The Pamir Highway is the second highest highway in the world, after the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan. Between Sary Tas and Khorog, it has five mountain passes of more than 4.000 meter, the highest of them is 4655 meter! Cycling 550-ish km in 7 days, above 3.500 meter is quite exhausting. But so beautiful! The mountains are so impressive, unexpectedly colorful and with so many flowers along the road, there is always a reason for a quick stop.
I have to admit, it wasn’t always easy! Rough roads and step climbs in combination with the altitude makes it sometimes difficult to cycle. Some cyclist had severe headages and feel dizziness. I was lucky and never had any physical issues, except that my legs were really tired and I was exhausted by the end of the day.
And every morning I was happy to ride my bicycle again! Although some parts of the highway were like a desert, there were many different and colorful flowers to see. They all have adjusted somehow to the extreme mountain climate with: very hot and cold temperatures, hard winds, dry and sunny period and wet periods with snow, hail and rain. And in these 7 days, with ice in my water bottle (cold), a sun burned face (hot), dry lips (wind) and a few showers (snow, hail and rain) I have seen them all!
Besides the flowers, the mountains are spectacular colorful as well! Around every corner a different mountain, different shape, structure and color. So impressive! The climb to the 4.655 meter summit was a long one. Here and there very steep but all in all just a long climb. I’m happy my bicycle has the proper mountain gear which makes it possible to keep pedaling although there is a 12% climb. There is no reason, and it’s not possible, to go fast so I enjoy every minute of these mountains. At the summit, I met Mun Yew and Ingrid and together we climb the mountain next to the road, another estimated 150 meter. From there, a 360 degree view made me even more realize what a beautiful landscape this is! I am standing on top of the world and feel so small!
The further I cycle the Pamir Highway, the more diverse this landscape is. Small rivers turn into big rivers, plants and flowers change by altitude, sometimes it’s like a desert, other times is all stones. Here are some pictures, what more do I need to write?