Snow Lake and the Hispar La

An adventurous traverse from Baltistan into Hunza




From $4,180 Land only

Book this holiday

Holiday Overview


  • The astonishing Snow Lake
  • Camp on the Hispar La
  • Karimabad and the Hunza Valley
  • Walking through Shipton`s `Blank on the Map`

The interconnected Biafo and Hispar glaciers, with a combined length of 120 kilometres, provide an unlikely natural highway that cuts through the heart of the Karakoram Range. Starting out from Askole on the approach to the Baltoro and K2, this long and relatively committing glacial traverse is undertaken annually by just a handful of expeditions. This trekking holiday does just that in a 3 week experience for budding explorers. Walking either on the glaciers themselves, or through flower-carpeted ablation valleys, we encounter challenging as well as more straightforward trekking conditions. A highlight of the trip is the camp on the Hispar La (5151m), where we can watch the afternoon shadow creeping across Snow Lake to the mighty Ogre (7285m) and turn to see the sun setting over the mountains of Hunza and the distant Hindu Kush to the west. Stunning scenery and a genuine sense of adventure in a high mountain wilderness are key attractions of this magnificent trekking holiday inh the karakoram.

Is this holiday for you?

This is a long and sustained trek. During the ascent of the Biafo the trek mostly follows the centre of the glacier, at first walking on moraine rubble and then finding, after two days, the much easier underfoot conditions of bare ice. Crampons are not required at this stage as the ice is cranelated and grit-filled and actually provides an excellent walking surface. The central part of the trip, as we approach and cross Snow Lake and the Hispar La, will be on snow and here we will don our crampons and rope-up to safeguard our passage between concealed crevasses. The descent of the Hispar is mostly done off-glacier in the green, sometimes flower strewn ablation valley, though it is necessary on each of the 4 days of descent, to cross a side glacier with varying degrees of difficulty. Again, crampons are not needed for these crossings but some scrambling may be required to cross the lateral moraines. You should only consider this trek if you have some previous trekking experience in the mountains, preferably at altitudes over 4000 metres.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Islamabad. Transfers from Islamabad Airport are provided.
  • Fly to Skardu (2500m). Rest of day at leisure.
  • Drive via the Shigar Valley and the Braldu Gorge to Askole (3000m).
  • Trek beside the Braldu River to the 'King's Polo Ground' beside the Biafo Glacier (3000m).
  • Trek along the Biafo Glacier to Namla (3400m).
  • Trek further up the Biafo Glacier to 'Mango' (3626m).
  • Trek across the glacier to its east bank and continue to Bauntha (3940m).
  • Accloimatisation day with optional day hike.
  • Trek up the Biafo Glacier to Napina (4215m).
  • Trek along the glacier to the edge of 'Snow Lake' at Sim Gang (4500m).
  • Trek across Snow Lake and climb to the summit of the Hispar La (5151m).
  • Descend the Hispar Glacier to Kani Basa (4395m).
  • Trek down the ablation valley beside the Hispar Glacier to Jutanmal (4200m).
  • Trek down beside the glacier to a junction with the Pumari Chihish Glacier (4000m).
  • Trek to the meadows of Bitanmal (3718m).
  • Trek to Hispar Village (3250m)
  • Drive past Rakaposhi Peak to Gilgit (1500m).
  • Fly to Islamabad. Rest of day at leisure.
  • Contingency in case of flight delay.
  • Departure day. Islamabad Airport transfers provided
Sun 17 Jul - Fri 05 Aug Code SL /01/16/ Adult$4,180 Status Available Book now
Sun 07 Aug - Fri 26 Aug Code SL /02/16/ Adult$4,180 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Islamabad. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Islamabad International airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' section in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • pass
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek
  • internalflight

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Islamabad. Transfers from Islamabad Airport are provided.

