INTRODUCTION TO BIAFO HISPER SNOW LAKE TREK
Snow Lake is a high-altitude glacial basin over 16km wide located at the head of the Biafo and Hispar glaciers. The Ancient highway of ice, which connects the two Great mountain kingdoms; Hunza in the west with Baltistan in the east. Combine the Biafo Hispar, and Biafo Glacier is 120 km, which makes it the second-longest glacier in the world outside the Polar Regions. Biafo Hisper Snow Lake Trek Pakistan visits a remote and unspoiled region of the Karakoram where very few other trekking groups visit so that the trail will be quiet.
It is unlikely you will see other trekkers along the way. Being the most remote area, it serves as the last stronghold for many animals, including the Himalayan bear, ibex, Markhor, and the snow leopard. Hisper Snow Lake Trek is arguably the most challenging and rewarding area in the Karakoram for trekkers and mountaineers. There will be places where booths the group and porters will have to rope up. The trail is challenging in places as we have to climb over moraine ridges covered by loose rocks; traverse several tributary glaciers, and cross glacial streams. Visit in Pakistan Treks, Tours & Expeditions offers the most stunning mountain scenery and idyllic campsites like Hisper Snow Lake Trek.
Why Hisper Snow Lake Trek?
Martin Conway, the first foreign visitor, gave Snow Lake the name in 1892. Conway described Snow Lake as “beyond all comparison the finest view of mountains it has not ever been my lot to behold, nor do I believe the world can hold a finer.” (1)However, Hisper Snow Lake Trek is complicated to reach, and only about 200 people manage to get it per year. (2) In 1899, the husband-wife team of William Hunter Workman and Fanny Bullock Workman came and speculated that Snow Lake might be an ice-cap like those in the Polar Regions, from which glaciers flowed out in all directions, and estimated its total size at 300 square miles (116 square kilometers).
Martin Conway, the first foreign visitor, gave Snow Lake this name in 1892 and described the area as “beyond all comparison the finest view of mountains it has ever been my lot to behold, nor do I believe the world can hold a finer.”
Biafo and Hispar glaciers meet at Hispar La, making this system the greatest concentration of glacial Ice outside Antarctica. This vast river of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms; Hunza in the west with Baltistan in the east. The famous mountaineer explorer Eric Shipton described the Hisper Snow Lake Trek as’ the last blank on the map.’ As this region is so remote, it serves as the last stronghold for many animals, including the Himalayan bear, ibex, Markhor, and the snow leopard.
Uniqueness of Hisper Snow Lake Trek
Towering high above Biafo and Hispar glaciers are jagged peaks; these include Kanjut Sar (7,760m), Distaghil Sar (7885 m.) Making Chhish (6,607m), Latok group (Latok I: 7,145m, Latok II: 7,108 m, Latok III: 6,949m, Latok IV: 6,456m) and Baintha Brakk/The Ogre (7,285m). The Ogre was famously first climbed in 1977 by Britons Doug Scott and Chris Bonington when they had an epic descent with Scott breaking both of his legs and took a week to reach Base Camp.
The Hisper Snow Lake Trek starts by following the K2 Base Camp trail and then turns west onto the Biafo Glacier. The track follows loose rocky moraine ridges on the glacier in the next few days, although the campsites at Namla, Mango, and Baintha are located in grassy areas behind lateral moraines. From Baintha camp, we go back onto the glacier and follow the broad ice highway making the walking relatively easy compared to loose rock earlier on the trek.
Having reached the highest point of our journey on Hisper Snow Lake Trek at Hisper La at 5151m, we begin the descent into Hunza; this region is very different from Baltistan.
Where to Start Hisper Snow Lake Trek?
Hisper Snow Lake Trek start from Islamabad. Your Guide will meet and Greet you at the Islamabad International Airport, then transfer you to the hotel and have a group briefing in the afternoon about the snow lake trek. So, The next day you will catch the spectacular mountains view flights to Skardu. Because, You will have the first glimpse of the great Nangaperbat,k2, and the other stunning Himalayan & Karakoram Mountain Peaks on the route.
