Tour 1: From Almaty to Grigorievka on lake Issyl-Kul
the help of a tourist company and only a group of two men we arrive at Almaty at
9.10 am. Our first taxi costs us just 30$ and we buy maps, Kazakh and Kyrgyz
money, a rope and petrol for our cooker. We understand that the driver doesnít
mind driving through the townís potholes but is worried going uphill with his
'weak' Russian LADA.
So we are on our first murderous tour on a steep way up along the water supplies.
have to hide from the first thunders in a small building. Mike advises me to keep
the feet together and kneel down so we are less in danger.
backpack arenít easy to get used to. We pass lake Almatinska and 5km further
on after meeting a Kazakh couple we join a camp with a Slovenian group that we
shall meet later again.
morning the Kazakh girl plays the mouth drum; they are going to climb a
mountain. Soon we have wet feet crossing the first deeper river. Soon after we
put up our tent we donít have to be wet. We arrive in Kyrgystan crossing the
Osorny pass. At night we have delicious suebian
half an hour Michael backpack begins to wear out but he manages to mend it with
needle and thread. When the first torrential river comes up and it starts
raining we stop. An uneasy night with nightmares of falling with all the
belongings in the water. I recall all the tips how to handle a rough river.
in the morning the river has calmed down and the crossing is fairly easy.
Fortunately I change the slightly wet socks, Michael will turn out to have
blisters for a fortnight. We follow the river up past a moraine where a
breathtaking lake comes up. Then back and up the river Ak Suu until we find
prepared camping lots.
uneasy night we start early in the morning. Full program: Steep climbing,
glacier and river crossing.
weather is cloudy and fairly good. Soon we are on the Ak Suu glacier with our
crampons on as the ice is slippery. Soon I feel week in the stomach from having
no breakfast and walking too fast in these heights what I try to overcome with having a few mouthfuls of our good
have to cross crevices but we fell better after crossing the river in the
glacier and start climbing uphill up to 4000m. This will take almost two hours
then we are on top of the mountain where we have a beautiful panorama.
have to go down quite a way and join the Slovenian camp. Everybody is quite
exhausted and temperature is not very high on 3000m. Excitement comes up when
our gas cooker has to be cleaned and the parts arenít easily put back. Finally
the clean cooker gives high flames which attract the guides of the Slovenian
group and we exchange tips and opinions.
up late when the rain calms down. We want to keep with the group to avoid
troubles and cross the river
we getting wet feet, the group crossing on horses. Soon we meet the first 'dangerous'
Kyrgyz rider. He brings us kefir from the other
riverside. We give presents in exchange among them a cigarillo from Germany.
short rest we encounter two
more frightening Kyrgyz horsemen which we try to appease with more cigarillos.
More frightening still is being invited to their tent and seeing some
intestines boil on the stove. Michael canít await the rain to stop and get
away from this delicious meal.
finish the day in a bigger camp where we meet mushroom collectors and other
disturbingly curious Kyrgyz people (see below).
A day of rest with mushroom meals.
At the left you see a curious family.
march to Grigorievka on lake Issyl-Kul, about 100km from Karakol where we find a
dry roof for just 4$ a night.