    Arriving at Islamabad International airport, we are met by our tour leader or a KE representative. KE Land Only package services begin with a transfer to the group hotel. In Islamabad we use a centrally situated, air conditioned, tourist class hotel. You may want to rest in the morning before lunch, during which a full trek briefing will be held and any questions answered. It may be necessary for the whole group to visit the offices of the Ministry of Tourism to receive an official ‘briefing’ about visiting the restricted area around K2 whilst our agent completes the permit formalities. The trip leader will organise this. Depending on the time available to us there may be the option to do some sightseeing in Islamabad, a city purpose-built in 1961 as the new capital of Pakistan. Alternatively, we could visit the ‘Twin City’ of Rawalpindi a town from the days of the British Raj. The two cities are very different in character; the older settlement is rather sprawling with enormous and complicated bazaars where you can easily get fascinatingly lost. Islamabad, by contrast, is much more open, with many parks and wide streets arranged on a grid system.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals ld

  • Fly to Skardu (2500m). Rest of day at leisure.

    We take the early morning 1-hour flight from Islamabad to Skardu, skirting breathtakingly past the Rupal and Diamir faces of Nanga Parbat. It is even possible to catch a fleeting glimpse of K2 and the other high peaks of the Baltoro in the distance before landing at Skardu. After taking some refreshment, we continue our journey by jeep on a spectacular road beside the Indus to the village of Khaplu. Here we check into our hotel located high above the village and giving magnificent views over the rock spires and towers which mark the entrance to the Hushe Valley.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Drive via the Shigar Valley and the Braldu Gorge to Askole (3000m).

    We leave Skardu by jeep for the 7 hour drive to the roadhead at the village of Askole, passing through the fertile Shigar Valley. The last 2 hours of the drive covers the ground which used to make up the first two days’ walk of the trek and includes the passage of the infamous Braldu Gorge section. The road into this high valley is prone to landslide, especially as summer progresses and the high glaciers melt, and it is not always possible to drive as far as Askole. It can sometimes be necessary to start our trek as much as a day’s walk from the usual roadhead. This does not happen very often, however, and given good road conditions we will spend our first night under canvas in this famous Balti village, high above the thundering Braldu River.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Trek beside the Braldu River to the 'King's Polo Ground' beside the Biafo Glacier (3000m).

    Askole at around 3,100 metresis the last habitation that we will see for some ten days. Here, Balti life can be observed at its most typical. There is very little annual rainfall in the Karakoram and agriculture is only possible by using the melt-waters of the mountains and their glaciers. The Baltis have become experts in the construction of irrigation channels. Without irrigation very little can grow and the boundaries of Balti villages are therefore quite distinct with lush green fields of wheat, barley and potatoes, giving way quite suddenly on the boundary to an arid desert-like landscape. It will take us the best part of an hour to walk through the cultivated area of Askole and a further two hours brings us to the point where our route turns away from the approach to K2 and Concordia. Whilst the K2 trail crosses the river at a bridge, our path continues on the west bank to reach a large flat sandy area covered in a sparse desert grass. This is known by the locals as the ‘King’s Polo Ground’ and this will be our overnight halt. Around 3 to 4 hours walking.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 hours

  • Trek along the Biafo Glacier to Namla (3400m).

    Immediately on leaving camp, our route turns north to follow grazing trails beside the Biafo Glacier. The path beside the glacier is at first quite demanding as it clings to the valley side, neither truly on the glacier nor quite off it. The moraine-strewn glacier itself gives further tough underfoot conditions and it is with some relief that we climb the lateral moraine to discover a grassy meadow in the ablation valley beyond. This is Namla, at an altitude of 3400m. 4 hours trekking.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hours

  • Trek further up the Biafo Glacier to 'Mango' (3626m).

    After breakfast and packing away the camp, we return to the Biafo glacier. We follow moraine ridges running up the centre of the glacier for 3 to 4 hours until having turned the first corner and almost at the next. Again we find a route through the contorted ice to the valley side and climb up to a pleasant green ablation valley offering magnificent views down valley to the Braldu.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hours

  • Trek across the glacier to its east bank and continue to Bauntha (3940m).

    Dropping down once again onto the glacier, we cross the jumble boulders to the moraine ridges in the centre of the glacier. Soon we reach the ‘miracle highway’ of white ice which provides easier walking for 2 to 3 hours until we can cross over to the east side of the glacier to make camp at Baintha. This is a splendid camping place, with lush grassland, an abundance of flowers and birds and the chance to spot shy ibex on the mountain slopes above the camp.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 hours

  • Accloimatisation day with optional day hike.

