A Road Trip to KKH – Hunza – Khunjerab Pass

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Greetings from Hunza, After spending a week among mountains, Its time to get back to work. Our journey started at around 12am from Lahore. Soon our mini bus was cruising on motorway. Our driver played old bollywood songs, but the youngsters in the bus demanded to switch to some party stuff..

char bottle vodka…

abhi to party shoro hue hay…

10km’s before bhera, The right Tire of the bus burst with an ear cracking sound. and then all of the sudden the songs started to make sense.. “abhi to parti shuru hue hay..”

This did not end there.. right after crossing kalar kahar, second tire was burst. At that point, we had both of the spare tires consumed and i had to do something for the group, so i asked one of my friends in mansehra and they arranged two brand new tires for me from taxila and we had them replaced as soon as we reached there.. It was already 12pm when we crossed Mansehra. That night, we had to spent in besham as we got late due to the unforeseen..

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Next day started out early.. at 4:00am, we were on our way to Hunza, cruising on KKH. The construction of KKH was started in 1959 and was completed in 1979. About 810 Pakistanis and about 200 Chinese workers lost their lives

We struggled with bad road conditions from DASU to CHILLAS, with no signals and very hot and dusty weather. There was hardly any flat patch though Rollers were working there to make the road much smoother to travel.. In the afternoon we crossed chillas and here you go, right after raikot we experienced paved road and scenic views. The road from Raikot to Hunza provide one of the most scenic and expansive views.

Next to the road was this sign.. and to our luck, we were able to see the Killer mountain in its full glory..

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Nanga Parbat has yet not been climbed in winter despite so many attempts.

Karakoram Highway following the indus river and accompanying the gigantic mountains looks splendid. making everything else look tiny and insignificant. On the way, we saw the GREAT 3

The place where Three Largest mountain ranges of the world meet.

1- Karakoram
2- Hindukash
3- Himalaya

 

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That night was spent in Hunza.. and the next morning came with a view.. Right after opening our eyes, we had the beautiful rakaposhi in the sight.. woah..

We left Hunza for sost that at mid day and planned to scale the KKH uptil Khunjerab pass. After driving through the plateau most of the time where the road slowly climbed up, the last section of the road went steep with a couple of switchbacks where the snowcapped mountains looked down at the road. Shortly before the border line there was acheckpoint where an officer checked our ID cards and noted our strength. Few minutes later, we were at khunjerab pass. In the first world, where you get fined upon not wearing a seat-belt, here a bunch of people sitting on the roof or hanging on the rear of the van is a common sight and that too on the curvy roads where the danger is even higher as the vehicles may swing from side to side.. I was among those who reached Khunjerab pass on the roof of the bus. Phew, it was really really cold..

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Khunjerab Pass, 4692m, marking the border between Pakistan and China is the highest international border crossing in the world.The atmosphere at this border was very relaxed. The tourists and the soliders from both side would often mingle with each other, at times going beyond the marked country border lines.

After spending a couple of hours at top, we descended back to SOST. The descend from the pass is gentle at the beginning but then it dipped sharply.

We had a scrumptious BAR B Q that night at sost.

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Next Morning we descended back to attabad lake, the landscape turned into drier, When you are travelling at the KKH you cannot help but appreciate the engineering and the effort that went into making this gigantic road across mighty mountains.

We payed a small visit to Attabad lake and hussaini bridge on our way back to Hunza.

Over 25 km section of KKH was submerged in Atabad lake after the deadliest earthquake of 2005. The road disappeared into the lake and the means of communication were blocked. So people started to communicate through boats. Big Loader ships were introduced in the lake to transport Heavy trucks and buses across the mysterious lake.

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The lake is  named after a village Atabad, one of the many villages submerged in it. Now a 7KM long tunnel has been constructed by passing the lake.

After boating through the beautiful lake, we visited the largest hanging bridge in the world. The famous hussaini bridge.

13321610_1066401710091756_3602254058168677396_nWow, what an experience it was, walking through the poorly maintained bridge, Where a slightest mistake could have had deadliest aftermath. The bridge was swinging with very strong wind and you have to hold on to the ropes very tightly to stay stable on it.

