CONCORDIA 360 DEGREE

We stayed at Concordia on a truly cloudless, crystal clear morning in mid-June. The video was rattled by manual paaning, but I made a 360-degree mountain view video from Concordia.

CONCORDIA 360 DEGREE

 

Image by Mariko SAWADA

A big thank you to the the whole Baltoro Glacier trekking team for working with us!

 

Related article

Youtube : Our baltoro Trek in 1 Min !

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 Trekking 2022 (Part 4) Urdukas to GoreⅡ

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

Staying in Concordia, surrounded by the high Peaks of the Karakorum: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum Mountain Range

★★★★★

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

Category : - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > = Video Clip Gilgit-Baltistan > ◆ Video Breathtaking Views of Pakistan > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan > - Karakorum Range
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Our Baltoro Trek in 1 min

Here’s a staff-centric video clip of our first post-pandemic Bartolo Glacier trek in June 2022! Well done to all the guides, kitchen staff, sardars, and porters who made the round trip to Concordia multiple times this season!

Our Baltoro Trek in 1 min

Image by  Mariko SAWADA

A big thank you to the the whole Baltoro Glacier trekking team for working with us!

 

Related article

Youtube : CONCORDIA 360 DEGREE

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 Trekking 2022 (Part 4) Urdukas to GoreⅡ

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

Staying in Concordia, surrounded by the high Peaks of the Karakorum: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum Mountain Range

★★★★★

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

Category : - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > - Baltoro Glacier & Concordia > = Video Clip Gilgit-Baltistan > ◆ Video Breathtaking Views of Pakistan > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > ◇ Mountain of Pakistan
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Summer on the Deosai Plateau and Wildlife We Encountered While Camping

This is a summary of our visit of the Deosai Plateau during the summer; the wildlife and scenery we experienced while camping and exploring the area.

The summer of 2022 was unusually dry on the Plateau. The Deosai summer, which is normally full of water with the carpet of alpine flowers in full bloom, this time was super dry and the plants were all the like their autumn colors. There was a lack of snowfall in the winter, earlier in the year, so it caused the high plains to be dry early on. In another blog, I will write about the impact of this big change on the Himalayan Brown Bears.

Past articles about the Deosai

The Deosai Plateau on a sunny day is remarkable, with crystal clear rivers, wetlands and mountains inviting you to stay.

The Long-tailed Marmot(or Golden Marmot). These are the same species as the marmots we see near the Khunjerab Pass, but will have a more muted coloration. (The Khunjerab Pass marmots really live up to their names as the “Golden” marmot!)

A male Citrine Wagtail. So striking in the breeding season! Breeding in the thickets along the river, we saw them carrying beaks full of insects to their chicks in the mornings and evenings.

The male Horned Lark who was busy feeding their chicks as well. I was there in mid-July, which seemed to be the season for fledging. It was nerve-wracking to see the baby birds that could not fly so well, as they were so close to the roadway.

Robin Accentor

The Robin Accentor. I didn’t really see it near the campsite, but we saw it while observing the livestock grazing in the Shatung area. In Pakistan, this bird can only usually be seen in a limited area from the Deosai Plateau to the northern area.

We walked every day in search of the Himalayan Brown Bear. Due to the exceptionally dry weather this summer, the brown bears were not in the areas where they are usually seen. There were days when we couldn’t find them, even though we looked all day, into the evening.

After days of walking, there was a big bear cub. It may have had a mother bear nearby, or maybe it was recently independent.

There was another huge Himalayan Brown Bear engrossed in eating grass. Thanks to the wind direction, I was able to get even closer to observe it.

When I returned to the campsite, we had large trout waiting for us (note: it was caught by the staff with a proper permit from the national park). The Deosai Plateau contains both native and exotic trout released for fishing by the British during the colonial period. I don’t know which one this is, but it seems the native trout is a very rare species called an “Indus Snow Trout.”

Seeing trout makes me a little thirsty for Beer. We had a toast with Pakistani beer, Murree Beer (Caution: the altitude is 4,000m, so don’t try it). This can is the Murree Brewery’s Millennium Beer, which I personally think is the most delicious beer. It is the British Colonial legacy that I appreciate the most.