    We will certainly take a rest day at Baintha. This is a useful acclimatisation day. But, the real reason for stopping here is that the alpine loveliness of this camp is not something to be rushed, bearing in mind that there is absolutely nothing in the way of greenery beyond this point for some considerable distance. This rest stop also allows the porters the opportunity to bake a supply of Balti bread and chapattis to last them over the coming days. There is the very worthwhile option today of ascending a peak above the camp for fantastic views down the glacier and across to the Latok group of mountains and the Ogre.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Trek up the Biafo Glacier to Napina (4215m).

    Back onto the glacier, which at this point is over 3 miles wide, on our right-hand side we pass the rocky peaks of the Latoks and Conway’s Ogre, whilst directly ahead of us we can see the rugged spires of the West Biafo Wall, including the ‘fairy tale’ castle of Sosbun Brakk. Here the distances begin to deceive your eyes as the scale of the landscape tests your legs. The walking is at first straightforward, on the ice ‘motorway,’ but as we reach a slight steepening of the glacier the ice becomes more broken and we have to carefully thread a path around numerous crevasses, some small and some enormous. If there is a covering of snow we must rope-up to safeguard our passage over the hidden ‘slots.’ The last off-glacier camp on the Biafo Glacier is at Napina (4215m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 hours

  • Trek along the glacier to the edge of 'Snow Lake' at Sim Gang (4500m).

    Once more we have to thread our way between crevasses as we approach the southern edge of Snow Lake, with Sosbun Brakk now just off to our left. We make camp beside a mound of rocks at the junction of the Biafo and Sim Gang glaciers. This is the camp known as Sim Gang Basecamp and it is from here that we will cross the southern arm of Snow Lake to the Hispar La.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hours

  • Trek across Snow Lake and climb to the summit of the Hispar La (5151m).

    An early start for the long traverse across Snow Lake. The ascent to our camp on the Hispar La (5151m.) is a fairly gentle climb, but at altitude it is nonetheless strenuous. This climb is rewarded by one of the most incredible camping places in the world, with views straight down the Hispar to the mountains of Hunza in one direction and back to the Sim Gang Glacier, with its dominant peak the mighty Ogre (7285m), in the other direction.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 7 hours

  • Descend the Hispar Glacier to Kani Basa (4395m).

    We rope up again for the initial descent from the pass on broad snow slopes. After 1½ hours the glacier levels out and we pass beyond the snow line. Continuing down the glacier we have to negotiate a rubble strewn terrain for a further 2 to 3 hours to reach our campsite in a small ablation valley on the east side of the tributary, Kani Basa Glacier.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hours

  • Trek down the ablation valley beside the Hispar Glacier to Jutanmal (4200m).

    Crossing the Kani Basa Glacier allows us fine views toward Kanjut Sar (7760m). After some tricky moraine negotiation we reach a lunch spot at the first water beyond the glacier crossing. There are several outwash streams to cross on the next section of our route and these are best crossed as early as possible in the day. We camp at Jutanmal (4200m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 hours

  • Trek down beside the glacier to a junction with the Pumari Chihish Glacier (4000m).

    About an hour below camp, we reach the Yutmaru tributary glacier, and this takes a further hour to cross. There are excellent views of Kanjut Sar, Pumari Chhish and Kunjang Chhish from the centre of the glacier. Again, we have lunch at the first available water in the ablation valley beyond the Jutmal Glacier. We camp about twenty minutes' walk before the next major tributary (the Pumari Chhish Glacier). In 1990, a team of Canadian glacial hydrologists measured the depth of the ice on the glacier at this point to be 500 metres! On this part of our trek, we are generally walking through green meadows with streams, flowers and many birds.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hours

  • Trek to the meadows of Bitanmal (3718m).

