What follows are a series of day-by-day postings with descriptions and pictures of our trek in the Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountains) of Kyrgyzstan.
This was a trek like none other. This region of Kyrgyzstan is essentially uninhabited except for a few nomadic horsemen, so the area is mostly trailless wilderness. We saw no one outside our party for the last two thirds of the trip.
And yet the scenery was unsurpassed. The Tian Shan mountain range extends from Mongolia to Central Asia. In eastern Kyrgyzstan, it reaches its highest point with several peaks above 7000 meters (23,000 feet). Down from these mountains extends the 64-kilometer (40-mile) Inylchek Glacier, the third longest temperate mountain glacier in the world. This unique mountain area ranks with the Himalaya and Karakorum as one of the best in the world.
Most climbers go directly to the glacier on soviet-era helicopters that fly in July and August. Because we could not come until September, we arranged to take the long walk in across verdant hills and lower mountain passes. This gave us time to enjoy the broader Kyrgyz landscape and to get some superb mountain views. Less than 400 people take this route each year.
As before, I have organized the postings so they should follow in order. You will need to use the navigation pane or press the “Older postings” link at the bottom of each page to go through the complete list.