9 whiplash-inducing switchbacks to Töö Ashuu Pass
Töö Ashuu is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.576m (11,732ft) above the sea level, located in the Chuy Region of Kyrgyzstan. This is definitely not a Sunday drive. Drive with care as this is a mountain road with dangerous drop offs.
Set high in the Kyrgyz Alatau range of the Tien Shan mountains, the road to the summit, also known as Theo-Ashuu or Camel Pass, is totally unpaved. It’s commonly known as Töö Ashuu old road. The road is very bumpy and not meant for average cars. 4wd vehicle required. Too-Ashuu is known for the legend about the Kyrgyz hero Kozhumkul, who carried a wounded horse, thru the pass on his shoulders.
Tucked away in the northern part of the country, the summit hosts a small mountain refuge. Starting at the paved M41 (the Pamir Highway), part of the European route E010, the road to the summit is 6.4 km (3.97 miles) long. It’s a very steep drive, hitting a 13% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The elevation gain is 492 meters. The average gradient is 7.68%.
Due its brutality, in the 1960’s a 2.8km (1.7 miles) long tunnel, known as Töö Ashuu tunnel, was built to bypass the most challenging part of the pass road. The road is subject to strong winds and rapid weather changes. There is a ski area just below the pass.