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Korea, Russia, Stans To East Europe (page 48)

Karakol To Kochkor Via Tosor Pass

Sorted and organized in Karakol after buying some food first I had it in mind to head to Bishkek the big city to see if I could finish some fixits.

However while reading about Kyrgyzstan and its wonders I read another review on Tosor Pass, it looked so cool so google was engaged.

Turns out it is literally half way along the lake so only 80 km down the road, saweeeet, seen a few lakes and this one wasn’t any better by appeal so a lefty and up and over we go…bonus no Police !!!

Leaving Karakol was all paved roads, getting to the lake and following the southern road my suspicions were confirmed and I was not wowed…down side of living and looking at Lake Wanaka everyday.

The lake, Issyk Kul

Getting bored on the tar and my left turn approaching I had that little adventure tingling feeling.

Tosor Road, all gravel, some sandpits, mostly good till 1/3 the way up, the top of the pass is 35km from the paved road.

Tosor Road

All internet info says solid 4x4 with good ground clearance, someone had ignored this good advice and the consequence was after a rock there was a trail of oil for about 500m then it stopped…it will have been expensive as it was a steep section and my guess is they would have been gunning it a bit.

The weather was sifting around me like a hungry taxi driver and with creepy sweeps of fog wafting across is was a perfect horror movie scene then it left pulling the curtains away from the majestic vista that was teasing my eyes.

Starting to rise up into the clouds
The road leading off into the distance was a lure for any adventure rider

Everything I hoped for was sitting in front of me and all I could do was take it bit by bit keeping my mind on the job so I did not go off the edge but also inhaling the freezing air while looking out the window…these are the days!!! 

We picked our way through water crossings, boulder fields, mud sections and some pretty steep grades in one of two places but it wasn’t the unreal dangermouse stuff in the review, nonetheless epic views with a cool ride.


Many little water sections that were a little greasy in places
That is the road leading up from the left hand side of the photo
It starts to get rockier towards the top
In places they had just bulldozed the rocks aside after rock falls, some of them reasonable sizes.

45 took it in her stride and rode it like a boss, the elevation starting to make its presence felt after 3000m although the fuel injection did an outstanding job and she ran like a swiss clock right to the top, I have to say I bought 45 solely as a travel bike with no heart felt woody stuff etc but she is really is an understated wee bike and having been owned by 45 bikes I reckon I am qualified to know. 

By the time we got to the top at 3892 metres it was bloody freezing, so much so it starting hailing and snowing….

I am 178m higher than Mount Cook here for the Kiwi crowd
The top
Vid as I filmed it, no editing sorry
Vid as I filmed it, no editing sorry

Again it was switching between clear and snowing but neither was prepared to relinquish the cutting cold breeze which saw me layer up.

Some views from the top

Nice arse!! LOL
Give you the bigger picture

I was also very hungry by this stage having come up the windy face so after bailing from the top I dropped probably 500m vertical elevation before I found a rock to hide behind to have a munch on salami and fresh bread, I thought about a coffee brew too but the cold scared that idea off.

This snow cap watching me have wonder it was still cold.

Fed and watered I continued with multiple river crossings and an ugly thunderstorm chasing me down the valley, still no cops!!!

There are a few of these of varying depths and widths
Sunny but freezing cold, if it were 2 degrees that would be it

Finally back onto a gravel road it seemed all too easy, that feeling of defying death and cheating the elements making me feel on top of the world.

Thunderstorms encroached from all around so it was rain pants on as well, the temperature continued to fall despite having lost 800m elevation.

I had planned to camp out and if the night was nice I could deal with the cold but now the wind was hurling dust everywhere and it was swinging back and forth between rain and hail, not my romantic idea of camping.

Kochkor was a location I pinged on the GPS and timing wise I knew I could get there, the road became wider and better then finally paved roads so I hi-tailed down the tarmac and got accommodation, first things first a hot shower to warm up and it was bloody magic too.

At least I got to write this report while it was fresh in my head, tomorrow I hit it to Bishkek with the view of hopefully getting sorted completely.   

Author of this article: Twomotokiwis