Packrafting in Kirgistan

Peter from the LWA guide team and a friend of his went Packrafting in the wilderness of Kirgistan. This is a short account of what they did, together with a few pictures.

End of August we set out for a ten day packrafting adventure in the remote mountains of Kyrgyz Tien Shan. Start and end point was the deserted mining town of Enilchek. We aimed to paddle the unknown rivers of Irtash and Uchkel.

To reach the headwaters of Irtash, we had to hike in 60 km with 30 kg packs and cross the 4300m Kuilu pass. Luckily we could arrange riding the first half of the hike saving time and strength. After reaching the headwaters of Irtash, the rivers turned out to be way wilder and higher volume than expected. With continuous class II and III whitewater (and some class IV rapids) we progressed faster than planned and paddled both rivers in two long days. After hopping in for a bath in some natural hot springs on the way back to Enilchek, we finished the adventure in seven strenuous and adventurous days.

Thanks a lot to Visit Karakol for the great support in planning this trip and arranging some of its logistics!

All pictures: © Alexander Riedel

Text: Peter Nauroth, Land Water Adventures

Eine Antwort auf „Packrafting in Kirgistan“

  1. Hello,
    I am in the planning and mapping stage of orchestrating a comprehensive trekking expedition throughout the central Tian Shan. The second segment of this route will commence from Engilchek town, where I will retrieve a prearranged supply cache. Onward from there I have contemplated a number of routes which might gain access to the remote Djangart range to the south. One potential route traverses up the Uchkel ravine, making one critical ford near the mouth of the canyon [41.926457°N 78.968602°E] before it spills into the Sarydjaz. Can you comment on the feasibility of such a river ford, the velocity of this river, or otherwise on the presence of cable ferries and/or bridges to facilitate a safe crossing? Alternatively, in order to bypass the possible hazards of a lower crossing, I have considered a substantially longer route that would ford the same river, much higher in the watershed. This route would scale Ekichat Pass, [N 42.07240°, E 078.89765°] followed subsequently by Terekty Pass, [N 41.98247°, E 078.83026°] and would make a ford somewhere near the Bashkel Lake. [N 41.91394°, E 078.75746°] For this, the same concerns apply. I would appreciate any logistical information that you might be willing to share.
    Thanks and best regards, Ian Roth

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