Only 15 days ’til our boys leaves for their Oxford University Expedition to Tajikistan… we’ve supplied the 5-in-1 Travellers Bars and can’t wait for their feedback, as far as we know it’ll be a premier for the Travellers Bar out there!
The Roof of the World expedition will take 6 weeks from June to September 2010 in the Gorno-Badakhshan region of Tajikistan, specifically the High Pamir mountains, fabled by Marco Polo and great British Explorers such as John Wood and Sir Francis Younghusband. Our team will be trekking by pack donkey along the Panj River valley from Khorog, via Ishkashim and Lake Zorkul and into the High Pamir.
- Historical aim: We propose to follow part of the route taken by the Second Danish Expedition through the Pamirs led by Ole Olufsen in 1898. Beginning in Khorog, we aim to travel up the Panj River Valley until Mazar Tépé, the point where the Danes turned North towards the Khargush Pass, overnighting in villages referred to by the Danish explorers. Like the Danish Expedition, we will be interacting with the local Kyrgyz Nomads of the Pamir Plateaux, and we plan to spend time with them in their summer camps.
- Adventure aim: We propose to continue away from the route of the Danish Expedition, atMazar Tépé by trekking on foot with pack animals towards Lake Zorkul and the High PamirThe Republic of Tajikistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia, bordering Kyrgyzstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, China to the east and Afghanistan to the south. Formerly part of the Soviet Union as of 1929 and once recognised as the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, the country gained independence in 1991 and a bloody civil war ensued the next year between a Moscow-backed government and an Islamist-led opposition until 1997.
Tajikistan has an estimated population of 7.3 million, comparable to that of Greater London and with 93% of the Central Asian Republic comprising of mountains, it is one of the most mountainous countries in the world. According to a U.S. State Department from 2009, 98% of the population is Muslim and as far as the economy is concerned, two thirds of Tajikistani citizens are estimated to live under the poverty line, relying on the income of primary product trade such as aluminium and cotton. Tajik, a Persian language similar to Farsi in Iran or Dari in Afghanistan is the official language whilst historical influences mean that Russian is still widely understood and estimated to be spoken by a third of the population.
Whilst Tajikistan has remained rather unknown to the wider world, those who are familiar with the country, are so for one reason; the Pamir mountains. At a junction with the most awe-inspiring mountain ranges on Earth – the Himalaya, Tian Shan, Karakorum, Kunlun and Hindukush – the Pamir mountains, locally known as ‘Bam-i-Dunya’ or ‘Roof of the world’, are among the world’s highest and have been a destination for some of history’s most intrepid explorers from Marco Polo to Francis Younghusband (elected president of The Royal Geographical Society in 1919 and recipient of the RGS Gold Medal)