Cycling Bartang Valley Q&A

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Cycling Bartang Valley Q&A

Post by steven »

I got this question via e-mail:

Do you maybe now, what is better, to travel Bartang valley upwards or downwards (towards south)?

Answer: I don't know.

A report from Karakol to Rushan: ... ng-valley/

A report from Rushan to Karakol: ... n-karakol/
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Re: Bartang Valley best way?

Post by GoingAroundPlaces »

I did the Bartang just about a year ago on a bicycle, going from Karakul to Rushon.

Depending on your mode of transport, which direction you go will make a difference. On a bicycle, it is 100% easier to go from the Plateau down to Rushon, as you lose (rather than gain) thousands of metres of altitude. The climb up from the Bartang Valley to the Plateau, in particular, is very long and very steep.

I covered the route for, with practical details and pictures if you'd like to have a look here: ... ajikistan/

Good luck!
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Re: Bartang Valley best way?

Post by olooov »

I would like to add something from my experience.
It might seem like going down the valley is easier, since you lose 2000 meters of elevation. But it's over 200 km, so you hardly ever feel like cycling down hill.
Of course the exception is transition from plateau to the valley, where you loose about 400 meters very quickly.
Once in the valley you follow the river, and it is constant up and down.
And one thing also to consider is wind.
Considering that entire valley is rather narrow, and hot air is raising up, you are way more likely to have strong head wind going down. Especially in the afternoon. We actually had to start very early and stop cycling around 14.00-15.00 every day since the wind was getting to strong.
On our toughest day on the plateau, we managed to cover 24 km in 7 hours, and we had about 300 meters elevation drop. So yes we were going down hill, but it didn't matter.
When you consider supplies it definitely better to go down. It's easier to restock in villages in lower Bartang. On the plateau you are on your own.
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China to Europe by bike,

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