Me and my bro
A dream to travel extensively through wonders of mighty Karakorm Highway (known as eighth wonder of world) comes true in the month of May through Rest & Recreation package from office and finally able to move up north to the giants of the Karakorm Range.
To say that this mighty road and Pakistan's three different huge mountain ranges meeting place; the Karakorum, Hindu Kush and Himalaya region giving a picturesque would be an understatement. Its really one of the highest places on earth and many of the world's largest glaciers adorn the peaks. The Himalayan harshest winds through a seemingly never ending gorge where the mighty river Indus, sometimes gently flows or rushes through narrow gabs between towering rock formations, always nearby, sometimes level with the road, sometimes almost hidden in deep ravines of mighty Indus. In certain ways this road shows more and more breathtaking vista's in comparison to any of road of world and from a sightseer point of view it's a no-miss experience and mountains towering majestically behind them, it's a wonder world of drama and splendor.
Our journey starts on 3rd of May along with bunch of office friends and younger brother (Akhtar, Rizwan
and my bro Awais) booked the tickets for Astore one day before from Northern Areas Tourism Corporation (NATCO).
We started our excited journey at 4 pm on Friday from Rawalpindi. We made first stop over at Manshera for having dinner and refreshment and there at hotel we had gossips with few old guys of Astore Valley, as they were anxiously looking and asking us Are you Astores LOL when we said no we are making visit to Astore and Naga Barbat and track towards Challas and DeoSai, so they started participating to arrange programme for us. Even some of them warned us not to go ahead to DeoSai because of route blockade and harshest of weather. Then we again started our journey and it was going pretty boring, so we start signaling by playing ringing tones on our mobiles which pushed the driver of bus to play songs for us (he seems pretty intelligent). After passing Bafa, Chatter plain NATCO bus started zig and zag on true track of KKH. Eventually after 14 hours journey we arrived in Dia Mir, the small town in the Northern Areas where the Government has recently announced to construct a big water reservoir to
overcome to crises of power and energy.
Geting closer to its base camp
We saw the flag signs and tunnel and the portion of KKH road which won't be there after the completion of Diamir Basha Dam and feasibility report of construction of new portion of KKH is underway with the help of Chinese brothers. We had breakfast there at 7 am, after finishing one of older guy from Astore showed us one of side of Nanga Barbat shinning like a crystal in the hours of early morning. Again our driver started honking to gather and again the tiring journey start towards Astore Valley. I felt stuck on the seat of buss so I looked out of the window to see steep barren grey rocky hillsides plunging down to the grey silt laden Indus rushing below us. We had passed the giant of Nanga Parbat and had clear view of an 8135 meter mountain was by craning our necks to see it out of the coach windows. The Indus River had turned right and left coming from Astore valley and rushing grey giant with big carved cliffs for banks that showed just how strongly the water carved its route out round here. We thankfully reached at
Astore main market after more than 18 hours of journey, there we found quickly a jeep to move a main village of Treshing Thasol Crecot The 20 odd km that followed are possibly the most energy-sapping kilometers for every driver to done.
The track was narrow, sometimes dangerously as it was pretty roughest track at a pace of mostly less then 10 km/hr in 1st gear and always felt going into ravine. At some points we find glaciers in the way so we all go off the jeep and set rocks under the tires to cross it, sometime it almost touching the rock wall, scrape by huge boulders fallen on the track which make passing all but impossible and negotiate oncoming jeeps where that is even more ridiculous and all the time the jeep is rocketing like a tug- boat on rough patches which make us feel hungry LOL. The dangerous experience was crossing a river over a cable bridge with creaking wood and little snapping noises don't make for carefree driving either.
At last by making the journey for 22 hours we reached the main village of Tresheng and were shown into a peaceful New Rupal Hotel with
lush green garden.
Nanga Barbat at night
From the garden we find a majestic view of massive 8135 m Nanga Parbat in altitude over shadowed the whole valley with its deterrence look. First thing we done was to negotiate the package deal of both dinner and breakfast with hotel cook Rahmat Ali and honestly i was amazed when he provided a dinner at night and he told us that he had served many foreign expeditors on good rates while their expedition to Nanga Barbat, so we dinner
Next day after having full night sleeping we all feel fresh for a big hike to base camp of Nanga Barbat, so after having local breakfast started the trekking with my friends and younger bro (Akhat, Rizwan and my bro Awais) up to Fairy meadow and the base camp of Nanga Barbat. During our hike we came across the real beauty of nature, the local peoples including the children's of school, women and girls working in the fields helped by guiding us all the way to right track (here I would like mention the zeal and braveness of those poorest of poor peoples who lives toughest of life and yet they send their kids to schools).
We saw lot of wild sheep's, markhor and the first ever view of yaks which was quite apprehensive, giving the beasts a wide berth, they were huge and the cross breeding of Yaks and Cows (Zuu) and the lush green meadows full of flora and fauna flowers made the whole environment spectacular.
While crossing Domali rudely interrupted by the weather and it start snowing just before we were about to attempt a glacier crossing across to the base camp. The beginning of the hiking track was probably the toughest 'hike' i have ever been on while crossing every glacier a sound of cracking of glacier scared almost everyone, there i find why it is being called as Killer Mountain. That day we climbed up to 25 km along a track well used by shepherds and luckily we had carried firewood with us for this night so to stay warm inside later in night. The first thing we done after reaching at the base camp to install our camps because it was freezing cold over there then we further tracked up in the evening to see more clear view of killer mountain, where the coldest of breeze welcomes us and i
felt my hands freezing and jammed, which pushed all of us to lock in our camps and stay inside whole night shivering therein even slept under three blankets and still wasn't all that warm. The very next morning when we got up we were lucky enough to got a full view of Nanga Barbat and forgot every pain and suffering of the night, we further decided to move up to the second base camp where again we sounded lot of cracking voices of glaciers splitting with the cold waves of Himalaya touching across the Killer mountain, so after continued trekking of 2 hours further from first base camp we reached there up and saw the full deterrence view of Nanga Barbat (quite threatening) and met a couple from Norway who were in course to move back to Threshing as quickly as they can, after spending just 30 minutes we realized we couldn't survive another 30 minutes there, so we followed the same course to move back to base camp of Nanga Barbat following with fevers and heavy heads, took the lunch/dinner at 5 pm and pills and laid for long rest to get ready for our next journey hike to
Gilgit and Hunza Valley