|Difficulty in September:||4+ (5)|
|From:||Susamyr - Alt. 2020 m (6630 ft)|
|To:||Naryn Confluence - Alt. 1120 m (3670 ft)|
|Distance:||125 km (78 miles)|
|River Days:||3-5 (plus 1-2 days paddling out)|
|Average Gradient:||7 m/km (35 ft/mile)|
|Est. Max Gradient:||15-20 m/km (75-100 ft/mile)|
|Typical Flow in September:||70-90 cms (2500-3000 cfs)|
|Best Season:||Late August-September|
The Kekemeren is the biggest right tributary of Naryn, a medium to big volume river with easy access from Bishkek and powerful rapids. The overall gradient is quite low though, so long easy stretches exist and as a whole the river is not that demanding.
The Kekemeren has two sources - Susamyr and Karakol - flowing in the large open Susamyr basin, just one mountain range south of Bishkek. These two sources themselves are rather flat; they join together just few kilometers before the combined river starts rushing through its upper gorge.
Most of the interesting whitewater is concentrated within the first 40-45 km of the river, while it cuts through the mountain range bordering Susamyr basin from the south. The valley opens then for another 40 km, the river eases to flat and numerous settlements appear along the river banks.
The last 40 km before Naryn confluence the river enters its lower gorge - uninhabited valley, remote and beautiful but the rapids here are much easier than in the upper gorge. Many groups decide to take out just after the upper gorge, as the remaining 2/3 of the river contain only 1/10 of the whitewater.
Access & Logistics
The Susamyr basin lies on the way of one of the major Kyrgyzstan's roads, connecting Bishkek and Osh in Fergana Valley. Originating from Bishkek, the road crosses just one pass (Tuz-Ashu Pass) before hitting Susamyr; it then goes across another pass to Toktogul on the lower Naryn and along the Naryn to Fergana Valley.
Another road forks in the Susamyr basin and follows down the Susamyr and then Kekemeren, all the way within the upper gorge and very close to the river itself, making logistics on this stretch quite trivial. Further down this road quits Kekemeren valley near large settlement of Aral and goes east to join another major road, the Bishkek - Naryn road at the town of Kochkorka in the Chu valley. Therefore it makes sense to access Kekemeren via Kochkorka and Aral if you drive from Naryn town or from Issyk-Kul area.
The put-in for Kekemeren is somewhere few kilometers below the Susamyr/Karakol confluence, where the river starts entering the gorge. If you drive up the river, put in as soon as the valley opens and the river flattens out - the spot is quite obvious from both directions.
There are some roads going further down the Kekemeren valley below Aral as far as the lower gorge begins, but then there are no roads or settlements all the way down to Naryn confluence. Moreover, there's nothing at the confluence too, so if you attempt the lower Kekemeren you'll have to continue down the Naryn to the Toktogul reservoir and take-out there (see Naryn description for details). You should also be self-sufficient on this stretch of the river.
If you only go for the upper gorge, take-out few kilometers upstream of Aral. This section has road very close to the river so there's nothing about self-support here.