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If you are interested in seeing the mighty Karakorams from the north,
then you must visit Shimshal. This last remnant of true Hunza culture exists near
Pakistan's Pamir east of the town of Passu in upper Hunza valley.
begins at Dut and we reach the remote village of Shimshal in about three days
of trekking. At each step we are amazed how a path has been carved in this deep
and narrow ravine on the way to Shimshal. The reason why Shimshal was located
in such an out-of-the-way place is because this is where the Mir (ruler) of Hunza
used to send his people who were found guilty of crimes and also those who he
just did not like!
Shimshalis now are a proud and hardy folk. Their hospitality
is legendary and the natural beauty that they inhabit makes us feel that perhaps
the Mir sentenced them to heaven, not hell!
Our trek now veers northwards
from Shimshal and we enter the lovely and remote Ghujerab valley. Here we cross
the Boesam Pass and the Chapchingiol Pass to reach the trail head at Kuksel. This
is where we meet the KKH and our jeeps which will transport us back to Hunza.
The trek from Shimshal to Kuksel takes us into a very remote area and gives
us a chance to see some of the endangered wildlife in the Khunjerab National Park.
If we are lucky we may be able to observe Markhor, Ibex, Marcopolo Sheep and even
the elusive magnificent Snow Leopard. This is ideal high Pamir meadow country
strewn with thousands of colorful flowers. This is a tough trek and ropes are
provided for various river crossings and as aid at other steep places.
briefing. We will have ample time for sightseeing and shopping in colorful old
bazaars of Rawalpindi and new markets of Islamabad. We may also drive to the huge
modern Faisal Mosque in Islamabad.
Gilgit (1,500 m 4,900 ft)
One of the most thrilling mountain flights in the world. We will fly in a Fokker
Friendship turboprop plane which seats about 40 people. The plane flies at an
altitude of about 4,500 m. in the Indus valley. It is surrounded by high peaks
including Nanga Parbat (8,125 m.). In Gilgit we have time to shop and do some
Day 3, Gulmit (2,400 m 7,870
Hotel, drive. This is a 5 hour drive
into northern Hunza valley. Gulmit is a small town on the KKH. Rakaposhi (7,788
m.) towers above the KKH on the way. Hunza valley is a Shangri-La!
4, Dut (2,600 m 8,530 ft)
Camp, jeep. From
Gulmit we drive to Pasu and here we cross the Hunza river to enter the Shimshal
River gorge. This is a formidable place with steep walls on both sides. Route
permitting, we will try and drive all the way to Dut. The trip from Gulmit takes
about 3 to 4 hours of driving.
Ziarat (2,600 m 8,530 ft)
Camp, trek. This
is a tough day’s walk through some scree slopes. We are lucky that bridges have
been built to help us cross the Shimshal River couple of times. The walk takes
about 6 to 7 hours.
Day 6, Malunguti (2,800
m 9,200 ft)
Camp, trek. In 3 to 4 hours
of walking we will reach our camp site next to the Malunguti Glacier. We can go
further but this is a good spot to rest a little after walking through the Shimshal
gorge. We will be crossing mountain streams on the way.
7, Shimshal (2,900 m 9,500 ft)
We have to cross the difficult Malunguti Glacier before we can start seeing the
beautiful terraced fields of Shimshal village. The walk takes about 3 to 4 hours
and on our right we can see the towering Distaghil Sar.
8, Shimshal (2,900 m 9,500 ft)
Shimshal is the heart of Gojal region of Hunza. Old Hunza traditions have been
preserved here in this remote and inaccessible village. This is a good place to
rest and meet with the extremely hospitable locals.
9, Zardgarben (3,800 m 12,460 ft)
trek. In about 5 to 6 hours of trekking up hill and crossing mountain streams
and scree slopes we will come to Zardgarben. This is a good place to acclimatize.
Day 10, Jaffar Wasshk (4,300 m 14,100 ft)
trek. This takes about 4 to 5 hours. If we are lucky we will be able to see some
Ibex on the way. This is a beautiful camp site with many flowers.
11, Hindjerab (4,000 m 13,120 ft)
trek. Today we will cross the Boesam Pass (4,600 m.). The walk takes about 6 to
7 hours and goes through spectacular glacier country. We will be crossing some
scree slopes and streams. The pass is non-technical.
12, Wierben (3,600 m 11,800 ft)
We will follow the beautiful Boesam valley down to Wierben. Here we are at the
high meadows where, during the summer, villagers bring their yaks to graze.
13, Chapchingiol Valley (3,700 m 12,140 ft)
trek. After crossing the Ghujerab River on a ‘garari’ or with the help of ropes,
we enter the arid Chapchingiol gorge. Here we have to cross and recross the river
a few times. Ropes will be provided by our staff to help us through this part
of the trek. This may take 2 to 3 hours.
14, Chapchingiol High Camp (4,000 m 13,120 ft)
trek. In another 2 hours or more we will come to our high camp before crossing
the nearly 5,000 m. Chapchingiol Pass.
15, Kuksel Valley (4,600 m 15,100 ft)
trek. This is a long tough day of about 8 hours. From Chapchingiol High Camp we
ascend over scree slopes to the top of the Chapchingiol Pass which is always covered
in snow and ice. The descent is difficult and ropes are fixed. The staff is always
ready to help and assist in any way. On the north side of the pass we will find
a suitable place to camp once off the glacier.
16, Kuksel Springs (4,400 m 14,430 ft)
trek. In 3 hours or so we reach the shepherd huts of Kuksel along the KKH. We
walk along the Kuksel River.
Day 17, Gulmit
(2,400 m 7,870 ft)
Hotel, jeep. The drive
takes about 3 to 4 hours and it is a wonderful feeling to be able to complete
a tough and a very remote walk through the Shimshal region and the Khunjerab National
Park which is the home of many endangered species. We hope to be talking about
seeing the magnificent wildlife for a long time to come.
18, Karimabad (2,440 m 8,000 ft)
jeep. A very short drive on the KKH brings us to the capital of Hunza. We will
have time for shopping and sightseeing in this magical place.
19, Gilgit (1,500 m 4,920 ft.)
We return to Gilgit and have ample opportunity to visit the Central Asian bazaars
Day 20, Besham
drive. In about 8 hours of driving on the KKH we will arrive at Besham located
above the Indus River and is the home to the local tribesmen.
Hotel, drive and trek
debriefing. In another 8 hours of driving on the KKH we arrive back into the twin
Day 22, Rawalpindi/Islamabad
Note: Day 22 will be used
as a ‘cushion’ day in case of delays in travel due to weather, route change, health,
acclimatization issues during the trek, etc.
This is a tentative
itinerary. For the enjoyment of your trip a ‘go with the flow’ attitude is necessary.
Many factors will influence your trip, such as weather conditions, health, route
conditions, etc. Please do not take this itinerary very seriously!