The starry sky of the Deosai Plateau. I really recommend taking photos of the dark skies of the Deosai Plateau.

Himalayan Brown Bear

A brown bear came to our campsite…it was attracted to the garbage, looking for food and is seems it comes often. It was clearly visible in the camera traps.Due to the abnormally dry weather this year, it was difficult to see the brown bears and so few flowers were blooming on the plateau. I just pray that the abnormal weather will not upset the ecology of this special place.

 

Images & text: Mariko SAWADA

Observation: JUL 2022, Deosai National Park, Gilgit-Baltistan

Visit our web site “Wildlife of Pakistan

YouTube : Himalayan Brown Bear in Autumn

Category : ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Himalayan Brown Bear > - Deosai National Park > ◇ Birds of Pakistan
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Staying in Concordia, surrounded by the high Peaks of the Karakorum: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum Mountain Range

This is Concordia, The end of the Baltoro Glacier trek. It is a sought-after destination surrounded by 360 degrees of high peaks like K2.

In Latin, the word “Concordia” means “confluence and harmony,” and was given this name due to it being a confluence point between the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen Glacier. From here, climbers will set out for peaks like K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum Mountains Basecamp, and the Gondogoro La (Pass).

The first morning after our arrival in Concordia, the camp was covered with fresh snow. With patches of blue sky coming through and since the forecasted weather was clear, I took the opportunity for a photo op, since we made it all the way here.

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 Trekking 2022 (Part 4) Urdukas to GoreⅡ

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

K2 emerges from the clouds, just beyond the campground. It was a moment I had eagerly anticipated, finally seeing the mountain break through the clouds.

The view of K2 got even better. At 8,611m it is the second highest mountain in the world, just after Everest. It is a majestic mountain.

This is Broad Peak (8,051m) which came into full view before K2. Broad Peak, as it is aptly named, has a wide peak. It is the 12th highest mountain in the world and is also the first mountain to be scaled for the 8,000m Summit Challenge.

Not a cloud in the sky. A short walk from the campsite, this was taken from a place where we could see Angel Sar (6,858m). Just east of here, we can see the Gasherbrum Group, and to the south, was Baltoro Kangri and Chogolisa.

Angel Sar (6,858m) is a beauty, just Northwest of K2.

Baltoro Kangri, as seen from Concordia. There are several peaks from west to east, and the highest is said to be 7,312m high.

Vigne Peak(6,195m)at left, Khumal Gri(6,851m) at right. Chogolisa (7,668m) is a flat peaked mountain, peeking from behind a wall of ice. Heading west through this valley is the famous Gondogoro-la (Pass), which leads to the Hushe Valley.

During the day, the porters relax at the campsite. They sing, dance and are just having fun. They spend the entire summer going from Askole to Concordia and Base Camp and back, never returning to their village until the end of the season. We have worked with this same crew for years, and I am so grateful to them.

The Balti people make a fried bread called ‘Prantha.’ Do they mean “pratha?” perhaps but, anyway it is a fried bread. When it’s freshly made, it is the best.

The commemorative photo spot is a must. On June 13, 2022, we arrived in Concordia, the first Baltoro Glacier trek made by Saiyu Travel since the Covid-19 Pandemic.

We are filled with appreciation to the guides, porters and for being able to get back to work. We were the second squad to reach the Concordia this season.

Since we are here, made time for Gamow Bag practice.

This year’s Concordia has a 4G network!  The 4G is provided by the SCO (a mobile company in the mountainous regions of Pakistan) you can pick it up from around Gore II and is being sent out from Concordia. Of course, the best part of this is that you can see the weather forecast!

The evening sunlight setting on Gasherbrum Ⅳ(7,925m). These peaks of the Gasherbrum mountain range rise over Concordia.

I grabbed a shot of K2 and Broad Peak, just before the moonrise.

On the third night, we could finally get a scene of the moon and starry sky over K2. The moonlight illuminates K2 just as it gets dark.

Mitre peak (6,010m) is to the south of the campsite. This is the moon rising, not the sunrise.

This is daybreak hitting the Gasherbrum Mountains.

Gasherbrum IV peak shoulders the dramatic sunrise.

