Stretching behind Laza is a wonderland of outdoor adventure opportunities that, if it weren't for the awkward bureaucracy, would surely be one of Azerbaijan's major visitor attractions. A roadless crag-framed valley sweeping around to Xinaliq accesses the base camps for some splendid 4000+m Caucasian peaks that are ripe for relatively non-technical climbs - glacier crowned Şahdağ (4242m, 3 days), tough scree-plagued Bazarduzu (4466m, 4 days) on the Russian border, and impressively pyramidal Tufandağ (4100m, 3 days).

The peaks and access paths all lie within the Shahdag National Park for which advance permission is required before a visit. Access is further impeded by the area's status as a border zone and you'll also need clearance from the relevant military authorities. For several years this has essentially prevented any serious tourism in the park, but as of 2015 a new initiative through the Shahdag Mountain Resort plans to facilitate guided treks and mountaineering expeditions to several major peaks. The catch is that you'll need to send a copy of your passport to the resort at least two weeks before you go. Tour prices include food, guides, horses, crampons and camping equipment.