Sec. in ALONG THE ALAI VALLEY 845
sister, the distinguished traveller and writer Miss Ella Sykes. During a day of happy reunion I was able to benefit once more by his expert advice regarding Khorasan and Sistân, a goal still distant.
On the morning of July 22nd we parted, Sir Percy and Miss Sykes turning towards the Ulûghart, while I set out to the north-west in order to gain the Alai. My route led up the wide valley of Môji and Kiyak-bâshi (Map No. 2. A. 2) in which the northernmost feeders of the Gez river gather. Compared with the huge bare glacis of piedmont gravel which descends from the northernmost extension of the great meridional range, the stretch of grass-covered ground in the centre of the valley appeared very limited. It was being grazed at the time by the flocks of some thirty Kirghiz households. On the following day, on crossing the Kosh-bél pass (about 13,800 feet) at the head of the valley, I gained my first view of the great Trans-Alai range where it stretches with peaks rising to more than 20,000 feet from west to east.' Below it passes in a deep-cut valley the main feeder of the Kizil-su or Kashgar river. As we moved towards this, I was struck by abundant marks of ancient glaciation in the shape of old moraines and cirques covering the barren plateau between the side valleys of Kurumluk and Kum-bél.
After camping in the latter valley, we crossed the Kum-bél pass (approx. 13,60o feet) on the morning of July 24th. A descent of about 3,000 feet over very steep slopes then brought us to the bed of the Kizil-art river or Markan-su. This takes its rise on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Kaufmann, and in view of its great length must be considered the main feeder of the Kâshgar river. Our route led along its bed on that and the following day. Steep spurs descending to the river necessitated frequent crossings from one narrow terrace to another, but these did not cause much trouble. Below the debouchure of a side-stream coming from the high Kanish-khatan peak to the north we passed a cairn evidently meant to mark the Russian frontier. Beyond it the valley widened in places into small basins, now dry, marking the position of former lakelets. Kizil-köl, the last of the basins that we passed, extended for close on four miles, and on the slopes to the south earlier shore-lines were visible to a height of some 200 feet above the lake. While encamped by this old lake bed on the night of July 25th we were visited by a snowstorm, and the temperature fell at 5 a.m. below freezing-point.
That morning an easy ascent over gently sloping plateaus brought us, after a march of about I I miles, to the Kizil-art saddle, where the road practicable for cart traffic coming from the Russian Pamirs and the main valley of Shughnan crosses the Alai at an elevation of about 14,000 feet. Following this well-aligned road towards the Alai we reached the rest-house of Pör-döbe (also pronounced Bör-töpe by people from Western Turkestan). Not until near it did we meet with any wayfarer or camp, in the course of a march of close on a hundred miles from Kiyak-bashi. At Par-döbe I found the kindly Russian Customs Officer, M. Zampoin, just arrived from Irkesh-tam on the main Farghana—Kashgar road and was welcomed by the cheering news that Colonel Ivan D. Jagello, holding military and political charge of the Pamir Division, was expected to arrive next day on a rapid passage from his head-quarters to Tashkend. The fortunate chance of an early meeting with him was secured by a day's halt at Par-döbe. Experience soon showed that even on the Indian side of the Hindukush border I could not have hoped for arrangements more complete or effective than those which proved to have been made on my behalf by Colonel Jagello both on the Pamirs and in the territories of Wakhân, Shugnân, and Rôshân, included in his chàrge. It