    After a short section of difficult moraine, we reach the confluence with the Pumari Chhish Glacier. Excellent views up this tributary, as we cross it. This once difficult crossing is now much easier, the glacier having receded markedly in the past ten years. A very steep path leads through the moraine cliffs at the west side of the glacier, to our lunch spot at the meadow known as Dachigan. We camp at the expansive meadow of Bitenmal where there is a large group of huts, sometimes used by shepherds from Hispar, but usually deserted.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hours

  • Trek to Hispar Village (3250m)

    An early start is essential each morning as we descend the Hispar Glacier. This is because the side streams which must be negotiated are much less formidable before the heat of the day (and associated snow-melt) swells them to impassable proportions. After crossing the Kiang Glacier, there is a steep climb to regain the path which leads through the grazing grounds of Daltanas and Falolingkish. One large stream has to be crossed just before Falolingkish, and then a footbridge leads across to Hispar Village. This is a large village by Nagar standards and its cultivated lands stretch for miles along a huge alluvial fan. We will take lunch here and depending upon the state of the road, we may meet our jeeps here or we may have a further hour’s trek to "Down Hispar." Once we have reached the vehicles we drive for 1 hour to our last campsite which is no less idyllic than the previous. A veritable lawn of grass beside a large pond provides the perfect place to say thank you and goodbye to our Balti and Hunza porters whose jolly company we are sure to remember as much as the spectacular scenery of the past two weeks.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 6 hours

  • Drive past Rakaposhi Peak to Gilgit (1500m).

    We travel by jeep for 2 hours to Nagar and just beyond the village we reach the Karakoram Highway. Heading south, we pass below Rakaposhi, which at 7788 metres (25,552 feet) is the number 29 in the world rank of highest mountains. Rakaposhi was first climbed in 1958 by a British expedition which included George Banks and Tom Patey. The glacier spilling down from its flanks reaches almost to the road. We continue down the highway as far as the mountain town of Gilgit where we check into a comfortable hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Fly to Islamabad. Rest of day at leisure.

    After an early breakfast, we make the short transfer to the small airstrip just outside the town for the spectacular 1 hour flight back to Islamabad. The plane flies past the Rupal face of Nanga Parbat before following the fall of the Indus back to the capital. From the city airport we transfer to our hotel and depending on time available it may be possible to do some sightseeing in the capital before dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Contingency in case of flight delay.

    This is an important contingency day in case the Gilgit flight is delayed. If we have flown down from Gilgit this will be a further day for sightseeing in the capital city.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. Islamabad Airport transfers provided

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Airport transfers are provided.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An experienced professional leader
  • Islamabad Airport transfers
  • Internal flights and associated airport transfers
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals throughout the holiday
  • Once on trek a full service including food and all equipment (excluding personal equipment) is included in the trek price.

  • Travel insurance
  • Pakistan Visa
  • Tips for local guides and support staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses souvenirs etc

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

All clients arriving on Day 1 will be met at Islamabad Airport by the trip leader or a KE representative who will arrange the transfer to the group hotel. Similarly, transfers will be provided back to Islamabad Airport on the final day of the itinerary. Clients booking a Land Only Package should let us know if Islamabad Airport transfers are not required. Land Only clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights. Full joining instructions together with hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

Shortly after first light one of the cook crew will wake you with a cup of tea or coffee brought to your tent. You will have plenty of time to get up and pack your kitbag before sitting down to a hot breakfast, during which camp will be struck and the porters given their loads. Setting off in the pleasant cool of the morning, we will generally reach our lunch stop after 3 or 4 hours trekking. The cook crew, having overtaken us on the trail, will already have the lunch preparations well under way. Lunch usually takes an hour or even two and again this is a cooked meal. This is a great time for relaxing, reading and sitting in the sun. The pack-animals usually catch up with the group during lunch and are well on their way to camp which we hope to establish by the afternoon, well before dusk. It is usual for the afternoon’s walk to be shorter than the morning session. During the day you are free to walk at your own pace. On arrival at camp, the camp crew will quickly put the tents up and a hot drink will soon follow. Dinner is a 3-course meal served in the mess tent. This is a great time of day for reliving the events of the trek so far and for general socialising. After dark, the temperature quickly falls and everyone will soon be tucked up in their sleeping bags.

This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4000 metres you should consult one of our trekking experts before embarking on this holiday. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies.

