Best Season: July-September
Level of Difficulty: Difficult; maximum difference in altitude in one day: 1600m.
Requirements: Relative physical endurance, have a good head for heights, sturdy trekking boots, sleeping bag, tent, weatherproof warm clothes, hat, gloves, sunscreen and sun glasses,
small backpack for daily pack. Some horse riding skills are required, free instruction available.
Overnight Stay: In tents while touring. Upon prior reservation, tents, sleeping bags and camping mats may be hired.
Food: It is possible to hire a cook for the tour, who will purchase all the required food and prepares all meals, which includes a cooked breakfast and dinner, and a cooked lunch or picnic lunch with 2 fresh salads every day. Biscuits and sweets are also provided.
Itinerary: Arslanbob – Small Lake – Holy Lake – Kuldam Bas Jailoo – Airy-Tash Pass – Kara- Toosak Cave – Birch gorge – Kyde Pass – Ala-Baital Pass – Ken-Kol Pass – Kara-Unkut Valley – Kara-Bulak Jailoo – Kara-Bulak Pass - Arslanbob
Day 1: Start from Arslanbob Village in the morning. Go by car or horse to Karart jailoo. Slowly leave the fields and pastures of Arslanbob and walk up to the Utchat Pass (3100m asl). Then down through the Big Gorge, after which you camp for the night shortly before the Small Lake on a beautiful small pasture between steep rising rock faces. From there, it is a 10-minute walk to the beautiful Small Lake, where you can take a refreshing bath in the icy cold water and enjoy warming up afterwards by the warm evening sun.
Day 2: Go past the Small Lake to the bigger Holy Lake, where you can get an impression of how the local people live their faith. It is forbidden though to swim in the Holy Lake for respect of the Muslim pilgrims. You continue past the Holy Lake through Krug Kerei Valley, where wild onions and colorful flowers grow.
The path is gently rising up to 3100m asl over the Kuldam Bas Pass and down again over wide shepherds’ pastures. A last small pass will lead you to Kuldam Bas jailoo, where you spend the night at 2800m asl.
Day 3: Cross over the difficult Airy-Tash Pass (3000m asl). After the pass, gently go down through man-high grass to the Kara Toosak Cave, which is used by hunters for overnight stays. The day ends here, earlier than the other days so that you can have a rest and a refreshing bath in the mountain stream next to the cave. Overnight stay in the hunters’ cave.
Day 4: Over the Kara-Toosak Pass (2850m asl) to a jailoo of Kara-Toosak you go on a long descent down to the Birch Gorge (2000m). Walk along hunters’ trails through birch and pine forests up to the Kyde Pass (3100m asl). Enjoy the stunning view on the steep precipices and gorges from the heights of the series of minor passes to come. Over Isfi jailoo you walk down on a steep path to the foot of the Ala-Baital Pass. There you camp for the night on a flower covered meadow right underneath a rocky mountain face and a small glacier (2700m asl).
Day 5: Cross over the Ala-Baital Pass (3250m asl) and then over the Ken-Kol Pass (3320m asl). Then you tackle a long descent down to the Ken-Kol Lake, where a couple of shepherds you meet gives you an impression of having come back to civilization. Overnight below the Ken-Kol Lake.
Day 6: Walk down the Kara-Unkut Valley on the old gravel road built before Soviet times, which then was meant to become the main road Osh-Bishkek. It is sided by beautiful mountains and walnut forests, indicating that you are slowly approaching Arslanbob. Overnight in the Kara-Ünkür Valley next to the Kümüsh-Suu River (1500m asl).
Day 7: Go up to Kara-Bulak jailoo and get over and done with the very last ascent up to the Kara-Bulak Pass (2680m asl). From there, you behold the high fields of Arslanbob and start the gentle descent back to Arslanbob Village. Before going back to the village centre, it is possible to visit the Big Waterfall. Arrive in Arslanbob by early afternoon.