In Kalai Kumb we finally reached the M-41, the famous Pamir Highway. During the wars with Afghanistan, this highway served the Russians for the supply delivery to their troops at the border. During that time, the highway must have been in good condition, but nowadays, the surface of the road is a mixture of old tarmac with countless big potholes and dirt road. Nevertheless, there are still huge trucks using this route, as it is an important transit route from Tajikistan to China. And the trucks with their huge wheels don’t feel every pothole, but on our bikes, every single hole challenges us and the material.
Fixing Rack Mounts
Today, after only a few kilometers of cycling, Anne and Lucie noticed that their rack mounts were missing screws, or in Lucie’s case the screw which attached the rack mount to the frame was broken. For Lucie, it is not the first time that screws went missing. This is due to the bad road conditions in the last few days. So we had to perform some emergency fixes in order to continue.
Tiring Road Conditions on Pamir Highway
After yesterday’s smooth ride on almost perfect tarmac, today we got to know the real road conditions as we expect them in the Pamirs: Damaged Tarmac, pot holes, dirt roads, and sometimes also small rivers that had to be crossed. And whenever we were crossing a truck or another car, we were covered in a cloud of dust. With such road conditions, our average speed basically gets reduced by half, so today we only did around 70 km of cycling in more or less 6 hours. So I guess for our future planning in the Pamirs, an average of 50 km per day is reasonable.
Even though the part of the valley that we saw today was more open than yesterday, the scenery and the views to the Afghan side were still impressive. Again and again snowy peaks were visible and reminded us of the cool temperatures to come high up in the Pamirs, while down in the valley the temperatures were hot during the day.
Sleeping on a Terrace
Tonight we are sleeping on the terrace of a farmer’s house, which is located directly at the river. The night sky is stunning here as there are no light emissions, and the continuous sound of the river has a very calming effect so we can charge our batteries for most likely another day of bumpy roads towards Khorog.
Max elevation: 1370 m
Min elevation: 1123 m
Total climbing: 952 m
Total descent: -729 m
Total time: 10:26:13