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.


  • 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
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
Entrance fees
Personal climbing, camping equipment or clothing
Lunch and dinner in Tajikistan

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

*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.

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.
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.



Travel Kyrgyzstan

Unseen Kyrgyzstan

Unseen Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan, an offbeat destination renowned for its trekking and horse riding, is an ideal place to discover nomadic culture at a grassroots level. There are plenty of rarely-visited locales to explore throughout this centuries old Central Asian nation, and our two part trek between Naryn and Osh is one such place. Over thirteen days you’ll traverse your way across the southern corner of the country, through remote valleys, and verdant pasturelands frequented only by the herdsman who dwell there in yurt camps during the summer. Along with passing by small and remote traditional Kyrgyz villages, and visiting Uzgen (an ancient capital city), another remarkable section of your journey will be paddling across Kel Suu lake located at over 3300m and hemmed in by towering rock walls overlooking the placid alpine blue waters.

Dates: TBC Summer 2020


  • Visit the ancient Silk Road caravanserai of Tash Rabat, which was originally built as a Christian monastery in the 10th
  • Explore Kel Suu Lake, one of Kyrgyzstan’s largest and highest natural dam lakes, and also a little-seen corner of the country.
  • Experience traditional Kyrgyz hospitality and ways of life staying in yurts and venturing out on horseback.

Start point  – Bishkek
End point   – Osh
Maximum number of people: 10
Number of days: 13

Day 1 – Bishkek – Chong Kemin
You will be met by your driver and guide on arrival in Bishkek. If you arrive in the morning there will be time to go on a tour of Bishkek with your guide and to acquaint yourself with the capital city of Kyrgyzstan taking in locations such as the Osh or Dordoi Bazaar, the Central Mosque, Panfilov Park and Ala-Too Square. Afterward you’ll make your way out of Bishkek to Chong Kemin and along the way stop at Burana Tower, a 9th century minaret in the Chuy Valley.

Please note, the trip officially starts at 9am on the first day. If you arrive before this date or very early in the morning on Day 1, then private transport and a night in a guesthouse can be arranged for an additional US$25 per person.
Overnight in guesthouse in Chong Kemin

Driving: 170km
Driving time: 2.5 hours
Altitude: 1600m

Day 2 – Chong Kemin – Char Valley
The first stop of the day will be Konorchek Canyon where you will be able to stretch your legs and enjoy a short hike for three hours within striking red sandstone canyons which start out very narrow and then open out to a wide valley. After lunch in Boom Gorge, you’ll head to the town of Balykchy which is on the edge of Issyk Kul, the second largest alpine lake in the world. It’s a great place to go for a quick swim as sometimes temperatures in July can peak at 40°C. We’ll then continue to Naryn City which is the regional capital of the Naryn region. Depending on time you can go for a short walk and see the Naryn River that cuts across the whole of the country.  The final stop for the day will be the Char Valley where your hosts will be waiting for you in a hidden valley near to At-Bashy.
Overnight in guesthouse.

Driving: 290 km
Driving time: 4 hours
Trekking time: 3 hours
Altitude: 2040m

Day 3 – Char Valley – Kok Kyia Valley
Departing the valley in the morning you’ll drive through the unspoilt pasturelands of the Bosogo Valley and then cross over the Kaingdy Pass which takes you into the wild Ak-Say Valley. Shortly after entering the valley you’ll cross into the border zone region between Kyrgyzstan and China via a military checkpoint. After lunch you’ll arrive in Kok Kyia Valley where you will meet Meder and his lovely family whom will accommodate you in their yurts for the evening.
Overnight in yurts.

Driving: 140 km
Driving time: 4-5 hours
Trekking time: 2 hours
Altitude: 3300m

Day 4 – Kok Kyia Valley – Kel Suu Lake
After breakfast, you will be able to jump on the back of your horse and head to the stunning Kel Suu Lake. The lake is a natural dam lying between vertiginous sharp cliffs and is a picturesque location to have lunch.  Make sure to keep your eyes open because there are many birds of prey in this area, as well as ibex, foxes and marmots. In the early afternoon we’ll inflate the rafts and begin our journey by paddling along the lake. At 15km long and only 40m wide at its narrowest point, we’ll drift along its shores which are overshadowed by 800m high cliffs. These valleys are still unexplored and it’s possible to spend a bit of time discovering this area. The aim is to reach the far side of the lake and build a camp near Chong Tash.

