Hellish ascent to Khoja Buz Barak, Baysun adventures (part two), Uzbekistan

in #photography5 months ago

Hello! Today I would like to tell about the second day of my stay in the mysterious and beautiful Baysun. As you remember from my previous photo report I arrived to Baysun to replenish his "collection" of conquered peaks. The founder and ideological inspirer of the "Mysterious Uzbekistan" Sharof prepared for me and two other tourists an interesting but tedious route that allows you to "take" three three-thousanders in one day. Also, in my previous post, I told how I hit my knee very stupidly and then, in the best traditions of the genre, with all my might, whipped up the intrigue.

So, I ended my story with the fact that we settled down for the night in tents and I tried to fall asleep, anticipating the triumphant conquest of three peaks at once. Well, first of all, I couldn't get enough sleep - an uncomfortable and cramped sleeping bag. Before the trip, I hurriedly bought additional equipment, ran around all the shops where I usually buy things for hiking and according to the law of dirty tricks, they had nothing - they had already sold all the available goods and a new part had not yet arrived due to quarantine. I had to buy the only sleeping bag available, which was too tight for me. Actually, I could lie down in it but had to lie as if in a cocoon – I cannot really turn around.

In addition, the altitude affected - our camp was at an altitude of about 2500 m and at first it was difficult to breathe. But somehow I managed to take a nap. The plan for the next day was as follows - the main part of the group should go to the top of the lighter Khoja Gur-Gur Ota (KhGG) and arrange a photo session there. At an altitude of about 3550 m, there is a magnificent natural observation deck to which "Mysterious Uzbekistan" usually takes tourists. By the way, Khoja Gur-Gur ota translates as "Father of all caves" - there is an entrance to one of the deepest caves in the world - the Dark Star cave. Who has an interest can read the story of a National Geographic journalist about visiting this cave. Well, you can also just look at the photos - they are simply gorgeous!

Three more prepared tourists, accompanied by a guide and a hunter had to go about a 30-kilometer route and climb the farthest peak of Khoja Buz Barak (altitude 3920 m) or KhBB for short. Unfortunately, I could not find out how this place name is translated, although I asked guides and googled on the Internet. I believe the summit was named after some locally revered saint.

Then traverse, ascending the summit called Chal (altitude 3586m) along the way, and connect with the first group to Khoja Gur-Gur ota and all together descend to the camp.

At two o'clock in the morning (or is it still night?) our small but very proud group got up. It was quite cold and windy, so I put on all the clothes I had. The organizers prepared us for tomorrow buckwheat porridge with a bunch of meat, but we absolutely did not want to eat. Realizing that a difficult and energy-consuming trip awaits me, I literally forcibly shoved a few spoons of food into myself. Plus I put into my backpack a few Snickers and a high-carbohydrate dry ration given by the organizers.

After having a snack, we double-checked our things and got ready to go. By this time, the rest of the participants which going to the khGG woke up. We wished each other a successful ascent and hit the road. The hunter set the pace. Moreover, he immediately took a fairly fast pace and in order to keep up we had to walk very fast, practically running. Running along the winding rocky path, illuminated only by the moon, the stars and our headlamps, is a “big pleasure”. All my attention was riveted on the one in front and I tried my best to keep up without breaking my neck. There were still about two hours before dawn and it was not worth relaxing.

We trotted along the path, up and down, and the long stay in quarantine gradually made itself felt. My weight was 120kg and I started to feel every kilogram from these 120. Plus the influence of height affected. I began to choke on the climbs and my legs literally refused to go further. But this was only the beginning - further there will be only a constant, many kilometers climb. Albeit not a steep climb, but constant.

Gradually, I began to lag behind the group. Honor and praise to them - they did not turn me back, although I slowed them down a lot. On the contrary, at the turns they stood and waited for me. Surprisingly, even in complete darkness, the light of relatively bright flashlights was lost at 70-80 meters.
It was quite tiring and I was looking forward to dawn - in the sunlight it was easier and warmer to walk, and in general it was not so sad and dreary :).

