Wakhan to Little Pamir
See road map here.
|There are two ways leading to the Little Pamir: the high route via
Garumdee pass and the river route via Marpej pass. Although the river route is quicker (4 days vs. 5), it is often not accessible because the level of water prevents you to cross the second river after Baharaq. The high route through the Rorumdi pass (4 895 m) is always accessible and offers spectacular mountain views.
Sarhad-e-Borghil to Lake Chaqmaqtin (high route) (green route)
From Sarhad it is a relatively short and pleasant day-hike to Baharaq via the Dalriz pass (4 250 m). In Baharaq there is a herder's shelter near the river where it is possible to overnight. Baharaq is where the two routes (high route and river route) separate. Guides can generally tell from looking at the river in Baharaq whether the river route is accessible. Otherwise it is a 4 or 5-hour walk upstream to verify whether the second river after Baharaq (there is a bridge over the first one) can be crossed.
From Baharaq, the trail goes northwards towards Garumdee Pass via Sang Nawishta, where there many rocks are covered with petroglyph. You may spend the night in the settlement of Ebdimin-Sabt Vegitk where there is a yurt for guests (the construction of which was finished only one hour after we got there!). Otherwise, you can continue to Barnaoz and overnight in a herder's shelter.
The third day is a particularly long day as the trail crosses one of the highest passes in the Pamir: the Garumdee Pass (4 895 m) (also called Uween-e-Sar and Shpodkis). 3 hours after the Garumdee Pass, there are a couple of settlements, the first one on the left hand side where there seems to be a yurt for guests, and a second one on the right hand side (maybe also called Garumdee) where it is possible to overnight in a herder's shelter. Both valleys before and after Garumdee Pass are still Wakhi territory and are used for their summer grazing grounds.
On the fourth day, the trail turns eastwards through the beautiful Akbilis Lake, gateway to the Little Pamir. The first yurts of the settlement of Karchyndy (Kirtchyn Aq Jelgha) appear shortly after the Akbilis Lake on the left hand side. There you will have to change animals and guides. Straight ahead from Akbilis on the way to Buzai Gonbaz is a settlement called Khash Goz. There seems to be another settlement around called Akbilis whose leader is Toorsoon Boi.
From Karchyndy, it is a 4-hour walk to Bourguitiar
(also called Ak Jelgha) and a further 3 or 4-hour walk to Lake Chaqmaqtin. Both Karchyndy and Bourguitiar have yurts or rooms for guests. There seems to be no lodging option near Lake Chaqmaqtin. Bourguitiar is where Apandi (Effendi) Bey, the former ruler of the Little Pamir, lives. His son Islam-u-Din is the current leader of Bourguitiar.
Across the Little Pamir valley opposite Bourguitiar there is a beautiful hotspring called Ararkar
(Ak Arqar). It can be reached by horse or yak or by foot in 1.5 to 2 hours. A great opportunity to take a warm bath overlooking the Little Pamir!
Sarhad-e-Borghil to Lake Chaqmaqtin (river route) (yellow route)
The rive route goes via Baharaq (one day), then the Marpej Pass into Langar (Lyangar) (one day), and then on to Buzai Gonbaz (one day). From Buzai Gonbaz you can walk to Karchyndy in 2-3 hours, or directly to Lake Chaqmaqtin in 4-5 hours. Overall, the river route between Sarhad and Lake Chaqmaqtin takes at least 4 days. It is a very popular route and has been described in several trip reports, see Philippe Valéry, Mark Jenkins and Go Hirai.
See road map here.