Words and images by Epic founder Chris Lininger.
When we from Western societies think about the past and where the important civilizations were located, the map in our collective mind’s eye tends to be quite narrow. We think of Rome, Athens, Carthage, Constantinople, and the like.
But what if I told you that during its peak, the center of the world was not in Europe, but rather in the East. I am talking about the land at the heart of the ancient Silk Road: Central Asia.
Our most recent Epic Backpacker Tours expedition got our team first-hand exposure to the main vein of the old center of the world in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. This trip ticks all the boxes for those who love history, incredible architecture, delicious food, – and of course, the main event – an epic 9-day trek through incredible remote alpine scenery.
Our journey started out in the famed former seat of Tamerlane and arguably one of the most important cities that has ever existed throughout the history of human civilization: Samarkand.
After some days exploring the markets and the medieval building marvels in the hot city, we crossed the border from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan and started our trekking journey throughout the Fann Mountains the following day.
Nearly every day, our team was treated to some of the clearest alpine lakes we have ever swam in (and tasty meals from our jack-of-all-trades lead guide, Andrey).
The real adventure began when an unseasonal, frigid snowstorm blew in to high camp around 4100 meters and delayed (and threatened to cancel) our push to cross Chimtarga pass (4700 meters) by a day.
When the sun finally showed and began to thaw out our frozen bones, the team crossed the technical mountain pass in perfect weather.
Upon our return to civilization 4 days later – the team once again crossed the border from Tajikistan back into Uzbekistan and moved to Bukhara – another famed city along the ancient Silk Road. Here we enjoyed the flavors, sites, and history of the most well-preserved medieval city in Central Asia (mostly we were on the hunt for the perfect coffee and ice cream).
The trip marked a couple of notable firsts for Epic. It was the first time we ran a trip that involved logistics in two countries and we could not be more proud of how well our ground team did to run yet another fabulous hybrid cultural-trekking itinerary in one of the world’s most exciting and underrated destinations.
Special thanks to our lead guide Andrey – whose humor, patience, work ethic, and ability to cook consistently tasty porridge day after day is second to none. To our team members who made this trip so special, thank you all for choosing to come on this inaugural Epic expedition in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and for showing up to push your personal limits on this challenging, rewarding adventure. You guys are awesome!
Below is a photo gallery of how it all went down during our Trekking in the Fann Mountains Expedition 2023.
Drop a comment at the end of the article and let us know what you think of the photos.
If you want to join this trip next year, please visit the trip page to secure your spot!
Fann Mountains Trekking: Photo Gallery
Well if you made it this far, you just saw our 2 week journey compressed into 100 photographs.
The Fann Mountains of Tajikistan and the ancient cities of Uzbekistan are truly remarkable destinations and we are so stoked to now be offering trips to this region of Central Asia.
We look forward to having you join us there down the line!
If you are keen to join us in the Fann Mountains next year, please visit the trip page for all the details.
Please drop a comment below and let us know what you think of the photos!