K2 & Baltoro Trekking 2022 (Part 5) GoreⅡ to Concordia

Finally, we made it the leg of the hike to Concordia. The camp on the glacier of Gore II is cold (in June), so we made early preparations and left quickly.

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 1) Skardu to Paiju

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 2) Paiju to Khoburtse

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (part 3) Khoburtse to Urdukas

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 4) Urdukas to GoreⅡ

We walked about 6 km from Gore Ⅱ (altitude 4,271m) to the 4,400m point stopping for a light meal, and then walked an additional 7.5 km to the campsite of Concordia (4,596m). It is an exciting hike, as the mountains of Concordia get closer and closer with each turn.

Morning at the Gore II camp. It’s going to be a cloudy day today, but the weather forecast says it’s going to be sunny for the entire two days of our stay in Concordia, so I’d like to expect it to be pleasant. Even so, the Masherbrum (7,821m) that emerged between the clouds in the morning sun, was really exceptional.

The porters are in a hurry. The porters and mules who we have contracted to accompany us only upto Concordia, quickly take our luggage back down. The glacier is a very harsh environment for the animals, and it is not a place to stay any longer than necessary.

The exhaled white breath of the hard-working porters.

Leaving Masherbrum behind, we head out from Camp.

A horse with our luggage (not a mule, but a horse). This year, we just redesigned the Saiyu Travel and Indus Caravan logos on the khaki green duffle bag.

Our light meal while on the glacier.

From here, you can see the Muztagh Tower (7,273m), a mountain on the border with China to the north. The name “Muztagh” is often heard in this area, but it means “mountain of ice and snow” in the Turkic language.

The Gasherbrum Mountains get closer as we approach them.

The view of the peaks of the Gasherbrum Group just before reaching Concordia.

We have to go through the campground of the Pakistani Army which is totally littered with trash and the CNKP (Central Karakoram National Park).  Then we finally reached our destination for this leg of the trip, where we can relax a bit for the next 3 nights.

We set up the Kitchen Tent and Dining Tents with Miter Peak (6,010 m) as the backdrop. It started to snow on this first night.

At nightfall, I got one shot as the snowfall subsided. Broad Peak (8,051 m) and K2 (8,611 m) are covered with clouds and the snow covering the ground. I am so looking forward to tomorrow morning!

 

Photo & text : Mariko SAWADA

Trek date : Mid -JUN 2022

*The altitudes and distances traveled from site to site that are listed, are based on our own measurements and GPS equipment. Please note that these may differ from other official books or reference materials.

*Contact us, Indus Caravan for more information or to make arrangements for your Baltoro Glacier trek.

Category : - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan
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K2 & Baltoro Trekking 2022 (Part 4) Urdukas to GoreⅡ

Finally, the Baltoro Glacier camping is about to begin. Today, in a relatively short hike, we will walk from Urudukas (4,061 m) to Gore I (4,185 m), lunch, and then continue the hike to Gore II (4,271 m). Immediately after leaving Urdukas, we will enter the Baltoro Glacier and repeat many ups and downs to progress.

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 1) Skardu to Paiju

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 2) Paiju to Khoburtse 

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (part 3) Khoburtse to Urdukas

The five kilometer journey between Gore I and Gore II is GIV (7,925 m) in front of Masherbrum (K1, 7,821 m ) to the south and Muztag Tower (7,273 m) to the north. So I got a few photos while trekking.

The view from the Urdukas camp in the morning. From Paiju Peak to Biale, it seems to be a comparison of the high peaks north of the Baltoro Glacier.

From the early morning, the porters and various expeditions started departing one after another. Our group is on the way to Gore II, but the expedition teams will go directly to Concordia or the base camp of the target mountain. For the porters, they just want to quickly carry it up and get back in order to take the next job.

Heading up to the Baltoro Glacier in a caravan of mules and porters.

As we climb, we sit on the boulders that are at the right height, for taking a break along the way.

As the glacier melts, the rocks crumble and from moment to moment the route changes.

We cross over several small rivers that have formed at the various breaks in the glacier.

Just ahead, GIV is getting closer and closer!

We have arrived at our lunch spot on Gore I (4,185m). It was a little too early lunch, so I just took a break.

It is exceptional to be able to sit on a Glacier for lunch on such a sunny day.

