Iskanderkul is a very beautiful mountain lake that is located at an altitude of 2200 m. It is only a short 24 km detour from the main road linking the Zarafshan Valley with Dushanbe, so we decided to cycle up to this lake today and enjoy the afternoon there.
Last night we spent in a small village on 1650 m, so we expected a climb of only 550 m today. After a few kilometers on the main road we entered a remote valley and found ourselves on only partially paved roads. There were several small villages along the route through that valley up to Iskanderkul, mainly in the first half of the track. There, we did not gain a lot of altitude as the valley floor was still quite wide. But after the last village, the road started climbing like crazy. I could very well use the low gears of my Pinion transmission, mainly I was in the 1st gear. Even like that, it was at times very hard to climb with my heavy bike through unpaved roads with loose rocks. In addition, we realized that the climb actually is 750 m instead of 550 m because there was a small pass in between the main road and the lake. So instead of an easy 24 km ride today, we were quite tired when we arrived at the lake and we were happy that we did not have to cycle any more today. But on the other hand, we are all very happy we took the detour up to this lake, because the scenery on the way up was simply breathtaking.
After a small lunch, we mainly spent the afternoon at the campground. There was plenty of time for enjoying the scenery, setting up our tents, doing laundry, doing bike maintenance, and even for a short 30 s swim in the very cold lake. Tomorrow we hope that the weather will still be nice so we can explore a bit the area that consists of several small lakes and mountain peaks of up to 5490 m.
Max elevation: 2380 m
Min elevation: 1657 m
Total climbing: 873 m
Total descent: -340 m
Total time: 03:48:54