Ski Iraq

Ski Iraq 2019

Dates: 27th January – 4th February 2019

In 2017 and 2018 we arranged the first ever commercial ski trips to Iraq. In 2019 we will be back. For a country more associated with deserts, Iraq has some great mountainous terrain in the northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region which we will explore with a qualified international ski guide.
Using the experience the Untamed Borders team has from our previous skiing and climbing trips to Iraq, we have identified areas that offer some great ski touring terrain.
Guests should have some prior experience of ski touring and be able to make their turns in all conditions.
We will start in Erbil and head straight to the peaks around the town of Choman near the Iranian border. Here we will find the best and most reliable snow. In addition to the ski touring, we are timing the trip to coincide with the inaugural Iraq Ski Rally – a ski touring race to be held in the border town of Haji Omran.
Iraq has some major problems at the moment but in the far north of the country security is good and it is possible to experience some of the famous Kurdish hospitality amongst the peaks. The chance to truly blaze a tourist trail is a rare opportunity.

Start Point  :Erbil
End Point   :Erbil
Maximum number of people: 10

Day 1 – Erbil
Sunday 27th January 2019
Arrive in Erbil.
Briefing. Depending on time of arrival we will be able to arrange a city tour to some of Erbil’s sights including the ancient citadel that dominates the centre of the city.
Overnight in Erbil

Day 2 – Erbil – Choman
Monday 28th January 2019
Drive from Erbil to Choman along the Hamilton Road. Built by the British it winds its way through the mountains of Kurdistan towards the Iranian border. If the snow is good enough we will stop off at the Korek mountain resort. This resort has a chairlift. The lift is mainly used for sightseers but if the snow has been heavy then it will be possible to ski on the slopes too.
We will then continue on to Choman.
Overnight in simple homestay in Choman.

Days 3 to 6 Choman and around
Tuesday 29th January – Friday 1st February 2019
Following paths and routes explored on our 2017 trip, the group will ski the slopes of Halgurd – Iraq’s highest peak and other areas. The group will be also exploring new routes and runs. Much of the area has never been skied before.
During this period we plan to spend one night in a very simple local home high in the mountains.
Overnight in simple homestay in Choman.

Day 7 Choman – Iraq Ski Rally
Saturday 2nd February 2019
The proposed date of the Iraq Ski Rally. The trip includes entry to this event.
Overnight in a simple homestay in Choman.

Day 8Choman
Sunday 3rd February 2019
A final day skiing in Choman.
Overnight in a simple homestay in Choman.

Day 9 Choman – Erbil – Home
Monday 4th February 2019
We will drive back to Erbil to connect with afternoon or evening flights home.

Please note that the above itinerary is an outline of what is to be achieved. The length of the time at the Korek ski resort, Choman could change due to snow conditions

You will be accompanied by an English-speaking Iraqi translator and a western qualified ski guide for the length of the trip.

The trip includes:
All accommodation
Breakfast
Lunch when skiing
All ground transport
Guiding
Entry to the Iraq Ski rally (worth US$100)

The trip does not include:
Visas
Insurance
Flights to Iraqi Kurdistan
Entrance fees
Lunch & Dinner
Drinks
Tips
Ski equipment

Cost – US$TBC
A deposit of US$400 is required to reserve your place on this trip.

If you have any questions regarding this itinerary or about Afghanistan in general, please contact us at info@untamedborders.com

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Iraqi Kurdistan. We can suggest routes and operators.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966
If you are bringing skis then please ensure that the carrier will take skis.
If you do want to extend your trip in Iraqi Kurdistan either before or after this one please contact us for arranging something or simply for advice and suggestions.

Visas:
For most nationalities, a visa is available on arrival in Erbil airport. The visa is valid for Iraqi Kurdistan only and NOT for southern Iraq.

Food:
We provide breakfast every day and lunch when skiing. We know plenty of places in Erbil. From traditional kebab houses to International Restaurants at International prices. When there is an option, we let you make the choice of how much you want to spend.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards and costs in Erbil cannot be compared to a homestay in Choman. We consider comfort, location, design, character, security, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room in Erbil.
In Choman guests will stay in a communal room.

Transport:
Unless the group is very small we take 2 vehicles when driving between towns and to the ski areas. If there is a breakdown we will not be left stranded. When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of the journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. Your comfort, enjoyment and safety of the journey is the first priority.

Equipment:
Guests should bring their own equipment.
A full list of recommended equipment will be given nearer the time.

