Food, Gas & Petrol, Equipment
There are no problems with food supply for the mountaineering expeditions in Kyrgyzstan. Basically any standard set of ingredients can be easily obtained in the local stores and markets of the country. But there are several things to consider while buying. These will provide you with required food of good quality. All necessary ingredients can be bought in Bishkek which is usually a starting point for most expeditions. It’s also Bishkek, as a rule, where you find the best choice, variety and quality. Therefore it’s better to stock main ingredients in Bishkek yet something is better to buy on the way to the mountains. Special food for climbers, concentrates, sublimate and long-term food is better tobuy in Bishkek. If travel to the expedition destination takes several days, as for example to the Western Kokshal-Too region, then some things especially perishables are worth to buy in towns or villages on the way. First of all, it applies to bread, fruit, vegetables and meat. Most expeditions in Kyrgyzstan are held in the areas of big towns of Karakol, Naryn and Osh. Karakol is good place to purchase bread, meat and vegetables, however, fruit and tomatoes are better on the way to Karakol in Chui valley. It’s convenient to stock with bread and meat in Naryn but the rest is better in Chui valley and Bishkek. Osh offers good selection of fruit, vegetables, meat and bread even fruit and vegetables are cheaper and of better quality than in the north.
Gas and petrol are better to buy in Bishkek. Gas canisters for stoves (240 g and 480 g) are quite rare commodity in the equipment stores. Usually this item has to be ordered in advance from the tour operator. Some companies have systems to refill cylinders. One option is to refill used cylinders which will be considerably cheaper than buying new ones. Refilled cylinders are good to use at the altitude below 6 000 m – proved with personal experience. Good quality petrol for primus stoves is available only in Bishkek. Also it can be ordered in advance from the tour operator.
Mountaineers usually bring their own personal equipment however occasionally some problems occur, such as lost baggage or some items worn out during expedition. There are several outdoor stores in Bishkek where everything necessary can be purchased. The list of the stores is attached. There are no such facilities in other towns of Kyrgyzstan. Cookwares and cooking supplies can also be bought in hunting or sportswear stores but the assortment is usually not very big and often can happen that there is no necessary item. If any special equipment needs to be purchased it’s recommended to order it in advance from the store or through the tour operator. In addition, some tour operators can lend equipment such as: tents (high-altitude, base camp, kitchen and dining tents), cooking ware and utensils, satellite phones, USB-stations and etc.