Evgeniy Hoffman.
bikepacking story
First time Kegety Pass.
While the strongest athletes in the world are going to the fifth SRMR, I took a couple of days to try my hand at a trip to the Kegety Pass. I didn't find a company for these days and went solo. The route along the Southern Canal from my house to the pass, it was 95km and 3150m of climb.
It started on Sunday at 7 am. The heat finally receded, and the ride along the canal was relaxed and meditative.
I had a snack in the Rot-Front and refueled with cola. A few kilometers later I met two cheerful Americans, Phil and Joe?(i think i forgot second name), they were completing their tour from Karakol. I talked in clumsy English and fingers, they said that they skipped the pass quickly, and the weather was "perfect". I forgot to take a picture. A little later, I met a young German rider Jonas at the last shop, he said that he had caught a cold and was ill at the hotel for 3 days, but today he would try to go up. I told him that I plan to spend the night closer to 3000 and maybe I'll see him again.
These meetings are unrealistically energizing, after them you go as if you had a good meal.
Soon, pleasant-looking greenery appeared, forests of tall Tien Shan spruce, and the sun disappeared behind clouds and the temperature began to drop noticeably. There are not many people at the waterfall. Although the road is popular and passable by cars, it was the most uneven and rocky of those where I have traveled in Kyrgyzstan so far, especially after the waterfall.

The last houses at an altitude of about 2100 are the Kegety campsite. I still did not let go of the dream of a hot lunch, but Tamerlane, whom I met there, said that the base was no longer working and the season was over, but invited me to drink tea and fed me boiled eggs and tomatoes in his household trailer. The last time I got in touch with my family, I warmed up and left to wherever I could.
Somewhere from 16.00 it became quite difficult to go, and I stomped on foot for an hour and a half. Refusing the kind invitation of the shepherd to spend the night in the yurt, because I had no strength to communicate, I went to the height of 2700 and set up camp. The clouds were already wrapping up the gorge, and the temperature, according to the feeling and the frozen bars, was approaching 0 °. After having a snack, I quickly wrapped myself up and dozed off, then woke up at 3 in the morning, went out to look at the cleared sky, cooked some food and already fell asleep soundly until morning.
The next day at 9.00 I started in a cold, but not too wet cloud fog. There were 14 km and 1100 m of climb to the pass. I thought I wouldn't be able to pedal anymore, but food and sleep did their job. A couple of photos at the legendary «Buhanka».
I climbed up and believed that the clouds should disperse, and so, at about 11 o'clock, nature rewarded me by opening Alpine views. Then I drove back into the cloud and for the last two hours, mostly walked. It was really hard kilometers, at some point got the front flat tyre , but a small side cut, fortunately, was sealed with sealant after a couple of inflations.
Black stones in the fog of the last 200 meters is a very harsh and inhospitable sight for a person of dense green forests and deep rivers) But it's all worth it. At 13.10 I finished the ascent and an incredible view of the valley of the Eastern Karakol River was waiting for me from the back of the pass.
10 minutes for the photo and a snack, and the way back home.
Conclusions: Against the background of my usual relaxed cycling, the trip was a real test and I felt even more respect for the participants of Silk Road Race. The ascents in the highlands were physically difficult, I always wanted easier climbing gears and bigger tires. And however downhill sometime was fun, for the most part it shook my soul and head, and tired my hands with braking. Next time, if i'll be back, I would definitely go with hardtail with good suspension fork, tires 2.25+, lighter gears and hydraulic brakes. Don't get me wrong, you can ride on any one, but my travels are not so frequent to turn them into suffering, and a suitable mountain bike would add pleasure and fun!
Narrative and Photos
Evgeniy Hoffman
translation Evgeniy Hoffman

  • Евгений Хоффман
    Filmmaker. Bike polo player. Beagle lover.
bikepacking kyrgyzstan 2023
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