Guides:
You will be accompanied by a European ski guide for the length of the trip. There will also be a local Iraqi guide to translate when not on the slopes.

Security:
Trips to Iraq do create dangers of their own and whilst we want you to have as much freedom as possible we must state that the tour leader has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route we have chosen passes through areas which we consider to be relatively stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.
In Iraq, areas away from the roads do have a risk of landmines. We have experience in the region and access to maps and information about where to ski and where to avoid.
As with off-piste skiing in the rest of the world, there is a small but serious avalanche risk.

Elephant Rock Madain Saleh - Saudi Arabia

Explore Saudi Arabia

Date: 9th – 17th February 2019

Explore Saudi Arabia

Start Point: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
End Point: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Maximum number of people: 10


Day 1 Jeddah
Saturday 9th February 2019
Arrive in Jeddah. Transfer to Hotel for a briefing.
Overnight in Jeddah.

Day 2 Jeddah
Sunday 10th February 2019
A full day visiting Jeddah.
Visit 19th-century ottoman houses constructed of coral and wood, the most beautiful and well known is Nasif House. Following lunch at a local restaurant, we will drive along the corniche of Jeddah. The road acts as an open-air museum displaying an array of modern sculptures. In the afternoon, we will visit the Altaybat City Museum with its large collection of arts from the Arabian peninsula.
Overnight in Jeddah.

Day 3 Jeddah – Al Ula
Monday 11th February 2019
Following breakfast we will take a morning flight to Medinah. We shall have lunch and then drive to Al Ula. We shall visit the famous Elephant Rock.
Overnight in Al Ula.

Day 4 Al Ula – Taima – Al Jawf
Tuesday 12th February 2019
In the morning we will visit the old city of Al Ula Mud Village, Mosa Bin Nusair Fort, al Khuraiba and the outside of the Lion Tombs.
We will then drive to Taima to visit the Haddaj water well, Al Hamra castle and al Radham. We then continue to Al Jawf.
Overnight in Al Jawf.

Day 5 Al Jawf
Wednesday 13th February 2019
A full day in Al Jawf. In the morning we will visit Domat Al Jandal, also known as Marid Castle. The ancient fortress is 2000 feet high and overlooks the old city from the south. In the city itself, we shall visit Omar’s mosque, names after the second Muslim Caliph: Omar Ibn Al Khatab. We will take a short drive to visit a newly discovered camel carving before moving on to Sakaka Fort, the center of many legends. It is widely believed to have been built in 7th century B.C. with mud construction being added to it in 3rd century. We will end the day with a visit to Sysara water well. In late afternoon there is the opportunity to visit the Olive Festival held annually in the city. Al Jawf is the most important city in Saudi Arabia for the productions of olive oil of the highest quality. The festival takes place over 10 days, with over 150,000 visitors in 2018. The festival centres on the sale of olive oil, olives and olive products but also allow farmers to make deals for future production due to the increasing demand for olive oil.
Overnight in Al Jawf.

Day 6 Al Jawf – Jubbah – Ha’il
Thursday 14th February 2019
We will start the day with a visit to Al-Rajajil (“the men”) – a site of standing stones aligned to sunrise and sunset. The mysterious stones stand up to 10 feet high and are believed to be over 5,000 years old, complete with Thamudic inscriptions.
We will continue to Jubbah where we can see the best and oldest examples of Neolithic rock art, deeply carved into the stone cliff faces. We shall then continue to Ha’il.
Overnight in Ha’il.

Day 7 Al Ula
Friday 15th February 2019
We will spend the morning visiting Airif Fort, built over 200 years ago as both a stronghold and observation post. Al Qishlah Fort is the largest traditional mud fortress in Ha’il. It is currently closed for development, so we will only be able to visit the outside.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Transfer to airport for flight to Riyadh.
Overnight in Riyadh.

Day 8 Riyadh
Saturday 16th February 2019
Morning visit to Dirryyah village. The UNESCO world heritage site is where the history of Al Saud Dynasty began. This will be followed by Masmak fort, one of the most important monuments in the city of Riyadh. The fort was captured by the Saud family in 1902, the start of the Saud family rule of the region. Lunch at local restaurant followed by a visit to the National Museum, composed of eight galleries telling the complete story of Arabian history.
Visit Murabba Palace, built in 1937 by King Abdulaziz, in the traditional Najid style using only local building materials.
We will then visit the Deira Souq. Finally, late afternoon we will visit the Janadriyah Festival, held annually in Riyadh since 1985. The cultural heritage and folk festival is the largest of its kind in the Gulf. It is divided into sections according to the different provinces of Saudi Arabia. Each province area has their own buildings which are replicas of the architectural style of the region. There are also several marketplaces, art exhibitions, food stalls, stages for traditional dance performances and commercial pavilions.
Overnight in Riyadh

Day 9 Riyadh – End
Sunday 17th February 2019
Transfer to airport for departure.


