Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation (yes, seriously)

IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
edited October 2016 in General Discussion

OK, so I've formed the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation, for all those marathon swimmers out there who are interested in swimming in the second largest alpine lake in the world. The elevation of the lake is 1607m and the lake is special in that it never freezes (thus the issyk which in Kyrgyz means hot). It really is a beautiful location.

There are three routes currently, but the lake is big; options abound for more routes.

We have a FB presence, so feel free to join us if you're on FB.

I am here until summer 2016, so I can help anyone who wants to come out and swim in the lake. After August next year I'll be close to Kyrgyzstan, so can still help a bit. I hope to have the Federation more established after summer 2016 so that anyone will have contacts (English speaking) with whom they can communicate for crossings of this most beautiful lake.

For those not on FB, I'm posting the three routes and notes on them below.

So this is the shortest route, 13km, linking the villages of Kara-Talaa in the south and Toru-Aygyr in the north. This route is based on a Kyrgyz myth about a very famous horse, named Toru-Aygyr. You can read about him here.

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This route is the (current) only successful crossing done on lake Issyk Kul. Akhmed Anarbaev, Kyrgyz Olympian, completed this 33km route in 1982 in a time of 10:42. This route connects the villages of Ananyevo and Kyzyl-Suu.

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This 60km routing is the longest crossing in the lake. Anarbaev attempted this solo in 1985 but was unsuccessful. He formed a 4-person relay and in 1991 they completed this crossing in a time of 18:00.

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Any questions, let me know.

loneswimmerNiekmjstaplesmalinakaJenAHidrozooannadelgregoc

Comments

  • WarmWaterWarmWater SingaporeMember
    edited November 2015

    I guess autumn would be the best time to swim, summer would be too hot? Is the best way to the lake still to fly in via Tashkent? Twenty year ago I drove from Tashkent to Issyk Kul..... in winter.....

  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member

    See... I told you this would happen:

    " Just think - in 20 years when Kyrgyzstan is the predominate world power in marathon swimming, the natives will say "Yes, it was due to IronMike's swim in 2015 that we took a interest in the sport..."

    Keep me in mind for vice president if there is any serious money to be made via corruption and bribes - I would excel at this.

    -LBJ

    mjstaplesNiekrosemarymintIronMikeJenAgregocdpm50flystorms

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    Leonard_Jansen said: if there is any serious money to be made via corruption and bribes

    It's the former USSR. Seems like there is plenty of money to be made in bribery.

    dpm50
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    WarmWater said: I guess autumn would be the best time to swim, summer would be too hot? Is the best way to the lake still to fly in via Tashkent? Twenty year ago I drove from Tashkent to Issyk Kul..... in winter.....

    Oh God no. Come in the summer. Not too hot. Water in the 20-21C range in July. Sure the air temp is hot, but not too hot. Once it hits September, the air temp at the lake is about 10C cooler than in other parts of Kyrgyzstan, like in Bishkek. The water at the very end of August was 15-16C and in September was 13C. In January it was 5-7C.

    Best way is to fly into Bishkek, then drive 2-4 hours (depending upon where on the lake you want to stay). You could conceivably also fly into Almaty and drive down. Not sure how long that'll take. Rental cars are hard to find around here, but not unheard of. Even better is to hire a driver, which is not too expensive, then he can deal with the police graft.

    It's so hard to get into Tashkent now. I think visas are very expensive, $160 or so. Plus you need a letter of invite from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. If you stay fewer than 15 days and travel before Dec 2017, you can travel to/through Kazakhstan w/o a visa (US and a few European nations). If you stay fewer than 60 days, an American citizen does not need a visa for Kyrgyzstan. Same with many EU nations.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    The Federation is pleased to announce the next Issyk Kul crossing attempt: Sarah D'Antoni, peace corps volunteer and former collegiate swimmer, not to mention awesome crewmember for my crossing, will attempt the "historical" crossing on the western side of the lake.

