19 Days Trek Snow Lake & Biafo & Hispar Glaciers Skardu Balistan Pakistan
For the first 40 years of this century, explorers believed that Snow Lake was a vast ice-cap. It was named by explorer Martin Conway in 1892, who has given a dramatic account of this place in his book “Climbing expeditions in the Karakoram – Himalayas”.
As we trek up to this other-worldly place we enter a remarkable world of ice, rock and sky, occasionally intercepted by small ablation valleys filled with numerous wildflowers. We undertake a 122km walk on the Biafo & Hispar glaciers and explore the incredible wilderness of Snow Lake nestled between the two glaciers.
We finish our trek by descending to the Hunza Valley and travel along the Karakoram Highway to Islamabad.
- Jeep ride, trek
- Visit Skardu city, Shangrila Resort, shiger fort, Khaplu Fort
- Passu Peak and Passu Glacier
- Braldu River
- Snow Lake
- Khanobasa Glacier
- Yutmaru Glacier
- Karimabad Hunza Gojal
- Scheduling: Semi-Private Tour
- Languages offered on the Activity / Tour: English, German, Chinese
- Duration: 19 days
- Printed Voucher Accepted
- Available May to October
- A minimum of 4 people is required to book this tour
- Live GuideEnglish, German, French, Urdu
- Pick-up servicePick up from Islamabad International Airport.
- Easy Cancellationthere is no cancellation fee once Customers Cancel at least 7 day(s) prior to the date of the activity or tour.
There is 50% cancellation fee for Customers to Cancel 3 and 6 day(s) prior to the date of the activity or tour.
There is 100% cancellation fee for Customers to Cancel 2 day(s) prior to the date of the activity or tour.
- Instant Confirmation
- Cut-off TimeAvailable to be booked until 10 days before the tour starts. We reserve the option to confirm the tour or not due to availability.
- English-speaking mountain guide.
- Portage of 12.5kg during trek.
- Camping Facilities: 2-person dome tents with mattresses, dining tent with folding table & chairs, kitchen tent and staff, toilet tent.
- Transport: Air-conditioned bus on Karakoram Highway, soft-top 4x4 jeeps for Hunza.
- Meals: full board at hotels, Full board during trek
- Accommodation on a twin-share basis at standard category hotels in towns, 2-person tent during camping.
- other natural calamities or acts of God beyond the control of Rock Valley Tours, their staff and suppliers;Any expenses of a personal nature not mentioned above.
- Any expenses due to cancellation of flights, landslides.
- Domestic/International airfares and airport taxes.
After your welcome from RVT Team at the hotel there will be a trek briefing with your leader and guide and then the rest of the day is free to explore the bazaars of Rawalpindi and the new town of Islamabad.
An overnight stay at the hotel.
You will have a morning transfer to the airport for flight to Skardu and then transfer to resort. (This flight is subject to good weather conditions, so if the flight is cancelled we will drive by road to Chilas.
Meals and an overnight stay at the hotel.
If we are travelling by road we will make the journey from Chilas to Skardu.
Hotel for meals and an overnight stay.
We take a soft-top 4x4 jeep for a bumpy ride to trek head.
Enjoy exciting views of Mango Gusor (6208m) and Bakhor Das (5809m) peaks. Camp at 2950m at Thongol. (145 km, 5-6 hours.).
We begin our trek, as our luggage is distributed among our team of porters, by walking across an incredible wilderness of rock, ice and sky.
After walking alongside Braldu River for about an hour, we reach the village of Askole.
This is the last permanent settlement along our trekking route.
Another three hours’ walk brings us to the Biafo Glacier, two kilometres wide at this point, which is to be our companion for half of the trek.
After setting foot on the glacier, and scrambling across the lateral moraine for about three hours, we arrive at Namla campsite at 3400m. (6-7 hour trek).
Back on the glacier, we cross an area of crevasses where extreme care is needed.
It’s important to follow our guide closely.
Once across the crevasses, we make a gentle ascent of the glacier, enjoying spectacular views of Latok 1 (7145m), Latok 2 (7108m) along the trek.
The track follows the ablation valley past a small lake, then heads out across the lateral crevasses to the smooth white centre of the Biafo Glacier.
Our campsite is at Biantha at 4025m on a grassy area with a clear stream flowing through dense willows and alpine flowers. (6-7 hour trek).
The first hour of the trek is a lovely walk along the valley, crossing many small lakes surrounded by willows and wildflowers.
This area is the habitat of bears and Himalayan ibex.