The trip includes:

  • All accommodation (3 or 4-star hotels)
  • All meals
  • Bottled water
  • Transport/transfers
  • English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees
  • Visa support
  • Internal flights as listed

The trip does not include:

  • Any visa fees
  • Insurance
  • International Flights
  • Other drinks
  • Tips

Cost:

US$5300 per person

A deposit of US$400 per person is required to reserve your place on this trip.

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Saudi Arabia. We can suggest routes and operators.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk   Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

Visas:
We do not arrange Saudi Arabia visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of letters of invitation to assist in your Saudi Arabia visa application.

If you are based in the UK then we recommend Travcour as an agent for your visa requirements. They are UK’s oldest leading travel visa specialist and able to provide full visa support and consultancy for Untamed Border’s destinations. Click here to obtain our specialist visa packages and support from Travcour. They are the people we use when we need visa support for our staff.

Food:
All meals are included. Bottled water is included. Other drinks are not.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing.

Transport:
When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. Your comfort and enjoyment of the journey is the first priority.

Guides:
On this trip, you will be accompanied by a licenced English speaking local guide. This allows for greater security and means that there will always be someone on hand to help or assist you even if the other team leader is busy arranging something.
Sometimes we also hire local guides with specialist knowledge of certain areas.

Contact us for further information at info@untamedborders.com

Somaliland Marathon 2019

Somaliland Marathon 2019

This package offers travel and entrance to the Somaliland marathon.

The marathon will take place in Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland. Along with being a great opportunity to experience this self-declared Horn of Africa nation, participants will also be supporting the work of the Darlington Foundation, a British-based charity which promotes and supports the education of students in Somaliland; our aim is to encourage each entrant to raise US$1500, which enough to put one student through full-time university education.

Start Point: Hargeisa
End Point: Hargeisa
Cost: US$1450 per person

Runners will be asked to try and raise US$1500 for the Darlington Foundation. Enough to allow someone to complete a three-year degree course.  If this is achieved, the entrance fee to the marathon will be waived.

Difficulty – Only as hard as a marathon.
Comfort – There is some level of comfort. The rooms have en-suite bathrooms and sometimes in the day there is hot water, not the entire day.

Day 1 – Hargeisa
Arrive in Hargeisa. Airport pickup and transfer to Hotel. If there is time then you will be taken on a short tour of the city. There are not many sights as such but the money changers with their mountains of notes and the shops with paintings of the products they sell on the walls make for good photos. Other places of interest include the War Memorial with its unusual monument of a crashed MiG fighter plane and the gold and khat markets.
Overnight in Hargeisa.

Day 2 – Hargeisa – Las Geel – Hargeisa
We will take you (along with your security escort) to the wonderful cave paintings at Las Geel, one of the most intriguing sights in the Horn of Africa. On the overhangs of a rock in the desert are some of the world’s best preserved ancient cave paintings. Dating from 5000-9000 years old they depict cows, people, dogs and even giraffes. A real highlight of Somaliland. After visiting the site we return to Hargeisa.
Overnight in Hargeisa.

Day 3 – Hargeisa
A final day in Hargeisa. This can be spent resting ahead of the race, visiting local organisations and meeting some of the Somali runners or helping the organisers arrange the first ever Marathon in Somalia.
Overnight in Hargeisa

Day 4 – Hargeisa – Race day
We will ensure that you get to the start on time, look after your bags and get photos of you during the race.
Overnight in Hargeisa

Day 5 – Hargeisa – Airport
Transfer to airport for flight home.

You will be accompanied by an English speaking guide Somali guide and an International guide for the length of the trip

The trip includes:
Accommodation
Ground transport
Permission to visit Las Geel
Local Guide
International guide
Breakfast
Visa processing
Entry to the Somaliland Marathon (worth US$200)

The trip does not include:
Somaliland Visa ($60 on arrival)
Other Meals
Insurance
Entrance fees
Flights
Drinks

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Hargeisa. FlyDubai, Jubba, Dalloo and African Express Airways fly there from Dubai and Ethiopian Airways has a daily flight from Addis Ababa.