After lunch, the peak of Masherbrum (K1) is our guiding star.

The view of Masherbrum as seen from the Baltoro Glacier. With an altitude of 7,821 m, this is the 22nd highest mountain in the world, and in Pakistan, it is the 11th highest mountain. Masherbrum can be seen from the Baltoro Glacier, and can easily be climbed from the Hushe Valley on the south side.

Peak of Masherbrum (7,821 m). In 1856, the British army named this as the first peak of their Karakorum mountain survey, so it got the name K1.

With Masherbrum to our south, we kept making our way across the glacier to Gore II (4,271m).

From our campsite at Gore II, we could continue to enjoy our day of “Masherbrum watching” until dark.

 

Photos & Text: Mariko SAWADA
Trek Date: Early Jun, 2022

*The altitudes and distances traveled from site to site that are listed, are based on our own measurements and GPS equipment. Please note that these may differ from other official books or reference materials.

*Contact us, Indus Caravan for more information or to make arrangements for your Baltoro Glacier trek.

Category : - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan
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K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 3) Khoburtse to Urdukas

Today we only travel about 7 km, from Khoburtse (3,834m) to the campsite in Urdukas (4,061m), which makes it a short day for trekking. Along the way, we cross two glaciers from the Urdukas Peaks, and from tonight we will finally begin camping at over 4,000 m.

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 1) Skardu to Paiju

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 2) Paiju to Khoburtse 

Shortly after leaving Khoburtse, we crossed the glacier from the Urdukas Peaks. The big boulders and rocks are scattered around us everywhere.

The mules are loaded down with climbing equipment, as one party passes by us one after another. When I asked the porter what is going on, he said that there are two expedition groups heading for Urdukas from Paiju. It seems the campsite will be crowded tonight.

A Balti porter who is drinking the glacier water. Throughout the trip, you will be amazed at their strength.

As we near Urdukas, the there is more vegetation, and the alpine plants were in bloom. For the rest of the trip, the campsites will all be on the glacier, so this is the last chance for the pack animals to eat fresh grass.

Even so, the flowers were in bloom near the campsite and those tough little mules were grazing on them. The mules kept arriving in droves, to eat the flowers and grass. The number of mules that arrived on this one day exceeded 200 head.

These flowers can typically be seen until early July. Not only flowers, but here, wild birds can also be seen as well. I will introduce just a few of the shots I got.

A Yellow-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax graculus. They are waiting patiently for the humans to leave the campsite with leftovers.

This is the Red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax. They forage for nuts and insects, but here they were aiming for leftover food with the Yellow-billed choughs. Living in this harsh environment, anything we leave behind is such a treat! During the Baltoro Glacier trek, we tend to see more Yellow-billed choughs than the red-billed choughs.

In addition to the two wild crow family, which I just introduced, there is also the raven. This area’s ravens is a subspecies Corvus corax tibetanus (also Tibetan raven), which are the largest and most gorgeous raven species. From this campsite all the way to Concordia, you’ll see these three crows at every campsite along the way.

When I got this shot of the Red-fronted Rose finch, Carpodacus puniceus I was so excited. According to the distribution maps, it is a bird that lives in the high mountains around the Tibetan Plateau.

When we arrived at the campsite, we had it all to ourselves, but then soon after that, two other groups arrived one after another.

By the evening the campsite was bustling. One problem with the Urdukas campsite is that the permanent toilets are very far away. We only stayed for one night, but for groups that come from Paiju to Urdukas in one day, they tend to stay for two nights and take a full day of rest before continuing.

Today, the goat we had brought up with us was butchered, we were offered a fresh “charcoal-grilled liver” and the staff enjoyed a stewed dish of the organs. This goat meat was our source of food until the final day of our trek. By the way, the other group of climbers had brought yaks and dzo (or zho, which are yak-cow hybrids).

The view from the campsite in the evening. Baltoro Glacier with the Trango Castle and beyond that, Uri Biaho.

The west side of the Urdukas campsite just as the sun was setting. A part of the Urdukas Peaks appeared in the background, and moments later, the moon rose from here.

Photos & Text: Mariko SAWADA
Trek date: Early June 2022

*The altitudes and distances traveled from site to site that are listed, are based on our own measurements and GPS equipment. Please note that these may differ from other reference materials.