During this trip the group will spend 3 nights in Islamabad at a good standard hotel. The group will have 1 night in a tourist standard hotel in Skardu. At the end of the trek we will have 1 night in a tourist standard hotel in Gilgit. Whilst on trek there will be a total of 14 nights spent camping. All accommodation is based on twin sharing. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to hire a single tent while on trek for an additional cost. Please note single tent hire does not include single rooms in hotels. For the 6 hotel nights, single rooms are available for a supplementary cost. Additional hotel nights in Islamabad are also available. For hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

On trek, the food is a mixture of local and Western, dishes using ingredients mostly purchased in Pakistan and cooked by our highly trained trek cooks. Breakfasts consist of cereal, muesli or porridge, eggs, bread or chapatti, tea and coffee. Lunches are a picnic from a choice of canned fish, tinned meats, cheese, pickles, pate, and crackers or chapattis, sometimes accompanied by hot soup and noodles, and finished off with tea or coffee. Dinner taken in a group ‘mess’ tent, is a three course meal. We do routinely cater for vegetarians but you must inform us if you wish your diet to be exclusively vegetarian. Drinking Water Drinking water treated with iodine is provided by the trek kitchen during breakfast, at the lunch stop, and while in camp. We use spring water wherever possible but on some days we have no choice except to use glacial melt water which may contain silt which is dissolved in the ice of the glacier. Conventional water filters do not work well with glacial silt and in circumstances where we have to rely on such a source, the camp kitchen will use a large water barrel which allows the silt to settle away. You should bring a little bicarbonate of soda if you find the taste of iodine unpalatable.

All meals are included in the holiday price from arrival on day 1 to breakfast on day 20.

Approximately £150 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) changed into local currency should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses, including porter and trek crew tips. Note that money for tips should be changed into local currency (denominations of 500 rupees or smaller only) before you leave Islamabad. It is not necessary to purchase local currency (Pakistan rupees) before your trip. Money can be changed at a reasonable rate at the airport or at authorised money changers near to the hotel. Since you will be changing the majority of your spending money into local currency soon after your arrival, we recommend that you take it in cash. US dollars, Sterling and Euros can readily be exchanged in Islamabad. Credit cards can be used to purchase many goods in Islamabad, Skardu and Gilgit and are particularly useful for more expensive items such as carpets. It is possible to withdraw cash (rupees only) from cash machines in Islamabad.

Internal Flights

Skardu and Gilgit are weather-dependent airports. Since these valleys are completely surrounded by high mountains, planes can only land here in good visibility and this means flights to Skardu and from Gilgit are never guaranteed. The planes do fly more often than not, but cancellations are not infrequent and if this happens on the day we are scheduled to fly we will have to travel by road. This is an epic journey which travels in part along the Karakoram Highway, one of the most remarkable roads in the world. In most circumstances we aim to make this journey over two days with an overnight stop in an hotel approximately halfway, but occasionally it may be necessary to do this as a continuous journey. If flights to Skardu are cancelled on the outbound journey, we may opt to try to fly the next day staying an extra night in Islamabad (your trip leader will make this decision), but if the flight from Gilgit is cancelled on the return journey we will get on the road straight away to make sure we are back in Islamabad in time for our international flights. We have also built in a spare day in Islamabad for such a contingency. Please refer to the important insurance information below about travelling on the Karakoram Highway.

The group will be led by an experienced KE trek leader. While on trek the leader will be assisted by a team of local guides, cook and kitchen staff and porters who will carry the group's equipment and personal belongings.

It is usual to tip the members of your trek crew, including your local guide, if you are happy with the services provided. This is a long, tough trip for the porters and your trek crew and we recommend that a contribution of around £60 - £70 (in local currency equivalent) from each group member will provide an appropriate level of tips. Towards the end of the trek, the trip leader will help the group to determine an appropriate level of tipping for each crew member, and this is most usually done as a group ‘thank-you’ with ceremony on the final day of trekking.