On the rise, the bruised knee began to ache. And then I did a rather stupid thing - I did not tell the guide or other participants about it. I was determined to go to the three-thousanders and was going not just to go, but also to climb the mount. Even through knee pain. Maybe it sounds cool and pathetic, but in fact, I shouldn’t do that. Plus, while we were running in the dark, I managed to rub my leg. Here it is generally offensive - I wore my trekking-shoes on purpose, preparing for this ascent. Specially, I went to them on several trips, plus walked around the city and everything was wonderful. And here on you - the shoes began to fail. I took a plaster from the first aid kit and wrapped it around the corn. When I covered up the corn, in the dark, without looking, I flopped down on a bush of a thistle or some other thorny plant. The needles immediately dug into my butt :). I immediately jumped as if stung. And then for a long time, like Winnie the Pooh from a Soviet cartoon, I went pulling thorns out of my long-suffering bottom. By the way, I pulled out the last one when already returned to the camp.

But then the long-awaited dawn came. By that time we had covered about a third of the way. The sun rose slowly, painting the tops of the mountains orange.

At the same time we hadn't even gone half the way (mostly because of me), the main group had already managed to climb the KhGG, which was much closer than the KhBB. For an hour (or little bit more) the first part of their group had already managed to run up to the observation deck. And not only run up, but also take gorgeous photos against the dawn background. By the way, these dresses weighed almost 9 kg and were dragged by poor Sharof :).


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At that moment, we, like hobbits from Lord of the Rings movie, continued our ascent to the top of the KhBB. I completely fell behind the group. Twenty times I was visited by a treacherous thought - to turn around and go to the camp. But I persuaded myself to take ten more steps and then as a reward for the effort I gave myself a five-second rest, then another twenty steps and again rest. And so on, step by step I hobbled after the group. The most offensive thing is that the rest of the participants walked very easily.

And the sun rose higher and higher, but from time to time a cold wind blew, blowing right through me.

Another disgusting feature of this trip was the so-called "false peaks" - this is when climb a mountain and thinking that finish already come. But no, you have to climb this hill, then go down and climb the next one, which is even further and even higher.

I got pretty far behind the group and lost sight of them. At some point, I decided that I was lost and began to carefully examine the surrounding mountains in search of my group. By the way, a life hack - if you don't have binoculars at hand, you can look through your phone camera using a zoom - that's how I found my companions on one of the peaks.

They waved their hands at me and whistled. I tried to whistle back, but immediately choked. It's good that there was a whistle fastener on the backpack, on one of the straps - I whistled into it making it clear to my companions that I see them and go to them. It was as if I had more strength. "That's it," - I thought, - "this is the top". Moreover, on the way, my companions began to shout to me: "Come on, budy, just a little more!" I made the last dash and ...

... And my companions grabbed their backpacks and moved on. Another false peak, oh my God!

While I was climbing up, I saw a stone with very interesting natural patterns - as if someone had specially carved them. In general, I saw a lot of stones there on which there were many patterns that seemed either petroglyphs or animal tracks, but in reality it turned out that these patterns were carved by water and wind.

But soon we came to the paw print of some dinosaur and this is no longer a bizarre play of the wind - this is a real trace of some dinosaur that roamed here hundreds of millions of years ago. It is a pity that the position of the sun did not allow us to properly photograph the trace - we had to stand nearby so that it was somehow visible against the background of the shadow.

Having photographed the trail, we went on. I thought we had already arrived, but no!

See the triangular apex in the background? So we had to go there.

An almost round circus was spread out in front of us, we walked around it along the edge.

On the way, there was a gap between the rocks, in which the mountains facing Baysuntau could be seen.

With a little more effort, I finally (of course, the very last) climbed to the top of Khoja Buz Barak.