*Contact us, Indus Caravan for more information or to make arrangements for your Baltoro Glacier trek!

Category : - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan > ◇ Birds of Pakistan
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K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 2) From Paiju to Khoburtse

Today is the journey from Paiju to Khoburtse. The route of the Baltoro Glacier changes every year, actually it changes constantly, because the glacier constantly moves and collapses, and the distance to travel changes, depending on that. This year we went near the middle of the glacier and climbed up to Moraine just before the Liligo camp.

K2 & Baltoro Trekking 2022 (Part 1)  From Skardu to Paiju

The journey is slow-going from Paiju, at an altitude of 3,420 m to Khoburtse, at an altitude of 3,834m. It is only a 15km in distance, but it takes a lot of adapting to the conditions and going carefully along. Most trekkers just head directly for Urdukas.

From the Paiju campsite, we walked north along the banks of Braldu River for 4 km and then hiked up the Baltoro Glacier.

The Braldu valley is formed by the water that flows out from the Glacier.

The Trango Towers in the background.

Great Trango Tower, 6,286m as seen from the Baltoro Glacier. The Trango Towers are famous for having one of the largest rocky cliffs in the world.

Breaktime!

The view after crossing Liligo. The Glacier and the Baltoro Cathedral and the Lobsang Spire just beyond it.

Arrived at the Khoburtse campsite. It is much smaller compared to the Paiju and Urdukas. There were no other guests so our group had the whole campsite to ourselves.

The Kitchen tent. Dinner usually starts at 6:30pm every day during trekking.

After dinner, the sunset from Khoburtse. The porters’ tents stayed lit. The clear skies over the mountains were beautiful.

On the left is Paiju Peak, and on the right is Uli Biaho.

The Khoburtse campsite is set right in the front of the Trango castle (on the right).
Tonight was another quiet night for us.

 

Photos & Text: Mariko SAWADA
Trek Date: Early June 2022

*The altitudes and distances traveled from site to site that are listed, are based on our own measurements and GPS equipment. Please note that these may differ from other official reference materials.

*Contact Indus Caravan for more information or to make arrangements for your Baltoro Glacier trek!

Category : - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan
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K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022 (Part 1) From Skardu to Paiju

This is a record of the June 2022 Trekking, where we could lead our first Baltoro Glacier Trek for Saiyu Travel Japan since the start of the worldwide pandemic. The Jeep Road has changed a lot since the last 2019 tour. It used to stop at Askole, but now it has been extended between Jhola and Skam Tsok, with construction still being carried out here and there. Larger groups use the Jhola campsite, while smaller groups can also camp on the banks of the Braldu river along the way. (Note: The “Jeep Road” in Pakistan is a pretty rough road that can be traversed by the car models called Toyota Jeep, locally.)

K2 & Baltoro Trekking 2022 (Part 2) From Paiju to Khoburtse

The big feature of this year’s Baltoro Trek is that many “climbing teams” who have been waiting for these past three years come to climb one after the other. Since the Baltoro area is so close to the Indian border, the security is tight and in addition to the visa required to enter Pakistan, people must also at the same time, obtain a “trekking” or “mountain climbing” visa. The group’s permissions are linked to this visa. We were required to submit an application and can only depart after the group’s approval. At the beginning of this season, the number of applications for this “trekking” and “mountain climbing” visa has increased sharply, so it took a considerable amount of time to obtain it. If you are planning trekking in the Baltoro area, be prepared to apply 45 days in advance.

K2 & Baltoro Glacier Trekking 2022

A car carrying our porters, who are heading to the first campsite. In June, the workload of the summit corps is quite heavy, so the porters, mules, and horses/donkeys are also quite busy.

While driving through the Shigar Valley, we passed through Hyderabad, the village where the driver lives. The driver’s wife brought us freshly harvested mulberries.

They were unbelievably sweet.

This is a photo taken near the village of Askole. Askole is also crowded with porters/unloaders for Baltoro Glacier trekking and is also famous for gem mining. The rock cave in this photo is the opening of the gem mining pit, which was also working at full swing.

From Askole, and beyond, this is the first jeep road to pass. Proceed along Braldu River which starts from the Baltoro Glacier. Along the way, there are so many steep ups and downs.

