Baltistan, a region of the Northern
Areas of Pakistan, is our main trekking area. Situated in the heart
of the Karakoram, it has the greatest concentration of lofty peaks
on Earth. Within an area of 26,000 square kilometers, lie 60 mountain
peaks above 7,000 meters, four of which tower above 8,000 meters:
K-2 (8,611m), Gasherbrum I (8,068m), Broad Peak (8,047m) and Gasherbrum
II (8,035m). Bordered to the North by the Sinkiang province of China,
to the East by Ladakh, to the south by Kashmir and to the west by
Gilgit-Hunza, Baltistan has remained largely isolated from the outside
Very little is known of the origins of the local people, but the cultural traits, the features of the indigenous population and the similarity of the Balti language to archaic Tibetan has earned this area the nickname of "Little Tibet".
The capital of Baltistan is Skardu, located near the confluence of the Indus and Shigar Rivers. At an altitude of 2,300 meters, Skardu is surrounded by sharp peaks in breathtaking hues of ochre, grey, violet and black. The contrast of sand dunes with green and yellow fields alongside the river banks of the swirling, roaring Indus, all amidst a backdrop of ragged, snow-capped peaks, is a sight defying imagination.
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