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When Things Go Bad in the Pamirs

So you have seen some of the amazing photos from our adventure through the Pamirs, but I thought it fit to tell you the quick story of just how quick the cycle touring life can go from good to bad.

We were headed for the start of the biggest pass (4665m) with the plan to camp around 4000 meters. We had just resupplied in Murgab, the only real town along the Pamirs so dinner would not consist of 4 day old naan bread.

Khorog to Murgab

The scenery in this area was literally out of this world with a nice little river to our right, so feeling tired, we stopped for a quick break.

Khorog to Murgab

Not more than 20 seconds had passed when we were swarmed by mosquitoes. I’m not talking the odd bug, I’m talking about bugs worse than Sandfly’s in NZ swarm. We immediately jumped back on our bikes and went further up the road thinking it would be better. I mean what bugs live at 4000 meters right?

Murgab to Sary-Tash

By this time the headwind had done its thing for the day and become a full on gale making the up that much harder so we pulled off the road and set up camp just beside the river. Wind makes camp life annoying but at least it was keeping most of the mosquitoes away.

Murgab to Sary-Tash

Thats when things turned for the worse. First the wind stopped, then the mozzies came in force. We jumped into the freezing river to clean up and escape the bugs before our inevitable fight with these vicious bastards over dinner.

Jared: “The MSR cooker is broken!”

Katie: “What, no!”

[Insert tears from one of us – no names.]

Our hearts sunk. The pump on our MSR cooker has chosen then worst possible moment to stop working. We were cold from our mountain shower, the mozzies were slamming us from left and right, and we were about to start the most remote stretch of The Pamirs – and with no cooker!

There are no pictures of this, so you are going to have to use your imagination, but picture this. Here I am with whatever things I can find sitting inside of our tent with MSR bits everywhere wondering what to do with hundreds of mosquitos on the tent netting trying to get in. Katie, now quite miserable at the prospect of no hot dinner standing outside jacket on, buff pulled up and sweating in the harsh heat of the sun.

Good Times.

I did the best Macgyver job possible not sure if it would work – only time would tell. So after a bit of fresh naan and some iranian dates and little to no talking we passed out. It was not a good nights sleep at all. Worrying, worrying worrying. What were we going to do without a cooker?

Murgab to Sary-Tash

I woke up at 4am as dawn was breaking. Jumped out of the tent and checked my glue job that had now set. It was a tense couple of minutes as I reassembled the pump. 1, 2, 3 pumps. Was it working? Was the tank pressurizing…. 4, 5, 6. Looking good!

Those who know the sound of an MSR will understand when I say that that was the best sound ever as our cooker ignited. A hot breakfast was on its way.

Needless to say that day started a lot better. Only a 4655 meter pass in the road.

Murgab to Sary-Tash


Murgab to Sary-Tash