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.
The Aktubek Pass, a telephoto view from the trail leading up to Kok Moinak.
The view down from near Kok Moinak Pass, with the Orto Chasma below.
The view from Kok Moinak Pass across to the Aksu. The spires on the right separate the Karasu and Aksu valleys.
The head of the Karasu valley, with the wall of Uzun Asan on the left and Pyramid Peak in the clouds.
Flowers on the moraine below Uzun Asan.
The view down the Karasu from the moraine in the upper valley.
View from the moraine on the upper Aksu to the peaks that divide it from the Karasu.
Two more views of the same.
A herder camp near the mouth of the Karasu.
The Kyrgyz of the Karasu.
The interior of their home. Bread is baking in the wok that is turned up against the fire.
A Kyrgyz family in the Aksu--grandfather (age 73), grandmother (age 68) and two grandsons.
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".
Weaving a straw mat in traditional fashion.
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.
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.
Heading down from the Aksu to the Karavshin, one passes this elaborate graffito, where the focus is a Koranic inscription.
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.
Copyright © 1999 Daniel C. Waugh