Bartang valley, longer or shorter?

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Bartang valley, longer or shorter?

Postby Lovetheworld » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:12 pm

We're not sure if we can include Tajikstan into our trip, but if we do, we will not spend much time in the country unfortunately.
So if we do it, it would be coming from Uzbekistan, over Dushbane, see a piece of the Pamir Highway, and into Kyrgistan.

We will drive ourselves with our own 4x4 van.

i've been watching some videos of the Bartang valley which look really nice. And it is shorter in distance, but there is quite some offroad driving to be done (which we are familiar with).
Sticking to the Pamir highway is much longer, but has (on average) better road surface it seems.

So is the Bartang valley actually shorter in time? Or is that just silly?

I'm getting the idea that both Bartang and the whole Pamir highway require the same amount of time.
And Bartang valley will probably have more risque for landslides blocking a road.
As we know, it is easy to have unexpected delays in these kind of areas, and we are fine with that.
We know you shouldn't push for time when travelling in these kind of areas, and enjoy the scenery. But that is why we are seeing to see the if we can shorten it a bit, so that it allows for a more relaxed way of travelling.

Any opinions of what you think is nicer is also welcome.

Thanks in advance
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Re: Bartang valley, longer or shorter?

Postby steven » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:03 am


Driving from Dushanbe to Bartang or Khorog can be done in 1 long day or 2 days if taking it easier. From there, you can take as many days as you like. Walking from village to village is actually also quite nice if the car is not possible. If Bartang is complicated roadwise, go to wakhan valley, it's always open and a great mix between cultural opportunities, history and scenery. can also walk there from village to village.

No need to do the whole way round to Murghab and Osh indeed.
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Re: Bartang valley, longer or shorter?

Postby Lovetheworld » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:57 am

Thanks Steven.

I did some checking with openstreetmaps. And apparently the whole Bartang valley west to east is 288km, so from the M41 to M41 again.
Doing that by staying on the M41 is roughly 480km but with better service. That is probably a bit faster, since Bartang will be quite tough in road conditions.
Anyway I still like the idea of going through Bartang Valley.

I read some reports from 2017, and it states that there were large boulders on the road, which bikers/cyclists could pass but was blocking the road for cars.
I guess we will see, and hopefully we meet some people who can tell us the latest info.
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Re: Bartang valley, longer or shorter?

Postby mazeno » Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:54 am

i seized bartang twice, in 2014 and 2017, both in august, both took me 3 days, both upwards, from rushan to karakul. depending on conditions, driver's skills and the car (4x4 low-range gearbox and high clearance is a must), this could be easy drive, hard challenge or... mission impossible.
during late spring (sometimes in summer, too, depending on preceding winter) the road from rushan to gudara is sometimes under white-river-water (partly, usually between siponj and basid). after gudara you can meet some passages destroyed by sil-streams - hard to cross, or even impossible, if wet (e.g. muddy). here you can also met a bulldozer parking by the track - if the valley is blocked and you can launch it...
the last traverse on the slope from tanimas river valley to the kok jar corner maybe covered by sliding gravel (in 2014 i had to dig a lot as the track was leaning sideways). the kok jar corner may be blocked by huge boulders taken down by spring avalanches (in 2017 it was blocked untill late july!). and the corner is very steep - it rises 600m up on the area of 200-300m "on the map", there are some 180 ^o turns, the path is not too wide, sliding gravel etc. if it is blocked you have to drive backward to the front - there is no place to turn the car back - for several hundred meters in such terrain!
the last surprise may wait for you near the south vicinity of karakul lake - if it is wet don't even try to get-off the track (even the track may give you problems on the "solonchak", salty area).
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Re: Bartang valley, longer or shorter?

Postby Lovetheworld » Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:34 pm

Hi Mazeno, thanks for the info!

We will be driving a slightly improved Hiace 4x4 van, 28 to 30cm ground clearence. Old style parttime 4x4 with low gearing. And snorkel.
Have driven in Karakurum Pakistan, and Ladakh India.
We will probably be there in July.

Good to hear that you crossed it in 2017 with 4x4. We will have to see what the road is like.

I assume those were three full days of driving. But that sounds reasonable for 288km proper offroading.
I will see it as 4 to 5 days driving, then we finish earlier or take it easy with much more breaks.
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