Please note that Kel Suu lake exists due to a landslide dam (similar to Sarez Lake in Tajikistan) and is primarily fed by meltwater from a glacier above the lake, in addition to rainwater. In July 2018 the lake’s water mysteriously drained away in less than a month. Our local team has been visiting the lake since 2000, and during that time this phenomenon has only happened once before and the lake refilled in a matter of weeks. No one is certain for the exact reasons behind this unusual hydrological event, however, it is believed to be due to an underground collapse. Since the 2018 event the waters have not returned, but depending on the weather conditions over late 2018 and into 2019, we hope the lake to refill. Of course there is the possibility that the water may not return in time for your trip. If it does not, the only impact this will have on the trip is that instead of paddling you will traverse the dry lake bed on horseback and on foot.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude:  3610 m
Altitude Gain: +350m
Attitude Loss: -0m
Horseback riding: 2.5 hours (6km)
Paddling time: 4 hours (15km)
Trekking time: 2 hours (3-5km)

Day 5 – Kel Suu Lake – Valley of the Five Boys
After an early start you will head towards the little-visited Valley of the Five Boys, which is in close proximity to the Chinese border. If you’re lucky, it’s a great place to spot ibex, Marco Polo sheep and wolves.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude:  3933m
Altitude Gain: +800m
Attitude Loss: -800m
Trekking time: 5-6 hours (16km)

Day 6 – Valley of the Five Boys – Kok Kyia Valley
After breakfast you’ll venture over the Eshegart Pass (3933m) and descend into the Tuyuk Boto Valley. You will be able to see active wildlife in this very remote and wild region.  From the Eshegart Pass you will be able to see amazing panoramic views and, if you’re lucky, some wild animals like ibex gallivanting their way across ridges and hillsides.  In the late afternoon, you will arrive back at Meder’s yurt camp, where you will be greeted with cups of warm tea and great local dishes.
Overnight in yurts.

Altitude: 3933 m
Altitude Gain: +500m
Attitude Loss: -650m
Trekking time: 7 hours (20km)

Day 7 – Kok Kyia Valley – Tash Rabat
Today we’ll leave behind Meder’s family and depart for Tash Rabat by road via At-Bashi.  This will be the last time you see houses and shops for the next few days.  After lunch, you will head to a 15th Century caravanserai where you will be greeted at Nazira’s yurt camp.
Overnight in yurts.

Altitude: 3250m
Driving: 265km
Driving time: 6 hours

Day 8 – Tash Rabat – Kok Bel Pass – Karakol Valley
Today will be a challenge. Leaving very early in the morning from Tash Rabat you’ll make your way by car to the Karakol River. The road is fairly rough in a few places so we need a head start in the morning. Once you reach the Karakol River you’ll link up with the local packhorses and herders and commence your trek over to the Karakol Valley via the Kok Bel Pass (3915m). After descending from the pass you’ll build a camp where the valley meets the Arpa Plains.
Overnight in tents.

Driving: 80km
Driving time: 3 hours
Altitude: 3100m
Altitude Gain: +465m
Altitude Loss: -815m
Trekking time: 6 hours (15km)

Day 9 – Karakol Valley – Arpa Valley
Today you will hike alongside the Fergana Range.  It’s important to get an early start today because you have a lot of ground to cover.  Today the views will change with snow-capped peaks in the distance and you may see a few yurts dotted in the horizon.  It’s quite a contrast from the last days of trekking. It’s possible you might be invited in to one of the yurts for some tea. The shepherds are often surprised to meet trekkers in this area.  Later in the day camp will be built near a valley to protect everyone from the strong winds in the Arpa Valley.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3150m
Altitude Gain: +250m
Attitude Loss: -200m
Trekking time: 7 hours (20km)