Welcoming the sunrise at Concordia.

Today’s weather – Clear.

The fine weather continues, and there was plenty of time for the staff to get commemorative photos. Then it was time to say bye to K2 and leave.
It was like a dream, and we left Concordia the next day.

Image & 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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Snow Leopard After The Hunt

Abul was scanning the mountains for the snow leopard that he had just heard. He quickly came back and told us “Congratulations!” Through his binoculars, he could find the snow leopard, sitting with a freshly caught ibex (with its head cracked, at that!) and the snow leopard had a hurt eye. It was such an exciting moment!

Youtube “Snow Leopard after the hunt”

Article related “Snow Leopard”      Feature “Widlife of Pakistan”

The two were just under a steep cliff dropoff, suggesting that they had both had a fall from a considerable height, which had been enough force to crack the head of the ibex open. There were signs of the ibex then being dragged to the hollow of this rock, were the snow leopard was now sitting.

Sadly, one of the eyes of the snow leopard was quite swollen and seemed to be impaired now, showing that the ibex was not the only one who suffered terribly from this incident. Abul began to voice his concerns that perhaps it was a serious injury that might prevent the leopard from being able to hunt in the future, spelling out its death. Not only thinking about the pain it must be in, but also it was quite heartbreaking to think that it might not survive for very long after this…

This is the moment I realized we were witnessing just how harsh the reality is for a wild carnivore.

Having said that, the sleeping snow leopard, then just showed off their cat-like expressions.

Tired from hunting + having a full tummy = a great sleep!

It seemed to have zero concerns that we were there watching it.

We were watching it through the spotting scope and getting photos/videos. I attached my iPhone to the Kowa scope (TSN-663) that I recently purchased this spring.

Those toe beans…

It was quite a large cat.

The snow leopard’s grey eyes that opened with a start.

After this, the snow leopard got up and went towards the back of the rock hollow. It really broke my heart to see its appearance, apparently quite injured, as it could hardly walk.

 

Photo & text : Mariko SAWADA

Observation :Apr 2022, KVO conservation area, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

*Contact us, Indus Caravan for more information or to make arrangements for observing wildlife of Pakistan.

Category : - the Karakoram Highway > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Snow Leopard > - Gojar
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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 Trekking 2022 (Part 4) Urdukas to GoreⅡ

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

Staying in Concordia, surrounded by the high Peaks of the Karakorum: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum Mountain Range

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

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

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

Staying in Concordia, surrounded by the high Peaks of the Karakorum: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum Mountain Range

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

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

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

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

Staying in Concordia, surrounded by the high Peaks of the Karakorum: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum Mountain Range

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 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 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 Trekking 2022 (Part 4) Urdukas to GoreⅡ

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

Staying in Concordia, surrounded by the high Peaks of the Karakorum: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum Mountain Range

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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(Movie) Himalayan Ibex Fighting For Dominance

Normally the peak of the Ibex rutting season is in December to January, and that is when you would expect to see them battling it out for dominance with the sounds of antlers clashing. However, this time, we found a group of them challenging each other, on a snowy spring April day, using the rocky outcrop as their stage.

Himalayn Ibex fighting for the dominance

From Dec 2021 to Feb 2022, there was some unfortunate illegal hunting that took place in Khunjerab National Park, resulting in the loss of a significant number of Ibex. Up to now, trophy hunting had been tightly controlled by national parks managed and the KVO community management system. But now the carefully managed Ibex population, which had been recovering, due to the heartless actions of people who are willing to cheat the system, has started to dwindle again. This in turn, affects the snow leopards, which forces them to start hunting among the villagers’ livestock for food. This causes the human-wildlife conflict issues to escalate in the harsh winter.

By the time we arrived, the case had already been resolved by the person in charge, but the lasting impact on the wildlife populations and people who live with them, will not be restored so quickly. Now we need to worry about the situation for next winter, as well.

 

Image & text : Mariko SAWADA

Observation : Apr 2022, Khunjerab National Park

Category : = Video Clip Gilgit-Baltistan > ◆ Video Breathtaking Views of Pakistan > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Ibex > ◇ Wildlife of Pakistan > - Khunjerab National Park
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