Logistics for the mountain activities
There are no problems with food supply for the mountaineering expeditions in Kyrgyzstan. Basically standard range of goods can be easily purchased in the local stores and markets of the country. There are a few things that should be taken into account when you do shopping. It should be high quality food. All necessary goods can be purchased in Bishkek (capital city) which is usually a starting point for most expeditions. Another reason is that the best choice, variety and high quality of goods, as a rule, you can find in Bishkek only. Therefore it’s better to buy the most of the food in Bishkek, but some goods are still available in small markets on the way to the mountains. Special food for climbers, concentrates, sublimate and dehydrated food is better to buy in Bishkek. If approach to the expedition destination takes several days (for example approach to the Western Kokshal-Too Range region). In this case some foodstuffs especially perishables are worth to buy in towns or villages on the way. This applies first to bread, fruit, vegetables and meat. The most expeditions in Kyrgyzstan are conducted in the areas of big towns such as Karakol, Naryn and Osh. Karakol is a good place to purchase bread, meat and vegetables, however, fruits and tomatoes is recommended to buy on the way to Karakol in Chui valley. It’s more convenient to get some bread and meat in Naryn but for the most other food it is better to purchase it in Chui valley and Bishkek. Good choice of fruits, vegetables, meat and bread is in Osh. Moreover fruits and vegetables are cheaper and better quality in the South than in the North of Kyrgyzstan.
Mountaineers usually bring their own personal climbing equipment. However, there may be such problems as lost baggage or some gear worn out during the expedition. There are several outdoor stores in Bishkek where you can buy everything that is necessary. The list of the stores is attached. There are no such facilities in other towns of Kyrgyzstan. Cookware and cooking utensils can also be bought in hunting or sportswear stores but the range is usually not very rich and suddenly it can happen that there are no necessary items. If it is necessary to purchase any special equipment, we recommend you to order it in advance from the store or through the tour operator. In addition, some tour operators can lend equipment such as: tents (high-altitude, base camp, kitchen and dining tents), cooking ware and kitchen utensils, satellite phones, USB-stations and etc.
Gas and petrol
These supplies are better to buy in Bishkek. Gas cylinders for stoves (240g and 480g) are still rare commodity in the equipment stores. Usually this item has to be ordered in advance from the tour operator. Some companies have systems to refill cylinders. One option is to refill used cylinders which will be considerably cheaper than buying new ones. Refilled cylinders are good to use at the altitude below 5,000m – proved with personal experience. Good quality petrol for primus stoves is available in petrol stations located along main highway of the Republic. Also it can be ordered in advance through the tour operators.
There are several ways how to get Kyrgyzstan: by air, by railway or by car. The most convenient way to travel around the country is land transport and occasionally by air. Most of the mountaineering regions can be accessed only by all-wheels off-road vehicles. Helicopter is the only option to access some regions of the Central Tien-Shan and Jangart. Walking time to those regions is about 4-7 days. There are several factors which are important when you choose vehicle, it is not only capacity, but first of all high cross-country ability. For instance, sometimes opportunity to cross the river becomes very important. The other vital factor is driver’s skills and experience in the mountains. For example, there are many river marshes and hillside bogs – “saz” in local language (photos). To avoid the traps driver has to have an experience but not less important is an experience how to get out of the swamps. It’s very important the vehicle is equipped with necessary gear to get out of marsh. There are a few only off-road cross-country vehicles in Kyrgyzstan which are specially equipped for expeditions. This type of transportation with experienced drivers is available to hire only in a few travel companies. There is a sense to make an advance booking of the transport. You can see reliable vehicles for mountaineering expeditions on the pictures below.
Transport for remote mountaineering areas of Kyrgyzstan
Staff for mountaineering expeditions (mountain guides, porters, managers, cooks)
When you hire mountain guide in Kyrgyzstan, you should be very careful not to be guided by an untrained person. Almost everyone in Kyrgyzstan can identify himself as a guide and offer guiding service at present time. There is no law regulation to control work of mountain guides. However situation can be changed in nearest future by new tourism legislation, which is under discussion today. How to find information about mountain guides? First of all, the main source is the Kyrgyz Mountain Guides Association (KMGA), which is fool member of IFMGA since 2017. This organization also trains and certifies mountain guides. The list of certified mountain guides with contacts is here http://mguide.in.kg/en/guides. The Association trains mountain guides in accordance with UIAGM-IFMGA standard also Association developed its own standards and certified by as international (IFMGA), as national standards. If the guide you are planning to work with doesn’t hold KMGA certificate it is worth to request for the references from other clients or from KMGA first.
Porters and horses
During a year porters can be hired only in Bishkek or Karakol, at season time number of porters is based in the area of Lenin peak. If you are going to any region other than Lenin peak you have to transport porters from Bishkek or Karakol. You can hire porters only through specialized tour operators or through the Karakol Association of porters. In addition, hiring directly at Lenin peak base camps can be more expensive than doing such through the agency. The same is with horses for transporting loads from BC to ABC and return. As learned from previous experience it’s frequently more reliable and cheaper to hire porters and horses through the tour operators.
