Expedition to the karst region Naryn-Too

Second half of july

Naryn-Too mountain ridge used to be one of the most unknown karst areas until 2018. In September 2018, a British international expedition, together with Kyrgyz speleologists, discovered this area in the Middle Tien Shan, almost in center of Kyrgyzstan. According to speleologists, the limestone from which the mountain range is composed is a classic example of cave formation.

The ridge is completely composed of carbonate limestone relevant to Carboniferous age (C), content of calcite (CaCO3) is more than 90%. The ridge spreads from east to west. Its length is about 80 km, and width – 15 km. The height of the watershed part of the ridge is more than 3700 m above sea level, and the height above the surrounding valley is about 1000 m.

The southern and northern slopes of the ridge are cut by gorges and canyons. While reconnaissance expedition, cavers discovered several black holes at the canyons; there were signs of karst landscape almost everywhere. During the 2-day expedition with British colleagues, we researched Char Canyon at western end of the ridge. The height of the canyon walls reaches 300-400 m.

Despite the fact that snow remains on the plateau and on the watershed part of the ridge for only 3-4 months a year, springs are drained in thalwegs of gorges and canyons throughout the year. The flow rate of springs reaches 50 liters per second.

One of such karst springs flows in western end of the ridge. The spring drains the limestone massif and forms a waterfall. In autumn, the waterfall runs dry, but in spring its flow rate increases. In 2017, we examined upper-western part of the ridge, but did not reveal any concentrated water catchment (ponora). It can be concluded, that the interior of the massif is a hydrogeological system, which possibly forms karst galleries, where gathers water from large area. In the water spring area detected several holes, which represent the mouth of the waterfall. The waterfall is an object of religious worship for local people.

Local people told us, that there are similar waterfalls with a resembling genesis on the northern slope of the ridge and its eastern tip.

In order to explore the mountain range and climb on the plateau, a good off-road vehicle is indispensable. For transportation from Bishkek, we usually hire mini bus Mercedes-Sprinter. We plan to set up a base camp in picturesque canyon Char, which is located in western part of the mountain range. It is possible to make radial daytrips or trip for 2-3 days using the off-road car. In addition, we can lend local horses to transport loads. There are springs with clean fresh water. To make work more effective, it bears no problem to relocate the base camp.

Partly, the territory is a sanctuary; therefore our foundation will have to obtain appropriate permission for entry from relevant state institutions.

We invite all interested cavers to take part in the research of new Tien Shan karst region in July 2020.

The air temperature in May-August is about 28-30 degrees Celsius during the daytime and 20-22 degrees at night. It rains frequently in the area within April to September. Sometimes, rains may last for 2-3 days.

Partly, the territory is a sanctuary, therefore our foundation obtain from local state institutions an appropriate permission for entry.

We invite all interested cavers to take part in research of new Tien Shan karst region in July 2020.

We invite cavers who wish to explore this karst area. The main goal of the expedition is the search and exploration of new caves. Since this area has not yet been fully explored by anyone. The best time for the expedition is the Second half of july.

    Photos from the karst area Naryn-Too

                                                                                   Expedition route, location of the karst region

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