Snowland
Hispar Pass

Snow lake & Biafo Hispar La

Key Destinations

Islamabad-Skardu-Shigar-Braldu-Biafo Glacier
Hispar Glacier-Hispar Pass-Hoper
Nagar-Hunza-Gigit-Karakoram Highway
Trip Summary

Daily Walking: 5-7 hours

Max Altitude: 5150m/16896ft

Duration: 21 Days

Trekking: 14 Days

Highlight photo

Trip Highlights

  • Traverse of the Biafo& Hispar Glaciers in the Karakoram Mountains
  • Walking on world’s longest  Glaciers
  • Crossing of  Hispar La 5000m Pass
  • Beautiful Hunza Valley 

Trip Overview

The Biafo and Hispar Glaciers form the longest glacial system in the world outside the Polar Regions. Together they create a vast natural highway stretching for over 80 miles and linking Baltistan with the villages of the Hunza Valley. At the heart of this system lies the Great Snow Lake, an immense basin of snow and ice from which these two huge glaciers radiate.

The route commences just beyond the village of Askole, a key staging post for treks and expeditions going to K2 and Concordia. Until we reach the village of Hispar on the final day of the trek, this will be the last habitation we see. For a week or so we follow the Biafo, trekking on the glacier itself and in the pleasant ablation valleys which nestle in its lateral moraines. We pass many famous peaks including the Latoks and Baintha Brakk (7285m), better known as The Ogre, a name given to it by Conway on account of its menacing appearance. After a week of fantastic trekking we finally reach the vast white expanse of Snow Lake.

It would be difficult to imagine a more sensational location than the Hispar La, and a camp on the highest point of the pass is mandatory requirement of any trek in this region. As we reach the crest of the pass a phenomenal panorama opens up before us. To the east lies the vast white expanse of the Sim Gang basin. To the west the Golden Peaks of Hunza and the Hindu Kush, stretching away in the distance towards Tirich Mir (7780m). As we descend the Hispar Glacier even greater peaks come into view. Kunyang Chhish (7852), Kanjut Sar (7760m) and Disteghil Sar (7884m) provide the awesome backdrop as we complete our traverse to Gilgit and the spectacular mountain flight back up to Rawalpindi.

 

 

Holiday Itinerary

Day

1

Arrive Islamabad
We arrive in Islamabad in the early hours of the morning. Islamabad is a modern sprawling metropolis which merges imperceptibly into its more ancient twin city of Rawalpindi. The Grand Trunk Road runs through ‘Pindi, as it is universally known, and Rudyard Kipling was stationed here briefly in 1885 on his first posting to British India as it then was. We stay at the comfortable Shalimar Hotel in the Cantonment area of the city. The nearby Rajah Bazaar makes for a fascinating and eye-opening sightseeing trip.

Day

2

Fly to Skardu or Drive to Chilas
A very early start today. We leave our hotel and drive to the airport for the flight to Skardu. These flights are very dependent on weather conditions and if there are not clear skies in Skardu the flight may be cancelled. It is also possible that the flight may take off but return to Islamabad if visibility at Skardu is not good enough to make a landing approach. Should the flight operate normally we have a spectacular descent as the pilot circles down into the valley amid soaring mountains on all sides.
NB. Should the flight to Skardu not operate the previous day we will need to drive up the Karakoram Highway. This is a long journey of approximately 22 hours driving.

Day

3

Rest Day in Skardu or Drive to Skardu from Chilas
Spare contingency day in Skardu, in case we have to drive the Karakoram Highway.

Day

4

Drive to Askole
After breakfast we board a collection of jeeps for the tough journey up to the highest village of Askole (3050m). It is an absolutely spectacular drive and undoubtedly one of the highlights of the trip. We pass through Dassu and after about 7 or 8 hours we reach Askole where we will be welcomed in for tea at one of the village houses. We camp in the nearby fields.

Day

5

Trek to Namla (3,650m /11,800 ft)
The walk from Askolie to Namla is on an easy gentle plain first and then becomes difficult as we get on to the snout of Biafo Glacier. This will take about 6 to 8 hours. The first sight of the pinnacles of the Paiyu Group is stunning.

Day

6

Trek to Mango(3,700m /12,130 ft)
This can take 7 hours or more. We walk on the moraines of Biafo Glacier as well as in an ablation valley. This is not an easy walk as we trek on rocks most of the time.

Day

7

Trek to Biantha (4,000m/13,120 ft)
From Mongo we get on to the white Biafo Glacier where the walking is easier and then we diagonally walk across the Biafo to reach its other side near Biantha. The difficult parts here are getting on to the glacier and then getting off it. This takes about 6 hours of walking and will give us our first sight of the Latok Group. The campsite is located in a green meadow.

Day

8

Acclimatisation at Baintha(4,000m/13,120 ft)
Camp, rest day. Wash up, relax, read, climb on a steep ridge for outstanding views behind the camp, sing and dance with the porters! There are several different walking options for today, and in particular there is a small peak above the camp which can be climbed to give fantastic views across to the peaks of Ogre and Latok.

Day

9

Trek to Marphogoro (4,400m/14,430 ft)
Six to eight hours of walking. Getting on to the glacier is tricky. Once on it, the walk is pretty straight forward on the white glacier. However, we are careful to avoid crevasses here. The greenery of Biantha campsite is only a memory now. We are in the dramatic and awesome expanse of the Biafo with its jagged pinnacles. The Ogre (7,813 m.) towers high above us on our right. There is only snow and rock now.

