Conquering the Frightening Too Ashuu Tunnel: Navigating Kyrgyzstan's High Altitude Challenge

Töö Ashuu Tunnel is a high mountain tunnel at an elevation of 3.180m (10,433ft) above the sea level, located in the Chuy Region of Kyrgyzstan.

Töö Ashuu tunnel

Where is Too Ashuu Tunnel?

Set high in the Kyrgyz Alatau range of the Tien Shan mountains the tunnel is part of the mostly paved M41 or Pamir Highway. It’s located on the road between Bishkek and Osh. In recent years it has become one of the best-developed trunk roads of the country. The tunnel bypassed the infamous and gravel old Töö Ashuu pass road, which climbs up to 3.594m (11,791ft) above the sea level.

How challenging is Too Ashuu Tunnel?

The tunnel is 2.7-kilometre (1.7 mi) long, and links Chui Valley and Suusamyr Valley. It’s pretty narrow, hardly wide enough for two lanes of traffic. The elevation of the tunnel ranges between 3.130m (north) and 3.180m (south). It is poorly ventilated, and the noxious exhaust fumes so thick that one can hardly see more than 100 feet ahead. The tunnel was dug in the 1960’s. In 2001, an accident trapped dozens of cars in the tunnel, and several motorists perished of carbon monoxide poisoning.