Expeditions and base camps managers
It’s better to prepare expedition with the specialized tour operators as they have necessary experience, take responsibility and value their good name. Usually expedition manager is very important stuff member for solving different organizational issues during expedition. As a rule the issues include supplying, cooperation with authorities and military (at the border posts), providing communication, guarding campsite and stuff management. Often a manager position is combined with other stuff – mountain guide, driver, porter or cook. If there is a local mountain guide in expedition then frequently he performs the duties of the manager. However if there is no guide then the most experienced stuff member can manage the expedition.
Not every good chef can cook in field conditions. Special experience is required. It’s more reliable to hire cook for expedition through the specialized tour operator.
Travel formalities in Kyrgyzstan (Visa regulation and registration. Permits to border areas)
Visa regulation and registration. Regulations of entry visa in Kyrgyzstan for foreign citizens are defined by the act of Kyrgyz Republic “On external migration” and some Decisions of Kyrgyz Government.. In accordance with the law, no visa required and registration conditions for citizens of the countries mentioned in below Tab.
Tab. Visa regulations and registration condition for citizens of different countries, (http://www.mfa.gov.kg )
from visa requirements for up to 60 days for the entry / exit of a stay in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic, citizens of the following states are exempt:
Australian Union, The Republic of Austria, The Kingdom of Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Vatican, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Hungary, The Federal Republic of Germany, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Greece, The Kingdom of Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Kingdom of Spain, The Italian Republic, Canada, Republic of Korea, The State of Kuwait, The Republic of Latvia, The Republic of Lithuania, The Principality of Liechtenstein, The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, The Republic of Malta, Principality of Monaco, New Zealand, The Kingdom of Norway, The United Arab Emirates, The Republic of Poland, The Portuguese Republic, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The Republic of Singapore, Slovak Republic, The Republic of Slovenia, United States of America,. The Republic of Finland, France, The Republic of Croatia, Czech Republic, Swiss Confederation, The Kingdom of Sweden, The Republic of Estonia, The State of Qatar, The State of Brunei, The Kingdom of Bahrain, Japan, Malaysia (for 30 days), Mongolia (for 90 days), Turkey (for 30 days)
are not required to register international passports within 60 days after crossing the national border.
|Visa regulation||Registration conditions|
|CIS countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine up to 90 days of stay and citizens of Uzbekistan up to 60 days.||are not required to register international passports within 60 days and citizens of Kazakhstan and Russia within 90 days after crossing the national border.|
|List of countries whose citizens can obtain Kyrgyz visa by personal request without visa invitation: Republic of Albania, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, United Mexican States, Kingdom of Thailand, Principality of Andorra, State of Israel, Romania, Republic of the Philippines, Argentine Republic, Republic of Indonesia, Republic of San Marino, Republic of Chile, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Serbia, Montenegro, Federative Republic of Brazil, Republic of Macedonia, Sultanate of Oman, Central African Republic, Islamic Republic of Iran||After arriving in Kyrgyz Republic, foreign country citizens, are obliged to register according to the place of stay in 5 work days after the moment of entry.|
Kyrgyzstan has a visa-regime (visa and visa invitation is required) for citizens of the following countries:
Islamic Republic of Pakistan, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Republic of India, Republic of China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Turkmenistan, Republic of Colombia, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Taiwan, Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Visa support (invitation) can be provided by the local tour operators
|After arriving in Kyrgyz Republic, foreign country citizens, are obliged to register according to the place of stay in 5 work days after the moment of entry.|
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan has launched e-Visa portal to facilitate visa issuance process for genuine travelers. Electronic visa application does not require more information than traditional paper application and it grants the same right to enter Kyrgyzstan territory as ordinary sticker-visa in the passport. Applying for a visa through this portal has lots of advantages. No need to make an appointment or present original documents to the Embassy or Consular Office. All you need is internet connection, credit or debit card for making payment and scanned copies of your documents. Your travel document must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you intend to enter Kyrgyzstan. Travelers have possibility to obtain a short-term visa without visiting embassy or consular office of the Kyrgyz Republic, following two simple steps: applying and making online payment. More information is here http://www.evisa.e-gov.kg
Permits to the border areas (zones)
(BZ) In accordance with the Kyrgyz law there is a special border regime in the border zones of Kyrgyzstan. Special permit is required to enter the territory and is given by the authorized organizations. Border zone area is from 10,000 m to 50,000 meters in the mountainous and sparsely populated areas. Permission is regulated by the Statute on the border regime in the frontier of the Kyrgyz Republic approved by the government decree of the KR #362 on May 15, 2004. Foreign citizens obtain entry and stay permits for BZ in the Interior Ministry and Frontier Troops of the Kyrgyz Republic. Permits for foreign citizens can be obtained also by the legal entities or private entrepreneurs, in this case tour operators. The following information of the person entering BZ is needed: 1) full name; 2) date of birth; 3) passport number, date of issue and expiration; 4) place of residence or registration; 5) citizenship; 6) date of entry and duration of stay in the border zone.
