06-Oct-2006 -- This is the 17th confluence visit on a bicycle trip from China to Central Asia. The story starts at 32°N 107°E.
After a successful visit of 43°N 75°E a week earlier, we decided to hunt this confluence which is 14 km straight north of Toktogul and had not yet been successfully visited.
When we arrived in Toktogul (Токтогул) in the evening it was too late to visit the confluence itself. But there we spent some time to search for Philipp Funovits’ small road which was supposed to start two kilometers east from Toktogul. Phillip was the first to attempt this confluence a month earlier. We couldn’t find that road and also according to our map the topography suggested that a valley was about to start 2km west of Toktogul. Indeed, when we headed westwards, we reached a turn off.
The next morning we had an early start, since we needed all the available daylight to make it to the confluence which is located 1500m higher than Toktogul. We followed the main road 2km westwards, where we turned into the small road that we had found the previous day. We came through a village with many dead ends. But finally we made it though and kept on following a valley northwards along a rapid river. The river was too dangerous to be crossed, so we stayed on its east side, hoping that there wouldn’t be any need to cross over.
The day was a sunny pleasant autumn day, optimal conditions for a hike into the mountains. Slowly but surely we left the civilization behind us. At a remaining beeline distance of 6.8 km (1196m elevation) was the very last farm house and we abandoned our bicycles there. From now on, the beautiful mountain nature surrounded us. We followed the canyon further until its direction was not beneficial for us anymore. At that time, it was 12:40 pm already and the beeline was still 3.5km at an elevation of 1380m. We figured that the big part was still ahead of us and that it could get tight with our remaining time. So we decided that I would run up to the confluence, while Elionora would stay in the valley and later meet us again at the bikes’ place.
Running that steep grade was a crazy thing to do. When I reached the level of the clouds, it became foggy and wet. The slippery grass under my feet was extremely slippery and I slit down to the ground every few seconds. This way progress was slow and my hope to reach the point was soon lost. But I kept on walking until the point of latest return would have come. I still followed a side valley, but thorny bushes, steep grades, slippery grass and dense fog didn’t contribute to make it a pleasant hike.
Suddenly, at a distance of 1.4km, when I reached the upper edge of the valley, the fog cleared and in front of me was an easy and level track that directly pointed to the confluence. 5 minutes later I reached the confluence which is located almost on the highest peak in the area. From a viewpoint in 90m distance I took a 360° panorama with far views in all directions. The confluence itself is located a little lower at a steep grade.
On the way back I hiked down another valley and thought this would be a smart thing to do. But it turned out that I reached a dead end with the need to cross the big river in the main valley. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it across with a non-waterproof camera and GPS device. I had to hike half way up the mountain again. From there I had some difficult climbing sections until I reached the safe path at the valley ground. At 5pm, I met Elionora again at the place where we had left the bikes. Right at dusk we were back in Toktogul and ready for a Kyrgyz dinner.
CP visit details:
- Time at the CP: 14:45 a.m.
- Distance to a foot path: 70 m
- Distance to a track: 6.8 km
- Distance to a road: 14 km
- Distance of bicycle parking: 6.8 km
- Distance to houses: 6.8 km
- Topography: alpine mountain area, steep grades
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 2.38 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- GPS height: 2570 m
- Vegetation: grass, moss, dwarf cypress trees
- Weather: sunny, partially cloudy (10-20° varying temperatures)
- Description of the CP: At the southern slope of the Ala-Too mountain range, which can be seen to the north. Great view far down to the reservoir between Toktogul and Kara-Köl. Located at the upper end of a steep valley, almost at the mountain ridge.
- Given Name: The Alpine Toktogul Confluence
Story continues at 40°N 71°E