Whistling marmots, rare butterfly species and fresh mint plants along the footpath: The Fann Mountains could not be more pristine. The mighty mountains are best explored on foot.
Never before in my life have I seen the Milky Way as sharp and unobscured as we saw it during that night in the Fann Mountains. We had set up our tents in the high mountain camp near Lake Alauddin. During the summer, the camp is inhabited and taken care of by Alexander from Lithuania. When he turns of the generators at night, the camp is filled by a pitch-dark silence. The Zerafshan ridge is remote – even for Tajik standards. A perfect spot for stargazing.
In the morning, we took our tents down and let Alexander show us the way to Lake Kulikalon, the lake on the other side of the mountain range. He joined us for a few kilometers of the trail and quietly recounted stories of the past, when the place served soviet alpinists as a training camp. Today, fewer professional hikers visit the Fann Mountains. It is more and more independent travelers or backpackers like us, who decide to trek the smaller ranges before trying the extremely challenging six-thousand-metre high peaks of the Pamirs.
We crossed the Alauddin pass at 4000 metres, the highest point of our four-day trip. Behind us lay the snowcapped Chapdara peak, in front of us the plateau and the lake. We celebrated this moment of victory over the mountains and enjoyed the view. On the way down, we felt like heroes returning home.
At the campfire we listened to the old Tajik legends such as the saga of Iskanderkul, the turquoise lake in whose depths the favorite horse of Alexander the Great is said to have drowned. The tales and the mighty mountains surrounding us did not fail to have an effect. I saw a shooting star and wished for the chance to visit this amazing place again in the future.
Text By JF
Specially for Paramount Journey