Pakistan’s Hindukush and Karakorum are part of the Himalaya Range, the world’s highest and mightiest mountain massif. Experienced climbers call the Karakorum the “wildest” mountains on the globe, both for their jagged, fierce and scary appearance and the very remoteness of a large number of peaks, with hundreds of them unnamed and unclimbed to this day. Many see this as the Karakorum main attraction, too: nowhere else do they find such vast, untouched areas, such amazing, pristine nature and, accordingly, people equally unspoilt by “progress” and tourism, smiling, hospitable and open-minded.
The Hindukush and Karakorum mountains are paradise for climbers, mountaineers and trekkers alike, coming from countries across the globe. Of the world’s fourteen eight thousanders, five are in the Karakorum, among them the second highest (and, to many, both the most beautiful and the most difficult) one, named K2 or Mount Godwin Austen. Shaped like a huge diamond, K2 (8,611 m) rises from a spectacular confluence of glaciers, the Concordia, dream destination of the passionate trekker and mountaineer. In its immediate neighborhood, visible from almost the same viewpoint on Concordia, are those famous 8, 000er summits, the two Gasherbrum (8,086 and 8,035 m) and Broad Peak (8,047m). Some distance away, traveling the incredible Karakorum Highway from Rawalpindi to Pakistan’s border to China, you catch a glimpse of the legendary Nanga Parbat, the “Naked Mountain” (8,125 m), which, to so many renowned climbers, has been an enormous, and often deadly, challenge.
Further along on the “KKH”, as the locals like to call this amazing road along the Indus and Hunza Rivers, part of the ancient Silk Route, the traveler is overwhelmed by the sight of the Hunza Valley, its lush green scenery and bustling settlements cradled by rocky slopes, thundering glaciers and snowy peaks. Where else in the world are you able to see sheer 6,000 altitude meters in one glance?! When you are standing in one of Hunza’s orchards and turn to the south, you will see the mighty Rakaposhi Mountain rising in its entirety from the bottom of the valley right to its 7,788-meter-summit.
The people of Pakistan’s north are known for their trustworthy and peaceful character. The Hunza area is largely populated by I educated people , If you would like to experience what kind of community the Isma’ili spirit creates, visit
Shimshal, one of the Karakorum remotest but, simultaneously, most friendly-minded and beautiful villages. The Shimshali people, through their lifelong practice of herding their yaks, goats and sheep in the high mountain areas, are excellent climbers. Numerous men from.Shimshalies have climbed more than one – and up to five or more! – Eightthousanders as high porters. Shimshali girls have started to rival them in recent years! This proud tradition, together with their wonderful hospitality, makes the village well worth visiting.