, and I'll be glad if you sent them to me :) The area you noted sounds great too, and is very much plausible from what it seems.

Do you have any recommendations for hiking at the Rasht valley as well?
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Christian77
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Re: Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by Christian77 »

Ok, for late May or early June in the Fann mountains, this is my suggestion: Artuch Alplager to Haft Kul. And in that direction (east to west). I don't suggest the reverse.

From Panjakent, drive to the village of Artuch or higher to the Artuch Alplager (the road is rough after Artuch). The village of Panjrud down below is the last place you can find regular share transportation to. I have no idea if the Artuch Alplager will be open yet. It may be too early in the season. They have a phone #: http://artuch.tj/artuch-camp/ But realistically if you leave Panjakent after breakfast you will want to start hiking, not stop at a hotel at 12 noon. If you are coming from Uzbekistan and arriving late in the day, then the Artuch Alplager may be a good idea (if it is open). If you stay with Ruslan in Nurata (the best place to stay), then you can ask him to call the number on the Artuch Alplager website and ask if they are open yet. https://www.nuratatours.com/ Ruslan is ethnic Tajik, so he can easily do that phone call for you.

From the Artuch Alplager, hike a couple/few hours up to Kulikalon lake. If that day or the next day you have extra time, hike east around the corner to Dushokha lake (and back to Kulikalon). From Kulikalon, head west up and over Chukurak Pass and down to Chukurak lake. Next will be Guytan/Igrok Pass if there is snow on the ridge, or Zurmich Pass if it looks snow free. From Zurmich Pass, angle northwest to Sarishakh Pass and down to the village of Guytan or Zimtud (guesthouses in both, plus a small village shop).

From here you go up the Archamaydon river. Your choices of side trip are: (A) If you are feeling energetic and you think there is no snow at 3200 meters, then go to Bolshoi Allo lake (B) otherwise, go up the Archamaydon gorge - I suggest to Pshtikul lake (steer wide around the shepherd camp at the bottom if you are afraid of dogs). There is a wide open camping spot at the lake.

Then back down to where the Sarimat river flows into the Archamaydon river. You go up the Sarimat and then turn west to go over the Tovasang/Tobasang Pass. Feeling energetic? Don't descend straight down, instead angle over to the 7th lake (Hazorchashma). I just mapped this route, so you'll need the map app I list below.

Whether you go to the 7th Lake or straight down to the 6th Lake from the pass, your destination is the guesthouse after the 5th lake, in Padrud. If you have lots of time, then take the goat trails on the west side of the 6th lake, not the road on the east side. Stay the night in Padrud, and then arrange to get a seat in a car to Panjakent (there's probably only one going - if not you will need to pay extra for some one to make a special trip).

Still have time and energy? West of Padrud is Zindovud Pass. Here you can go over the ridge, down the Subashi gorge to the town of Moghiyon, where I'm sure finding a ride to Panjakent will be easy.

I would have all the food you need at the beginning, as the village shop in Zimtud probably just has candy. Count on dinners and breakfasts in the guesthouses and you can lighten your load.

How long? Totally depends on your conditioning and hiking style (hike all day, or stop early and enjoy your campsite well before dark). But this route offers a long of flexibility.

You need the map app OsmAnd, and you need to pay for the upgraded version ($10) that has regular updates and allows you to download topo/contour elevation lines. Download Tajikistan and you are are set. All other map apps have some problems - from passes not appearing on the map to updates being only once per year (and language problems). I and a separate group of people have done lots of mapping over the winter. You will only definitely get the best of it on the paid/upgraded version of OsmAnd.

Rasht? The areas that are snow free in mid-June will mostly be road walking. And getting there will not be easy. From Dushanbe to Gharm is no problem. Afterwards you should really speak Tajik or Russian to not end up losing lots of time. If you are OK with roads, then maybe walk from Tojikobod to the Qizilkum glacier (the road to the glacier services an irrigation diversion). I have not been, but the photos are wild - and you need to go early in the season for maximum redness. The glacier is red ("qizil") from the red sand (qizil kum). And there is a red lake/pond (Havzi Qizilkum). Check out the satellite view in Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/5bkcr7dZiqsPrM5EA

Something easier would be going to the botanic gardens in Jafr and hiking up to Modeljush lake (but that involves some tall grass, some off-trail, and this would be no fun at all if it rains).
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Kalpazan
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Re: Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by Kalpazan »

@raspberrysoda, perhaps this can be interesting for you as well:

https://www.pamirtrail.org/
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raspberrysoda
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Re: Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by raspberrysoda »

Christian77 wrote:
Sun Jan 30, 2022 11:26 pm
quote
I haven't expected an answer this elaborate and helpful. Thank you so much.
Is there a way to get these maps in a physical format? I'm not sure about whether my phone's battery will survive this trip, even if I bring extra portable chargers.
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Christian77
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Re: Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by Christian77 »

There are many ways to print. Most of them are not so great. So you need to take out a pen and make annotations after you print on many of these services: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_on_Paper

I can easily do 7 days on a 20,000mah power bank ($40, 350 grams). And that includes recording a GPS track, taking videos and photos (lots and lots), tethering to a satellite SMS device and sending/receiving messages, powering that SMS device, looking at my map non stop (because I add lots of things to the maps like springs and streams and camps and etc...), letting shepherds recharge their Nokia, etc... And that's with an iPhone 6 - not as efficient as newer models.

Paper is good to have as a way to save battery and as an emergency back-up. But you can absolutely do this trip with a decent 20,000mah power bank. Just put your phone on airplane mode and/or power saving mode.
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raspberrysoda
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Re: Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by raspberrysoda »

Christian77 wrote:
Mon Jan 31, 2022 9:45 pm
///
thank you so much.

and another question - i thought about going to the pamirs after all. do you have any recommended treks from around khorog and the area?
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Christian77
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Re: Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by Christian77 »

An easy hike is the popular Jizev (Jizeu, Jiseu) gorge hike. It's not exactly close to Khorog (closer to Rushon) but easy to reach. You can find instructions online on how to get from Khorog to the start of the hike (a foot bridge over the Bartang river). Some people do it as a day hike, but that's a complete waste of the valley. Stay in one of the guesthouses and then the next day go further up the gorge. The trail goes all the way to the glaciers with lakes along the way.

Another option is a hike to Durumkul (Drumkul) lake, using a guesthouse in the village below as an overnight base (go to the PECTA office and ask about the guesthouse and transportation options).

If you do a Wakhan trip, then try the Darshay gorge or the hike to Marx & Engels peak.

The other good hikes are sort of expedition hikes (e.g., Bachor to Bardara).
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raspberrysoda
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Re: Is hiking solo in Tajikistan/Kygryzstan in May/June safe?

Post by raspberrysoda »

Christian77 wrote:
Wed Feb 02, 2022 6:40 pm
...
thank you! i'll check these out.

another question, if i may. is there any wildlife i should be wary of in the fanns/pamirs/alays/tian shans? i decided on going on more hikes. (also, can i dm you about these?)
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