The legendary Karagem
a pass between two ridges
Karagem river; tuv. hem— river. — abundant, spring, feeding on the underground waters of the river.
The height of the pass according to the GPS receiver is 2837 meters.
Among mountain passes that can be overcame by car, the Karagem pass is, of course, one of the most beautiful and difficult to access. It is very high and very steep, but complexity of the path and the number of thrills worth beauty of the landscape. From Beltir the road rises up the river Taldura and leads to the place where it confluences with river Djelo. Here the road to the pass – and adventures – begins.
First we will overcome a difficult ford through Djelo which in its mouth is a fairly large river. The water level in Djelo reacts violently to any natural changes, depending on the season, time of the day and weather conditions. A safe and
simple ford can turn into an insurmountable obstacle in just a few tens of minutes, and all that would remain for travelers is to wait patiently for a few hours until the flood ends. Right after the ford the pathway starts to climb up the hill. An extremely steep climb ends with a platform from which a stunning view of the Taldura valley opens. Taldura is a “white river”, which means glacial – it originates on the glacier of Bolshaya Taldura, the largest glacier of the South Chuy Ridge. The water in it, as a rule, is turbid and really white in color, as it usually is with glacial rivers. However, the ascent from the river is just a detour: the road to the top overpasses the gorge, in which the river made its channel. After skirting, we will go down to the valley of Djello again – to cross the dry, stony course a few more times, and climb back onto the watershed. Up the slope – to the clouds! Incredible impressions are guaranteed. For the first time the upward climb seems to be endless. But it’s worth it. You rise – and you rise above the mountains. The absolute height is 2837 meters above sea level. Climbing up the saddle, you find yourself in the middle of a huge mountain system. On the left is the South Chuy Ridge, on the right is the Severo-Chui Ridge, and just in front of you lies the Katunsky Mountain Range with the three-headed snow-white Belukha towering above.
Almost at the top the road passes between two lakes. This place is marked with pyramids of stones. The winds are constantly blowing here, always – as they face no obstacles anymore. The green forest border is far behind, and even dwarf birches cannot be seen here. Only the wind rushes through the open space of the height, surrounded beneath by endless chains of mountains. This is the pass of Karagem.