Up-and-coming leisure activity is becoming increasingly popular in our country, and the mild climate allows to practice most sports almost all year round. Uzbekistan offers numerous opportunities for extreme sports thanks to its vast and diverse landscapes, although these sports are still new in the country. These are:
● winter sports: mountain tourism, extreme skiing, snowboarding;
● Motorcycle racing, rallying, motocross;
● skateboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, canyoning and paragliding.
Mountaineering in Uzbekistan is a very actively developing industry. The vast massifs of the mountainous regions of the country are especially attractive for fans of this kind of tourism. Most of the country’s territory is mainly occupied by plains, but in many regions of the country a long chain of mountain ranges of the Tien Shan and Pamir runs from west to east. The mountainous terrain of Uzbekistan is very popular – the Chimgan Mountains with the dominant peak of Big Chimgan, with a height of 3309 m. This area serves as the beginning of many mountaineering trails, hiking routes, rock climbing, equestrian routes, ski trails and other offers.
There are three ski resorts located here – Chimgan, Beldersay and Amirsoy, which attract more and more fans of various, including extreme winter sports. The ski season is not so long – from the end of December to the middle of March, in which February is the most ideal time for skiing.
Currently, a project is being implemented for all fans of extreme and mountain tourism – the construction of the extreme tourism base «Mugol» in the Jizzakh region. Upon its completion, guests will have access to skiing and snowboarding, mountain racing, zipline and other «adrenaline» attractions.
Deep caves Boy-Bulok (amplitude 1415 m) Festival-Icefall (−580 m) and Uralskaya (−565 m) in the Baysuntau range, breathtaking panoramas of the canyons of Kulasai, Langar and Gulkam gorges, the healing air of the north-western spurs of the Turkestan range in Zaamin give an unprecedented number of travelers thrills.
The vast mountainous regions of Uzbekistan are ideally designed for mountaineering, rock climbing and ice climbing, but these are routes for people who are prepared. Rock climbing involves vertical climbing on a rock without additional equipment (except insurance), while mountaineering is a long climb to high mountains using ropes, hooks, cats and other devices to ensure the safety of climbing. Storming the mountain, the climber overcomes not only rocks, but also other natural obstacles: snow and ice areas, mountain rivers. Meanwhile, rock climbing is part of mountaineering training. It should be noted that both directions are very popular in Uzbekistan, where mountains make up 21.3% of the country’s territory.
The Federation of Mountaineering and Rock Climbing of Uzbekistan mentions on its website about 74 routes in 34 mountainous areas of Uzbekistan, the height of which varies from 3,099 to 4326 m. 15 tours of this have difficulty levels 4a or 4b, 9 routes have difficulty levels 5a or 5b and only the difficulty level of one route reaches 6a.
The main routes of mountaineering, rock climbing and ice climbing are located in the areas of the Western Tien Shan: Maidantal Range, Pskem Range and Chatkal Range. Open competitions of Uzbekistan in mountaineering and rock climbing are held here annually. For lovers of speleotourism, in the mountains of Baysuntau of the Surkhandarya region, the cave «Dark Star» is famous, and in the tract «Kalla-i-Shiron» of the Kashkadarya region – the Cave of Amir Temur.
Not far from Samarkand, for fans of extreme there is a route along the spurs of the Aktau ridge. This picturesque mountainous area is located 15 km south-west of Samarkand, in the valley of the Agaliksai River. Agalik is a spur of the Zarafshan Range with a height of about 818 m above sea level. And its main mountain Kenkutan has a height of 2178 m and is available for climbing by both professional and novice climbers.
Trekking is a long hiking trip through mountainous terrain with overnight stays in designated places. Speleology is also called the study of caves. The fact is that there are quite a lot of caves in the mountains of Uzbekistan, and tourists who are fond of trekking are often interested in speleology.
The cave of Amir Temur is located in the Kashkadarya region, in the Hissar State Reserve, at an altitude of 2550 m above sea level and resembles an ancient fortress. It is divided into two parts: the main one has a length of 750 m and a through one – 190 m. An artificially created platform in the proximity of the entrance to the cave and a large stake for tying horses indicate that Amir Temur in his time stayed here. Inside there are stone stalactites of bizarre shape, and in the southern part there is a lake, the water of which keeps the temperature regime in the region of 6-8 °C.
The gorge of Khojamaykhona is an incredibly beautiful natural area, the main attractions of which are the gorge and the holy spring. Khojdamaikhona will allow nobody to stay indifferent any connoisseur of mountain landscapes. Moreover, fans of speleological excursions can look into the nearby famous Teshik-Tash cave, where the remains of a Neanderthal child were once found.
content copywriter, editorial office of Uzbekistan.travel magazine