They have built a new bridge in Jhola, and after crossing it, a while later we saw the point where the construction of the road was still underway. Tonight’s campsite is on the riverbank, just a short walk from here.

The next day, we walked along the Braldu River. We will pass through the Skam Tsok campsite.

In front of us, stands the Baltoro Glacier, and on the sides partly covered by clouds the Trango Towers, the Baltoro Cathedral, and the Paiju campsite.

Paiju is a campsite abundant with water and greenery. The season had just begun, so the accommodation was fully reserved by our group.

While at the campsite, the porters were making Balti bread. This will be used as the food for the trekking on the glacier the next day.

Freshly baked bread.

This mule is in the middle of his meal. In the past, it was rare to see livestock being used in the trekking, but now it has become more mainstream to see them and horses and donkeys as well.

From tomorrow, they will get new horseshoes for the Glacier trek. It really feels like a new season has begun.

From the Paiju campsite, the mountains along the Baltoro Glacier, part of the Trango Towers on the left and in the middle, the Baltoro Cathedral. On the right are the Lobsang Spire.

Being the only ones staying overnight at the Paiju, it was a very quiet night.

 

Text & photo : Mariko SAWADA

Trek Date : Early JUN 2022

PS: In early July, the bridge 4 km from Askole was washed away by flood, so the trek has since been from Askole.

*Contact Indus Caravan for more information or to make arrangements for your Baltoro Glacier trek!

Category : - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan
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Nanga Parbat (8,126m) As Seen From the Snowy Deosai Plateau

From the Deosai Plateau, there are several points where you can see the world’s 9th highest peak, Nanga Parbat (8,126m/26660 ft), but the best spot, is to descend from Sheosar Lake to the Astore valley, in my personal opinion.

It was quite a difficult undertaking, actually, but I aimed for a chance to get photos of Nanga Parbat from the snowy Lake Sheosar. First, we have to avoid travel the day after it snows on the Deosai Plateau because the road is impassable. Second, even if you make it to the Lake Sheosar, it must be a sunny clear day to see Nanga Parbat, so there really are not many days when you can have these perfect conditions.

Lake Sheosar surrounded by snow. This trip happened to be a day trip from Skardu, but it was quite difficult to travel on the snow-covered roads. Still, the scenery was rewarding when we reached it, and there was no one else there at that time.

When I looked to the west, Nanga Parbat appeared over the lake. Too bad, that the clouds were covering it a little, but still, we could make out the mountain just enough.

Heading down to Astore valley, you can see the entire mountain of Nanga Parbat. It is amazing that we can see this scene and get there by car.

Amin, our guide took a commemorative photo with Nanga Parbat. Due to the road conditions, on the way back, we cannot linger for long here. After observing flock of the Caspian gull and common coot on the Lake, we quickly headed back to Skardu.

 

Photo & text: Mariko SAWADA
Visit: Oct 2021, Shoesar Lake, Deosai National Park, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Deosai National Park > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan > - Nanga Parbat / Himalaya Range
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View of Nanga Parbat from Flight PK451!

The Pakistan Airlines flight from Islamabad to Skardu on good weather days are renowned for their great views of the world’s 9th highest peak, Nanga Parbat which stands at 8,126 m (26,660 ft).

This video was taken on a sunny day in October during our visit as we flew on flight PK451. I took the video with my iPhone. I have been on this flight a number of times before, but on this day in particular, Nanga Parbat felt closer than ever before!

 

Nanga Parbat from PK451 (Aerial View)

The video linked below was taken with a Go Pro 10 by Amin Gazi Karim of the Indus Caravan who was on the same flight with us. His short reel highlights moments from the entire flight from flying towards Nanga Parbat to our landing in Skardu.

Skardu is now a popular destination among domestic Pakistani tourists, with flights from Karachi and Lahore during the summer season, with three arrivals a day on the weekends. Compared to in the past, there have been improvements on the flight operation rates.

The peak of Nanga Parbat taken from the airplane. There are often clouds on the peak, so we were lucky to have a really clear view.

As we approach Skardu, the snow-capped mountains and valleys begin to appear.

The flow of the Indus River has carved out the Skardu valley. Skardu Airport is right along the riverbank.

