After breakfast, we will head east from Karakol to the Engilchek valley over the Chon-Ashuu pass (3830 m.). Along the way, we will pass a portion of one of the largest mountain ranges, the Terskey-Ala-Too (reaching up to 5216 m.), which surrounds the Issyk-Kul basin from the south. In all the ascent and descent from the pass takes approximately 5-6 hours by car, but time will pass unnoticed as you admire the diverse landscapes of the area along the route: tall fir tree forests, expansive plateaus, deep gorges, and glacier-capped peaks. Further along, we will enter the Engilchek Valley and travel along the Engilchek River, passing the abandoned Soviet mining town of Engilchek along the way. After passing the second border zone control post, we will head to the At-Jailoo River where we will put up our tents. Dinner and overnight in tents.
On this day we have to cover 18 km. The path will begin with the crossing of the At-Jailoo River. Depending upon the fullness of the river, we may have to use horses to cross. Once across, we will continue up the valley along the Engilchek River, stopping for lunch at a mountain waterfall. After another 2-3 hours of trekking, we will stop at the foot of the stunningly beautiful icy peak Nansen (5697 m.). Upon arrival at the Iva campsite, we will set up camp and have dinner.
Trekking distance: 18km, 6-7 h
After breakfast, we set off on a difficult path along the moraine which runs along the southern side of the Engilchek Glacier. The route is quite beautiful, passing scattered small lakes of various colors. You will be surprised and delighted by the pristine chaos of the area. Dinner and overnight at Glina camp.
Trekking distance:10km, 4-5 h
This will be one of the easiest days of our trek. On this day, we take the small path from the Podvodniy Glacier to Merzbacher glade (3600 m.). It was from here that the famous German scientist Gottfried Merzbacher, during his trip to peak Khan Tengri in 1903, saw the beautiful mountain lake which was subsequently named after him. Lunch by arrival to the camp. On this stretch of the path, the glade and the lake are the only things that separate you from the seven-thousand-meter-high peaks of Khan-Tengri (7010 m.) and Victory (7439 m.). Crossing from the campsite to the lake and exploring the area will require great stamina and strength since the path to the foot of these giants crosses glaciers, moraines (glacial deposits), bottomless cracks, streams, and ice blocks. For this reason, we will not be able to approach the very shore of the lake. Despite this, the day is one of the most interesting. Dinner and overnight in camp.
Trekking distance: 15rmkm, 3-4 h
Breakfast. By the same path, we go back to Iva camp. Lunch on the way. On sunny days it is also possible to take a swim in one of the small lakes on glaciers. Dinner and overnight in camp.
Trekking distance: 18 km, 4-5h.
Breakfast. Back to At-Jailoo camp. Lunch in At-Jailoo. Departure to Karakol.
Trekking distance: 18km, 4-5h
The tours start upon request, please contact us. The itineraries can be adjusted individually to fit into your schedule and provide you with the best experience. Furthermore, we are happy to create tailor-made tours according to your wishes.
After having solved all the questions and programs confirming we issue an invoice for payment. You can make a bank transfer or pay upon your arrival time in Bishkek before the trip starts.
The price of the tour depends on the number of people and the season. According to the request and interest, we can negotiate the optimal price for your budget.
The level of this tour is difficult. You need to be an experienced mountaineer.
Overnights during the activity tours mostly you will sleep in the portable tents. You can bring your own tents or we provide you with your request.
We include the services of the porters. Your all heavy bags and all foods, tents will be carried by porters. All you need to take your day backpack and personal things.
Water is important during trekking, we are providing boiled water or tea/coffee during breakfast, lunch, dinner, however boiling the water is limited, and it is not enough if you will need to fill up your bottles for the next day. Water can be a cause of stomach problems on a trek. On the other hand, you need to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Water in some hills is also the source of water for animals and wild animals in the higher area. Always fetch water from running streams. The faster the better. Stagnant water has a high risk of bearing pathogens, irrespective of the cold surrounding. Whereas, fast gushing water has very low chances of bearing pathogens in it. It even has less particulate materials. You will be able to fill up water from natural springs, it’s the best as it acts as a natural filter and has very fewer chances of having particles in it. Local people same as a lot of tourists don’t have problems drinking water from the source, however, if you are not sure please bring water cleaning pills with you for the trek from your homeland. You will not be able to find water cleaning pills in Kyrgyzstan.
Khan Tengri National Park is one of the few areas in Kyrgyzstan where you’ll need an entrance fee. Officially, that’s 150 som per tent per day plus 300 som per foreign tourist plus at least 50 per vehicle. However, as in many things in Central Asia, these costs may be negotiable.
To even get here, you’ll need a ‘border zone permit’ to get through the two border posts at the Sary Jaz Valley turn off and just before the entrance to Khan Tengri National Park. It’s possible to arrange this yourself for around $15, but you’ll need a couple of weeks in Bishkek and another in Karakol. Save the hassle and pay a tour operator, who will charge you somewhere between $35 and $50.
The good news is that once you’re here, you’re here. Rather than hiking just At Jailoo, we’d really suggest combining the trip with the trek along the Enilchek Valley either to Merzbacher Lake or all the way to Khan Tengri Base Camp. This is a wide, wild, beautiful region; if you’re making the effort to get all the way out here, try to spend absolutely as much time as you can.
Getting to Merzbacher Lake and Enilchek Glacier
The main difficulty with basically the entire Enilchek region is accessed. No public transportation runs here at all, the only shared taxis possible are *maybe* to Enilchek village if you get lucky enough to find a local coming home, and anywhere beyond the village is basically a complete lottery of whether there are and cars and whether they are willing/able to take you. Unless you really have all the time in the world to wait and hope, this is really a region to hire a guide and driver.
We quite like Kyrgyzstan Tourism for this part of the country, as their owners and guides know the region well and are mostly local. They can also arrange Merzbacher Lake, Khan Tengri Base Camp, trips up the Kuylu Valley or exploring Sary-Jaz. There’s really quite a lot to do in this area, none of it easy to get to unless you have your own wheels, so this is a place we’d absolutely recommend going with a guide/driver