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Trek to the Edge of Tartary

Altitude: 5160m 17,780ft Max / Season: July-Sep / 27 Days
Hinduraj Chitral FarmingYak Farmer

Trek to Tartary

Pakistan Itinerary

Kalash Valleys
Yarkhun Valley
Yarkhun Lasht
 Karambar lake
 rest day
 Chillinji High Camp
 Chillinji Pass
 Khunjerab Pass
 rest day

This trek takes us to Northern Chitral and runs on the edge of the famous Wakhan Corridor. The corridor was deliberately made as a buffer zone to curtail the advancing Russian influence into British India during the 18th century.

Here many spies were sent on both sides who mingled with the local populace as if they were natives. This is the place of the Great Game which was played between the Russian 'Bear,' the English 'Lion,' and the Chinese 'Dragon.' The three empires jockeyed for land, position and influence for the strategic heart of Central Asia.

Our journey begins in Islamabad and takes us through 'Kipling' and 'Churchill' territory to Chitral town. From here we will proceed north to an enchanting area of untouched peaks, remote meadows and pristine lakes. We will cross two passes and traverse the Hindukush (Killer of Hindus) and the Hinduraj (Ruler of Hindus) mountains to enter the realm of Karakoram (Black Rock) mountains.

The beauty of this trek cannot be described in words. If you have a desire to visit a land that has been the focus of so much Central Asian history, then this trip is for you. It is a remote and rugged trek. The upper Chitral territory is a place that is seldom visited and you may not see any other foreigner during the entire trek as we walk towards Hunza.

We enter the remarkable Hunza valley at a place called Ziarat. This is where the shrine of saint, Babagondi, is located and is one of the most revered spiritual places in all of Hunza. Here is where our jeeps will pick us up to take us back into civilization, which we may not be ready for after a trek of a lifetime! After resting in Hunza, we proceed to Gilgit and then onwards to Islamabad to catch our flight home.

Detailed Itinerary - Trek to the Edge of Tartary

Day 1, Rawalpindi/Islamabad: Hotel, trek 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.

Day 2, Peshawar: Hotel, drive. Peshawar is the gateway to the famous Khyber Pass.

Day 3, Swat: Hotel, drive. Swat is a lush green valley where the Himalayas begin.

Day 4, Chitral: Hotel, drive. After crossing the Lowari Pass we now enter the remote Chitral valley, home to the Hindukush giants.

Day 5, Chitral: Hotel. Today we will drive for a day excursion to the Kafir Kalash valleys. The Kafir Kalash, or wearers of the black robe, are pagan tribes living in the Hindukush and claim descent from Alexander the Great.

Day 6, Yarkhun Valley: Camp, jeep drive. The drive will probably take us to Mastuj town where we can camp. We are overwhelmed being in the Hindukush. Tirichmir (7,487 m.) towers above the valley.

Day 7, Yarkhun Lasht: Camp, jeep drive. We will drive as far as possible in the Yarkhun Valley. Each season the jeep road goes a little further, weather permitting. 

Day 8, Kishmanja: Camp, trek begins. We follow the Yarkhun River on a gentle terrain.

Day 9, Chikr: Camp, trek. On this segment we have our first glance of the huge Chattiboi Glacier. The trail is good. We cross the Yarkhun River by a footbridge.

Day 10, Boroghil: Camp, trek. At Boroghil we are only a few miles away from the legendary Wakhan Corridor of Central Asia.

Day 11, Lashkargaz: Camp, trek. We are now in high-meadow country where villagers from far below bring their livestock here for summer grazing.

Day 12, Karambar Lake: Camp, trek. We are now at the Karambar Pass and are surrounded with some of the most beautiful scenery on this planet. This is a magical place.

Day 13, Karambar Lake: Camp, rest. No use in hurrying out of here!

Day 14, Swinj: Camp, trek. We follow the Karambar River down to Swinj.

Day 15, Suktherabad: Camp, trek. Continue down to Suktherabad.

Day 16, Ghangle: Camp, trek. 

Day 17, Chilling High Camp: Camp, trek. We climb toward the Chilling Pass and camp under it in order to successfully cross it the next day.

Day 18, Chilling Pass: Camp, trek. Today is a tough day of trekking and after ascending the high pass, we now make camp while descending on the other side. Here we have crossed the Hindukush and the Chitral Valley and now we are in the Hunza Valley with the mighty Karakoram Mountain Range in front of us.

Day 19, Beyater: Camp, trek. We trek downwards and cross glacial streams and glaciers on the way.

Day 20, Babagondi: Camp, trek. The first site of the famous saint’s shrine fills us with emotions and we give thanks for a safe passage! Our jeeps are waiting here for us.

Day 21, Sust: Hotel, jeep drive. The small Karakoram town of Sust feels like a metropolis after our trek of a lifetime.

Day 22, Karimabad, Hunza: Hotel, jeep drive. Today we will drive to the top of Khunjerab Pass, touch China and drive back all the way to Karimabad.

Day 23, Karimabad, Hunza: Hotel, rest.

Day 24, Karimabad, Hunza: Hotel, rest.

Day 25, Gilgit: Hotel, drive.

Day 26, Besham: Hotel, drive. Follow the mighty Indus River on the Karakoram Highway.

Day 27, Islamabad: Hotel, drive. On the Karakoram Highway. Trip ends.

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!

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