Landed at Skardu Airport. With the aim of it becoming an International Airport, there are various projects ongoing to expand it and maintenance is underway. In fact, it is located right on the boarder with India, and the military also uses the airport regularly, so there are plans for a new runway.

On November 30, 2021  Pakistan Airlines closed their branch in Japan. This airline that has connected Tokyo to Islamabad for nearly 30 years, will be gone and makes me so sad.

Thanks to Pakistan International Airlines and everyone who supported flight to Tokyo.

 

Image & text : Mariko SAWADA

Visit :Oct 2021, taking flight PIA 451 from Islamabad to Skardu

Category : = Video Clip Gilgit-Baltistan > ◆ Video Breathtaking Views of Pakistan > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Skardu Valley > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan > - Nanga Parbat / Himalaya Range
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Best Views of Nanga Parbat! PIA Pakistan International Airlines ★ Skardu Flight

A panoramic view of the Nanga Parbat massif from a flight from Islamabad to Skardu

These mountain flights in northern Pakistan are often canceled. The reason is, of course, the quickly changing weather in the mountains. Considering that, in the last few years, the flight rate has improved considerably. In particular, if you were to try to move by car the distance of the Skardu flight, it would take two full days by land. But taking this “picturesque flight” it only takes one hour to travel the same distance.

You should really see this scenery from the Skardu flight! For the Skardu line, if taking the regular route (depending on the weather), you will see Nanga Parbat on the right and K2 on the left (if you are lucky!) just before arriving in Skardu. K2 is often hidden by the clouds and is only visible a little at the very end of the flight. So sitting on the Nanga Parbat side will give you more time to enjoy the mountainous view.

When you take off from Islamabad, you will increase altitude while slowly circling up in the Punjab Plain. Soon, you start to see the mountainous view at the western end of the Himalayas. If you look closely below, you can also see the Indus River and the Karakoram Highway running alongside it.

 

Nanga Parbat is seen as a gigantic mass of mountain. It is 8,126m, the 9th highest peak in the world.

 

My personal favorite is to see both the Indus River and Nanga Parbat. It’s hard to see in the photo, but below you can see the Indus River and the Karakoram Highway. The Indus River is a large river that crosses the border from Ladakh, India, and enters Pakistan passing through Skardu, and flows beyond that into the Arabian Sea.

This great mountainous region of Pakistan borders the Indus River. The Himalayas to the south of the great river and the Karakorum Mountains to the north of it. This is where the ancient Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate collided to form these vast mountain ranges.

 

And in this photo, at the bottom, the altitude of the riverbank of the Indus River is 1,100-1,200m, while at the top, the summit of Nanga Parbat is 8,126m. If you draw a straight line, there is a height difference of 7,000m in a distance of about 23km!

 

Shortly after the view of Nanga Parbat disappears, you enter the Skardu Valley. Surrounded by the mountains of Karakorum, the open valley of Skardu contrasts so much. It is a magnificent view shaped by the Indus River.

 

Pakistan International Airlines circles around the town of Skardu, which is like an oasis lined with poplar trees. You will see Satpara Lake and finally land at the airport in Skardu.

 

Arrived safely in Skardu.

Can you see the mountains if you can’t get the window side? ···Nope!  There is no choice but to take turns looking out the small airplane windows. And…should your flight be cancelled, you have to stay flexible and just be content to enjoy the views of the Karakoram Highway and the mighty Indus River from the car!

 

Photo & text: Mariko SAWADA

*The photo is taken from the right seat of the actual Pakistan Airlines Skardu flight.

Category : ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Skardu Valley > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan > - Nanga Parbat / Himalaya Range
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Crossing the Gondogolo La Pass from the Baltoro Glacier

The quiet peak of Karakorum before dawn seen from Gondogolo La (pass). From the left, K2, Broad Peak, G4, G3, G2, G1.

 

The route over Gondogoro La (at 5,680m), considered to be the ultimate trekking route to see K2, the second highest mountain in the world. As it requires snow wall climbing gear, make sure to check the rope work skill  thoroughly.

 

Taking glimpses behind us at K2 and Broad Peak, every now and then, we head toward  our base camp, Ali Camp (5,010m), to get over Gondogoro La. Checking in with the Islamabad office by satellite phone, we get the weather report. Fortunately, it will be clear tonight, so without hesitation, we decide to make our climb before dawn.

