In hindsight, I suppose, we almost died of thirst, but three years later the memory has lost some of its intensity. The ill-fated trip that Atif Paracha and I made along the Barpu Glacier in 1999 has long since been relegated to the database of countless trips into the Karakoram mountain range of Pakistan. Yes, we spent four days in the blazing heat with little more than five liters between the two of us in one of the hottest summers on record. In desperation we even resorted to cooking in insect infected mud, coming to the realization that coffee brewed in such water tasted much better than instant noodles. Throughout that entire trip we drifted in and out of a state of hallucination, aware of our sad predicament but never too concerned about what lay on the other side of luck. Like seasoned Karakoram trekkers we accepted the lot that had been doled to us, and despite our pathetic circumstances, fully appreciated the fact that there was nowhere else we would rather be.
The fact is that this wasn’t the first time we had found ourselves neck deep in trouble – nor would it be the last. Rain and snow, blizzards and heat waves, crevasses and never-ending scree-slopes, we’ve endured them all. We’ve dined like kings and lived on crusts of bread shared with porters. Thirty-hour bus rides, back breaking jeep journeys, and washed out roads are all part of what we call fun – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Despite what we’ve been allotted time and again, whenever we have ventured deep into the world’s remotest mountain ranges, the Karakoram (a place many of us call home), we have always felt that the experience has been worth the risks and rigors of the journey. Rarely have the blisters on our feet healed that we’re already planning the next trip. And at any given point in time you may be rest assured that we’re thinking ahead to the next summer. We may never sit still.
Welcome to Karakorams.com. Ours is a non-profit/largely non-partisan website on trekking in Pakistan. All the information you will find here is based on our personal experience of trekking in the region. Admittedly, we’re not hard-core mountaineers but nor are we simply content with just traveling and visiting towns and villages in the Northern Areas. Our travelogues and resources will attest to our wide range of experiences in these mountains, mostly off the beaten track. Triumphs or failures, moments of glory or utter desperation, this is our life and these are our travels. And we love it.
Here you will read about the summer when one hundred and forty students from a Lahore university went trekking in the Karakoram in what was perhaps the largest trekking expedition in the history of the world. About the time when Yasir Khokar and I got stormed off the 21,000-foot Mingle Sir during a two week torturous “trek in Shimshal. About tents getting flooded along the Batura glacier in the middle of the night. About the challenging Biafo-Hispar traverse, that was to be Rizwan Bajwa’s introduction to the outdoors. You will read about A. R. Jafferey’s and Khizer’s account of the trip up the crowded, but enchanted, Baltoro glacier. You’ll read about our experiences up on the Deosai Plateau, maybe the most beautiful place in the world. And about the resilience of the Shimshalis; the sincerity of the Baltis; and the legendary hospitality of the people of Hunza.
So is there a Karakoram trekker in you? Maybe this site will help you find out. Read the travelogues, look at the pictures and email us with questions. Plan a short trek, endure a long trek, go out there and have a blast. Afterwards, if you have the inclination, write about it and we’ll put it up on Karakorams.com. And from the outset, let us say that one thing is for sure – regardless of your destination, you’ll end up having an experience you’re not likely to forget any time soon.
We look forward to meeting you in the Karakorams. Have a safe journey.