Once on the glacier, we make a gradual climb over smooth ice.
If there is fresh snow on the glacier we must rope up and walk using a flying belay while enjoying stunning views of Sosbun Brakk (6418m).
Camp at 4025m (7-8 hour trek).
We make a pre-dawn departure from the camp so that we can walk safely over the soft snow on the medial moraine.
After two hours of steady plodding, we arrive at the intersection of the Sim-gang glacier with Snow Lake.
We camp at around 4780m close to the Hispar Pass. (2-3 hour trek).
For the first 40 years of the last century, explorers believed that Snow Lake was an ice-cap like those in polar regions from which glaciers flow in each direction, its size is estimated at 777 sq.km.
Now the lake’s estimated size is 77 sq.km.
The lake was named by explorer Martin Conway in 1892, who gave a dramatic account of the area in his book “Climbing expeditions in the Karakoram - Himalaya".
We make an early morning departure to climb the pass.
Gaiters are essential as snow can be deep even in the morning.
We walk in single file, roped together.
The route passes through the centre of the pass around giant crevasses and striped, greenish-blue seracs towering on either side.
The view of Snow Lake from the top of Hispar Pass 5151m is inspirational.
Numerous glaciers emerge from Snow Lake and disappear between nameless unclimbed Karakoram peaks.
The highest of these peaks is Baintha Brakk (7285m) also called Ogre, first climbed by Chris Bonington and Doug Scott in 1977.
On the other side of the pass, the snow-covered Hispar Glacier stretches as far as the eye can see, and to the north rises the white pyramid of Workman Peak (19,300 ft.).
We descend from the pass to camp on the glacier’s northern moraine at 4580 m. (7-8 hour trek).
Soon after leaving our camp we spend about 90 minutes crossing the Khanobasa Glacier.
During the walk, we can enjoy spectacular views of Kanji Sar (7700 m), the 29th highest peak in the world.
From here we follow lateral moraine and marvel at the hanging glaciers and frequent avalanches on the southern ice walls.
Yutmaru at 4330m is a flat, sheltered field in a valley, surrounded by willows and alpine flowers.
It also offers fine views of the Hispar Pass and the Balchish Range. (5-6 hour trek).
Our Bitanmal valley campsite is a wide-open summer pasture surrounded by willows and flowers.
In summer the shepherds from Hispar Village move here to live with their herds of goats, sheep and yaks.
It’s a perfect place for a rest day.
A Lovely relaxing walk through green pastures past willows and cedars and among herds of goats, sheep, cattle and donkeys.
Soon we meet the south bank of Hispar River, and a wide alluvial fan rippling in terraces down to a cliff above the river.
We cross a wooden bridge over the river and climb steeply to enter the Hispar village and its mud houses, apricot, willow & poplar trees, and fields of wheat, peas, beans, along with the ever-present wild poppies and marijuana.
After spending some time here, we walk for another hour to our camp close to a roaring river at 3200m. (5-6 hour trek).
In the morning we walk for two hours through the dry landscape to Huru and board soft-top 4x4 jeeps for the short ride to Karimabad the capital of Hunza Valley.
You are never short of spectacular views here - Rakaposhi (7788m ), Ultar 1 (7388 m), Ultar 2, and Golden Peak tower above the valley.
The afternoon is free, meals and overnight at the hotel. (2 hours trek & 2 hours by jeep).
Day free at Karimabad to explore the valley and to visit the Altit and Baltit forts.
These are reminders of the times when Hunza was an important staging post on the Karakoram branch of the Silk Route.
The forts were erected by the locals to protect themselves against invaders coming mostly from Central Asia over the high passes.
Time permitting we may drive 35km further north along the Karakoram Highway to the picturesque village of Passu for thrilling views of the Passu & Batura glaciers.
Meals and an overnight stay at the hotel.
Hunza cultural dance in the evening.
Morning excursion to the Upper Hunza to enjoy views of Passu Peak, Passu Glacier, Batura and other peaks of Karakoram.
Drive back along the Karakoram Highway to Besham/Narran.
Meals and an overnight stay at a hotel. (230 km, 6 hours).
On to Islamabad, overnight at hotel. (385 km, 08 hours).
Morning visit Islamabad / Rawalpindi
Evening Transfer to airport for your departure flight.
- Cloths for the trek should be durable, comfortable and easy to wash and dry.
- A small day pack is suggested as carry-on to keep items that you will use during while on the trek, bus or jeep.
- While on an organized trek, it is best to pack all items for your trip in one large piece and one carry on.