Pakistan's Snow Lake Trek - Photo Journal

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When you think of “trekking” most people might not immediately contemplate Pakistan. But the Northern areas better known as Kashmir, have some of the most majestic treks on the planet. The two most popular are the K2 base camp, where you can see the dramatic Karakoram Mountains while walking up the Baltoro glacier, and the spectacular Biafo Hispar glacier trek also known as Snow Lake.

Both of these treks travel deep into very remote territory, and being part of an expedition with tents, food, and cooking equipment for a couple of weeks is mandatory. There are no tea houses to support you like in Nepal. Snow Lake requires a good level of physical fitness with some previous trekking experience plus an adventurous attitude. The weather can be unpredictable at times ranging from very hot days in the beginning to freezing conditions as you get higher up the glacier and cross the Hispar La. Trekkers are however rewarded with some of the most striking scenery imaginable. Here are a few highlights from our trek for inspiration.

Leaving Askole
Leaving Askole
Climbing up the Biafo Moraine
Climbing up the Biafo Moraine
The High cliffs in Pakistan
The High cliffs in Pakistan

By four in the afternoon the sun disappears behind the towering cliffs. On the far side of the glacier, we are treated to an amazing light display on the stony towers. They bask in golden rays, the light showing off their rough texture.

Snow Lake Trek
Our group pushes along the Snow Lake trek
Small lake on the Biafo Glacier
The distinctive aqua-colored water of a small lake on the Biafo Glacier
Amin cooking up a storm
Amin cooking up a storm in camp
Crossing one of the many crevasses
Crossing one of the many crevasses

Don’t. Look. Down!

Crossing Snow Lake
Crossing Snow Lake

Tiny human figures pale in comparison to the vast enormity of Snow Lake

Stunning mountains
Stunning mountains

It’s scenes like this that make you forget how cold and tired you are

Amin and Habib
The smiling faces of Amin and Habib
Roped together on the Biafo glacier-Baqir-leads-the-way
Roped together on the Biafo Glacier, Baquir leads the way
Approach to the Hispar La
Our approach to the Hispar La (Pass)
Crossing the Hispar La
Watching out for deep holes as we cross the Hispar La
Descending the Hispar La
Descending the Hispar La through ankle-deep powder
Camping on the Hispar
Camping on the Hispar La
Night life in the mess tent
Night life in the mess tent
Starry Sky
Starry Sky

The night sky truly lights up

Rough terrain
Rough terrain

On the 8th day, we come across the confluence of two glaciers. The morning has been difficult already crawling across a series of landslips. Now in front of us, rocks and crevasses stretch for over 2km. It takes your breath away as well as some of your resolve.

Dangerous section in the Hispar Glacier
Trying to navigate through a dangerous section of the Hispar Glacier
Crossing the river in a basket
Crossing the river in a basket

The bridge had been washed out by summer floods so we had to cross the river in a makeshift basket suspended by a cable. Being pulled across by a rope made for a bumpy, yet exhilarating ride.

Local man in Shigar Valley
Local man in Shigar Valley
Local life
Local life

Some extremely impressive architecture going on here. Can you even imagine trying to hoist these massive boulders into place?

Wild Flowers in Hispar
Wild Flowers in Hispar

A stark contrast between these wildflowers and the rugged mountains

The beauty of the valley
The beauty of the valley

The ten-day Snow Lake trek is an excellent adventure, filled with challenges and spectacular scenery.

Each week we feature a new destination here on Backpacker Travel, in the form of a photo journal. If you are an aspiring photographer who is interested in contributing or have a suggestion for a particular place, please get in touch here.

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Greg Reynolds

Greg is one half of a couple of Aussie adventurers who traveled from Singapore to London, then Cape Town to Singapore without taking a single flight.

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