Planning the Pamir

by seanyoneill


On the 19th of August 2019 the adventure begins. Via Hong Kong and Kazakhstan we arrive in unembellished, no-frills Tajikistan, the fruit of months of planning and preparation. The majestic and celebrated, the grueling and colossal, almighty Pamirs are the destination. The Pamir Highway is the second highest road in the world, encompassing high passes over 4600m (15000ft) and cutting through the Pamir mountain range. We have 25 days to finish the roughly 1400km trek.

Myself and Stu began planning for this trip about 4 months ago. He convinced me I should ride it and then I in turn convinced him to come with me, a whole pile of convincing. I was initially spooked by the idea of riding the Afghan border for such a long distance given all the negative press and fear mongering about the region. But after researching the route I came to the conclusion that it was a bit unjust and decided the take the plunge, life’s too short.


Next up, restocking/upgrading my gear, now I love a good bargain which I inherited from my mother, but this is not the occasion for deals and not the time to pinch pennies. Therefore I will be declaring bankruptcy on my return to Canada, due in large part to the cost of good equipment. I will wait months for the sleeping bag I want to drop in price by $30 and conversely drop $100 in the pub on a whim, this is the multifaceted and elastic nature of being Irish.

The route planning was not that easy, the distance we can cover daily is ambiguous, the food we can eat is a mystery, the frequency of towns or villages with supplies is unknown. This route has been travelled by cyclists and is a destination for adventure tourists so there is a decent amount of information available, but there is a wide variation of what to expect from food to weather to road conditions. So we’ve had to plan for it all as best we can while riding unsupported.

The time to leave is drawing near, the excitement is beginning to creep into my brain and with the excitement comes nerves, at this point (actually for a couple of weeks) I just want to hit the road and be in it already.

I will try to keep you updated as best I can along the way, you can also sign up with the blue button on the bottom of the page and you’ll get an email when the blog is updated. There’s an expression in Ireland ‘go n-éirí an bóthar leat’ for good luck, meaning ‘may the road rise up to meet you’, well the road will definitely rise up and hopefully drop off again at some point.

Next Blog Post: The Slog To Khorog