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Lake Sarez - A view from our expert author
Complete with steep inclines and spectacular views, this lake offers challenging but rewarding treks.
Treks focused on Lake Sarez start in Barchardif, the last settlement where you’ll find a homestay. The first day of the trek takes you south along the Murghab River and to the vast, natural dam to Usoi, the village now buried beneath the rockfall. It is possible to return from here to Barchadif if you only have time for a short trek, though most people prefer to continue round the lake to Irkht. There are two variations to this part of the route: a boat trip across the water to Zaval, or the strenuous and vertigo-inducing climb over the Marchansoi Pass.
The stunning two lakes of Shadau (in the foreground) and Sarez with the natural dam of Usoi in between © Tourist Development Centre (TDC), Tajikistan
Irkht was once a meteorological station, but little indication of this now remains. It’s another day’s hard walk up the Langar River to Vykhinch and thence the three head-like lakes at Uchkul. There is another steep climb, this time to the Langar–Kutal Pass (4,630m), from where it is 20km to the summer pastures at Langar (not to be confused with Langar in the Wakhan Corridor). You’ll be welcomed with bread and tea, and possibly fresh ewes’ milk too.
Langar lies just below the Yashilkul, one of the four largest lakes in the Pamirs. The final leg of the trek winds its way down the river valley to Bachchor at the northeastern end of the Gunt Valley. The path rejoins the road at Bachchor, whence it is 22km back to the Pamir Highway or 116km to Khorog. We would advise driving.