Karakol Hike


Karakol Hike

Training buddies Roisin, Florence, Kate, Kris, Sue

Karakol Hike

Karakol Hike

Exciting Breaking News!!

'A friend of the Irish' in the USA has agreed to match EVERY donation dollar for dollar!!  As a result of this we have decided to up the target to the ambitious combined amount of $50,000!! Roisin's Dad's catchphrase "A little goes a long way" rings doubly true. 


What are we doing?

Raising awareness and funds for the projects in the Kyrgyz Republic that Roots & Wings are supporting.

It really started in 2009, when I met Roisin in Bolivia. We traveled together for a few weeks, through the red and gold cowboy country of southern Bolivia and into Argentina, where we cemented our friendship over many cones of ice cream and nights dancing in Buenos Aires. We’ve been ardent pen pals ever since. Nearly every week for five years, we’ve penned long emails to each other, sharing the highs, the lows and the minutiae of life; there’s probably enough text to fill a novel or two by now.

Since we are both turning 30 this year, we decided to celebrate together, and to do something amazing. We decided that our something amazing should include travel, obviously, but also should be beneficial to others in some way. We are both so lucky to be able to travel the world, and we want to pay our good fortune forward in some way. Together with a team of friends, family and anyone else who wants to join a hiking expedition that will take us through some of the most stunning scenery and will follow part of the Silk Road.


Why the Roots & Wings Foundation?

In 2004, Roisin's late father, Hugh Coulter, donated to an orphanage in Karakol when he was working on an EU project. Things escalated quickly and before they knew it, her family was fundraising for the orphanage and later for micro-credits. Shortly after he passed away, they were contacted by Danielle Riley, the founder of Roots & Wings, who had met Mr Coulter when she was in the Krygyz Republic working for Habitat for Humanity. She had not forgotten the work that they had been doing, and wanted to continue to support them. They have now joined forces, and Roisin's mother, Jean Coulter, is the Senior Director of Global Programmes for Roots & Wings.


Who are Roots & Wings?

Roots and Wings is a nonprofit global economic development organization dedicated to overlooked populations and frontier geographies. We create self-sustaining entrepreneurial ecosystems that break the cycle of poverty and produce prosperity and transformational change for generations.

Our long-term goal is to build vibrant economies that eliminate the need for altruistic capital (ie. philanthropy), and establish frontier geographies as “investment-grade opportunities” ready for the broader investing community and the global market place.

Roots & Wings is headquartered in New York City, with program sites and staff around the globe. Today, we are actively working in three target geographies: Cameroon, Kyrgyzstan, and Punjab, India.

Roots & Wings envisions a world where people everywhere have the skills, infrastructure and resources to no longer need sustained philanthropic investment.

More than 1/3 of the population in Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian country sandwiched between China and Kazahkstan, are deemed to be living in ‘extreme poverty’. Helping launch businesses here provides much needed job opportunities. Roots and Wings helps the neediest people to never need help again.


What we Hope to Raise and How your Donation can make a Difference


Roots & Wings has been sponsoring Micro-Credit projects in the Karakol region. In the past year, they have supported 14 businesses. These businesses cover many sectors,  including: livestock, agriculture, production of boilers for heating, taxi, clothing, Veterinary Pharmacy to chicken production. It is a breath of fresh air to see so many families benefiting from relatively small loans and to see businesses grow in such difficult economic times.

Last year, when Roots & Wings visited Karakol, they were introduced to a private kindergarten, Kinder Land, which demonstrated 'Best Practice' in early childhood education. They set up two scholarships for children of disadvantaged families; the intention is to give the mother the opportunity to find employment while the children are being well cared for and educated.

The scholarship is named 'Hugh's Bear Cubs' in memory of Roisin's father. There is also a clothing fund set up for the Bear Cubs so that the children can fit in with their peers.

All funds raised by this project will go to the Roots & Wings Foundation. Our published goal is $50,000. 
With all donations you will get our sincerest thanks, be published on the donor roll and we would like to include you on our mailing list so we can keep you up-to-date with Roots & Wings. 


