Ugam-Chatkal National Park covers the mountainous area west and southwest of the Kyrgyzstan border, from the city of Angren in the south all the way up to the Pskem Mountains in the fingerlike, glacier-infested wedge of land jutting into Kyrgyzstan northeast of Chimgan town.
The Pskem top out at 4319m but are off limits to all but wellheeled heli-skiers because of their location in change, this will become prime virgin trekking territory. For now, all of the national park’s accessible terrain lies in the Chatkal Mountains, which stretch into Kyrgyzstan. Lacking the stratospheric height of the big Kyrgyz and Tajik peaks, the appeal of the Chatkals is their accessibility. Escaping civilisation involves walking just a short way out of the Chimgan or Beldersoy ski areas.
Hook up with the Tashkent Hiking Club to get the scoop on day and overnight hiking possibilities around here. A guide is highly recommended for all hikes as the routes are not marked and topographical maps are about as common as Caspian Tigers (which died out from these parts in the 1970s). Guides are mandatory for multiday hikes to secure the necessary border-zone permits and ensure that you don’t inadvertently walk into Kyrgyzstan (highly possible given the jigsaw borders).
5 DAY CHIMGAN TREK
Day 1 Starting at Beldersay village, follow the Beldersay River through the gorge to the Chet-Kumbel Pass (1,880m). When you descend the other side of the pass there is a glade surrounded by trees where you can pitch a tent for the night.
Day 2 Climb the path to the upper Beldersay River, ascending to the top of the Kumbel Pass (2,550m). Continue along the southern slopes of Greater Chimgan Peak (3,309m) to the Komsomolec Pass (2,700m).
Day 3 Start early to climb Kichkina (2,879m) and, later in the day, Aukashka Peak (3,099m).The going is rough underfoot, and there is plenty of scrambling across rocks. Return to Day 2's camp.
Day 4 Descend from the Komsmolec Pass to the Mazarsay River. Trek along the gorge to the fresh spring at Vodoprovod.
Day 5 Descend into the Gulkamsay River gorge and thence to the Gulkam Canyon. In the afternoon, climb the Pesochniy Pass (1,900m), where the trek ends.