Mountains in the Karakorum Range have been over-shadowed by the Savage Mountain-the K2 which most trekkers consider the ultimate prize or ascend. The highest point on Karakorum has been called mountain of the mountains because it is a final challenge for all climbers. But Karakorum doesn’t just have the mystery and stories of K2 there are more secrets that it holds. Within few kms of K2 are some of the greatest 8000m and 7000m mountains. The second highest unclimbed is Muchu Chhish 7453m high, part of Batura Wall on the Karakorum and has been attempted several time. Like it many Karakorum Mountains elevated at 7000 and 6000m still remain unchallenged.
The Karakorum is remote and still not fully exploited by explorers, tourist, climbers and trekkers. Most 6500 m mountains in Pakistan do not even require permit and make it an adventure in itself to chose a mountain and just climb it without the permit hassle. It is home to the few of largest glaciers outside North Pole like Baifo, Baltoro, Batura and 5100 other small glaciers, has high altitude lakes and wet lands (Sheosar, Rush, Kachura, Attabad, and 116 others) , pasture lands and plateaus (Deosai, Khunjerab), and mountain ranges such as western Himalaya, Hindu Kush, Pamir meet the mighty Karakorum in north of Pakistan. And you can find yourself enjoying the area without meeting other trekkers, climbers or wanderlust as few challenge the unknown mountains. It gives you a true wilderness experience. Unlike the Himalayas the topography of the Karakorum Mountains is rigid, unfertile and not inhibited by locals. The villages are miles away from most of the high peaks and mountains and even the base camps.
The local populations living in villages near the great 8000m mountains have economy based on tourism and trekking related work such as porters, cooks, guides. The villages in the Karakorum have several ethnic and linguistic diversities most live along the KKH; which is considered the 8th wonder of the world. People in these areas live simple life mostly base their income on subsistence agriculture and herding. Foreign trekkers have come to these lands for a long time thus the population here are friendly towards them and most won’t bother the tourists.
The rich history and cultural area is also a tourist attraction with many International Award winning historical sites, forts and many archeological sites which include rock inscriptions dated back to 1st Millennium AD. Clean air, organic fruits, local food, music and culture and good road cut through the Karakorum along the Indus makes the trip for anyone pleasant yet adventurous and most areas and base camps remain clean and unpolluted by tourists. The Karakorum pass first discovered by the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hien in 399 AD and he called the range “Tsung-Ling” meaning “Onion Mountains”. Once on the road you understand why he named it thus. The smell of wild leek, high altitude and the unending series of mountain might have been something to contribute to the name.
Another activity, the rock climbing which although is not very popular in the Karakorum but many good rocks are present here like Lady-Finger and Cathedral Tower in Hunza and Trango Tower in Skardu, Lakot I and Ogre II called the holy grails of modern alpinism by the “Rock and Ice” magazine that have been extensively climbed on different routes. Ultar Sar, Shispar Sar are other favorites in the region for rock climbing.
All this and more is what Karakorum promises. It offers great adventure, breathtaking view, fresh perspectives and an experience that will change you forever. Many trekkers to Concordia return delighted with the experience and rarely disappointed. Its remoteness and wilderness has way of testing you along the way. It is not only a pursuit of adventure but an enthusiasm and eagerness to find the hidden world of Karakorum where human are not welcomed and is land of mountains.
Thank you :)