    Her window opens 23 Aug; she will swim either that morning at around 07.00 Kyrgyzstan time (21.00 the previous day eastern time in the U.S.), or the morning of 24 or 25 August. All depends on weather. So keep your eyes on the tracker and cheer her on!

    http://track.rs/sarah_dantoni/

    AnthonyMcCarleyevmo
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    Sarah did it! Unofficial time, 4:43.38!

    gregocAnthonyMcCarleykejoyceevmosuziedodsJaimie
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsCharter Member

    IronMike said: Sarah did it! Unofficial time, 4:43.38!

    Unofficial? :-/ Who was the observer??? 8-| Are you not the president of the federation?

    Questions, questions....

    timsroot

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    Niek said:

    IronMike said: Sarah did it! Unofficial time, 4:43.38!

    Unofficial? :-/ Who was the observer??? 8-| Are you not the president of the federation?

    Questions, questions....

    I couldn't be there unfortunately. Already moved to Moscow by the time she did her swim. Her observer is certified (by me) and the notes will be scanned and published on the LIKSF website soon.

    Niekpavlicovbluemermaid9
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2016

    Sarah D'Antoni, @IronMike, and the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation in a story on NPR: "Peace Corps Volunteer Is As Strong As Legendary Horse Of Kyrgyzstan."

    Nicely done!

    http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/10/01/495195521/peace-corps-kyrgyzstan-swimmer

    IronMikepavlicovNiekbluemermaid9dc_in_sfkejoyceJaimieDanSimonelli
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    We are pleased to announce we have our first Kyrgyz swimmer who has expressed interest in swimming across lake Issyk Kul's "historical route" next year! Nursultan Sulaimanov is a Kyrgyz swimmer who has been training and consulting with Sarah D'Antoni, who still holds the fastest time for that route (4:43).

    I hope to continue reporting on more and more swimmers taking on this beautiful lake! Also, soon to be released: The No BS Guide to Swimming Lake Issyk Kul!

    NiekevmoJustSwimJayslknightcurlyKellieDanSimonelliJaimierlm
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    IronMike said:

    I hope to continue reporting on more and more swimmers taking on this beautiful lake! Also, soon to be released: The No BS Guide to Swimming Lake Issyk Kul!

    As promised above, the everything-you-need-to-know guide to swimming Lake Issyk Kul is here.

    Niek
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    I am so excited. I found out today that a pod of five swimmers will be duplicating my crossing this month, 16 July! I am in the process of finding out more info on the swimmers and will start a new thread soonest.

    (One of my local docs on my crossing has recently gotten a job at a new World Class Fitness center in Bishkek, and from her talking with triathletes and swimmers there, has persuaded these guys to cross the lake!)

    N.B., if you're on FB, search out "Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation" and ask to join. I'll add you asap. ;)

    SoloViveBeneNiekJaimie
  • WarmWaterWarmWater SingaporeMember

    Great no BS guide Mike. Will sign up for your FB group shortly.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    On 6 August, four swimmers duplicated my swim from the southern shore of Issyk Kul at the village Kara Talaa to the northern shore village of Toru Aygyr. I'm still gathering data on their swims, but it looks like the times were 4:50.03; 4:51.05; 5:07.45; and 6:42.24. One of the swimmers wore some sort of technical suit that covered his legs and chest, but the other three wore "approved" suits.

    I'll update the list of crossings at the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation page on FB as soon as I get more info. I'll also do a blog post. Meanwhile, here's a picture of the swimmers.

    timsrootKellieViveBene
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsCharter Member
    edited August 7

    Daddy Mike are you proud that your child is growing? :) =D>

    Time for your next phase. :-?
    You crossing at the widest part. ;)

    SoloIronMikessthomas

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    Niek said: You crossing at the widest part. ;)

    ~60km. There are certainly people here who could do that.

    One of them is swimming in Vermont/New York at the moment.

    ViveBeneNiekIronMikessthomas
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    timsroot said:

    Niek said: You crossing at the widest part. ;)

    ~60km. There are certainly people here who could do that.

    One of them is swimming in Vermont/New York at the moment.

    Yep, not me!

    Bridget
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsCharter Member
    edited August 8

    IronMike said: Yep, not me!

    Bummer. :D

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    I got pictures recently from my doc from the 6 August Issyk Kul Swimming Challenge. There are some beautiful ones there in a blog post I wrote. Go take a look. Here's a teaser:

    Damn, I miss that lake.

    Solossthomasevmo
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