Day 10 – Arpa Valley – Jylangash Valley
In the morning you will descend into a lush wooded area rich with pastureland fed by small rivers and lakes. The Kyrgyz here believe that Japaiy Adam, a wild man related to the Yeti, uses this area to migrate between the Pamir and Tien Shan Mountains. At the end of the day you will set up camp in the Jylangash Valley.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 2750m
Altitude Gain: +600m
Attitude Loss: -1050m
Trekking time: 7 hours (20km)

Day 11 – Jylangash Valley – Chitti River
After breakfast you will commence your difficult ascent over the Chitti Pass (3720m). The small path climbs gradually where you will have a chance to view both sides of the Fergana Range. The climate and the people will change after this pass because you are entering a different region of Kyrgyzstan. You will feel more of a Mediterranean climate and many of the people you meet are of Uzbek ancestry. You will stop beside the Chitti River for the evening.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 2450m
Altitude Gain: +1270m
Altitude Loss: -1300m
Trekking time: 6.5 hours (18km)

Day 12 – Chitti Valley – Osh
Today you will say good bye to your horses and herders and leave the Chitti Valley.  On the way, it’s possible to meet beekeepers and have a sample of the local honey.  Once your driver meets you at the end of the trail you will leave the Fergana Range to discover some of the most ancient regions of Central Asia.  You will be able to visit the historical complex in Uzgen with its three mausoleums and large minarets from the 11th Century.  The final destination for the day is Osh where you will be able to have a famous plov dinner in a chaykhana (café).
Overnight in guesthouse.

Altitude: 1950m
Altitude Gain: 0m
Altitude Loss: -500m
Trekking time: 5 hours (14km)
Driving: 125km (4 hours)

Day 13 – Osh – End
You will have the chance to visit Osh and summit Mount Solomon and see the 3000 year old bazaar, amongst other highlights in the city. From Osh it’s possible to fly directly back to Moscow or to other parts of Central Asia, as well as continue onward via the Pamir Highway to Tajikistan.

You will be accompanied by an international trekking guide from Untamed Borders for the entire length of this trip.

The trip includes:
All accommodation as described above
All meals during trip (3 per day)
All transportation in 4WD vehicle
Drinking water and tea
Local English speaking guide
Experienced international trekking guide
Horses and herdsmen
All activities as described above
All entrance fees for monuments, parks and permits
Camping equipment (tents, mats, kitchen utensils, gas)
Boats & lifejackets

The trip does not include:
International flights
Visas (if applicable)
Domestic flight from Osh to Bishkek*
Alcoholic beverages
Additional rental of personal camping equipment (if required)
Any charged activity not mentioned in the program

Cost – US$2600 per person

*If you need to return back to Bishkek and require a flight back, with an airport collection, and night in a guesthouse then this can be arrange for an additional US$125 per person.

To reserve a place on this trip we need a deposit of US$400

If you have any questions about this trip or about Kyrgyzstan in general please contact us.

We do not directly arrange international flights to Kyrgyzstan. However, we can suggest routes and operators.

Visas for Kyrgyzstan can be obtained on arrival for most foreign visitors. If you are based in the UK and require visa advice for other countries, then we recommend Travcour as an agent for your visa requirements. They are UK’s oldest leading travel visa specialist and are able to provide full visa support and consultancy for Untamed Border’s destinations.  They are the people we use when we need visa support for our staff.

In Kyrgyzstan three meals are provided each day and this is included in the cost of the trip. If you have particular preference for trekking snacks, such as energy bars/gels, then you will need to bring your own supply.

We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards in Bishkek cannot be compared to a home stay in an isolated valley in Kyrgyzstan. 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 mountains we will be staying in tents and in local home stays that sometimes only offer central communal areas to sleep in.

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. We will only be travelling by four-wheel drive vehicles. Your comfort, enjoyment and safety of the journey is the first priority.

On this trip you will be accompanied by an experienced international trekking guide from Untamed Borders plus local guides. 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 making arrangements.

Kyrgyzstan is a safe and stable Central Asian country. Nevertheless 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 are stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of this trip at short notice.