"Up to 3900m" Top 5 Page for this destination Karakol by RB_Oakes
Karakol Travel Guide: 31 reviews and 54 photos
No worries, though, as I went up to their camp at Altyn-Arashan. On a terrible jeep track, we bashed and banged up to 2900m, encountering nomads and following a wild, rushing river. Altyn-Arashan is a meadow with a hot spring, a couple of shacks and not much else. The weather had turned on the way up so there wasn’t much for me to do but head up a nearby hill to get my body used to the idea of exercising at that altitude. There is no electricity up there and I was the only guest so it was a cold, dark night.
The next morning was the big hike. The destination was the Ala-Kol Pass, at over 3900m. My guide decided to bring his girlfriend, a non-hiker. The hike up took about four hours. The terrain shifted from thick forest to open meadows, shrub forest and finally above the treeline altogether. The final push was up a steep scree slope, where I had some trouble finding proper footing. The top was amazing. At my feet was a brilliant aquamarine lake. To the south, nothing but high peaks, some over 5000m. Definitely worth the effort.
Coming down was less fun. The scree slope was a challenge. You basically skate down these things and even if you can get the technique figured out, I had sandals and rocks were caught inside, making it a wee bit uncomfortable.
Then the guide was rushing down the mountain. My knees were getting hammered by the walk down and I had to go slowly as they didn’t have the strength to brake hard if I got going fast. My guide did not wait. I lost them a couple of times, and would surely have found myself spending a night on the mountain if it wasn’t for his girlfriend’s bright red fleece.
The next day I chilled out, quite sore from the previous day’s expedition. I soaked in the hot springs to get clean and awaited downward transport. A couple came up with the jeep at noon, but decided not to stay the night which meant the jeep driver and I had to wait for them to do a day hike before we could head back down. Argh.
Eventually, though, I got back, and loaded up with supplies at the market for my long haul across the entire length of the country to Osh.
This camp in the hills (2900m) above Karakol is a great place for either novice hikers or serious outdoors enthusiasts.... more travel advice
RB_Oakes' Related Pages
Karakol Travel Guide
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