To top off our stay in Karakol, we wanted to explore the local hiking trails. Three roommates in our guesthouse came back excited about the popular tour to Ala-Kol Lake and assured us that the three-day hike was doable despite snowfields.

With an additional day of hiking, we were able to expand the route into the promising “Highlights of Ak-Suu” tour. Thanks to the credible descriptions and the available maps, the hike required minimal preparation: we packed our backpacks and pre-cooked dinners (this time we had lentil stew😊).

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We reached the starting point comfortably by minibus and shared cab. The predicted sunny weather did not arrive… during the bus ride it bucket down. For us reason enough to start the hike with tea and second breakfast😉.

The first stage led through the green Oguz valley with many touristic yurt camps. As the driving trail became a hiking trail, the valley opened up and became more lonely. Our rain ponchos were used repeatedly because of short thunderstorms. While hastily setting up the tent in the evening, David realized that he had forgotten his sleeping pad. He took it with humor and made himself a sleeping nest out of seat mats, rain jackets and ponchos (to prevent moisture from the ground). From my backpack, the smell of lentil stew hit me… the closures of the ziplock plastic bags were not really leakproof.
While the world was ending outside with thunder and lightning, we munched our dinner in the awning… the wet cold smelly feet contributed additionally to the mountain romance😉.

On the second day we crossed the Telety Pass covered with snowfields. In the soft snow, we repeatedly collapsed up to our hips, which is why we preferred detours over more snow-free boulders. In this beautiful mountain world we were all alone, the first people we met only in the next valley.
Once again we sought refuge from a thunderstorm, this time in a tourist yurt. After an overpriced lunch (in yurts the prices are often 3x higher than normal) we started the first part of the ascent to the much visited Ala-Kol pass. On the way we had a flat night camp where we slept well even without a sleeping mat😀.

The next morning we hiked along the stunning Ala-Kol Lake to Ala-Kol Pass (3901m). The steep snowfield on the descent had steps thanks to the many hikers and was relatively manageable. We reached the valley just in time to take a dip in a teahouse before the next heavy thundershower.

The way back to Karakol was not very adventurous and correspondingly rarely walked. Nevertheless, the stage on the last day was an unexpected highlight because of the beautiful view into the mountains and the city as well as the many edelweiss! In the guesthouse we were welcomed again warmly and could clean and repack our baggage. Having had a last tea & cake in the Karakol coffee shop, we continued towards Kazakhstan after nine days of cycling break.