After checking in to the hotel, the rest of the day is for sightseeing and preparation for the snow lake Trek. Skardu is Baltistan’s capital, and it is the getaway to Hisper Snow Lake Trek, K2, Deosai Plato, Masherbrum Peaks, and many other famous Karakoram Peaks. In Skardu, Trekkers and climber usually do their Finale purchasing and top-ups for their journey. Following day we will drive along the Mighty Indus, Shigar, and Braldu River to the lush green Shigar Valley towards Askoli. Askoli is the last village before entering into the wilderness of Karakoram mountains.
After spending your first night in the camp under the starry canvas, the Hisper Snow Lake Trek starts by following the k2 base trek trail and then turns west onto the Biafo Hispar Glacier. The Hisper Snow Lake Trek follows loose rocky moraine ridges on the glacier in the next few days, although the campsites at Namla, Mango, and Baintha are located in grassy areas behind lateral moraines. From Baintha camp, we go back onto the glacier and follow the broad ice highway making the walking relatively easy compared to lose rock earlier on the trek.
Speciality of Hisper Snow Lake Trek
There will be sufficient time to take two rest days during the snow la trek. Because this provides vital acclimatization. Also, it enables us to take a splendor of some of the most scenic mountains. That, you will never find anywhere else in the world. We will camp at the height of 5,151m, which will allow us to experience the magnificent view of the whole area, including an unforgettable sunset across the Hunza.
Having reached the highest point of our journey on Hisper Snow Lake Trek, we begin the descent into Hunza to complete the traverse; we walk through green meadows with streams and wildflowers to reach Bitenmal. Here You will find the huts of local friendly Shepards; they may offer you some fresh milk and dairy product. We will continue our Hisper Snow Lake Trek towards Hunza by camping at the Hisper Village. We will establish our last camp of the Trek at Huru, where you will start feeling the hot climate.
Jeep drive will take you to Karimabad, the ancient capital of Hunza. We were sightseeing Karimabad by visiting the local Bazar, historical Baltit, and also Altit Fort. Because, Baltit Fort was built 700 years ago by Baltistan people who travel to Hunza via snow lake. Baltistan had a substantial cultural and ethnic relation with the Laddakh territory to the east. But, not surprisingly, the structure of Baltit Fort was influenced by Ladakhi/Tibetan architecture, with some resemblance to the patala palace in Lhasa.
Baltistan to Hunza via Hisper Snow Lake Trek
You will notice that the Hunza region has a language and culture very different from Baltistan. Because, Drive along the Hunza river on the KKH towards Gilgit will go through the famous Rakaposhi (7,788). Because, we strongly believe that Visit in Pakistan Treks & Tours will create a fantastic life long memory that will stay with you for a long time. So, your Guide will remain with you throughout the trip and see you off at the Islamabad International Airport.
We are organizing fixed departures and tailor made trekkings to Hisper Snow Lake Trek in Pakistan. Thus, “Snow Lake – Hispar La trek” is a high altitude walk that requires some mountaineering skills to cross the Hispar Pass.
Highlights of Hisper Snow Lake Trek
- Explore the Karakoram mountains on our Hisper Snow Lake Trek Pakistan
- Hispar La Pass (5,149m).
- Snow Lake – high altitude glacial basin – 16kms wide
- Views of peaks between 5,000m to 8,000m, Also Latok group, The Ogre, Kanjut Sar, etc.
- See Medieval Forts Hidden Among Pakistan’s Towering Mountains.
- Trekking on the Ancient Ice Highway, Also Biafo and Hisper Glacier
- Travel on the Ancient Silk Route (kkh)
- Experience the Picturesque Shigar & Hunza Valley in Pakistan
- Cultural tour of Hunza Valley
- Sightseeing in Skardu and Islamabad
- Views of Glaciers (e.g., Kani Basi, Kunyang, and more), glacial lakes, waterfalls, and also streams
- Meadows of Falling Chhish,
- Spectacular panoramic view from the top of Hispar la.
