AT JALPAK TASH
Real deal cultural immersion has always been at the core of the 40 Tribes experience. If we really had our way, we’d send a horse cart to the airport to pick you up! The best alternative we see is immediate transport out of Bishkek, deep into the northeast corner of the country. After a quick pit stop/pick-me-up at a locally-run coffee shop in Karakol, you’ll transfer into an ancient Soviet UAZ military bus and head even further down the road to our partner village, which sits at the foot of the mountains you’ve come to shred. You’ll catch a glimpse of the zone before sunset and get a taste of the village scene, spending your very first night in Kyrgyzstan in the home of our partner family. Dinner will likely be prepared with mutton raised and slaughtered out back. You’ll share tea and laughs with their adorable daughters. You’ll be exhausted, but so undeniably “in it” and stoked for what’s to come that you just might feel like your trip has already been made.
There's no better place for a crucial night's sleep than the cozy back room of our partner family's house. Wake up to the sound of someone stoking the kitchen fire as it echoes through the radiant heating pipes. It’s time for a quick breakfast and to help village horsemen load our bags onto the snowmohorses. We send them on their way, skin up, and begin our tour right from the front door. The horses always beat us up, but there’s nothing wrong with your bags waiting for you on your arrival, right? After checking in to your digs for the week—one of the three traditional Kyrgyz yurts that make up our epic basecamp—coffee/tea and a hot lunch will be served, followed by a safety briefing and hands-on avalanche clinic/refresher (on guided tours) and ultimately your first turns in the Celestial Mountains.
Your week at the Jalpak Tash Yurts. Wake up daily to a crackling fire and coffee presses ready to pour. Gather for made-from-scratch Western style breakfasts. Shred all day, every damn day!! Hit up the yurt bar at happy hour. Play Yahtzee. Bear witness to some of the most incredible sunsets and sunrises you’ve ever seen over the Issyk-Kul Valley and distant Kungey Ala-Too range. Sit down for epic traditional Kyrgyz dinners prepared by our Chief Chef, “King Nurbek,” over the wood burning stove. Close it all out with a bonfire on the last night—in the snow, under the stars, with at least one special guest (and his horse) from the village. Pick one last line to drop on the final morning, then it’s a super fun slide all the way out to the village. The UAZ will be waiting to take you back to Karakol, where you’ll stay at our partners’ guesthouse. Showers, dinner, and a night celebrating await.
In Kyrgyz, “Sunday” is Bazaar Kün—Market Day. Every Sunday, well before daybreak, villagers from hundreds of kilometers away stream into Karakol to trade and sell their horses, cows, sheep and goats at one of the largest livestock markets in the country. This is the lifeblood of Kyrgyzstan and is not to be missed. Then, all good things must come to an end. The overland journey back to Bishkek follows the north shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, the second largest alpine lake in the world. An afternoon and one final night exploring the big city await, before flights out the next morning. Or, if you can swing it, plan to stick around a little longer. There is so much more to see and endless—literally endless—backcountry to explore.