Snow Lake Hispar Pass Trek: Perhaps the most remote trek up in the north of Pakistan. You will not see many people in this lonely wilderness in which you will experience a true meeting with nature in its purest form.
For the first 40 years of this century, explorers believed that Snow Lake was a vast ice cap. It was named by explorer Martin Conway in 1892, who gave a dramatic account of this place in his book “Climbing Expeditions in the Karakoram – Himalayas”.
As we trek up to this other-worldly place we enter a remarkable world of ice, rock, and sky – occasionally intercepted by a small range of valleys filled with numerous wild flora and fauna. We undertake a 122km walk on the Biafo & Hispar Glaciers and explore the incredible wilderness of Snow Lake burrowed between the two glaciers.
For more information on the Snow Lake Hispar Pass Trek and the treks that we run there, contact us via:
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After your welcome from Rock Valley Tours at the hotel there will be a trek briefing with your leader and guide and then the rest of the day is free to explore the bazaars of Rawalpindi and the new town of Islamabad. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning transfer to airport for flight to Skardu and then transfer to resort. (This flight is subject to good weather conditions, so if the flight is canceled we will drive by road to Chilas. Meals and overnight at hotel.
(If we are traveling by road we will make the journey from Chilas to Skardu). Hotel for meals and overnight.
We take soft-top 4×4 jeeps for a bumpy ride to trek head. Enjoy exciting views of Mango Gusor (6208m) and Bakhor Das (5809m) peaks. Camp at 2950m at Thongol/ Askoli. (145 km, 5-6 hours.).
We begin our trek, as our luggage is distributed among our team of porters, by walking across an incredible wilderness of rock, ice, and sky. After walking alongside Braldu River for about an hour, we reach the village of Askole. This is the last permanent settlement along our trekking route. Another three hours’ walk brings us to the Biafo Glacier, two kilometers wide at this point, which is to be our companion for half of the trek. After setting foot on the glacier, and scrambling across the lateral moraine for about three hours, we arrive at Namla campsite at 3400m. (6-7 hour trek).
Back on the glacier, we cross an area of crevasses where extreme care is needed. It’s important to follow our guide closely. Once across the crevasses, we make a gentle ascent of the glacier, enjoying spectacular views of Latok 1 (7145m), Latok 2 (7108m) along the trek. The track follows the ablation valley past a small lake, then heads out across the lateral crevasses to the smooth white center of the Biafo Glacier. Our campsite is at Biantha at 4025m on a grassy area with a clear stream flowing through dense willows and alpine flowers. (6-7 hour trek).
The first hour of the trek is a lovely walk along the valley, crossing many small lakes surrounded by willows and wildflowers. This area is the habitat of bears and Himalayan ibex. Once on the glacier, we make a gradual climb over smooth ice. If there is fresh snow on the glacier we must rope up and walk using a flying belay while enjoying stunning views of Sosbun Brakk (6418m). camp at 4025m (7-8 hour trek).
We make a pre-dawn departure from the camp so that we can walk safely over the soft snow on the medial moraine. After two hours of steady plodding, we arrive at the intersection of the Sim-gang glacier with Snow Lake. We camp at around 4780m close to the Hispar Pass. (2-3 hour trek).
For the first 40 years of the last century, explorers believed that Snow Lake was an ice-cap like those in polar regions from which glaciers flow in each direction, its size is estimated at 777 sq.km. Now the lake’s estimated size is 77 sq.km, The lake was named by explorer Martin Conway in 1892, who gave a dramatic account of the area in his book “Climbing expeditions in the Karakoram – Himalaya”.
We make an early morning departure to climb the pass. Gaiters are essential as snow can be deep even in the morning. We walk in single file, roped together. The route passes through the center of the pass around giant crevasses and striped, greenish-blue seracs towering on either side. The view of Snow Lake from the top of Hispar Pass 5151m is inspirational. Numerous glaciers emerge from Snow Lake and disappear between nameless unclimbed Karakoram peaks. The highest of these peaks is Baintha Brakk (7285m) also called Ogre, first climbed by
Chris Bonington and Doug Scott in 1977. On the other side of the pass, the snow-covered Hispar Glacier stretches as far as the eye can see, and to the north rises the white pyramid of Workman Peak (19,300 ft.). We descend from the pass to camp on the glacier ’s northern moraine at 4580 m. (7-8 hour trek).
Soon after leaving our camp we spend about 90 minutes crossing the Khanobasa Glacier. During the walk, we can enjoy spectacular views of Kanji Sar (7700 m), the 29th highest peak in the world. From here we follow lateral moraine and marvel at the hanging glaciers and frequent avalanches on the southern ice walls. Yutmaru at 4330m is a flat, sheltered field in a valley, surrounded by willows and alpine flowers. It also offers fine views of the Hispar Pass and the Balchish Range. (5-6 hour trek).
An hour’s easy walk through the valley to the Yutmaru Glacier, which we then take about two hours to cross, negotiating high ice walls and deep crevasses. Once across the glacier, we make the steep climb which provides us with panoramic views back to Hispar Pass. As we descend there are also views of the Kenyan Chish Range (7852m), the 22nd highest peak in the world. The Pumari cherish Glacier flows south
from this mighty mountain. We walk along a path 100m above Hispar Glacier to reach our campsite at 3902. (6-7 hour trek)
Our Bitanmal valley campsite is a wide open summer pasture surrounded by willows and flowers. In summer the shepherds from Hispar Village move here to live with their herds of goats, sheep and yaks. It’s a perfect place for a rest day.
A lovely, relaxing walk through green pastures past willows and cedars and among herds of goats, sheep, cattle and donkeys. Soon we meet the south bank of Hispar River, and a wide alluvial fan rippling in terraces down to a cliff above the river. We cross a wooden bridge over the river and climb steeply to enter the Hispar village and its mud houses, apricot, willow & poplar trees, and fields of wheat, peas, beans, along with the ever-present wild poppies and marijuana. After spending some time here, we walk for another hour to our camp close to a roaring river at 3200m. (5-6 hour trek).
In the morning we walk for two hours through the dry landscape to Huru and board soft-top 4×4 jeeps for the short ride to Karimabad., the capital of Hunza Valley. You are never short of spectacular views here – Rakaposhi (7788m ), Ultar 1 (7388 m), Ultar 2, and Golden Peak tower above the valley. Afternoon free, meals and overnight at hotel. (2 hours trek & 2 hours by jeep).
Day free at Karimabad to explore the valley and to visit the Altit and Baltit forts. These are reminders of the times when Hunza was an important staging post on the Karakoram branch of the Silk Route. The forts were erected by the locals to protect themselves against invaders coming mostly from Central Asia over the high passes. Overnight at the hotel. Time permitting we may drive 35km further north along the Karakoram Highway to the picturesque village of Passu for thrilling views of the Passu & Batura glaciers. Meals and overnight at hotel. Hunza cultural dance in the evening.
Morning excursion to the Upper Hunza to enjoy views of Passu Peak, Passu Glacier, Batura and other peaks of Karakoram. Drive back along the Karakoram Highway to Chilas. Meals and overnight at a hotel. (230 km, 6 hours).
On to Islamabad, overnight at hotel. (385 km, 12 hours)
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.