The Kuraves karst region is located in the Kuraves valley. The mountain slopes are covered with dense walnut forests. Almost all the foothills and mid-mountains of the southwestern slopes of the Fergana Range are covered with dense forests. Limestone cliffs are exposed only in the upper part of the mountain range, which is rather difficult to reach.

In 2019, we made a reconnaissance of the area. We used a nice off-road vehicle. As soon as we got to the end of the forest, a heavy downpour overtook us. As a result of heavy rain, the dirt road became impassable and we were forced to pull our car out of the trap.
During the trip, we managed to take some photos of the area before we got out of here. The next day, we rented an old Soviet military vehicle UAZ from a local. On this car, we again reached the end of the forest and made sure that we should organize a base camp under the base of limestone rocks. We decided to leave this idea for the next expeditions.

Nevertheless, the locals told us about the caves, which seemed very interesting to us. Later, in the old Soviet literature (1975), we found a description of some researchers who explored 2 caves. Therefore, we decided to return here in 2021.

Local stories about the local caves

One of the local Kyrgyz said that the entrance to the cave is located at an altitude of more than 2000 m. The Kyrgyz call the cave Kyndyn-Kyry or Zindan, which in the local language means prison. The path to the entrance is very difficult, so it is better to use horses.

Inside the cave, in the large hall, even in summer you can see ice stalagmites and huge thin crystals. There is a glacier on the left side of the cave. Local old people have heard from their ancestors that in the IX-X centuries. ore was mined in the cave.

Exploration in the Kuraves valley

In 1971, a scientist historian and archaeologist, Dr. Leonid Ogudin partially explored the cave. As a result, he claimed to have found a new biological species of insect with many legs in the cave. These insects lived on ice. Biologists have established that this is a new species of insect and named it “kivsyak Ogudin”. But we do not know whether this was confirmed by the scientific community. If future expeditions of speleo-biologists find this species of insect in the cave again, then the cave should be taken under state protection. In 1971, the length of the cave, according to Ogudin’s description, was 220 m, the depth was 30 m.

Not far from the Kyndyn-Kyry cave there is another cave called Tash-Unkur. In it, Valentin Ogudin discovered a natural bonestorage of cave bears. V. Ogudin took bones from the cave and made research on the age of the bones. After hydrocarbon analysis, the age of bear bones was about 7-8 thousand years. This is a special subspecies of the brown bear, very large (now there are no such species in the Tien Shan). The bear was named Ursus Arctos Ogudinus, that is, “brown bear Ogudin”. Since then, the cave has not been explored by speleologists or other scientists. Also, the exact coordinates of the cave entrance are missing. A bear skull and part of the spine were found in the cave. The size of the Tash-Unkur cave is about 200 m. But as Ogudin writes, both caves have a continuation.

The excess of the entrances to the caves above the regional basis of erosion is more than 2000 m (Fergana Valley). Thus, we have to climb to an altitude of more than 2000 m from the main road.

We think to carry out new excavations of bones together with paleozoologists – this is a topic for scientific research and a great idea to organize an expedition to this unknown karst region of the Fergana ridge.
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Exploration in the Kara-Alma valley

Another karst region, Sogon-Tash, is located in the Kara-Alma valley. According to archival descriptions of geologists for 1975, there is a cave “Sogon-Tash” in the cave, stalactites and other cave formations were discovered.
The area is also difficult to access. There are no roads here, and the presence of a dense forest makes it difficult to navigate the terrain. In 2019, we also conducted a reconnaissance of the area and made sure that it was necessary to use old army vehicles and horses to deliver equipment to the base camp. The outcrops of limestone rocks, which we saw from the dense forest, promise to be promising for finding caves here. The excess of exposed limestone cliffs over the Fergana Valley is about 2000-2300 m.

We are planning to explore the two above described karst regions. In the area where the caves or their signs will be found, we will concentrate our main attention.

We invite cavers to participate in an international expedition, especially speleo-biologists.

For the expedition, we will organize logistics, provide equipment for field base camps and prepare all the necessary official permits for research.

The purpose and objectives of the expedition:
– Search and research of caves previously described by V. Ogudin,
– Biological research,
– Search and exploration of new caves in the Kuraves and Kara-Alma valleys

The most favorable time for the expedition is July-August

Those wishing to take part in the expedition, write to us info@speleo.kg

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