Kok-Airyk pass is a high mountain pass, at an elevation of 3.869m (12,693ft) above the sea level, located in Kungei Ala Too, on the Almaty region of Kyrgyzstan. Driving through the pass Kok-Airyk, the driver will negotiate about 15 snaking sections of uncovered road with some stony places. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of the country.
At the top of the pass, also known as Pereval Kok Airyk, probably, you will drive small snow plains, in the glacier area, the road, in general, is in good condition. Proper preparation is essential to having a safe, enjoyable trop on this road. Due to the remoteness of the area, take special care to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the trip: inspect all tires and make sure they are properly inflated, check all vehicle fluids, replace worn hoses and belts, empty your RV's holding tank and fill the water tank, purchase groceries and supplies. For the vehicle, bring at least two full-sized spare tires mounted on rims, tire jack and tools for flat tires, emergency flares, extra gasoline, motor oil, and wiper fluid and a radio.
From the top of the pass, if the weather is fine, there is a wonderful view of the Issyk-Kul lake and the snowy Terskey-Alatoo mountain ridge situated at the opposite side of the lake. Although it can be a reasonably easy drive in favourable conditions it also has the potential to be a very difficult track and at times impassable after wet weather. It is very important to check rainfall in this area before setting off and make sure you are well prepared for the trip.
Right at the pass there is an arch with a very optimistic inscription saying that the Cholpon-Ata-Almaty road has been built and international tourism can feel safe here. If you dare to take the risk and travel along this dusty and bumpy route, then make sure to be driven by someone who has experience of the road. Staying on track here takes oodles of concentration. There's sheer drops virtually along the entire route and enough hairpins to make a whirling dervish dizzy.
The road to the summit, also known as Kök-Arik Ashuu pass, and located within the Tian Shan mountains, was built in 1991. It’s passable only in July and August. The road crosses the Chong-Kemin National Park and offers an unforgettable panorama. The climb is simply terrible, with a notorius lack of oxygen that tests the organisms and a high degree of steepness. Most people feel altitude sickness at around 2,500-2,800 meters. There are often rock avalanches coming down from the surrounding mountains which can close the road anytime.