Join us on an unforgettable hiking adventure in western China's remote Pamir Mountains, where ancient Silk Road outposts and truly authentic cultural experiences await. Enjoy challenging high-altitude hikes up to 16,700 feet elevation and camping in isolated wilderness, all supported by your expert guiding team and camel drivers. Along the way, immerse yourself in the traditional lifestyle of nomadic shepherds and take in the striking scenery of snowy mountains, massive glaciers, and beautiful grasslands. This is an MT Sobek-exclusive itinerary, great for expert hikers looking for something different!
Trek into the Pamir Mountains of Xinjiang - China's westernmost province - on this MT Sobek-exclusive itinerary
Be among the first outsiders to meet and interact with the Pamirs' fascinating, diverse peoples
Bookend stays in mountain camps, traditional yurts, and stone houses with a top-notch Kashgar hotel
Welcome to China! Upon arrival at the airport, meet an MT Sobek representative and transfer to your hotel. Relax a bit, then gather with the group for a welcome dinner.
After a good night's sleep and a leisurely breakfast, spend today sightseeing in the oasis city of Kashgar, a stop on the old Silk Road. Take in the 15th-century Id Kah Mosque, located in Kashgar Square and one of the largest mosques in China. Browse Handicraft Street, where you can see workers making all kinds of goods and experience the distinctive culture and custom of Kashgar artisanship. Stop at other fascinating city sites and enjoy delicious traditional meals today before returning to your hotel.
Drive along the world-famous Sino-Pakistan Friendship Highway (Karakorum Highway) to Upal Village, stopping at its fascinating Monday market for a late breakfast and to buy some melons for trekking. The amazing scenery continues to Karakul Lake (11,800'), backed by snow-capped mountains that attract accomplished mountain climbers from around the world. At Karakul Lake, share lunch with a local Kyrgyz family, in whose lakeside camel-wool yurt you will spend the night! Take an easy walk, meet the camels and their drivers who will tote our gear, and acclimatize for tomorrow's trek.
After an early breakfast, lace up your boots and start trekking! Your first destination is Tokkuzbullak (12,800'), a Kyrgyz shepherd's village. Along the way, soak up the views of the picturesque Kengxiwer River , with Mt. Muztagata (Muztagh Ata) on one side of the trail and Mt. Kongur (Kongur Tagh) on the other. After a rewarding first day on the trail, arrive in the village, where you have the opportunity to visit some local homes and talk with Kyrgyz families about their culture and livelihood.
An energizing camp breakfast readies you for today's walk to Tashningaldi (14,000'), which has long been a crossroads among the Kyrgyz nomads to sell and exchange goods. Today it is still a market area as well as our gateway into the mountains. The trek's terrain is blessed with rivers, grasslands, and glaciers, making for stellar views and a memorable day on the trail. Arrive at tonight's camp, which your team of camel drivers and guides set up in advance in a remote, picturesque setting.
Elevation gain continues today as you ascend to Turbulong (15,000'), the region's biggest grassland for Kyrgyz shepherds. There are no villages here, just scenic trekking between large rock formations, open pastures, glaciers, and rivers. All of your walking is above the tree line, so there is ample opportunity throughout the day to spot many yaks, and perhaps the occasional rabbit and sheep. If lucky, you might also catch sight of foxes and wolves. Tonight, spend another night under the stars in your comfortable mountain camp.
Today you make your way to Janbulak (15,700'), where nomadic shepherds water their animals. The trek involves an easy crossing of a scenic glacial pass, from which you are treated to stunning views of the Karakorum Mountains.
Your legs will appreciate the extra day spent at Janbulak today. Here you will continue to acclimatize while you immerse yourself in Kyrgyz shepherd life and culture. Also grateful for the break are our camels and their drivers, who are also resting up for the challenging trekking days ahead. Today is intended as a recoup day, but if you prefer to explore, you absolutely may do so!
Your well-rested body is ready for today's hike to Qiqeklik Village (16,700 feet), a remote village of Kyrgyz and Tajik shepherds. After crossing another glacial pass , arrive in Qiqeklik where you explore two different ethnicities, cultures, and local cuisines in shepherds' homes. The regional cuisine here is dairy- and meat-based - the village is so remote, there is very limited access to fruit and vegetables - and also incorporates local special bread. Further experience these old cultures firsthand by staying overnight in a Kyrgyz or Tajik stone home.
Begin your descent today as you head down to remote Lengger (11,100'), viewing the unspoiled scenery of the Pamir Mountains along the way. There is no village at Lengger, but the Tajik people grow wild wheat here.
It's hard to believe your trek is nearly over! Today you descend back below the tree line through rocky mountain terrain of small rivers and grasslands. Arrive in Xindi Village (9,800'), where you say thanks and goodbye to your camels and camel drivers, and are picked up for the drive back to Kashgar. After settling into your familiar hotel, enjoy a celebratory dinner to mark the wonderful accomplishment of completing the trek!
Rise early to catch the famous Sunday market, when the population of Kashgar swells by 50,000. This age-old market is still one of the world's most amazing bazaars, and nearly everything is for sale here, including an overwhelming array of livestock, rugs, and clothing. Photo opportunities abound! Next visit the Old Town, lunch in a Uyghur home, and visit the Apak Hoja Tomb (Afaq Khoja Mausoleum), perhaps Xinjiang's finest example of Islamic architecture. Your guide relays the "Fragrant Concubine" legends related to this site, where five generations are buried in 58 tombs.
Say farewell to the group this morning and transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
This is an exclusive MT Sobek itinerary, perfect for active adventurers looking to explore China's remote mountains.
We first ran this trip in 2013 and continue to work with expert Uighur guides to ensure a seamless adventure.
We blend trekking and cultural immersion, and facilitate first-hand encounters with local peoples of the remote Pamir Mountains.
Strenuous mountain trekking for 7 days, covering 7 - 9 miles per day up to 16,700 feet elevation and cultural touring in Kashgar.
Remote trail camping in the majestic Pamir Mountains and comfortable hotels in Kashgar.
Summer day time temperatures range from 70°F-80°Fs on the trek and warmer in Kashgar, dropping to 30°F-40°Fs at night. There will be little rain or snow.
You fly roundtrip to Kashgar in Xinjiang province, China.
Our MT Sobek representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel.
No, we are not able to process your visa, but will provide you with all the necessary documentation to handle on your own or through a visa service.
Yes. We recommend a rating of 0°F to 15°F; keep in mind your own personal warmth and comfort when choosing your sleeping bag. Please also bring a sleeping pad of choice.
You will have Wi-Fi at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Kashgar, but not on the trek.
With advanced notice, almost any diet can be accommodated. Please let your Adventure Coordinator know what your dietary restrictions are.
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