Trek Name: Hisper Snow Lake Trek
Duration 22 days
Region Biafo/Hisper Glacier
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Day 1. Arrive at the Islamabad international airport.
Our guide will pick you up from the airport and transferred you to the hotel where you get fresh and rest. later you will be briefed by our experienced guide and mountaineers in the hotel. If you arrive in the early morning then we will provide you with a small tour of Islamabad city. Otherwise, it can be done after your return from Snow lake trek.
Day 2. Islamabad to Skardu.
In the next early morning, your PIA flight will carry you to Skardu and will reach there within an hour if the weather allows. If the weather condition is not feasible for flight, then you will be transferred via our luxury facility by road to Skardu. By road will take 2-3 days maximum because there will be different sightseeing spots during the journey. You will rest in Chilas halfway on day 2 then will travel to Skardu on day 3.
Day 3. One day Rest in Skardu.
We will transfer you to a luxury hotel in Skardu where you will stay and refresh. In the morning we will take you to the 600 years old Kharfocho fort, from where you will enjoy the whole Skardu city. After you will enjoy the Skardu Shangri-La Resort, Sarfaranga Cold Desert and then in the evening you will enjoy the Sadpara lake.
Day 4. Briefing and gearing up
On day 4 there will be a briefing given by the tourism ministry of Pakistan to the foreigners and locals guides as well. That is the formality to enter the open zones of Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP). And final preparations will be made to leave for the k2 base camp trek.
Day 5. Drive to Askoli Village 3000m. 8 hours’ drive
Early in the morning, your journey starts to the last village (Askoli) before your trekking starts via a 4×4 jeep most feasible. After 6-8 hours of driving, you will reach Askoli depends on the road conditions and dependent on landslides, etc. In case of any landslide, you will have to trek for few hours to make your way to Askoli. At Askoli there are camping sites under different trees, which we will provide you for your stay for the day. You will have time to meet the crews including the kitchen staff and the porters in the second half of the day and the locals of Askoli village. You can also have the chance to get to know about other trekkers or mountaineers from different countries waiting for the morning to witness the mighty Karakorum there at Askoli. In the night you can make your mind prepare for the upcoming breathtaking journey that starts early in the morning.
Day 6. Trek Askoli to Namla (3566m)
From Askoli our trek starts following the K2 base camp trek, before crossing biafo glacier our trek turns left towards hisper laa. Our trek begins on the famous biafo glacier.
The trek will take about 6 – 8 hours to reach the Namla campsite, our first day of the trek ends here, overnight stay at the Namla campsite.
Day 7. Trek Namla to mango (3715m)
Early morning leave for Mango campsite, most of the time our trek is on rocks, underfoot loose rocks and glaciers will make the day challenging, from Namla campsite 7-8 hours will take to reach mango campsite and will set our tents and overnight stay at Mango campsite.
Day 8. Trek Mango to Biantha (4041m)
We get on to the white Biafo glacier from Mongo, where the walking is easier, and then we walk across the Biafo glacier to reach its other side near Biantha bark. The difficult parts here are getting onto the glacier and then getting off it. This takes about 6 hours of walking and will give us our first sight of the Latok group of mountains. The campsite is located in a green meadow. Overnight stay under Biantha brak.
Day 9. Trek Mango to Biantha (4041m)
Rest day at Biantha camp. Wash up, relax, read, and we will short trek/climb for acclimatization on a steep ridge, outstanding views behind the camp, sing and dance with the porters.
Day 10. Trek Biantha to Marphogoro (4410m)
Camp, trek. Six to eight hours of walking. Getting on to the glacier is tricky. Once on it, the walk is pretty straightforward on the white glacier. However, we are careful to avoid crevasses here. The greenery of the Biantha campsite is only a memory now. We are in the dramatic and awesome scenery of the Biafo with its different peaks around. The Ogre (7,813 m.) towers high above us on our right. There is only snow and rock now. Overnight stay at snow-lake, this is our first night at the snow-lake.