 

Our porters always carry the heavy equipment that we all use. This elderly man passed us quickly as we all crossed the Gondogoro La Pass, without much difficulty and waited for our mountain descent back at the camp. The local staff are always amazing through it all. Hats off to them for sure.

 

1am: Head out from base camp. Climbing up a snow wall using jumar, with an average slope of 50 degrees.

 

At last, 5:20 on July 6, 2012, we arrived at top of Gondogoro La!
A photo of my youthful self and the ridgeline behind me are K2 and Broad Peak.

 

As the sun rises, the down slope becomes a little loose and the risk of avalanche and rockfall increases. We rushed to get down the mountain.

 

A long, steep descent is more difficult than the climb up.

 

We arrived in a totally different world from the snow and ice world we just left high above. Camping in Khuspang, a lush campsite where so many alpine plants bloom.

I could finally let go of all the tension I was storing until now, and I slept like a log.

 

Photo & text :  Tomoaki  TSUTSUMI  from the expedition in Jun-July 2012

 

Category : ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan > - Karakorum Range
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Shimshal Pamir : Getting Over the Shopodin Pass(5,346m)with 52 Yaks and 61 People

This entry is about the the Shimshal Pamir journey in June 2011. In this trip, I was focused on the ‘yak route’. In 1993, the ‘Tang route’ was created because the Yaks could not pass there.  This ‘yak route’ allowed the Shimshal people to connect to the meadows, passes and villages together during their seasonal passage. One of the most daunting, as well as a highlight of the route, is going over the Shopodin Pass (5346m/ 17,540ft).

This time, as a record in the history of Shimshal, 52 yaks, and 61 people (11 Japanese, 3 Saiyu Travel staff of Pakistan [Pakistanis] and 47 Shimshal villagers) challenged the pass.

 

Climbing the Shopodin Pass. At the end of June, after over 5,000m elevation, there were pockets of remaining snow, and the melting snow water created muddy waterfalls. I climbed over a 150m of rocky terrain and from there on, rode on a yak directly to the top of the pass.

 

Nearing the top of the pass soon. This is Mr. Qazi, who is known as the Shimshal village ‘Yak Master’. In his youth, he had climbed high peak in the past, but today, he rode his own yak over the pass.

 

Just before reaching the top of pass, we offered our prayers of gratitude.

 

At the top of Shopodin Pass. Blessed with good weather, the view of the pass where we reached with the yak and the villagers was utterly breathtaking. From the cliff edge of Shopodin Pass at 5,346m, the even taller ranges of the Upper Hunza Passu’s Sispare and beyond to the Hisper Mustagh mountain range’s Distaghil Sar, Adver Sar, etc. a panorama of 7,000m peaks, an amazing landscape spreads out before us.

Later, there was a celebratory dance on the top of Shopodin Pass. When you are happy, you dance…that is the culture of the Pakistanis in the city as also, for the Pakistanis in the mountains. In this Shimshal mountain trip, I heard many times, the songs by the elders, ‘Pamir means a rich pasture where humans and livestock living together’. I was deeply touched by this song which celebrates living with nature and giving thanks to the beauty of it.

 

So the difficult thing about the Shopodin Pass, is not uphill but the downhill climb. The dry 35-degree inclination downwards opposite the snow slope is the hardest section of the pass. Some paths are muddy with the snow water, and some are slippery rocky ledges.

 

It took about 2 intense hours of downhill paths, until we could reach the destination of the Zargarben – Shopodin camp site. Of course, the yaks could make their way down quickly and were already there eating grass when we arrived.

 

The next day, we arrived at Shimshal village. It would be the last day where I would walk together with the yaks and villagers. There was only a few more hours to be together with the team, that had challenged the journey for the last 12 days.

I offer my deep gratitude to the Shimshal villagers, the yaks and their handlers, the mountain guides, porters and everyone who participated in this tour.

 

Photo & text: Mariko SAWADA
Visit: Jun 2011, Shopodin Pass, Shimshal, Gilgit-Baltistan

※This article is an updated version of the blog posted in ‘Salam Pakistan’ in July 2011.

Category : ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan > - Shimshal
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