Day

10

Trek to Snow Lake (4,800m/15,750 ft)
The trek takes about 6 to 7 hours over ice and snow. Once again we are careful to avoid crevasses along the way. Snow Lake is a magical place. Be sure to get out of the tent to experience the stars in the night. It is an unforgettable experience!

Day

11

Trek to Hispar La (5,151m/16,895ft)
A 6 to 7 hour walk on slopes of about 30 degrees take us to the top of the pass. Once again, we are careful to avoid crevasses. Even though the climbs on gentle slopes, we find it difficult due to the rarefied air. When on top we see a panorama described by an early explorer: “Beyond all comparison the finest view of mountains it has been my lot to behold.” On one side the Biafo lies and on the other side we look towards the Hispar Glacier and the peaks above Hunza valley. The view of sunrise from the pass is another sight to behold.

Day

12

Trek to Kani Basa (4,500m/14,760 ft)
This is a long day’s walk and can take more than 8 hours. We want to make sure that we leave the pass early before the snow becomes soft. On the way down, once again, we are careful to avoid crevasses. We will have to cross the Kani Basa Glacier before we can camp on a green campsite, which is a welcome sight and site after being on snow for the last few days. On the way we can see the famous Kanjut Sar (7,760 m.) towering high above the Kani Basa Glacier.

Day

13

Trek to Jutmal (4,200m/13,780 ft)
This will take about 7 hours and on the way we will cross the Jutmal Glacier. It is tricky here as the route through the glacier is like a maze with high ice walls. After crossing it, another hurdle that we face is the climb up on a loose cliff face. Once up the face, we now enter a beautiful campsite with lovely views across the Hispar Glacier. Some streams have to be crossed on the way.

Day

14

Trek to Bitanmal (3,600m/11,800 ft)
This section takes about 8 hours. On the way Pumory Glacier is crossed and also a stream. The crossing of Pumory is not that difficult as the Jutmal. However, once again, we have to descend on to the ablation valley and once again we have to climb the cliffs on our right to get to the campsite. This is an exhaustive process.

Day

15

Trek to Falaling Chhish (3,600m/11,800 ft):
One more glacier to cross! This is Kunyang Glacier. The walking does get a little easier. However, crossing the Kunyang is tedious and the climb on rocks on the other side can be difficult. This is a short day consisting of about 4 hours. Our camp is in a shepherd’s meadow where villagers from Hispar bring their yaks for the summer. The view of Makrong Chhiish (6,607 m.), on the other side of Hispar Glacier, is outstanding.

Day

16

Trek to Hispar Village (3,400 m 11,150 ft)
Another short day of about 4 hours. Some streams have to be crossed on the way, but the walking is relatively gentle. A bridge over the Hispar stream has to be crossed and then a climb on a good path brings us into the Hispar village, the first habitation we will have seen since leaving Askoli.

Day

17

Trek to Huru (3,000m/9,840 ft)
This takes about 5 hours of walking on a jeep road. The road is marked with a few broken bridges and land slides that have resulted in jeeps not coming all the way to the Hispar Village. Our campsite is high above the noisy Hispar River in a tree-shaded spot. There is also a cool pool nearby. Here our epic trek ends.

Day

18

Drive to Gilgit
We drive in our jeeps along a bumpy road for about 2 hours until we reach the Karakoram Highway (KKH). We then turn south and drive along this great road for a further three hours until we come to the town of Gilgit. On the way, we will be able to stop for views of Rakaposhi.(7788m), a spectacular and historic peak which was first climbed in 1956 by a British expedition which included Tom Patey. Its tremendous glaciers come tumbling down the mountainside, almost down to the road itself. After taking our photographs we continue down the KKH which follows the course of the Hunza River. At Gilgit we check into the comfortable Chinar Inn which has a pleasant and relaxing garden set amongst shady poplar trees. Gilgit is a fascinating and lively town and the bazaar is worth exploring.

Day

19

Fly from Gilgit to Islamabad or Drive to Besham
With clear skies we will be able to board a plane and be back at our hotel in Rawalpindi in a couple of hours. If the weather is not so favourable and the flight doesn’t come, then we will have to drive the Karakoram Highway to Rawalpindi. The outcome is in the lap of the Gods, so we will be praying that they’re on our side!

Day

20

Rest day in Islamabad or Drive from Besham to Islamabad
For those who want to escape the heat of the city a very pleasant excursion is up to the former British hill station at Murree. The faded remnants of the town’s colonial past can be seen in its gable-roofed buildings and small Anglican churchyard, whilst the grassy lawns of the imposing Hotel Cecil make a splendid place to enjoy afternoon tea. This excursion is not included in the trip price but if several members of the group wish to make this journey a private vehicle and driver can be hired locally for a very modest sum. Back in Rawalpindi we enjoy a final evening meal usually taken at one of the five-star hotels in Islamabad.

Day

21

Fly back to Home

Departure Trip Dates Islamabad Islamabad Availability
2016
1 Departure 21 Jul - 10 Aug 21-Jul-2016 10-Aug-2016 Spaces Book Now
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