OverviewPik Emma is to be found right at the heart of the Djangart region. The views from the summit are spectacular and the mountain offers an excellent ridge traverse, of only moderate difficulty, to its summit. The mountain is located along the line of mountains between the N1 and Akogoz glaciers. In 2011, when the first ascent was made, none of the other mountains along this ridge line had been climbed (other than Pt.4760, which was climbed on the way to the summit).
Getting ThereBishkek to Base Camp
It is possible to fly by helicopter to the region, though this is an expensive option. To do so involves making use of the usual logistical arrangements for trips to Khan Tengri.
Other expeditions have travelled overland from Bishkek. The is a fantastic journey over a large section of Kyrgyzstan and takes between 2 and 3 days.
Bishkek to Tamga on the south shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. 7 Hours.
Tamga to Ak-Shyrak. A long journey that involves many river crossings and cross country driving. May require a wild camp on route, depending on conditions. Papers must be presented at the Ak-Shyrak military base. 1 - 2 days.
Ak-Shyrak to Base Camp. Difficult cross country driving with many river crossings. It is likely that you will be joined by a soldier or officer from the military base. Only 20 miles, but allow half a day.
A convenient base camp for Pik Emma can be found on the East side of the Djangart pass. There are three discarded caravans left behind from the mining era, which sit on a flat are of grass close to a small outflow from the glacier. The pass could not be crossed by vehicle in the summer of 2011, but the discovery of minerals for mining brought a bulldozer to the region in late August and work appeared to be starting on rebuilding an old road into the valley. The alternative is to arrange horses at the Ak Shyrak military base. Expect to wait at least a day for these to arrive.
One company who can arrange logistics for this journey are ITMC.
Note: The discovery of minerals in 2011 might change the entire nature of this journey. Geologists working in the area communicated that roads will be built capable of supporting HGVs. There is also talk of a plant being built in the vicinity. Any information on this would be gratefully received.
Base Camp to Pik Emma
The walk from BC takes around 3 hours. The best route is to continue to follow the old mining track down the valley, before turning off to drop down to the river. Once leaving the track, enjoy the beautiful alpine flora. It is advisable to leave BC very early because the Djangart River becomes very difficult to cross by around 10 o'clock in the morning. Keep a keen eye out for some cairns that mark one of the few crossing points. If not, prepare to get wet feet (and knees). One over the river, it is best to stay as close to the river as possible before turning south to access the slopes of the mountain. Straying from the river, the ground is more undulating and uneven under foot.
Red TapeThere are no summit fees to be paid in Kyrgyzstan.
Visas for entry into Kyrgyzstan can be obtained at the airport in Bishkek, but it is advisable to arrange them beforehand so as to avoid the large queues when you arrive.
In order to visit the Djangart region, a border permit is required. The cost was around £30 in 2011. This will be checked at the Ak-Shyrak military base and soldiers may well come up to base camp at a later date to re-check the documents (they don't seem to have masses to do!). Permits can be arranged through ITMC.
CampingThis is an entirely wild environment, several hours drive from the nearest settlement. A camp in the Kaichi Valley can be very comfortable though as there is plenty of fresh water and flat ground to camp on. You can also use a vehicle to bring all of your supplies in with you. Weather systems do run up and down this valley at regular intervals and it is therefore wise to have entrances to tents perpendicular to the direction of the valley. There is an old hunting lodge on the west bank of the river, but it is locked and should not be used. The Djangart valley also offers plenty of options, though it is slightly more remote and the camping options are a little less obvious. There are three abandoned caravans an hour east of the pass, which could be used, though there is a fair amount of junk and broken glass in them.
Facebook. Djangart Ascents