Song Kol is a large mountain lake located at 3000 m on a huge plateau and is surrounded by hills and mountains. It can only be accessed from June to September via a few high passes. The one closest to my location was Moldo-Ashuu Pass with an altitude of officially 3346 m, and it was the third high pass within the past five days. So this was the way to go for me. It would be my last 1000+ m climb on this trip, because afterwards I will be slowly descending towards Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital.
Since it was raining all night, the roads were still wet and the mountains wrapped in low clouds. I was hesitating a lot in the morning to actually start cycling today, because the weather forecast announced rain during the day as well. The alternative however I liked even less: hanging around in the small village with bad Internet and no infrastructure for a whole day. So I accepted the possibility of getting wet on the way.
The wet roads were actually an advantage, because there is not that much dust flying around from the unpaved surface and the tires have more grip in sandy parts. And apart from the roads, it was a dry morning and I managed to cycle to lunch break without getting wet.
After around 600 m of climbing, I reached a Nomad camp where I could take a full lunch in their yurt. That was very welcome because it first was lunchtime, and second, it started to rain heavily as soon as I reached the camp. The rain continued for at least one hour, then the weather slowly started to get better. I waited another hour to observe the weather and as it got better and better, I decided to go for the pass, another 800 m up.
Everything looked fine until about 200 m below the pass, when I heard thunders nearby, and when I turned around, I saw a thunderstorm heading in my direction. I cycled up another 50 m, but then the storm caught up with me. I had to stop cycling, put on my rain gear and took the footprint of my tent to protect myself against the snow and rain. Luckily, the thunderstorm only touched me slightly and 10 minutes later the sun was shining in my face again. I continued up to the pass and slowly descended to Song Kol where I found a space in a yurt camp.
Apart from bringing their animals on huge stretches of grass around this beautiful lake, nomads also make a business by renting sleeping places to tourists like me. So tonight I will sleep in an official yurt. And as it is usual here to put many persons into one yurt, I got assigned two more tourists to my yurt. It turned out they are both Swiss as well. What a small world…
Max elevation: 3228 m
Min elevation: 1725 m
Total climbing: 1677 m
Total descent: -370 m
Total time: 09:03:34