Tour to Engilchek Base Camp via Merzbacher Lake

“Lake Merzbacher. South Enilchek Glacier ”.
The trekking tour to the glacier became an opportunity to discover the unknown Tengri land.
A multi-day trek to the mountains is always a challenge!

Itinerary: Karakol-Enilchek-At-Jailoo-Iva-Glina-Lake Merzbacher-Base Camp-Karkyra-Santash-Karakol
Duration: 10 days
Best Season: Mid June – September
Category: trekking
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Group Size: 2-20 pax
Highlights: The Enilchek Glacier, The mountain lakes, untouched nature, high altitude passes
Requirements: weatherproof warm clothes, trekking boots, hat, sunglasses, sleeping bag, and sunscreen.


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 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. From this viewpoint, we will be able to see the magnificent lake as well as the mountains in the background. Dinner and overnight in camp.

Trekking distance: 9km, 3-4 h

Today we will explore Merzbacher Lake and its surroundings. 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. After our walk, lunch and relaxation await us back at camp. Dinner and overnight in tents.

Trekking distance: 4-5 km, 2-3h

Having rested the previous afternoon, we move on. Our next camp is located on the Komsomolets Glacier. We must travel along the glacier for about 9-10 km. The route will depend on the trail laid for the year since the trail changes regularly due to the melting of the glaciers. The terrain around the glacier is mountainous, with many lakes and rivers, and covered with snow and ice. Dinner and overnight in the camp. The nights here are extremely cold, so our warm downy sleeping bags will come in handy.

Trekking distance: 9-10 km, 4-5h

We start after breakfast, continuing once again along the glacier. The distance to the next camp is also 9-10 km. The Dikyi Glacier is located on the right side of the main Engilchek Glacier. On this day we will also see the famous seven-thousanders, Khan-Tengri and Victory Peak, from afar. Accommodation and dinner in camp.

Trekking distance: 11-12 km, 3-4 h

After breakfast, we continue along the glacier to the base camp, located at the confluence of the South Engilchek and Zvezdochka Glaciers at the foot of Trekhglavy Peak. The camp is a kind of Mecca for climbers and mountaineers, providing a convenient base for those who wish to summit the peaks of Khan-Tengri and Pobeda (Victory). The camp has everything required for organizing ascents and providing comfort in the outdoors: tents, excellent food, a shower, radio and satellite phone. To reach the camp we will have to cross the Engilchek Glacier for the second time, crossing an ice bridge over the river and moraine. From here, we have a magnificent view of the peaks. Upon arrival, we will set up accommodation for the night and have dinner.

Trekking time: 7-8 km, 2-3h

This is our last day among these majestic ice peaks. After breakfast, we prepare for our flight from the camp to the Karkyra track by helicopter. The flight will take no more than half an hour. During the flight, you will be able to see the path you have traveled and solidify the beauty of Merzbacher Lake and the famous Khan Tengri and Victory Peaks in your memory, capturing beautiful shots of the amazing scenery. Accommodation at the Karkara camp/Santash Boarding House.

Flghting time: 30 min

Transfer by car from Karkyra valley to Karakol town. End of the tour.


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.

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