Kyrgyzstan--Summer 1999

Here are a few images, taken on a trek in the Pamir-Alai Mountains (Turkestan Range) of southern Kyrgyzstan during the summer of 1999.  The route went from one Aksu Valley, over the 14000-foot Aktubek Pass and then the Kok Moinak Pass to the Karasu and another Aksu, which are the home of Kyrgyz herders and the destination of serious alpinists because of the granite walls that line the valleys.   The pictures here have been rather hastily processed.  When there is time, I will add others, some maps, and additional commentary.  The pictures are thumbnails--click on each for its enlargement.

aktb1.jpg (50762 bytes)The Aktubek Pass, a telephoto view from the trail leading up to Kok Moinak.     



aktb2.jpg (65265 bytes)The view down from near Kok Moinak Pass, with the Orto Chasma below.



aktb3.jpg (44288 bytes)The view from Kok Moinak Pass across to the Aksu.  The spires on the right separate the Karasu and Aksu valleys.



aktb4.jpg (48934 bytes)The head of the Karasu valley, with the wall of Uzun Asan on the left and Pyramid Peak in the clouds.



aktb5.jpg (43754 bytes)Flowers on the moraine below Uzun Asan.






aktb6.jpg (77020 bytes)The view down the Karasu from the moraine in the upper valley.





aktb7.jpg (56418 bytes)View from the moraine on the upper Aksu to the peaks that divide it from the Karasu.





aktb8.jpg (56532 bytes)Two more views of the same.  aktb9.jpg (30564 bytes)


aktb10.jpg (46130 bytes)A herder camp near the mouth of the Karasu.


aktb11.jpg (56323 bytes)The Kyrgyz of the Karasu.

                aktb12.jpg (59597 bytes)


aktb13.jpg (49548 bytes)The interior of their home.  Bread is baking in the wok that is turned up against the fire.





aktb14.jpg (69617 bytes)A Kyrgyz family in the Aksu--grandfather (age 73), grandmother (age 68) and two grandsons.



aktb16.jpg (59555 bytes)Processing milk with a hand-cranked separator.  The milk is boiled in the wok, the cream (kaymak) separated, and then the skimmed milk returned for further heating both so that it will be converted to yogurt (ayran) or dried in balls known as qurut, which can then be reconstituted in boiling water or simply used as "snack food".


aktb15.jpg (48181 bytes)Weaving a straw mat in traditional fashion.



aktb18.jpg (38797 bytes)The sheep's stomach here is being used to store cream.  Since no air is left inside, when stored in a cool place the cream will keep for a year this way.





aktb17.jpg (40880 bytes)Here the young husband was not to be left out when he discovered his wife was being photographed at work.  He had to display what one assumes was a source of great pride, his new boom box.  Note the name-brand clothes, probably unlicensed copies.





aktb19.jpg (84102 bytes)Heading down from the Aksu to the Karavshin, one passes this elaborate graffito, where the focus is a Koranic inscription.



aktb20.jpg (90130 bytes)In the Karavshin, there is an interesting shrine, alongside a mosque (not pictured).



Here is a preview of more photos to come, in this case from the Tien Shan, where one can revel in the sunset on 7000-meter Khan Tengri.kt99-1.jpg (19073 bytes)



Copyright 1999 Daniel C. Waugh