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The best thing was that we were able to walk through and experience Ladakh, Zanskar and Changthang in one trip
Majid Al-Khalil (UK) | Ladakh Sky Trail, India

More testimonials
  • Snow Lake near Hispar La
  • Our bus on KKH, Nanga Parbat behind
  • Karakoram Highway truck
  • Buddhist petroglyphs on KKH near Chilas
  • Our well equipped porters in Pakistan
  • Our well equipped porters in Pakistan
  • Camp on Biafo Glacier
  • Shipton Spire
  • Crossing crevasses near Hispar La
  • Morning on Hispar Glacier

Snow Lake & Hispar La

Snow Lake is a high altitude glacial basin over 16km wide located at the head of the Biafo and Hispar glaciers. 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 Antartica.  This vast river of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms; Hunza in the west with Baltistan in the east. Snow Lake area was described by the famous mountaineer explorer Eric Shipton as ’the last blank on the map’. As this region is so remote it serves as the last stronghold for many animal including Himalayan bear, ibex, markhor and the snow leopard.

Towering high above Biafo and Hispar glaciers are jagged peaks, these include Kanjut Sar (7,760m), Distaghil Sar (7885 m.) Makrong 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 trek starts by following the K2 Base Camp trail and then turns west onto the Biafo Glacier. The trail for next few days follows loose rocky moraine ridges on the glacier 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 wide ice highway making the walking relatively easy compared to loose rock earlier on the trek.

Having reached the highest point of our journey on Hispar La at 5151m we begin the descent into Hunza; this is a region where the language and culture is very different to Baltistan.

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Trip Details

  • Destination: Pakistan
  • Holiday Type: Walking & Trekking
    Mountaineering
  • Duration: 22 days from Islamabad
  • Leadership: Jo Clark
  • Minimum Group Size: 5 people
  • Cost: 2019 -£3,495 (US$4,495 or €3,985) 2019 -£3,495 (US$4,495 or €3,985)
    What does this include?
What does this include

Price includes:

  • Internal flight from Islamabad to Skardu and from Gilgit to Islamabad (if these are cancelled then we will drive to Skardu on KKH). 
  • All internal transport and transfers including airport collections on group flight
  • Twin share room at private guesthouse in Islamabad and at Concoria Motel in Skardu
  • Breakfast only in Islamabad, all meals included in Skardu and on trek
  • Twin share domed tents while on trek
  • All trekking arrangements including permits and fees, Western and Pakistani guides and porters
  • Bespoke weather forecasts for Snow Lake region from EverestWeather.com throughout the duration of this trek
  • Full financial protection for all monies paid to us through our membership of Association of Bonded Travel Operators Trust (our ABTOT membership number is 5365) and having an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (our ATOL number is 10921)
  • Pre departure support and advice from The Mountain Company by email, phone and face to face meetings in London. After booking with us we will send you our comprehensive "Pakistan Pre Trip Information" notes

Price excludes:

  • International flight to/from Islamabad
  • Airport pick up and transfers if not on arriving on group flight. Private transfers cost GBP35 (US$55) per person for each pickup
  • Travel & trekking insurance
  • Pakistan visa (obtain before departure)
  • Lunch and evening meals in Islamabad
  • Personal clothing & equipment
  • Tips to local trekking crew
  • Other items not listed in "What is included"
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Trip Grade Strenuous

Trip Grade Strenuous

Suitability: a good choice for regular long distance hill walkers, very high level of fitness required. These trips may involve mountaineering and glacial travel.

1) Walking times: average 7 to 8 hours walking per day (with several longer days up to 12 hours) for up to 28 days with some rest days included.

2) Altitude: up to 5,500m.

3) Terrain: for some of the time following well-travelled trails although also likely to encounter rough and rocky conditions possibly with exposed sections. May involve steep ascent and descent over mountain passes that could be snow covered.

4) Remoteness: usually in more remote areas and likely to be a long distance from nearest road and facilities available in a city.

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Trip Dates

  • July 20th to August 10th 2019
  • July 18th to August 8th 2020

Enquire about our custom itineraries

Trip Itinerary

  • Day 1Arrive in Islamabad 
  • Day 2Fly to Skardu, if cancelled drive KKH to Chilas 
  • Day 3Sightseeing day in Skardu (or drive KKH to Skardu) 
  • Day 4Jeeps to Askole (3,048m) 
  • Day 5Trek to Namla (3,566m) 
  • Day 6Trek to Mango (3,720m) 
  • Day 7Trek to Baintha (4,035m)  
  • Day 8Rest and acclimatisation day 
  • Day 9Trek to Morfogoro (4,300m) 
  • Day 10Trek to Karpogoro (4,680m) 
  • Day 11Trek Hispar La Base Camp (4,590m) 
  • Day 12Cross Snow Lake and trek to Hispar La (5,151m) 
  • Day 13Trek to Kani Basa (4,511m) 
  • Day 14Trek to Baktur Baig (4,470m) 
  • Day 15Trek to Shigam Baris (4,170m) 
  • Day 16Trek to Bitanmal (3,760m) 
  • Day 17Trek to Hispar Village (2,302m) 
  • Day 18Drive to Karimabad (2,438m) 
  • Day 19Morning sightseeing in Karimabad, afternoon drive to Gilgit 
  • Day 20Fly to Islamabad (if cancelled drive KKH) 
  • Day 21Spare day in Islamabad/ drive KKH 
  • Day 22Fly back home 
Download trip dossier for more detailed info