Country/Region: Pamir, Tajikistan
Trekking Date: 2014-08-21
Duration: 6 days
Difficulty Level: Difficult
The whole trek is in high altitudes (starting at ~3300m and up to ~4800m) and it is very remote as there are no villages along the route. Additionally, the ascent to Shtik-Lazar pass is quite challenging.
Recommended Season: July-August
Maximum Height: 4800m
The trek starts at Bachor village, follows the river east and north towards Chapdarkul and from there to Zarojkul, crosses the Shtik-Lazar pass (4800m) to bardara river and follows it down until reaching the village of Bardara in the Bartang Valley. Allow up to 7 days for this trek, depending on your pace and on weather conditions.
Note that as an alternative for this route, you can go from Zarojkul back to Bachor down along the river and avoid the crossing of the Shtik-Lazar pass which may be quite difficult.
Required Equipment & Supply:
All basic equipment for independent trek (in cold weather) is required – tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear etc.. Trekking poles are essential for the river crossings. Water purifier may be useful.
Water can be filled from the streams along the way. We purified the water whenever that seemed required. No place to buy food along the trek so take all the food you need for 6-7 days in your backpacks. Buy all the supply in Khorog.
GBAO permit must be obtained in order to get to Khorog (can be done at Dushanbe or in Tajik embassies in neighboring countries.
Note that marks on this map are not completely accurate and do not substitute a proper trekking map.
Getting to/from there:
Finding a taxi from Khorog to Bachor is quite difficult. The alternative is to take a taxi that goes east along the pamir highway, and drop at “Sardem” or “Shazud”. From there you can find someone who will be willing to take you to Bachor (for some money, of course).
From Bardara, there’s a taxi going to Khorog but it doesn’t go every day, so you might need to spend a day or two at Bardara (or pay for a private taxi if you manage to find one).
Distance: 16 KM
From Bachor (1), crossing the Gunt river over the bridge, then heading north-east along the south river bank.
After 4km, at the river conjunction, continuing east towards Yashilkul (the northern river goes to Zarojkul) until the next conjunction with a river coming from north, just before Yashilkul (2).
Distance: 13 KM
Crossing the main river (we found a reasonable spot to cross just above the conjunction with the river from north) and heading north along the east river bank. After about 10km you’ll find a sheperd’s hut along the route. About 2km after the hut there’s a comfortable spot to spend the night, just before the conjunction with the river coming from chapdarkul (3)
Distance: 7 KM
Crossing the main river to the north-east bank of the river coming from chapdarkul.
Following this river for about 7km until reaching the steep ascent before Chapdarkul (4). Camping at this spot.
This is a short day to allow some rest and getting used to the altitude before ascending to chapdarkul.
Distance: 12 KM
Ascending towards chapdarkul’s amazing view point and descending from there towards the lake’s waterline.
Walking west about 1km (not a convenient walk) until joining the river west to the lake. Following its north bank until reaching two beautiful lakes on the pass.
From the lakes, heading south west along the river until reaching another beautiful lake on Andaravj river (5).
Distance: 15 KM
Walking west on the right bank of the river, crossing to the left bank where the river turns north (as marked in the map). Continuing along the river, passing the grassy open area and reaching the pass, overlooking the amazing Zarojkul lake (8).
Continuing about 4km north, passing the next lake and reaching the stream coming from south-west (9), right before another lake. The ascent to Shtik-Lazar pass starts at this point.
Make sure you have enough time before dark. We started climbing around 13:00 and it was a bit marginal. Camping at point (9) and starting the climb in the morning might be a good option.
The path follows that stream coming from south-west on its north bank. Walking up along the stream, the path disappears at some point but just keep along the stream until reaching the pass at 4800m.
From the pass, follow the river descending to the north (stone piles along the way) until finding a comfortable spot to camp (6).
Distance: 23 KM
Continuing to descend until reaching the Bardara river.
Following the path along the river as marked in the map (cross to the south-west bank) until arriving at the village of Bardara (7).
There’s another village, called “Mazanchut”, about 3km before Bardara where you might be invited to spend the night.
The Soviet military maps are very helpful and the trails marked on the map are quite accurate. Hard copies of the maps can be bought at “PECTA” in Khorog.
Below are the links to the relevant 1:100K Soviet military maps: