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Pakistan 2006


Deosai Plateau, Baltistan          This was a tailor made trip organised by Wild Frontiers following on from their Hindu Kush Expedition.

Deosai Plateau, Baltistan    October 14th to October 25th 2006

Day 1    I met my guide Taimor,  my driver Jehanghi and cook Nizan at 9.30 a.m. outside the Serena Hotel in Gilgit.  We loaded the Jeep and set off for Skardu.  Our route took us alongside the Indus River.  Sometimes we were at the same level as the river and then we would be 500ft above the river on a narrow rough track passing through a gorge.  We stopped for lunch in a tea house.  Before we reached Skardu (about another 32 km) we turned off to find our campsite at Katchura lake.  When camping I would be in a tent in the grounds while the others found a room or rooms in a very simple hostel where they could sleep and cook.  Often there was no electricity.  The hostels we used had to be opened on arrival as we were the only travelers at this time of the year.



Serena Hotel Gilgit



The road to Skardu

from Gilgit


The road to Skardu

from Gilgit





The road to Skardu

from Gilgit


Arriving at our camping

spot, Katchura Lake


The Indus Valley

near Skardu



Day 2    After a short walk beside the lake we left for Skardu.  Here we stayed for a few hours as the jeep needed a new shock absorber.  Then it was off to Hushe.  The road follows the Indus to start before crossing and following the Shyok River to Khapulu and Saling.  Then we were back on the rough tracks up the Hushe valley.  At Machilu there is a fine khanqah -style Mosque.  The road slowly got worse as we climbed up the valley.  Approaching Hushe we had marvelous views of Masherbrum (7821m).  From my tent I had excellent views of the mountains.

Katchura Lake



The Indus valley


Katchura Lake



Crossing the Shyok River at

the start of the

Hushe Valley

Driving through Saling


Road over the flood plain






First sighting of



Khangah style mosque,




Day 3    Woke early to see the sun on Masherbrum, after overnight rain, then after breakfast started our walk up the Honboro Valley.  This walk after crossing the Hushe river was over boulders and along a rough track climbing up and up at about 40 degrees!  We walked up for over 2 hours before turning back.  This was a very hard first walk.

Bridge across the

Hushe River


Bridge across the

Hushe River


Looking back at Hushe



Carrying about 40kg of

wood down the valley


Looking back at Hushe


Rest time



Looking towards K7



Still higher up the

Honboro Valley


Fresh snow



An ever changing view of

the mountains,


This was the pathway


The skyline



Masherbrum as the

clouds gather


The bridge back over

to Hushe


Skyline above Hushe




Day 4    It was time to return to Skardu.  Following the way up we made our way back to Skardu where I had lunch at the very pleasant K2 Motel (PTDC) while the jeep had a new leaf fitted to the Spring.  Late afternoon we arrived at Sadpara Lake just south of Skardu.  We camped close to this attractive lake for the night.












In the Hushe valleye


Village in Hushe Valley



Driving down the

Hushe Valley


Road across the flood plain

of the Shyok River


Driving down the

Hushe Valley


Crossing the Shyok River



Traffic holdup


Why hurry!



Skardu Fort



Lake Sadapara Skardu


The Indus River near




Day 5   Off early for one of the highlights of the trip.  After a long drive up the valley past Sadpara village we finally reached the Deosai Plateau which is at an average height of over 4000m.  After the check post and paying the entrance fee.  The first foreigner for ten days and probably the last of the season.  The landscape is amazing.  The distance to the skyline is far and the terrain so barren and bleak (and cold!).  At one of the bridges the wooden planks were broken and it was necessary to drive the jeep a short way across, remove planks from behind the jeep, place them in the gaps ahead, drive a little further and repeat this process several times.  We stopped by beautiful Lake Sheosar for lunch and soon afterwards it began to snow.  Before dropping down to Chilam we crossed the Chhachor Pass at 4230m.  At Gurikot we turned off for Tarashing (2911m) for our next stop.

Sadpara Lake



Sadpara village


Looking back at our

camp site


The road up to the

Deosai Plateau


Deosai Plateau


Near the top of the

Sadapara Valley


Deosai Plateau



Driving through Ice


Deosai Plateau



Just waiting to be crossed,



And we made it


Planks from behind the

Jeep being moved and

placed in front of it

Deosai Plateau



Lake Sheosar was our

cold picnic spot


Lake Sheosar



We had hot soup



Nearing Tarashing


Methods of storing fodder




Day 6    From my tent this morning I had some excellent views of the Eastern Peak of Nanga Parbat.  A lovely walk this morning took us over the lateral moraine of Tarashing Glacier before crossing the 'black glacier' and into the Rupal Valley.  the walk was gently upwards passing through the two Rupal Villages and finishing at Herligkoffer Base Camp.  While having lunch we saw an avalanche down the side of Nanga Parbat.  Nothing big but interesting.  By now the clouds were gathering and by the time we returned to Tarashing the cloud was lower.  Another walk was planned for the next day but........

Early morning from my

tent, Tarashing


Rupal Valley


Nanga Parbat,

eastern ridge


Rupal Valley



Snow clouds over

Nanga Parbat


Rupal Valley



The Herligkoffer

base camp(3656m)


Walking back down the

Rupal Valley


Herligkoffer Base Camp



Clouds gathering



Mountain range above



Walking back down the

Rupal Valley



Day 7    Yes the clouds were very low the next morning with fresh snow on the mountains.  The walk was cancelled and I decided to move on.  Our route took us through Astor and back to the Karakoram Highway and down to Chilas.  Yes Panorama Hotel and hot showers, a table to eat off and electricity.  But only one night.

Low morning cloud so

we moved on!


Rock art beside the road

at Chilas


The Indus River




Day 8    Off early the next morning after checking that the Pass was open and a quick look at the rock carvings beside the road we started up the Thakgah Nala to the Babusar Pass.  The 'road' quickly deteriorated as we climbed up the valley and reached the numerous zig-zags near the top of the pass.  he road over the top was slippery with mud and ice but after over 3 hours we got there.  And was it worth it, yes.  The sky line view was one of endless snowy mountain peaks.  After a quick lunch at 4175m we continued down the valley with many summer homesteads by the river, now deserted.  The skies were clear and the views tremendous.  Near Besal the road improved and we soon arrived in Naran.  The original plan was to stay at the PTDC but the rest rooms were closed!  So we moved to the Saiful Malik Hotel.  As it faced straight onto the road I refused the tent and opted for a very shabby room, the loo having no running water and because of the earthquake no electricity.  Oh and 30m from the Mosque, yes it was still Ramadan. 

Village beside the

Thakgah Nala


In the Babusar valley


The road to the

Babusar Pass


In the Babusar valley



The road up the

Babusar Valley


One more bridge to cross



Getting higher



Near the top of the pass


Nearing the top



At the top the road

was very slippery


The Babusar Pass


At the top



Views from the

Babusar Pass


Views from the

Babusar Pass


Views from the

Babusar Pass


Views from the

Babusar Pass


On the way down from

the pass


Ready to carry on?



Driving was not easy



Nearly theree


Lake Lulusar




Day 9    To-day we took the jeep up to Saiful Malik Lake (3215m).  The walk around the lake was easy with good views of Malika Parbat.




Malika Parbat from Naran


Hotel Saiful Malik, Naran



Malika Parbat



Saiful Malik Lake



Driving up to

Saiful Malik Lake


Saiful Malik Lake



Walking round the lake


Malika Parbat



Rob looking rather tired!



A last look at the lake


Saiful Malik Lake




Day 10    The walk up the valley from Naran was reasonably easy but entailed some steep paths.  We walked past villages affected by the earthquake, past herds of sheep, goats and cattle.  Always there were good views of the mountains and the river.

Walking up the Kunhar

Valley from Naran


Houses on the hillside


Walking up the

Kunhar Valley


Snowy mountains always

in view


Walking beside the river!


Sheep and Goats grazing



Village with still some

relief tents after the


Looking down the valley





Day 11    A long drive to-day down the Kaghan valley.  Although a good road existed  just over a year ago the road now was rough with large cracks where part of the road had dropped several feet or boulders, the size of a small car had created huge holes in the road.  Landslides were common and the route of the road had been diverted.  There was some house damage from the earthquake of October 8th 2005 evidence but as we approached Balakot we saw several campsites where there were large numbers of tent shelters.  There are few pictures as I felt it improper to intrude upon other people's misfortune.  We eventually reached the KKH and continued to Islamabad.




Leaving Balakot


There were many relief

tents near Balakot



Day 12    An early ride to the airport for the return flight London.

Summing up, the journey was very interesting and the scenery was very dramatic.  The road journeys were often long and mostly on rough tracks.  My tent was fine even if cold on some nights, the food very good if a bit repetitive and the accommodation very simple  



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