That night, we stayed in hunza, Hunza is a beautiful city, mainly famous because it offers mind blowing views of rakaposhi.. at least this is what i like the most about Hunza. Next morning we went to Baltit fort to pay tribute to the greats of Hunza and then started our journey towards Gilgit.

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Baltit fort is an ancient fort, founded 700 years ago, in Karimabad.

We continued our journey on KKH towards besham and stayed in PTDC besham that night. View of the Balakot city situated on the banks of River Kunhar is amazing.. It was a very Hot day. the hottest day of our trip, and we reached Lahore.

 

The end. 🙂

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K2, The Savage mountain.

I had a great yet challenging time going to K2 Base camp and conquering gondogoro-la 6000m Approx. 

K2 is the world’s 2nd highest mountain at 28,251’/8611m. It is located in northwest Pakistan about 30 miles from the border with India. K2 is called the Mountaineer Mountain and the Savage Mountain for its deadly and difficult reputation.

It is not climbed as often other 8000 meter mountain due to the technical difficulty and history of avalanches and deaths. As of 2012, the summit has seen about 334 successful ascents and 83 deaths, ranking it second for the dangerous 8000m peaks only after Annapurna.

I started my journey from Sakardu from where I went to askolay ( last civilization on way to K2 ) on 4×4 Jeep. I would have to add another brief post explaining the magical jeep ride of 8 straight hours that we had from Sakardu to Askolay.

jeep

From Askolay we started our trek towards K2 Base Camp (CONCORDIA) and it took us 6 days to reach Concordia. We climbed small rocks, crossed the Baltoro glacier, got our feet stuck in the white deserts of Baltoro. The camping sites were as follows.

Askolay-Jhoola

Jhoola-Paiju

Paiju-Khuburchee

Khuburchee-Urdukas

Urdukas-Goro-1

Goro-1-CONCORDIA

trek

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K2 is the king of all mountains, you have to trek hard to get a glimpse of the throne of mountain Lords. This trek is considered as among one of the toughest treks around the world but also this trek is truly a trekkers Paradise giving you a marvellous view of one of the most amazing, sky scrapers including K2, Broad Peak, G1, M1, Laila Peak, etc. 

We stayed at concordia for one complete day and had a chance to capture the Savage mountain in one the best weather conditions one could ever get. 

Next day, after an early breakfast we left for ALI camp, on our way we crossed Vigne Glacier. The same night we attempted the Gondoro-la. Brrrrrrr…….

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The view from the summit of this nearly 6000m.pass (Gondogoro La) is beyond description. In the opinion of many, it is simply the finest mountain panorama in the world. K-2, Broad Peak, the four Gasherbrums, Trinity Peak, Laila Peak and a multitude of lesser pinnacles touch the heavens all around you.

One must make an extra effort from Concordia to see this spectacle. The trek to the top of the Gondogoro La includes some 60 degree ice and snow slopes climbs that require the use of an ice axe, crampons, harness, helmet, ropes and carabiners.

Experiencing the Life from Top of the World cannot be explained in words 🙂

climb top

On our way back to sakardu  we pass shining alpine lakes, shepherds in their meadows and ancient villages. Masherbrum (7821 m.) shyly reveals her other side as we approach Hushe. Hushe is eastern Baltistan’s counterpart to Askolie, and home to many of the best climbers and mountaineers in Pakistan.

The following picture marked the end of a 15 days journey from Sakardu to Sakardu :)The rigged faces explain it all 🙂

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Makra Peak Shogran Siri Paye

Mountaineering or the sport of climbing mountains is simply one of the finest outdoor opportunities available to the lover of high places. Mountain climbing is all about challenge and perseverance, about putting hands and feet onto rocks and ice and snow and finally reaching a summit. There, high above the world of cities and civilization, the climber can pause and look across a natural world ruled by nature and her raw beauty.

I visited Shogran Valley a couple of months ago, there I had a chance to climb Makra peak, 4000m approx. I was leading a group of 20+ nature enthusiasts. We had a great jeep safari from Shogran to Siri paye, where we camped for the night. Next morning we started climbing makra peak. The conditions were not pretty good, there was a lot of snow and maintaining balance was the hardest thing that had to be done there. 

on top scale on top

 

In pretty harsh conditions we managed to scale the mighty peak and were able to experience the raw beauty around the whole region. We stayed at top for around half an hour and came back to the camp site where we had bar b q and bon-fire to celebrate the achievement 🙂

A Quick Trip to Lake Saifulmalook

Lake Saif ul Malook is a famous tourist resort, well known for the associated story of a Persian prince Saif ul Malook. It is located about 8 kilometers (5 miles) north from the town of Naran in northern end of Kaghan Valley, in District Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunukhwa

The lake with its majestic and mesmerizing natural beauty, pleasant atmosphere and associated tale and history, attracts thousands of tourists each year from all around the country during the summer.

The lake is also famous for being habitat of large size Brown Trout fish, which weigh up to 7 kilograms. Lake Saif ul Malook also provides a marvelous view of Malika Parbat, which is the highest peak of Kaghan Valley.

saif

 

Recently I had a chance to visit Lake Saifulmalook with a group of 27 people. Still, despite its popularity (I normally prefer less popular spots), Saifulmalook is one of my favourite places in naran kaghan region. This is because it’s still possible to explore areas just a few hours from the “hot spot,” where tourists are sparse. Though Treks around the lake are not safe any more due to security concerns but one can visit  Batakundi, Babusar Top, Lalazar, Lullusarlake etc at day time. 

 

Pakistan-China Border

The Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved international border crossing in the world and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway. The roadway across the pass was completed in 1982, and has superseded the unpaved Mintaka and Kilik Passes as the primary passage across the Karakoram Range.
SILK ROAD named in the middle of the 19th century by the German scholar, Baron Ferdinand von Richthofen – the greatest East – West trade route,The early trade in silk was carried on against incredible odds by great caravans of merchants and animals travelling at a snail ‘s speed over some of the most inhospitable territory on the face of the earth through water less deserts and snowbound mountain passes.

Come and ExplOre with us, The mighty Silk road till Khunjerab pass ( Pak-China Border ).
tour starts: 7th june 2013

ITINERARY:

Day1:
Start Journey from lahore and reach Besham ( 9-11 hrs )

Day2:
Continue to Hunza (Karimabad) (10-11hrs)

Day3:
Rest at Hunza , Attabad Lake ( Visit Baltit fort and surroundings )

(OPTIONAL)
(Day4: Visit Nagar Valley and moving glacier of Hoppar )

Day4:
Day excursion to Khunjerab Pass, return to Hunza (10-11hrs)

Day5:
Return to Gilgit (3-4 hours) sightseeing at Gilgit

Day6:
Drive on KKH to Besham (7-8hrs)

Day7:
Back to Lahore

Attractions:

Besham
Attabad Lake, Hunza
boating at Attabad lake, Hunza
Baltit fort, Hunza
Altit Fort, Hunza
Cultural heritage of Hunza and Gilgit
Ancient Silk route
Khunjarab pass. Pak-China Border (4,693 m)
Nagar valley ( one of the most beautifull valleys of pakistan )
The largest hanging bridge of Asia
Hooper glacier
Gilgit fort.
etc.

Tour Cost: 23500 Rs/-
Last date of registration with 50% cost is 3rd May 2013

For registrations:
Contact us at

Hassaan Rabbani: 0323-4371984

hassaan.rabbani@gmail.com

Cost includes:

Travelling cost from LHR-LHR
Accommodation
Food ( 2 meals a day )
Sight seeing costs at Hunza and Gilgit
Khunjerab pass jeep travel cost
All tolls and taxes.
Standard meals during traveling.

Cost does not include:

Personal Clothing
Extras at hotels like drinks, laundry, phone calls.
Insurance liability medical aid, and helicopter rescue coverage.
Any item beyond itinerary or mentioned in cost includes part.

NOTE: On a tour of this typee, weather, local politics, transport or a multitude of other factors beyond our control can result in a change of itinerary. It is, however, very unlikely that the itinerary would be substantially altered; if alterations are necessary the Leader and Guide will decide what is the best alternative, taking into consideration the best interests of the whole group. Where a change does occur, we do everything we can to minimize its effect, but we will not be responsible for the results of changes or delays.

For details visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/191656697625308/?sid=0.4312314747367054