These are examples of what your donations could do to make a difference:

$10 - could cover the cost of a fleece for one of Hugh’s Bear Cubs.

$20 –this could provide a winter coat for a child as part of the clothing fund we established to provide warm clothes for children in need in the winter.

$100 – this could fund a Hugh’s Bear Cub clothes for the school year so that the Bear Cub will fit in with his peers in Kinder Land.

$300 - $1,000 – this could provide Microcredit loans

*in U.S. currency


This campaign is raising funds on behalf of Roots & Wings Foundation, a verified nonprofit. All contributions are considered unrestricted gifts and can't be specified for any particular purpose.


The Hike

Day 1. Bishkek. No services except accommodation.

Day 2. Bishkek- Karakol transfer.
In the morning meet the driver at the hotel. Drive along the northern shore of Issyk-Kul to Karakol. Visit Burana Tower and an open air museum of petroglyphs on the way. Accommodation in guest house.

Day 3. Karakol
Self. Folklore show in the evening. Overnight in guest house.

Day 4. Karakol- Chon- Kyzyl- Suu- Archa- Tor pass.
After breakfast transfer from Karakol town to Chon-Kyzyl-Suu gorge. Hike along Chon-Kyzyl-Suu gorge to the footstep of Archa-Tor pass. Overnight in the tent camp. (BLD)
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Start point in Karakol town – 1800m; overnight – 3000m

Day 5. Archa-Tor pass – Jety-Oguz gorge
Ascent to Archa-Tor pass and descent to Jety-Oguz gorge. Overnight in the tent camp. (BLD)
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): Archa-Tor pass – 3700m, overnight – 2800m

Day 6. Jety-Oguz gorge – Tilety gorge
Descent along the Jety-Oguz gorge till confluence of Jety-Oguz and Tilety rivers. Ascent along Tilety river to the footstep of Tilety pass. Overnight in tent camp. (BLD)
Altitudes during the day (above sea level): overnight – 2900m

Day 7. Tilety pass –National park in Karakol gorge
Hiking over Tilety pass. Ascent to the pass takes 3 hours. From the pass you may see many summits of Terskey Ala-Too range. Descent to Karakol gorge along Tilety river, which also takes around 3 hours. Overnight in the tent camp. (BLD)
Altitudes (above sea level): highest point on Tilety pass – 3665m; overnight point – 2400-2500m.

Day 8. Karakol gorge – "Sirota" shelter
Descent in Karakol gorge to small log bridge. Stream crossing and ascent toward Ala-Kul Lake. Ascent is steep here and there, but not long. We establish next tent camp in forest, near small shelter called – “sirota” (orphan). Overnight in the tent camp. (BLD)
Altitudes (above sea level): highest point & overnight point – 3200 m.

Day 9. Alakul Lake – Altyn Arashan gorge
Ascent to Ala-Kul lake. Then after small brake on the lake, ascent to Keldyke pass and descent to Altyn-Arashan gorge up to hot mineral springs. Relaxation in pleasant warm mineral bath after dinner. Overnight in the tent camp. (BLD)
Altitudes (above sea level): highest point at Ala-Kul lake – 3600m; overnight point- 2500m.

Day 10. Altyn-Arashan- Karakol
After breakfast hike to the meeting point with the driver. Transfer to Karakol. (BL)
Or transfer from Altyn-Arashan. Overnight in guest house.

Day 11. Karakol – Bishkek transfer (along the southern shore)
After breakfast drive to Bishkek along the southern shore. Visit Barskoon and Skazka (“fairy-tale”) gorges.

Level of difficulty: program is suitable for active people with good health, able to acclimatize on 4000m above the sea level and make hiking passages for 5-7 hours a day.

Average altitude difference during trek is 1000m.


Please do contact me if you would like to take part in the hike or if you would like any further information regarding the trek and the work that Roots & Wings does.



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