Visas:
There are very few countries in the world where you can obtain a Somaliland visa. However, the UK is one of them. Contact us for details. We can also arrange a visa on arrival.

Food:
Breakfast is included on this trip. Other meals will be paid for by yourself.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on you sharing a twin room.

Transport:
When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel.

Guides:
On this trip, you will be accompanied by an English speaking Somali guide plus an international guide for the length of the trip.

Security and Risks:
We do monitor the situation closely and we listen very carefully to advice from the foreign office and from our friends in the areas we visit. Our client’s safety is our primary concern. We must state that the guide has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route we have chosen passes through areas that we consider stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.

Somaliland is not an internationally recognised country. Currently, Somaliland is secure and has, by and large, escaped the trouble that has blighted Somalia to the south. However, the government takes security there seriously and you will have a soldier with you when outside of any town.

For further details about this trip and the chance to join us please contact us.

Afghan Ski Challenge

Afghan Ski Challenge 2019

This package offers travel and entrance to the 9th annual Afghan Ski Challenge. A ski touring event in the Koh e Baba Mountains north of Bamian, Afghanistan.

Photo Gallery: Ski Afghanistan Flickr Album

Difficulty/comfort:
Difficulty – This is a ski touring trip, so you will need to be fit enough to walk up the mountain. You don’t need to be an expert skier, but you have to be confident and possess the basic skills.
Comfort – There is some level comfort. The rooms have en-suite bathrooms and sometimes in the day there is hot water, not the entire day.

Cost – US$2500

This package offers travel and entrance to the 9th annual Afghan Ski Challenge. A ski touring event in the Koh e Baba mountains north of Bamian in Afghanistan.

Untamed Borders was the first company to run ski trips to Afghanistan in 2011. 2019 will be our 9th season running ski trips to Afghanistan and we have again been asked by the organisers of the Afghan ski challenge to arrange packages for competitors.

The trip will be led by one of our experienced English speaking Afghan guides for the length of the trip. On the snow you will be guided by a qualified international ski guide in the mountains as well as the local Afghan ski guides. We will meet you at Kabul airport and show you a few places of interest in Kabul before flying to the beautiful and peaceful Bamian valley to ski in the Koh e Baba mountain range. We will also have time to visit the remains of the world’s largest standing Buddha statues that overlook the town and the ancient cities of Shah e Zohak and Shah e Golghola.

Afghanistan is a country slowly recovering from years of violence and neglect but it has always been a magnet for the intrepid. The rugged landscape, the ancient history crossed with tough yet incredibly hospitable people is an intoxicating mix. The chance to truly blaze a tourist trail is a rare opportunity.

For further details about this trip and the chance to join us please contact us.

Afghanistan in Spring

Afghanistan in Spring

Dates: 15th – 29th April 2019
Cost: US$4450
Space Available
Following our successful Autumn trip to Afghanistan we now offer a fixed date journey in Spring. This 15-day trip travels through the best bits of Afghanistan in the lushest time of the year. The blossom is out and the country is at its greenest.

Hindu Kush and Karakorum - Pakistan

Hindu Kush & Karakorum – Pakistan

Date: 27th April – 10th May 2019

A 14-day road trip through the awe-inspiring Karakorum and Hindu Kush mountain ranges of Northern Pakistan. These mountains contain a kaleidoscope of people as well as some of the earth’s most incredible scenery. We’ll begin by taking a flight from Islamabad to Chitral. There we will take our time experiencing life in the pagan Kalasha valleys. From there we take a three-day roadtrip through the Hindu Kush range and into Karakorum. Next, it is the Hunza valley, exploring the rope bridges of Husseini, Passu glacier and learning about life in the high mountains of Pakistan. Finally, we’ll take one of life’s great road trips, the Karakorum Highway, back to Islamabad.

Highlights:

  • Experience life in the pagan villages of the Kalasha valleys
  • Explore the wonderful Hunza valley
  • Cross Husseini rope bridge
  • Drive the legendary Karakorum Highway

Start point  – Islamabad
End point   – Islamabad
Maximum number of people: 10


Day 1 – Islamabad
Saturday 27th April 2019
After meeting you at the airport and checking in to your Guesthouse, we will take a short tour of Islamabad.  It is assumed guests will arrive in the small hours of the morning. Overnight in Islamabad.

