The last two weeks we followed mainly the Panj River from village to village. Every day we had at least a shop, a village, or even a restaurant available. For the next few days however we will have to live without all the amenities of civilization, including mobile phones and we will camp on the way to Khargush Pass in our tents.
After a very pleasant night at a homestay in Langar at roughly 2900 m we started our ascent. And right after Langar the road went up very steep, and because the road is not paved anymore and there were lots of big stones and sand on the road, we were climbing very slowly. Today I was really happy about my bike’s Pinion Gearbox which has a wide spectrum of gears – today I needed mainly the first gear. Thanks to that and my wide tires, I could bike up almost all the way without having to push my bicycle through rocks and sand, which is very tiring given the weight of my bicycle. Anne’s and Lucie’s bicycle are less optimal for these kinds of roads, and Anne basically had to push her bicycle up almost the whole way, making progress very slowly today.
Following a high plateau
After the initial climb of more than 500 m, we could cycle the rest of today’s ride on a high plateau between 3300 and 3500 m with wonderful views of the high peaks of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. On the way we did not meet many cars at all, but many shepherds with hundreds if not thousands of sheep and cows. They were also bringing their cattle to higher grounds for the summer. As the road was quite narrow at some parts, passing these herds was not always very easy and required a lot of patience.
Camping at end of high plateau
At some point the high plateau ended and the road continued inside the valley next to the river. As there is not much space for camping down there and the view on the plateau is much better, we set up our tents at the last possible location on the plateau and could observe a wonderful sunset. We also stopped already at 16:00 after 30 km on 3550 m because the road conditions were only marginally better than during the initial climb and because of better acclimatization for the high altitudes in the coming days.
As the sky cleared up in the evening, we will most likely also have a wonderful night sky. Let’s see if I can convince myself to get out of my tent during the night with freezing temperatures at this altitude.
Max elevation: 3623 m
Min elevation: 2852 m
Total climbing: 1188 m
Total descent: -519 m
Total time: 07:48:40