Local tour operators, supplying reliable logistic services for mountaineering activity in Kyrgyzstan
|1||Kyrgyz Alpine club||https://firstname.lastname@example.org|
Rescue in mountains, insurance, emergency contacts
Search and rescue. There are in Kyrgyzstan several possibilities for search-rescue actions.
Firstly it is State organization Ministry of Emergency Situations in Kyrgyzstan, which responsible for search and rescue works. The works are carried out by the Emergency Response Unit who are servicemen of the national Army. The organization is more directed for different catastrophes – earthquakes, floods, mudslide, avalanches and so on. For individual rescue on complicated mountain terrain the organization has not possibilities. The main drawback is that soldiers don’t posses necessary knowledge and experience for rescue in the mountains in certain conditions of difficult terrain But if no another possibilities for search-rescue the organization gives a chance. Contact information of the Ministry rescue service is below.
Secondary, in addition to the state rescue service here is private organization, which is responded for rescue in mountain. It is Public Fund “Rescue in the mountains” has been in operation since 1994 (before 2008 had the name of LLC Tien-Shan RTM). The Fund runs rescue and search works in the mountains at any altitude and routes, renders medical aid during and after rescue and also provides with repatriation. The Fund has no permanent rescuers but has agreements with experienced mountain guides, mountaineering instructors and mountaineers with special rescue skills. Participation of the experienced rescuers is guaranteed by very high for Kyrgyzstan salary. Compulsory condition to run rescue is the payment guaranty of the work. Without the guaranty rescue operations will not commence. The guaranty can be right insurance policy. An advance contract with rescue organization, relevant insurance, assurance of a bank or any other solvent organization can be the guaranty of payment. The Fund has obtained accreditation of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in accordance with the Kyrgyz Legislation and is entitled to carry out rescue operations. The contacts, details and conditions are here http://rescue.centralasia.kg/ and below.
Third possibility for rescue are temporary rescue teams, which are established by tour operators or public mountaineering groups for safeguarding own projects and activity. The rescue teams can participate by rescue actions with other projects.
Usual insurance policy mountaineers have with they self. But, if necessary it is possible to obtain insurance in Kyrgyzstan. The Found and Kyrgyz Alpine Club are agents of the insurance companies. Info and conditions of insurance is here http://rescue.centralasia.kg and here https://kac.centralasia.kg. Coverage of the insured event for rescue works in mountains should be not less Euro 30,000, for medical aid not less than Euro 10,000 and for liability not less than Euro 5,000. Size of insurance covering is by reason using helicopter for rescue works. Should have in view, that a policy of not every insurance company are accepted. Rescue organizations has “black” list of the companies, which policies are not accepted. Usual such companies are mentioned on the sites.
List of phones for foreigners in case of unforeseen situations. (info on Bishkek, Osh, Karakol, Naryn)
1. Accident in the mountains, the need for search and rescue work
1) Ministry of Emergency Situations
Bishkek city – +996 770 334401
Osh town – +996 770 229522
Karakol town – +996 770 334000
Naryn town- +996 770 822250
2) The fund “Mountain Rescue Service”
+996 312 651404
+996 312 651221
+996 700 651221
+996 701 799925
2. The criminal case
1) The Interior Ministry of Kyrgyzstan (police)
Rapid Response Service (police) number 102
Call center of the State Department of Internal Affairs (SDIA): (+996 312) 683713
Passport and visa department of SDIA: (+996 312) 285936
Foreign citizens department of SDIA: (+996 312) 285538
Interior Ministry call center: (+996 312) 684266, 662331
Passport and visa control department of SDIA: (+996 312) 662329
Helpline of SDIA: (+996 312) 683002, 683004
Foreign citizens department of SDIA in Osh: (+996) 3222 56429
Call center of DIA in Karakol town (Issik-Kul oblast): (+996) 3922 54550
Call center of DIA in Naryn town: (+996) 3522 50921
Call center of DIA in Osh oblast: (+996) 3222 56429
Call center of DIA in Batken town: (+996) 3622 50024
Call center of DIA in Djalal-Abad town: (+996)722 51346
2) The Prosecutor’s Office
Bishkek city – +996 776 628899
Osh town – +996 3239 26276.
Karakol city – +996 3922 30001
Naryn – +996 3522 51564.
3) Legal assistance
Bishkek city – +996 312 547593
Osh town – +996 3222 44363.
Karakol town – +996 778 393 554
Naryn town – +996 772 693073
3. Medical assictanse
First aid (public, private)
Bishkek city –a) public +996 103 b) private- +996 312 595 627
Osh town – a) public +996 103 b) private – +996 551 004 659
Karakol town – a) public +996 103 b) private – +996 3922 20579
Naryn town- a) public +996 103 b) private – +996 3522 21570
Bishkek city – +996 312 595 627
Osh town – +996 557 587 785
Karakol town – +996 3922 50787
Naryn town- +996 3522 52640
Bishkek city – +996 312 443 908
Osh town – +996 0555 967 887
Karakol town – +996 3922 52201
Naryn town – +996 3522 50411
4. Frontier troops (Border Guard Service)
Bishkek city – +996 312 881 618
Osh town – +996 3222 22059
Karakol town – +996 3922 56199
Naryn town – +996 3522 50726