Day 2 – Fly from Islamabad to Chitral
Sunday 28th April 2019
We will catch a scenic flight over the heart of the Hindu Kush to the remote Chitral valley. Chitral is cut off from the rest of Pakistan for six months of the year and feels very different from the Punjabi plains of Islamabad. The afternoon in Chitral can be spent visiting the fort, Shahi Mosque and the local bazaar.
Overnight in Chitral.
(If the flight is delayed then we will take a full day to drive to Chitral)

Days 3-5 – Chitral and the Kalasha Valleys
Monday 29th April – Wednesday 1st May 2019
We will spend 3 days visiting Rumbour and Bumboret valleys staying with locally owned guesthouses, eating locally grown food and drinking the locally made wine. The days will be spent relaxing, walking or jeeping to the Kalasha and Nuristani villages of these isolated valleys. We will ensure that the accommodation is with Kalasha families so that you get a chance to immerse yourself in the unique culture of the Kalasha.
Overnight in Chitral or the Kalasha valleys

Day 6 – Kalasha Valleys – Chitral – Mastuj
Thursday 2nd May 2019
The road between Chitral and Gilgit crosses through the Hindu Kush. The mountains get bigger and the road condition deteriorates. We take three days to make the journey.  We break the journey in Mastuj, which is less of a town than a collection of small holdings linked by winding lanes. It is a perfect place to do nothing except drink in the views.  Overnight in Mastuj

Day 7 – Mastuj – Shandur Pass – Phandur
Friday 3rd May 2019
We continue our drive through the Hindu Kush, crossing the 3700-metre Shandur Pass, home to the world’s highest polo ground. In the afternoon, we break the journey at Phandur to relax by the lake.  Overnight in Phandur

Day 8 – Phandur – Gilgit – Hunza
Saturday 4th May 2019
We join the famous Karakorum highway at Gilgit and head to the fabled Hunza valley. We then use Hunza as a base for exploring the surrounding area.  Overnight in Hunza.

Day 9-11 – Around Hunza
Sunday 5th May – Tuesday 7th May 2019
We have three days of exciting trips planned in Hunza. However, you may want to do nothing more than sit under an apricot tree, watch the mountains and read a book. On one day, we will pass the newly formed Attabad Lake to Passu. The 30 km long lake was only formed in 2010 after a massive landslide dammed the mighty Indus river. The second day we will visit the ancient forts of Baltit and Altit, the traditional residences of the Mirs of Hunza. For the fit, on the final day, we will take a walk on the high irrigation channels cut into the rock, giving tremendous views and an insight into how the people of Hunza created their Shangri-La.  Overnight in Hunza.

Day 12 – Hunza – Naran
Wednesday 8th May 2019
A long days’ drive from Hunza to Naran.
The first section will be on the Karakorum highway where we pass the point where the 3 great mountain ranges meet. After passing between the Himalayas, the Karakorum and the Hindu Kush we leave the Karakorum Highway and cross the 4000 metre high Babasur Pass before breaking our journey in Naran in the Kaghan valley.  Overnight in Naran.

Day 13 – Naran – Islamabad
Thursday 9th May 2019
Another day spent enjoying the scenery of the Kaghan valley and the final section of the Karakorum highway. We will arrive in Islamabad early enough for a final meal together. Overnight in Islamabad.

Day 14 – Islamabad – Home
Friday 10th May 2019
Transfer to airport and fly home.


You will be accompanied by 2 team leaders from Untamed Borders for the entire length of this trip.

The trip includes:

  • All accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • Transport
  • Guiding
  • Meals in the Kalasha Valleys
  • One internal flight between Islamabad and Chitral

The trip does not include:

  • Any necessary visas
  • Insurance
  • Flights to Pakistan
  • Entrance fees
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Drinks
  • Tips

Cost – US$2950
To reserve a place on this trip we need a deposit of US$400
If you have any questions about this trip or about Pakistan in general please contact us.

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Pakistan. We can suggest routes and operators.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

Visas:
We do not arrange Pakistan visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of letters of invitation to assist in your Pakistan visa application.

If you are based in the UK then we recommend Travcour as an agent for your visa requirements. They are UK’s oldest leading travel visa specialist and able to provide full visa support and consultancy for Untamed Border’s destinations. Click here to obtain our specialist visa packages and support from Travcour. They are the people we use when we need visa support for our staff.

