A Story of Trekking on Snow Lake that will describe its beauty
Me and others planned for trek on beautiful, snow lake and glacial basin in the Karakoram mountain range in Gilgit-Baltistan, that is always been a dream of us .
Our party would consist of friends and fellow trekkers. The planned trek on snow lake was to start from Askole is a small town that situated in Karakoram mountain ,cross Snow Lake and Hispar La , and finally descend to Hispar village.
Snow Lake is a glacial basin located at an altitude of 4,800m above sea level, with a width of approximately 16km. The basin lies at the head of the Biafo and Hispar glaciers and spreading down the Hispar Pass in opposite directions, forms a 100km long continuous glacier system, among the world’s longest. The first foreigner who visited this mountain named it snow lake named by Martin Conway, But like all untouched marvels of nature, Snow Lake is very difficult to access.
It was time to make final preparations. It is really difficult to trek on Snow Lake you need a adequate equipment for trekking on sloppy and slippery path. We travel to Skardu from Islamabad.
Once we reached airport, we were off. Traveling on Karakoram Highway is always joyous for us , especially after crossing Thakot Bridge. The narrow steep ascents and snaking descent of roads present some breathtaking views of the Indus River with majestic mountains making for a stunning backdrop. As one crosses through the region, the valley opens up leaving the traveller speechless.
After getting to know my friend, it was time to start our journey .We asked locals the details description detailed description about the state of Hispar Glacier, the condition of the trek, and Hispar La. We travel through Hispar pass and reached Lower Kachura Lake, photographing the lake with the beautiful architecture of Shangrila Resort in the background is sensational.
Askole has the height 3,300 m . Shortly after we left Skardu, we were on Shigar Road, passing through the beautiful Shigar Valley with its sprawling fruit farms and wheat fields, fresh fruit available at short distances all along the road.
Forty-five minutes after a quick lunch, we moved on until we passed by the awe-inspiring Braldu Gorge. The thundering sound of the water violently gushing through it was loud enough to make us shudder as we continued towards Askole.
Namal has the height of 3,650 m .The trek started from Askole in the early hours of the day. Our next destination for the day was Namla campsite, situated in a small meadow by the Biafo Glacier. The trek’s beginning was fairly straight alongside the roaring Braldu river. As we passed the Kiser Polo Ground, there was a steep ascent through the pass named Snum La, or Sky Pass, in Balti language.
For me this climb was really tough and I was totally out of breath by the time I reached the top. As I looked on the other side, I caught the first glimpse of the mighty Biafo Glacier.
The snout of Biafo had many crevasses and was full of boulders, scree, and glacial pools, stretching as far as the eye could see. Biafo is a place that describe its beauty and fear at same time .After descending from Snum La, we stopped for lunch. When we started trekking on the snout of the Biafo Glacier, it became became more difficult this part of Biafo is a barren wasteland of rock, scree and debris making it extremely challenging to trek.
Mongo mountain range has the height of 3,700 m .The next day’s destination was Mongo. Initially, the trek was tough due to crevasses, scree and boulders, but it got fairly easy once we reached the middle of the glacier.
We then walked on Biafo’s moraines. The trek was comparatively easy along this path, perhaps the beautiful glacier stream and mountains on both sides made it seem easier.
The next stop was Shafong that has the height of 4,000m . A few hours after we started trekking, the Biafo Glacier started to peek out over the horizon, and soon after it showed its visage, we were on the icy-white glacier.
The sound of ice crunching under my feet, and white clouds overhead made the trek languid and joyful. As we continued on Biafo highway, we started seeing crevasses.
Getting off of Biafo Glacier to reach the Shafong campsite was tough. We had to get across the glacier’s many crevasses and climb on its steep side, laden with unstable boulders and scree. As we got off the glacier, a steep, almost vertical cliff awaited us, on the other side of which was Shafong.
It felt like we had found paradise on earth, with the beautiful Sokha Lumbu (5,650m) and Tongo (5,900m) right in front of us and beautiful grassy slopes spread behind, as if two stone titans were sleeping on a turquoise rug, forever oblivious of their own splendour.
Baintha Mountain Range has the height of 4000m. The beauty quickly gave way to the night’s extreme cold, followed by an equally freezing morning. But there was respite: the next day was bright and sunny. We continued our trek toward the nearby Baintha campsite,where we pass through stunning greenery bundle with ice and present most dazzling scenery that is refreshing for you’r eyes. We managed to reach the Baintha campsite, situated on yet another green meadow with an amazing view of the Latok group of mountains.
The day’s expedition was relatively short, and the rest of the day was spent recuperating under the sun. Day gave way to night, the sky was clear with no clouds in sight. As if on a maestro’s cue, the stars came out dancing, waltzing into place, transforming the night sky into a celestial orchestra.
Marphogoro Mountain Range has the height of 4,400m. Getting to the middle of this glacier was the hardest part of the day. Once we got on it, the walk was pretty straightforward. From there onward, there was no grass to be found, just snow, ice and rocks for the rest of the way. It felt like we had forayed north of The Wall.
On Biafo highway, the glacier was lashed with many deep crevasses, so we had to walk around in order to find a suitable place to cross or jump over the cracks in the glacier’s surface.
we were seemingly lost on the vast Biafo Glacier, as the sun started to set behind the mountains and the temperature on the glacier started to drop rapidly.
Trekking in dark like this is extremely dangerous. It was a life and death situation , one wrong step could have killed any one of us.
Karfogoro has the height of 4,600m .Being extremely exhausted from the previous death-defying day, our late start was warranted. The trek on the glacier from Marphogoro to Karfogoro was relatively easy. We were trekking on ice with hardly any rocks visible, but avoiding crevasses is the main challenge on this portion of the trek.
Karfogoro is a difficult-to-reach campsite. The approach to the campsite is imperiled with many deep fissures. Unstable rocks and scree litter the path, and to top it off, there are plenty of steep ascents and descents to conquer before one reaches the site. Karfogoro campsite is on the edge of a mountain. Freezing gale from Snow Lake strikes the campsite with furious aplomb, leaving nothing but rocks and very narrow spaces between boulders to inhospitably set up camp in.
Hispar La has the height of 5,128m. Because of the high altitude, snow falls all year round at Snow Lake and crevasses get hidden under the soft layer of snow. There is always a danger of falling into any of these hidden chasms which, needless to say, would be fatal. All the team members put on their harnesses and tie themselves with a single rope so if any person falls into a fissure, rest of the team could pull that person back up.
After six hours of trekking on this beautiful paradise, we reached the Hispar Base Camp. The campsite was come to life: white snow all around and located right at the base of Hispar La.
The evening sun cast its magical glow onto the mountain tops. Snow Lake is far more beautiful than what I could have imagined. Words simply cannot do justice to its beauty and majesty. The sky was clear as the sun went behind the mountains and gave way to a magical night sky dotted with stars.
In the early hours of the morning the clouds rolled in and the whole sky was painted gray. As I got out of my tent, crystalline flakes of snow began to fall. The visibility was severely limited, to just a few metres ahead. It great pleasure to visit such gorgeous site .May be in future many tourist want to visit this site .