Northern Pakistan has the greatest concentration of
the highest peaks of the world. It has 05 peaks over 8,000 metres
including the world’s second highest, K-2 (Chogori, 8611 m), 29 peaks
of over 7,500 metres and 121 of over 7,000 metres.
Teram Kangri II
Ultar Sar I &
Locally the K-2 is known as
Chogori , meaning the king of mountains. Really it is standing like a
king in the heart of Karakorum Range.
Among the high peaks is K2 (8611 m), the second highest mountain in the
world. Its glaciers include, among others, the 47-mile Siachen glacier,
the 36-mile Baltoro glacier, and the 76-mile combination of Hispar and
Biafo, which connect at a pass. The Baltoro glacier is especially
significant, as ten of the world's thirty highest peaks cluster around
it, including four 8,000 meter peaks (K2 and three peaks of the
Gashberbrum massif) that rise very close together at the northeast head
of the glacier.
Nanga Parbat, whose name means Naked
Mountain, is the ninth highest mountain in the world, and the
westernmost mountain of the Himalayas. Its vast snowy face is a powerful
spectacle when seen from the arid Indus Valley, approaching the mountain
from the west. Here the mountain towers in isolation over 22,000 feet
from the valley floor.
The mountain is easy to reach (China's Karakoram Highway approaches the
base of the mountain from the north), but is not so easy to climb.
Unstable glaciers and frequent storms and avalanches have proved
hazardous, most notably to the German party who first attempted the
Gasherbrum is a remote group of
high peaks in the Karakoram, located at the northeast end of the 36-mile
Baltoro glacier. The group forms a semi-circle around its own South
Gasherbrum Glacier. The peaks are sharp rock pyramids with rugged ridges
and steep, towering walls. The highest peak, Gasherbrum I, is also known
as Hidden Peak, a name given it by William Martin Conway in 1892 in
reference to its extreme remoteness.
Muztagh Tower, as the name
implies, is an enormous rock tower, its four sides stretching steeply
into the sky. This is perhaps the most difficult technical climb in the
Karakoram. It is located between the basins of the Baltoro and Sarpo
Laggo glaciers, and for many years was considered inaccessible. Its
faces are covered in ice and hanging glaciers, and there is considerable
Rakaposhi is the name of a high
Karakoram mountain massif and the huge pyramid peak which tops this
massif. The mountain dominates the Hunza Valley west of K2, its steep
ice-covered peak towering above barren cliffs and terraces.
Rakaposhi's climate is generally more favorable than that of the
Himalayas, as it is located far enough west to be only minimally
affected by the monsoon in July and August. In fact, long periods of
exceptional weather are not uncommon throughout the summer.
Saltoro Kangri, whose name
means Yellow Mountain, is a rugged mountain of rock, ice, and
snow. Its long crescent ridge supports numerous glaciers and numerous
Chogolisa is a high snow peak
with a distinctive long, almost level summit ridge, located about 15km
southwest of the Gasherbrum group, near the head of the Baltoro Glacier.
The Southwest summit is higher; the slightly lower Northeast summit
(7554m) was named Bride Peak by Martin Conway in 1892, and was climbed
in 1958 by the Japanese team of M. Fujihara and K. Hirai. Famed Austrian
mountaineer Hermann Buhl died here in a cornice collapse in 1957.
Broad Peak is located
approximately five miles from K2 along the Baltoro glacier. En route to
base camp for Broad Peak, the twelfth highest mountain in the world,
climbers and trekkers alike can visit the Gasherbrums, the Trangos, K2,
and Chogolisa. On a good day, both Chogolisa and K2 can be seen from the
upper reaches as well as from base camp of this extraordinary mountain.
It's name was originally set as K3, as in the third mountain measured in
the Karakoram range, right after the famed K2. But when on-lookers later
viewed the peak in closer detail, they discovered that its summit was
over a mile long, and hence the name "Broad Peak."
The Batura Muztagh rises to the
west of the Hunza Valley, forming the westernmost extension of the
Karakoram Range. The highest peaks form a formidable massif called the
Batura Wall, toward the western end of the range. East of the Wall
several other massifs rise, notably Pasu Massiv, Shispare, and Bojohagur
Masherbrum is a spectacular
rock and ice peak, rising to the south of the Baltoro Glacier. The
summit's sheer north face is a perfect pyramid, with steep narrow ridges
rising suddenly to a sharp pinnacle.
The trek from Skardu to the
Baltoro Glacier gives the best close-up views of K2, and the trail along
the Braldu and Biaho rivers takes hikers right into the heart of the
Karakoram Mountains. The early part of the trek passes through green
orchards, and summer visitors will be able to sample apples, apricots,
peaches and cherries along the way. The terrain soon becomes rugged,
however, and trekkers should be prepared to navigate trails covered with
sharp stones and punctuated by glacial streams and steep gullies. The
dark stone of the lower peaks provides a dramatic contrast to the
glittering snow-capped peaks in the distance. Concordia, the base camp
for K2 expeditions, offers spectacular views of some of the highest
mountains on Earth, including K2, Gasherbrum, Masherbrum, and Chogolisa.
The valley of the Hunza River
was supposedly the inspiration for Shangri-la in James Hilton's famous
novel Lost Horizon. According to local legend, the river water
contains traces of gold and has life-prolonging powers, and the people
of Hunza are noted for their longevity. Many of the Hunzakut, as they
are known, have light-colored hair and eyes and claim to be descended
from Alexander the Great's soldiers. Their dialect, Brushaski, has no
apparent link to any existing language family.
The town of Hunza is the starting point for treks to the Batura, Hopar
and Hispar glaciers. The trek to Ultar Canyon gives especially dramatic
views of the surrounding glaciers and granite peaks. Trekkers can stay
overnight in distinctive shepherds' huts built of piled stones. The
sound of ice crashing down from the surrounding glaciers provides a