Food:
We include breakfast every day. We also include some other meals in remote areas where stated on the itinerary. In our experience people sometimes want to eat different things in different places at different times and when there is an option we will be happy for you to have your say. We know some great places and will also happily show you some of our favourite restaurants and tea houses. Some are luxurious, some are more earthy but all have character. However, we do not pretend to be the arbiters of good taste and are equally happy for you to go off and find your own favourites. However, when restaurants are unavailable, such as when we are camping at the Shandur Pass or living in a Kalasha guesthouse, we ensure that food is provided.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards in Islamabad cannot be compared to a Kalasha guesthouse in an isolated valley in the Hindu Kush. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing.

Transport:
When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. Most of the roads on this trip are paved although the state of the surface can vary. In the Chitral valley the roads are sometimes very bad and we will be in jeeps for this section. Your comfort and enjoyment of the journey is the first priority.

Guides:
On this trip you will be accompanied by 2 team leaders from Untamed Borders. This allows for greater flexibility and means that there will always be someone on hand to help or assist you even if the other team leader is busy arranging something.
It also means we can split into 2 groups should there be a differing of opinion on what we want to do on a particular day.

Security:
The far North of Pakistan in Chitral, Gilgit and Hunza are currently stable areas. However, we monitor the situation closely and we listen very carefully to advice from the foreign office and from our friends in the areas we visit. Our client’s safety is our primary concern. We must state that the tour leader has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route we have chosen passes through areas which we consider to be stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.

Note that in Chitral we will have a police escort with us to comply with local police regulations.

Wakhan First Ascents

Date: 13th July – 2nd August 2019

In July/August 2019 we will be heading to one of world’s most remote corners for a first ascent climbing expedition. Our 21 day journey will visit one of the world’s least visited corners of the Eurasian Continent, the Afghan Wakhan which borders Tajikistan, Pakistan and China. We will begin and end in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe before travelling along the dramatic Pamir Highway and crossing over into Afghanistan. We will then pass through the Wakhan Corridor to the Afghan Pamir. You will spend 12 full days attempting two unclimbed mountains, Peak 5396 and Peak 5721. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet Wakhi nomads who graze their livestock here during the summer months as well as seeing ancient tombs and Buddhist engravings, which live as a reminder of this once great section of the Silk Road.

Highlights:

  • Discover the culture of the Wakhi nomads of this rarely visited corner of Central Asia
  • Travel along the Pamir highway, one of the world’s highest roads
  • Attempt to summit two unclimbed 5000m+ peaks in the Afghan Wakhan

Start Point: Dushanbe, Tajikistan
End Point:   Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Maximum number of people: 10
Number of days: 21

Day 1-2 Dushanbe – Kalaikhum – Khorog
Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th July 2019
We head straight out of Dushanbe (800m) driving along the Pamir Highway towards the town of Khorog (2100m). We will overnight in Kalaikhum (1600m) before taking a rest day in Khorog, nestling on the banks of the Panj River. We will stay overnight at a local homestay and begin to acclimatize to the mountains and explore this typical Tajik town of the Pamirs. Please note – if we need visas for Afghanistan for any of the group we go straight to Khorog in one long day and have a rest day in Khorog. It is however strongly recommended that you obtain your Afghan visa prior to the start of the trip.
Overnight in homestays.

Day 3 Khorog – Ishkishim – Qazideh
Monday 15th July 2019
We will drive to the border town of Tajik Ishkishim and cross over into Afghanistan. Once in Afghan Ishkishim we will spend the majority of the day in town with our guide, making the final preparations and collecting our permits for the Wakhan region. After that we will continue to the Wakhi village of Qazideh (2600m). Once we have left Ishkishim we will have to be self-sufficient for the remaining weeks and we need this day to ensure we have everything arranged.
Overnight in guesthouse.

Day 4 Qazideh – Wuzed
Tuesday 16th July 2019
The road is poor and can be washed out in places but we hope to make it in one long, but scenic day of driving. The 120km from Qazideh to Wuzed (3000m) takes us along a narrow section of the Wakhan Corridor. Passing the 7492m high Noshaq, Afghanistan’s highest peak, we will follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo and Hsuan Tsang on this ancient Silk Road route. We will have to stop in the village of Khandud to process some further paperwork. Afterward we’ll drive eastward past the village of Qala e Panja and toward Sast, which is across the river from Wuzed. It’s here that we’ll acquire our pack animals and porters.
Overnight in guesthouse.

