Finally! We get to trek again after a long hiatus! It felt so good to give those legs a good workout. This was our first time trekking in snow and the entire experience of trekking the Kegety Gorge was incredible! Coming from someone who lives in the tropics and has never experienced snow before…imagine how ecstatic I was to trek in snow! BUT it was also no joke trekking in -10 degrees! (Tips on how we survived the harsh cold weather at the bottom of the post!)
You feel like you’ve been teleported to “Winter Wonderland”. You know how shopping malls (in Singapore and maybe other parts of the world too) often love to decorate their interior with a “Winter Wonderland” theme especially during Christmas? This was like seeing it come alive! We were surrounded by beautiful snowcapped mountains with neatly lined pine trees dotting its slopes and vast crisp snow covering almost every inch of the land. The sun rays shining against the snow causes it to sparkle so much which made it nearly impossible to look at without squinting your eyes or with the help of sunglasses. This was my favourite part of the trek actually – the glittery snow, it definitely felt magical. Sadly, you can’t see the “glitter” of the snow from the photos, you have to be there to experience the magic for yourself.
Another highlight of the trek was getting to see a partially frozen waterfall. It was so cool! (geddit?? haha) The droplets towards the lower part of the waterfall have completely frozen as well as part of the water at the base of the waterfall. Our guide shared with us that in March, the entire waterfall would be frozen. How cool is that?! But it would also mean that it’s probably way too cold to trek during that period. Our sweat would probably form droplets of ice on our face and our water in our bottles would be impossible to drink.
Trekking uphill on snow is no joke. Remember how in my previous post about Mongolia, I mentioned that trekking the sand dunes was one of the hardest trek we’ve ever done in our lives? Well, I think we’ve found its match. Trekking uphill on a snowy terrain is equally tough! Or maybe even tougher because of the bitter cold! Fresh and untouched snow is so powdery that every step you take causes you to slide back down. During this trek, there was a section where we could either choose to take the short cut (very steep and challenging uphill climb) or the longer path (much gentler but longer route). We chose the short cut and it was not easy at all! It was probably just 2 metres uphill, but it felt like forever when your foot keeps slipping every time you try to take a step. It was also very slippery and scary as one slip might mean you falling all the way back down! Plus the snow was freezing and it wasn’t easy maintaining our balance while trying to grab fistful of snow or whatever that we can grab on to. But we made it and it was worth it!
Oh and I really like how our brightly coloured TNF jackets stand out against the white snowy landscape 😀
Useful tips on surviving -20 degrees while trekking:
1. Layering is a super useful method in keeping your body warm. Air gets trapped between each layer and helps to retain your body heat. Also, layering makes it very convenient to removing your extra layers or putting them back on when the need arises. For us, we wore our TNF thermal long sleeve top and pants, dri fit top and TNF tri climate jacket which has a detachable inner fleece layer. The outer shell is also waterproof which makes us feel invincible when it snows. What we wore doesn’t seem like a lot, but it was able to keep us warm and comfortable during the trek.
2. BUT avoid wearing too many layers such that it causes you to sweat. You might feel really cold at the start which will make you feel like wearing your entire wardrobe, but trust me, you don’t want to end up sweating! Your sweat will only end up causing you to feel even colder and uncomfortable. Before we started the trek, I was feeling really cold and decided to add TNF thermal ball jacket beneath my tri climate jacket. Yes it was warm and nice at first, but once we started trekking, I could feel droplets of sweat forming on my back and after 10 minutes, I could’t take it and had to remove the thermal ball. The thermal ball really keeps you very warm and it’s probably more suitable for less vigorous activities.
3. Don’t forget your hands and feet! We wore 2 layers of socks to keep our feet as warm as possible! The first layer was a Mund Elbrus thermal liner and the second layer was a thicker pair of Mund Elbrus trekking socks. We got our socks from Adventure Gear Post. It’ll be best if your shoes are waterproof and high cut to keep the snow out of your shoes. The last thing you want during your trek is a pair of useless frozen feet. We also had our TNF waterproof gloves to keep our hands warm. Waterproof gloves are the best as you can touch snow without your gloves soaking through and freezing your hands!
Trekking Union – they organise one day trek every weekend during winter to Kegeti Gorge, Ala-Archa and even ski trips at Karakol!
How to book
Call them to reserve a slot (+996312909115) or simply drop by their office to book on the spot