Scary descents on Pamir Highway

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jvjjjvvv
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Scary descents on Pamir Highway

Post by jvjjjvvv »

Hello,
Myself and a friend are currently cycling the Pamir Highway. Today we arrived to Qalai Khumb from the direction of Tavildara and I am still a bit in shock regarding the descent from the 3258 meters high mountain pass. I have no problem with strenuous effort, but this bit of the journey was way beyond my riding skills (the combination of steepness, rugged terrain, loose stones everywhere). I fell once and I could have easily fallen three or four times more, and my bicycle chain got out of its place half a dozen times. I just wanted to ask if there will be any other 'scary' descents like this along the way (we're doing the Wakhan Valley, not the standart M-41 route all the way). Loose stones do bother me and I've heard the Wakhan is like this, but I could manage as long as there is no steep descent like today's. Anyone care to give me some info, please?
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couchpotato
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Re: Scary descents on Pamir Highway

Post by couchpotato »

Going down Ak-Baital pass is pretty bad also. Even steeper, like 8-12%, and the gravel is really broken up. However not as long.

I broke a spoke going down from the pass to Qalai Khumb, lucky I brough spare and know how to replace spoke. I met a cyclist, her rear wheel failed going down that steep bumpy decent and had to wait three days in Qalai Khumb for DHL to deliver a new wheel from Germany.
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jvjjjvvv
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Re: Scary descents on Pamir Highway

Post by jvjjjvvv »

Thank you! I am not going past Murghab, or not by bicycle anyway, so that's good. Thanks again
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trikolka
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Re: Scary descents on Pamir Highway

Post by trikolka »

since you are going through Wakhan valley, you will have to climb and descent Khargush pass (4344m). The section between the pass and M41 (northern side) has some steep parts, and is pretty rough (ruts, "washboard"), but it does not go through so steep terrain and cliffs as does the road from Khaburabod pass to Qalaikum. So you will not fear that boulders fall onto your bike, except in some sections of the road along Pyandj river, with (big) cracks in the concrete walls that were built to protect the road. These sections are before Khorog. There may be landslides in case of rain showers.

Near Ak Baytal pass (4655m), the road surface is bad, but again, the terrain is not so steep. You will not have big boulders falling on the road, but some river crossings without bridges, and you will certainly feel the effect of reduced oxygen pressure above 4000m. I was very slow in the last 5 km of Ak Baytal ascent...
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jvjjjvvv
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Re: Scary descents on Pamir Highway

Post by jvjjjvvv »

Thanks. In the end we're taking the M-41 straight to Murghab, but other people had told me the same you just did. Otherwise, my experience getting to Khorog was that nothing was 'scary' as the Khaburabod descent was. Although around some village called Lakhsh (between Qalai Khumb and Rushan) there is a 15-20 km stretch of canyon road that was pretty destroyed and hence annoying.
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Nazrulo
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Re: Scary descents on Pamir Highway

Post by Nazrulo »

The similar scary descent one can come across again before descending the Kokja'r pass to the Bartang valley from the east. This descent is also pretty steep compared to the rest of the high passes in the Pamirs.

Best
Nazrulo
Bartang & Sarez Tour
(+992 935346054 WhatsApp)
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TajikVisa
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Re: Scary descents on Pamir Highway

Post by TajikVisa »

I just finished this part of the Pamir Highway on a bicycle and did not have the same experience. I think the road between Obigarm and Darband is in way worse condition. The descent from the pass sometimes required focus, but I've never felt unsafe. I am a first-time bicyclist (27M) with a previous altitude record of 60 meter.
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