This is the first time mountain biking will be attempted in the high mountains of the Wakhan Corridor. Travellers first started returning here in 2002 with some intrepid mountaineering expeditions and over the last five years trekking routes have become established. The remoteness and logistical difficulty of getting here has meant an expedition has not yet been attempted on a mountain bike. That is about to change...
Mission: to conduct a mountain bike expedition from Sarhad e Boroghil to Qali-Wurst through the Little and Big Pamir, in order to pioneer mountain biking in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor.
The expedition will begin in the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe. From here we will travel for two days down the legendary Pamir Highway before crossing the border into Afghanistan at Ishkhashim. A day of bureaucracy and a further day of travelling will take us to the eastern end of the Wakhan Corridor, to Sarhad e Boroghil.
In Sarhad e Boroghil we will unpack the bikes and start the expedition. The first phase of the expedition will be supported by horses and yaks to carry our gear and allow us to acclimatise. A tough first day will see us ascend from 3200m to 4200m before descending to 3400m – an awesome introduction to the Wakhan! The following two days will see a slow climb to the Kyrgyz village of Bozai Gumbaz. Over the next three days we will cross three passes that are over 4500m, ensuring some tough climbs but some epic descents.
On day eight we will wave good bye to our horses and yaks, which have been carrying our gear, and move to a self supported expedition, carrying all our own gear for the final four days. We will still have two more passes to cross that are over 4500m, but it is downhill most of the way! The final day will see us descend 1500m back to the valley floor. Over12 days of riding we will cover 262km. We will summit five high altitude passes that are above 4500m and the majority of our time riding will be spent above an altitude of 4000m. For the first 8 days of riding we will be averaging 15 – 25km a day, and for the final 4 days we will average 40km a day. It is set to be a tough, but epic adventure.
Adventure All the riding will take place on single track forged by centuries of use deep in the mountains of the Pamir. At no point do we come across any roads. The terrain will be challenging and combined with the altitude will make it hard work. For much of the uphill we will be pushing our bikes, but the downhill will make it worth it! We will be privileged to forge a new way of travel through a fascinating and remote region of the world. This will be expeditionary mountain biking in it’s truest form, days from any road, relying on what we carry in and our limited spares and ingenuity for bike repairs! This will be a true adventure, full of all the associated highs, lows, set backs and achievement!
Responsible Travel: OXFAM
Secret Compass have partnered with OXFAM for this expedition. If you would like to Mountain Bike through the Wakhan with us to raise money for OXFAM you will receive a 10% discount on the cost of the expedition. Please get in touch and we can discuss sponsorship options and assistance. OXFAM GB is a globally renowned aid and development charity with 70 years of experience, working and campaigning with partners in 98 countries worldwide. Oxfam is a registered charity in England and Wales (no 202918) and Scotland (SC039042).
Will be in a basic guesthouses in Tajikistan and the Wakhan Valley. These often have communal rooms where everybody sleeps. We will be camping as we move off on the ride, and may be invited to stay in yurts at times.
There are few frills up in the mountains, but what you will witness in these breathtaking valleys will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression upon you.
Is usually kebab- and bread-based in Tajikistan! In Afghanistan it is based on rice and bread, with occasional yak-milk yoghurt. While riding we will have a cook who will make rice, potato and pasta dishes, basic but good. We will also use dehydrated rations when self supported.
Will involve bumpy rides in 4WD vehicles, trekking and bike riding!
SUITABLE TEAM MEMBERS
Team members should be over 21, fit and healthy as this trip involves 12 continuous days of strenuous mountain bike riding (approx 15 – 40 km a day) in remote areas at altitudes of up to 5000 metres. You should be comfortable going out and riding a 50km singletrack course over mountainous terrain. If you have any questions about the fitness requirements, or want to speak about training, please get in touch.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
We assess the security threat in the Wakhan to be low, due to the following reasons:
History – there have been no incidents in the region for the at least the last 10 years. The Taliban never controlled this region in the 90′s.
Geography – the Wakhan is a one-way street, surrounded by international borders and high mountain ranges. There is only one way in or out for malign elements; through the heavily policed town of Ishkhashim.
Culture – The people of the area have nothing in common with malign elements in the region.
Economics – The Wakhan is a particularly poor region with no economic resources (poppy etc), so there is no reason for malign elements to go there.
We would be happy to speak further about safety and security in the region.