More Muddy Photographs!

Due to popular demand (well at least Carl Hunter asked) this page contains lots of photographs of us on the muddy road between the Irkeshtam Pass and Sary Tash. All photographs were taken on 2004-06-01 or 02.

Because of their size these photographs were uploaded from a very slow Internet Cafe in Bukhara, Uzbekistan (One hour for $1.40, and it took an hour!). This page may take several minutes to load.

Although there were only two of them, our guide (Shavkat) and his driver chose to bring this converted Russian 6x6 truck to the border to meet us at the Kyrgyzstan side of the Irkeshtam Pass. Note the winch on the front bumper and the central tyre inflation system fitted to each wheel.

Our first night in Kyrgyzstan was spent a few kilometers passed the border at this idyllic spot. (39.650760°N 73.855988°E)

The first part of the drive to Sary Tash was magnificent!

Even the road was good. (It's coming soon Carl!)

But! On reaching the first really bad stretch of mud, Mog set off to see if the better looking track 50 metres off to the right re-joined the road in a way that the others could use, but... (Now Carl!)

...even Mog got stuck trying to climb back onto the road and had to helped back up by the 6x6. (Yes I know it does not look that bad, but trust me a few seconds before this photo was taken, Mog's back wheels where spinning in soft liquid mud, but this time I stopped digging before I got down to the diff, so it was an easy tow.)

Having given up on getting round the mud the only option was for Mog and/or the 6x6 to tow the others over, or more accurately thru the mud. Having reconnoitred the best track (on the left, on top of the ridges taking care not to fall off the road to the left).

K-Nine volunteers to be first across and opts to be towed by Mog rather than the 6x6.

With wide double rear wheels K-Nine manages to stay on top of the ridges, but Mog slides off down into the ruts, tipping over at what external observers thought were dangerous angles (only 15° in this photograph)..

With K-Nine safely over the worst of the mud, Mog heads back by a more adventurous route for Imp.

After Imp followed, roughly, in K-Nine's tracks, John tried to get Speed across under its own power (Speed has four wheel drive and diff lock). But the ruts, made by large trucks were too deep!

And the best was still to come.

So the 6x6 came back to help.

And did a good job stretching Mog's 12 tonne tow rope before Speed un-stuck from the mud.

The 6x6 prepares to back thru the mud, at speed, with OJ in helpless tow. Although most of the mud was fairly soft, there were some big rocks embedded in it that made alarming grinding noises on the underside of OJ. Stephen walked behind to pick up the bits that got ground off.

On a later bit of slippery road OJ slewed sideways into the ruts coming down a hill, and with the 6x6 behind him and unable to get passed, or pull him backwards (no strong rear towing points were possible on OJ) Mog had to back up to OJ and pull the front straight down the hill.

But without OJ sliding into Mog.

Stephen Stewart.

Home - This page last changed on 2004-06-09.