Your baggage on trek will be carried by porters. The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking including your sleeping bag and camping mattress should be no more than 12.5 kgs. (27 pounds). You should note that this allowance which is governed by maximum porter loads, is slightly less than allowances for treks in India and Nepal and is quite strictly adhered to. It is possible to leave items not required on trek at the group hotel in Islamabad. Note this allowance does not include your mountaineering equipment which will be collected from you in Skardu and carried separately in communal bags.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

All nationalities need a passport with at least 6 months remaining validity at the time of travel and a visa for entry into Pakistan.

Documents required for visa application

Competed and signed application form (obtained from the Pakistan Embassy, High Commission or Visa Application Centre in your home country)
Valid passport along with a photocopy of passport
2 recent passport photographs (with white background)

Proof of address (Utility Bill or UK Driving License with paper counterpart)
Invitation letter from
sponsor (provided by KE)

Complete address of sponsor (provided by KE)

Trekking permit (provided by KE)

Last 3 months bank statement

Reference letter from workplace (stating return date)

Pre-paid, Self-addressed envelope for return of passport.

Please send a copy of your visa to the KE office once this has been approved.

Trek permits

For all Pakistan tours we must have from you a completed permit form (included with your booking confirmation). Please return this form, together with three passport-sized photographs, and a photocopy of your passport information page(s) and the page containing your Pakistan visa, as soon as possible, as we have to send these out to Pakistan in advance of departure.

UK Passport Holders

A single entry tourist visa for UK citizens costs £140 and is valid for 6 months from the date of issue for a stay of up to 90 days. Make your application at least 8 weeks before your trip. Applications can only be made in person or via a visa processing company. Note that it is not possible to submit an application directly by post but your passport can be returned to you by post (remember to take a pre-paid self-addressed envelope). From 2013, all Pakistan visa processing has been outsourced to Gerry’s Visa Application Centres. Currently there are four of these centres in England and you should visit the most convenient for you.

There are plans to open a centre in Glasgow soon and you should check at for the most up to date details.


1st Floor, Tramway House

3 Tramway Avenue

Stratford, E15 4PG


Suite 1B, Warwick House

17 Warwick Road, Old Trafford

M16 0QQ


2nd Floor

130 - Alum Rock Road

B8 1HU


Ground Floor

St. Andrews House

Legrams Lane


Visa Application Submission: Monday - Friday: 9am to 2pm. and Saturday: 9am to 1pm

Passport Collection: Monday - Friday: 2pm to 5pm. and Saturday: 09am to 01pm

Filling out the application form

Answer questions carefully and accurately:
For ‘Type of visa applied for:’, tick ‘Tourist’
For ‘Purpose of visit’, write ‘Holiday with KE Adventure Travel’
For ‘Duration of stay in Pakistan: write from and to using the start and end dates of your trip.,

For ‘Visa required for:’ tick ‘Less than 1 month’ (for GKT tick ‘Less than 3 months)

For ‘Type of visa:’ tick ‘single entry’

Port of entry and departure is Islamabad

For places to be visited, write ‘please refer to itinerary attached’

Where you are asked for an address in Pakistan, write ‘c/o Baltistan Tours, P.O.1285, Islamabad 44000. Tel. 00 92 51 2840581’

For Sponsor’s name, use ‘KE Adventure Travel, 32 Lake Road, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5DQ.’

Important – when asked for details of profession on the application form, do not put anything that might cause delay or potentially refusal to grant a visa at the Pakistan Consulate eg. photographer, writer, journalist, military, government, police etc.

US and Canadian Passport Holders

A single entry tourist visa for US citizens costs US$120 and for Canadian citizens C$100. Visas are valid for 6 months from the date of issue for a stay of up to 90 days. Make your application at least 6 weeks before your trip. Applications are usually processed within a few days but at busy periods may take two to three weeks.

US citizens, please consult the Pakistan Embassy in Washington for the latest information. Website:

Please do not apply for your visa at any of the Pakistan Consulates. Please use only the embassy in Washington.

For Canadian citizens, the Pakistan Diplomatic Mission website is or telephone: 1-613 238-7881 & 238-8029

WARNING! We do keep our information up to date but be advised that visa requirements are subject to change by the Pakistan Government and also by individual officials within Embassies and High Commissions without notification. It is recommended that you consult the relevant Consulate by telephone before you make your application in case of recent alterations. