THE HUNZA VALLEY
Trekking amongst 7.000m peaks in the land of the Shina, Burushashki and Wakhi people
> Hiking in the Hunza Valley in Pakistan during July <
The Karakoram and Hindu Kush ranges of Pakistan mark the western end of the great mountain system of south and central Asia. The main Hindukush and its off-shoot, the Hindu Raj, extend from Afghanistan to the Ishkoman River valley, and from here the Karakoram range runs east into Kashmir and India. The Karakoram Range is the most compact mountain area on the planet with several 7- and 8-thousand meter peaks, and in the valleys beneath the summits lies the greatest expanse of glaciers outside the polar zones. The whole Karakoram region is a geographical vortex between the Central Asian desert and the plains of Pakistan. It lies right in the middle of the collision zone of the Pamir, Kunlun, Hindukush, and Great Himalaya mountain systems, while China, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan all come within 250km of each other.
The trek we took was in the Hunza River valley - the land the Shina people, Burushashki people, and Wakhi tribe. Above the fields of Hunza soars 7.788m-heigh Rakaposhi, one of the most dramatic and beautiful peaks of the Karakoram. This trek took us to the base camp of Rakaposhi during a week of hiking along rivers, across glaciers and on steep mountain ridges.
We would not hesitate to return to Northern Pakistan. Sure, Pakistan is an Islamic nation, but locals in the mountain areas are extremely friendly, curious, and welcoming. Moreover, prices are extremely low for hiring guide, porters, tent, cooking equipment, buying food etc. For the price of one week in Nepal, you can do 3 weeks in Pakistan. The easiest way to reach the Hunza Valley is to fly from Lahore to Gilgit (if the flight is not cancelled as it often is) or to travel along the Karakoram Highway during 2-3 days.
Cristoffer relaxing on the roof near Chilas on Karakoram Hwy. We came from Islamabad and are going to Gilgit, and then further on to Karimabad, Sost, Passu, and the Khunjerab Pass.
Finally here after a mad bus trip! View over the Hunza Valley and Rakaposhi (our trekking target) from the terrace of our hostel in Karimabad
Beautiful Rakaposhi (7.788m) in the Upper Nagyr Valley where we are heading in a few days after putting up the logistics, buying food etc.
We travel by jeep deeper into the mountains untill our drop-off in Hapakun Village
Our first night in the wilderness
River passage along the trek
Our local Hunza guide leads the way
Along the way are seveal Shina-speaking villagers living in remote huts in the wilderness. Many times, we bought freshly made buttermilk from the locals.
Anders along the trek
Our target base camp in the distance
Some locals live in really primitive shelters
Time to camp! Arrival at a green meadow serveing as the base camp for Diran Peak (7.257m).
Next day, we descend to the Minapin glacier
The broad Minapin glacier that we will have to cross to reach Rakaposhi case camp
Cristoffer and our two guides discuss which route to take to avoid the largest crevasses
During the day - here 12 noon - it is not that cold, with temperature hovering at 12-13 degree celcius
Cristoffer taking a rest after traversing the Minapin glacier
Finally at the Rakaposhi Base Camp. We have just put up our tent
Mighty Rakaposhi in the backdrop
Towards the Pisan Glacier
We took the middle route hoping for a less number of crevasses as compared to side tracks
Crossing a crevasse
The trek continues towards Chalt
Minapin river cutting through the lanscape near the end of the trek
View over Gilgit town and the Bargot vally from the roof of our hostel