Gumbezkul Pass Hike, Tajikistan
Updated March 2022, Gumbezkul Pass Hike, Tajikistan was originally published in February 2022
If you’re looking for a day hike from the Eastern Pamir town of Murghab, then the trek over Gumbezkul Pass is the perfect option. Connecting the colorful mineral-laden mountains of the Pshart Valley with the stark pinnacles of the Madiyan Valley, the Gumbezkul Pass hike is a great option for those looking to get out of town, but not wanting to lug camping gear along with them.
The Gumbezkul Pass Hike
604 m+ | 639 m-
The trek up Gumbezkul Pass begins from a yurt camp located about 1.5 kilometers off the tracks running the course of the Pshart Valley in a grassy green side valley. For roughly the first kilometer the route continues along the valley floor before starting to veer to the east slightly, beginning to climb above the valley floor.
The route becomes rockier the higher you climb, but note that the way up is pretty straightforward and obvious. Even in mid to late summer you can expect to have to cross some patches of snow to reach the top of Gumbezkul Pass.
You’ll have stunning views at the top of the pass, worthy of stopping for lunch up there.
Coming down Gumbezkul Pass on the Madiyan Valley-side the route comes down a rockslide (hence why doing the Gumbezkul Pass trek in the opposite direction isn’t recommended). You can expect parts of the trail to disappear due to sliding rocks, but getting to the bottom is pretty obvious.
Once into the floor of the side valley that leads to Madiyan Valley you’ll reach the small Gumbezkul River and follow its course to a yurt camp where you can arrange for your transport to pick you up from.
Getting to the Pshart Valley Trailhead
The easiest way to get to and from the Gumbezkul Pass hike is to hire a 4WD to drop you off at the yurt camp in Pshart Valley and pick you up on the other side in Madiyan Valley at the yurt camp. For this plan to pay about $110 USD to charter a vehicle for the ride to and from Murghab.
Alternatively, for those wanting to do this more independently, you can sometimes find a shared taxi going to the yurt camp in Pshart Valley at the Murghab Bazaar. Plan to pay roughly 120 TJS for a seat.
Getting back from the Madiyan Valley Side
If you’ve hired a driver to drop you off and pick you up, then you’ll get scooped up at the yurt camp on the Gumbezkul River. But those that do this independently will likely need to follow the tracks along the river an additional seven kilometers to reach the main Madiyan Valley Road where you can try to flag down a passing car heading back from Ak Tal to Murghab.
Continue on to Madiyan Hot Springs
For those wanting to have a soak in Madiyan Hot Springs, it’s possible if you’ve arranged transport to have your car pick you up at the end of the Gumbezkul Pass hike and take you to Ak Tal to continue to the hot springs.
If you’ve come out here using the shared taxi to Pshart, you’ll need to walk down from the yurt camp at the end of the trek, an additional seven kilometers to the Madiyan Valley Road, and hitch a ride (or walk) to the village of Ak Tal. From Ak Tal, enquire about whether to use the upper or lower path and continue to Madiyan Hot Springs, located on the Eli Suu River in a side valley.
What to Pack for Gumbezkul Pass
As the trek over Gumbezkul Pass is a day trip, realistically you’ll just need to pack a day pack with water, snacks, warm layers (temps can vary drastically even in summer), and a windproof/waterproof jacket. Sturdy hiking boots or trail runners are recommended, and some may want to bring some trekking poles.
Don’t forget to toss in a copy of the Pamirs Map to take with you too. It would also be a good idea to download the Tajikistan map offline on either Gaia GPS (more detailed) or Maps.me (free) as the Gumbekul Pass trail is marked on the maps of both apps.
Who to Contact to Arrange to do the Gumbezkul Pass Hike
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