It must be admitted that in terms of photogenicity, Khoja Buz Barak is inferior to Khoja Gur-Gur Ota. Precisely because of photogenicity - because in reality it takes your breath away from this height and from these spaces. Unfortunately, my camera could not capture the depth, beauty and grandeur of these places. In short, KhGG is for those who want to take beautiful pictures, and KhBB is for those who want to test themselves.

We congratulated each other on the conquered peak and rested a little. By that time, my knee was in terrible pain. The guide gave me painkillers and we held a small council at which we decided that I would go back to the camp with the hunter and the rest of the guys would go further along the planned route. Looking ahead, I will say that they passed the entire route with dignity. They were tired, but they did it! I promised myself to lose those extra pounds and come back next year and finish what I started.

We returned to the trail of the dinosaur, said goodbye - the group went further by traverse, and the hunter and I went down.

I must say that the hunter, of course, pretty much led me through the mountains on the way back. He walked very easily - in sweatpants and light sneakers "flip flops", he easily walked on the stones as if on a flat road and pulled ahead strongly. I hobbled slowly behind. He had to lie down on the ground waiting for me to crawl to him. Then he got up and ran forward again.

In parallel, he tracked down prey. Waving his hand to me a couple of times and showing the direction, he ran away in search of hares or quails. While I was walking in the indicated direction, he managed to run around the surroundings in search of game. A couple of times he came across quails, but very small ones and he, apparently, decided not to spend cartridges on them.

We took a detour, not the one we walked in the morning. I had to climb the hills, and then go down from them, then climb a new hill and go down again ...

On the way, he saw the first part of the group that left for the KрGG, which was going down the mountainside. How he saw them at a distance of about a couple of kilometers remains a mystery to me.

And now, having rounded another hill, I saw with joy our camp. An uncomfortable tent standing on uneven ground now seemed to me the height of comfort. So, I wanted to take off my sweaty clothes, wash and change into clean clothes.

From the top of the KhBB to the camp, the hunter and I walked for about seven hours. According to the organizers' calculations, I should have returned much earlier. But I am even grateful to the hunter for such a detour - I went along a longer, but more picturesque route. This lengthened the return journey by about two hours. In general, the entire trip lasted more than 15 hours.

Soon, the rest of the participants of the ascent to the KhGG began to appear. My companions were one of the last to appear. We congratulated each other and they showed me photos of the passed places - it was terrible for me :). And I became even more strengthened in my desire to return here and walk the traverse from KhBB to KhGG.

Then there was a delicious dinner, after which everyone dispersed to the tents and soon a rolling snoring began to be heard from them. Many participants in the hike complained that it was hard for them to sleep on the first night - they pressed on their chest and stopped breathing. That very night everyone slept like dead people.

I woke up at dawn, alert and refreshed. As if there was no such exhausting ascent. Only the knee ached and that's all.

It was boring for me to lie in a tent, so I got out and went to photograph the surroundings.

Soon all the others climbed out of the tents. The organizers swarmed around the fire, preparing breakfast, then we began to fold the camp. The sun had risen very high and it was time for us to go down to the hospitable house of Choraka, where dinner and, most importantly, the opportunity to wash in hot water awaited us.

We got into our cars and drove down.

On the way, at the entrance to Upper Machay, the "UAZ" of Choraka had a breakdown and we used the opportunity to stretch our legs and take pictures of the surroundings.

But now, the breakdowns were fixed and we drove on. We went down to the Derbent gorge, where some of the girls decided to swim in the river, and the rest just once again walked along this picturesque and majestic gorge.

We went downstairs, had a tasty and hearty dinner, loaded onto the train and headed home to Tashkent.

It was a very interesting and exciting trip. This week I have again planned a trip to Baysun, but to a different location. I really, really hope that it won't cancel. The weather is still dry and warm and I need to use it to the maximum. There are rumors that quarantine will be tightened again from October 15th. If so, then I need to have time to ride the mysterious, beautiful and mysterious Uzbekistan!