12-Nov-2006 -- 40N – 72E Osh (ОШ) Kyrgyzstan
Line Hunting Date: November 12, 2006
A Great Point Reached on the 2nd Try
This hunt was the byproduct of the 2nd trip to the Pamir region this year. The first trip in August by bicycle followed a good part of the Pamir highway in Tajikistan. It was a great trip except it was not very productive from the perspective of line hunting – only one incomplete effort for 38N 73E. One of the purpose of this second trip was some scouting for future bike trip which covered most of the Kyrgyzstan portion of the Pamir highway.
The second journey to the Pamir started in the Kashgar, Xinjiang and finished in Osh. The most memorable part of this 500 km track was crossing the 8 km frontier between China and Kyrgyzstan frontier. It took over 2 hours required a hitched truck ride and clearing through 6 check points. After entering Kyrgyzstan, the road pretty much followed the northern range of the Pamir with spectacular view.
The TES guest house where I stayed in Osh has a very detailed topo map of southern Kyrgyzstan from the Soviet era. Two of the confluence points along the Pamir Highway were deep in the mountain range with no access road. However, the topo map indicted that a road can close to this particular confluence point even though it also deep in the range between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Even though I have a busy program at Osh, a hunt for this point became part of the agenda.
A hunting jeep was arranged by the TES guest house and we took off at 8 am heading east on the main highway traverse the Kyrgyz part of the Fergana Valley. After 100 km we turned south at Uch Korgon (Уч Коргон), which is only 5 km from a larger town known as Kyzyl-Kia. After 30 km we reached a valley with a dirt road which put us 9 km from the confluence point. The local folks at road side assured us that this road can go quite a ways toward the direction of our objective.
The First Try
We took the recommend turn off near a village called Tamasha (Тамаша) and gradually climbed up to a plateau about 2,600 meters of elevation with a winding path brought us to 3.4 km from the CP before it tuned toward the wrong direction. In a mountainous area, 3.4 km is a long way to go but we decided to give a try. It was clear from where we started that we have to go over a snowy ridge to find the CP on the other side.
The first 500 meters of the uphill hike was easy on a grassy slope. But once we entered the tree line the ground covered with about half foot of fresh snow the going became difficult. After close to an hour of struggle it became obvious that we have no chance to reach the CP this way. We tuned back with 2.0 km left to go and still about 500 meters from the top of the ridge. Reluctantly, we accepted the fate of an incomplete hunt and returned to the waiting car just around noon time.
The Second Try
The drive back to the main road took almost an hour. Instead of heading back to Osh, we headed south further to see if there is another road can bring us closer to the CP – can’t give up too easily. Evidently the long and winding road we just took was not the road that supposes to bring us close to the CP on the topo map. Eight km down the main road we came by a small village (Hapayп ) with a narrow road heading the right direction with 6.5 km of GPS distance to the CP. A couple fellows at road side told us that this road last about 6-7 km, sounded like the road seen on the old topo map. The only hitch was that, our driver informed us that the jeep is very low on gas that he would prefer not to go much further. We persuaded him to go a bit further.
The side road was rocky with sections covered by overflowing creek. Even though the road still can continue further, we stopped with 1.6 km further to go to save gas. The steep slope and ridge on our right of this rocky road would be the route we would have taken had we persisted on our first attempt. We were glad that we did not have to go all the way up and down that entire mountain which has a steep drop about 800 metes at this side of the ridge.
One kilometer up the road, we reached a more open valley with about 10 households scattered around. This confluence point located halfway up a hill behind the village. We reached the confluence point around 4 pm with sun starting to go behind the southern ridge. Amazingly, this CP deep in a wide and remote mountain range of southern Kyrgyzstan, yet there is a jeep road can come within few hundred meters. The best part was the spectacular view of the valley leading to the area.
This point was particularly sweet given it was on the second attempt of the day. We reached Uch Korgon by 6 pm where the nearest gas station located. After fueling up and some well deserved tea and local BBQ we got back to Osh by 8 pm.
A great hunt with a very fine day to appreciate what Kyrgyzstan is famous for - mountains.
Rating of this hunt :
Degree of Challenge:
2 – The final stretch of the road requires a jeep (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
4 – a prefect snapshot of the mountainous Kyrgyzstan (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
4 – a mixed Kyrgyz and Uzbek area (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)