Day 5 Wuzed – Wuzed Pass Shepherd Camp
Wednesday 17th July 2019
On our way up from Wuzed to the Wuzed Pass Shepherd Camp (3900m) we may meet Wakhi shepherds bringing their flocks back to the bigger villages for the winter. Our local guide has friends amongst the Wakhi and if we are fortunate we may have time to meet and talk with them. We hope to exchange ideas about the world and to get an insight into their lifestyle and culture, living in yurts in this remote spot, high in the Pamirs.
Overnight in tents.

Day 6 Wuzed Pass Shepherd Camp – Wuzed Pass Pond Camp
Thursday 18th July 2019
We will depart from the Shepherd Camp and venture further up the valley to our main base camp at Wuzed Pass Pond Camp (4400m).
Overnight in tents.

Day 7 Wuzed Pass Pond Acclimatisation Day (4400m)
Friday 19th July 2019
You will have a free day to relax, walk and acclimatise. Doing so will ensure you are well adapted to the rigours of climbing at altitude and put you in the best position for attempting the peaks safely and efficiently.
Overnight in tents.

Day 8 Wuzed Pass Pond Camp – Recce Peak 5396
Saturday 20th July 2019
A day will be spent exploring the local area and scouting out the approach and route up to the unclimbed Peak 5396, our first objective of the expedition.
Overnight in tents.

Day 9 Summit Attempt Peak 5396 – Wuzed Pass Pond Camp (4400m)
Sunday 21st July 2019
A very early pre-dawn start will see you make your attempt on the virgin summit of Peak 5396. After summiting you will return back to your base camp at Wuzed Pass Pond Camp.
Overnight in tents.

Day 10 Wuzed Pass Pond Camp – Yurt Camp for Peak 5721.
Monday 22nd July 2019
From Wuzed Pass Pond Camp we’ll move over to a Wakhi yurt camp (4150m) in the vicinity of Peak 5721.
Overnight in tents.

Day 11 Yurt Camp for Peak 5721 – Recce for an ABC or rest day Tuesday 23rd July 2019
On this day there will be the option to rest for the day whilst others in the group go for a recce of a suitable advanced base camp (ABC) for the following day.
Overnight in tents.

Day 12 Yurt Camp for Peak 5721  – Peak 5721 (ABC)
Wednesday 24th July 2019
After breakfast you’ll head for Peak 5721’s ABC (4800m) and prepare the following two days of climbing.
Overnight in tents.

Day 13 Peak 5721 (ABC) – Recce above ABC for route to summit
Thursday 25th July 2019
You’ll venture out with the team above ABC to search out for a potential route to the summit the following day.
Overnight in tents.

Day 14 Summit Attempt Peak 5721 – Peak 5721 (ABC)
Friday 26th July 2019
Today is another big day as you make your attempt on the first ascent of Peak 5721 and then return to ABC for the night.
Overnight in tents.

Day 15 Yurt Camp Peak 5721 – Foot of Sargaz Pass
Saturday 27th July 2019
We will pack up our camp and begin our two-day journey out of the mountains to Sargaz (3100m), first stopping for the night at the foot of Sargaz Pass (4800m).
Overnight in tents.

Day 16 Foot of Sargaz Pass – Sargaz Pass – Sargaz
Sunday 28th July 2019
In the morning we will ascend over Sargaz Pass and then make our descent down to the village of Sargaz, which is further east of Wuzed. If the weather is clear you may be able to see peaks on the other side of the valley (along the Pakistani border), as well as other unclimbed peaks further into the interior of the Wakhan near the Tajik border.
Overnight in tents.

Day 17 Sargaz – Qazideh (2600m)
Monday 29th July 2019
Return from Sargaz to Qazideh by road.
Overnight in guesthouse.

Day 18 – 20 Qazideh – Ishkishim – Khorog – Kalaikhum – Dushanbe
Tuesday 30th July 2019
The drive back to Ishkishim should be relatively smooth at this time of year as the river levels are low after the summer snow melt. Once back in Ishkishim (30th July) there will be time to rest and say goodbye to our Wakhi guides. We cross back into Tajikistan and head back up the Pamir Highway. Khorog will seem like Las Vegas after nearly three weeks in the Pamirs. The drive back will be broken up at the small town of Kalaikhum (31st July) before arriving in Dushanbe (1st August)
Overnight in homestays.

Day 21 Dushanbe – End
Friday 2nd August 2019
You will be dropped off at Dushanbe airport.