Day 11, Snow Lake (4,800 m)
The trek takes about 6 to 7 hours over ice and snow. Once again, we are careful to avoid crevasses along the way. Snow Lake is a magical place. Overnight stay at snow-lake, this is our 2nd night at the snow-lake. Be sure to get out of the tent to experience the stars in the night. It is an unforgettable and lifetime experience!
Day 12, Trek Snow Lake to hisper la (5151 m):
explore this unique area of the Earth. Be careful of crevasses. A 6 to 7-hour walk on slopes of about 30 degrees takes us to the top of the pass. Once again, we are careful to avoid crevasses. Even though the climb is on gentle slopes, we find it difficult due to the rarefied air. When on top, we see a panorama described by an early explorer: “Beyond all comparison the finest view of mountains it has been my lot to behold.” On one side, the Biafo lies, and on the other side, we look towards the Hispar Glacier and the peaks above Hunza valley. The view of sunrise from the pass is another sight to behold.
Day 13, Trek Hisper la to Kani Basa (4,500 m)
This is a long day’s walk and can take more than 8 hours. We want to make sure that we leave the past early before the snow becomes soft. On the way down, once again, we are careful to avoid crevasses. We will have to cross the Kani Basa Glacier before camp on a green campsite, which is a welcome sight and site after being on snow for the last few days. On the way, we can see the famous Kanjut Sar (7,760 m.) towering high above the Kani Basa Glacier.
Day 14, Trek Kani Basa to Jutmal (4,200 m)
This will take about 7 hours, and on the way, we will cross the Jutmal Glacier. It is tricky here as the route through the glacier is like a maze with high ice walls. After crossing it, another hurdle that we face is the climb up on a loose cliff face. Once up the beginning, we now enter a beautiful campsite with lovely views across the Hispar Glacier. Some streams have to be crossed on the way.
Day 15, Trek Jutmal to Bitanmal (3,600 m)
This section takes about 8 hours. On the way, Pumory Glacier is crossed and also a stream. The crossing of Pumory is not that difficult as the Jutmal. However, once again, we have to descend on to the ablation valley, and once again, we have to climb the cliffs on our right to get to the campsite. This is an exhaustive process.
Day 16, Trek Bitanmal to Falling Chhish (3,600 m)
One more glacier to cross! This is Kunyang Glacier. The walking does get a little easier. However, traveling the Kunyang is tedious, and the climb on rocks on the other side can be challenging. This is a short day consisting of about 4 hours. Our camp is in a shepherd’s meadow where villagers from Hispar bring their yaks for the summer. The view of Makrong Chhish (6,607 m.), on the other side of Hispar Glacier, is outstanding.
Day 17, Trek Falling Chhish to Hispar Village (3,400 m)
Another short day of about 4 hours. Some streams have to be crossed on the way, but the walking is relatively gentle. A bridge over the Hispar stream has to be crossed, and then a climb on a right path brings us into the village proper. It is strange to see habitation as the villagers gather around us!
Day 18, Trek Hisper village to Huru (3,000 m)
This takes about 5 hours of walking on a jeep road. The road is marked with a few broken bridges and landslides that have resulted in jeeps not coming to the Hispar Village. Our campsite is high above the noisy Hispar River in a tree-shaded spot. There is also a cold pool nearby. Here are epic trek ends.
Day 19, Karimabad (2,440 m):
Our jeeps will transport us back to Karimabad, Hunza. The first sight of this lush green valley surrounded by massive white peaks will remain an imprint on our minds for a long time.
Day 20, Gilgit (1,500 m)
We drive to Gilgit in about three hours and have ample opportunity to visit the Central Asian bazaars and do some sightseeing.
Day 21, Rawalpindi/Islamabad:
Trek debriefing, here we go again and find ourselves looking forward to being on this world-famous flight. One can never get enough of the sight of Nanga Parbat, which is so huge that the plane takes about ten minutes to cross its northern face!
Note: On day 21, if the flight does not operate due to the weather, we will return to Rawalpindi/Islamabad by road on the KKH. This will be a long day, and we will arrive back in Rawalpindi/Islamabad sometimes during the late evening or night of the same day.