The trip includes:
All accommodation
All food in Afghanistan
Breakfast in Tajikistan
All transport
2 x international mountain guides
Local guides
Cook
Freeze dried mountain food
Mountain tents and cooking equipment
Group climbing equipment (radios, ropes, petrol stoves, protection)
Pack animals
Permits to visit the Wakhan region
Visa support

The trip does not include:
Any necessary visas
Insurance
Flights
Entrance fees
Drinks
Tips
Personal climbing, camping equipment or clothing
Lunch and dinner in Tajikistan

Cost
US$5300 per person.

A deposit of US$400 per person is required to reserve your place on this trip.

If you have any questions regarding this itinerary or about Afghanistan in general, please contact us.

Fitness/Experience Requirements:
Our outdoor trips are designed to be physically engaging and provide a
level of challenge for most people. Given the demanding nature of this
expedition you will need to have prior trekking, rock climbing* and
basic mountaineering/alpine experience**.

For the walk in to base camp, please ensure that you are capable of
walking with a 10-15kg day pack for up to 8 hours over 5 or more
days through uneven and varied terrain (and weather); ranging from
hard-packed earth, tussock grass, boulder fields, scree slopes, soft
snow patches, and knee-deep rivers.

For the approaches to advanced base camp and whilst climbing, you
will need to be able to carry up to 15-20kg on snow/glacial terrain
sometimes exceeding 50°. You will also need to have basic
competency walking in crampons, belaying, rappelling, front-pointing
on ice, descending with crampons, be comfortable with height/exposure, ascending a fixed rope (if required)*** and experience using both a single axe and two technical axes.

The itinerary is what we hope to achieve on this trip. As this is a
climbing expedition involving first ascents on unclimbed peaks, we
cannot guarantee that the summits will be reached as it is dependent
on local weather and the conditions on the mountain at the time.
Please be prepared to fully embrace venturing into the unknown and
be ready to adapt to any changing circumstances whilst in the
mountains.

*Ideally you should have some experience of seconding up to 5.4/IV/Severe on rock
**Ideally you should have some experience of seconding up to PD/II/WI2 in the mountains
***If certain sections of the route are beyond your comfort level we
will have 50-100m sections of static line available for each team which
will be fixed by the mountain guide. However, you will need to be able
to ascend the rope comfortably using 2 x ascenders or prussiks.

Lastly, for all participants with a serious interest to join, you will need to provide us with a basic CV of your previous climbing/mountaineering/trekking experience. One of the international guides for this trip will arrange to have an informal chat with you beforehand to share with you more about the trip and answer any questions you might have regarding the required level of experience.

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Tajikistan. We run our Wakhan trips to coincide with the regular Turkish Airlines flights from Europe to Dushanbe, which is the most practical route into Tajikistan.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for other suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

Visas:
You will need a double-entry Tajikistan tourist visa with GBAO permit and an Afghan visa for this trip. We will assist with advice on how best to obtain these visas as visa requirements vary from country to country. We recommend you apply for the Tajikistan e-visas as this is the fastest and most efficient method. If a double-entry Tajikistan visa is not available at the time, you can apply for 2 x single entry tourist e-visa, provided they each have a different ‘valid from’ date.

Insurance:
The Wakhan and Afghan Pamir regions are both very remote areas in one of the least developed countries in the world. Please ensure that your insurance covers you both for visiting Afghanistan and for rescue in the Wakhan region of Afghanistan. If you have any questions about which insurance company to select please contact us.

Food:
Outside of Dushanbe options will be limited and once we are on the trek we will only be able to eat what we bring with us, or barter for from the nomadic people. Any specific allergies or dietary requirements can be accommodated if we are given prior warning. If you have a particular preference for snacks to eat whilst climbing (such as protein bars), we strongly suggest you bring your own personal supply.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.

The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room when that is available. When we are in the Wakhan area we will be staying in tents and in local guesthouses that sometimes only offer central communal areas to sleep in.

Transport:

We always check the vehicles we use thoroughly before each trip. In Afghanistan we aim to use four-wheel drive vehicles and take with us a satellite phone should the vehicle develop a fault.

When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. Your comfort, enjoyment and safety of the journey is the first priority.

Guides:
For this trip we use team leaders from Untamed Borders who have experience of guiding in the Wakhan and Greater Ranges. In addition to these experienced leaders we will be working with local Wakhi guides and porters.

Security:
Trips to Afghanistan do create dangers all of their own and whilst we want you to have as much freedom as possible we must state that the tour leader has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route we have chosen passes through areas that we consider to be relatively stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.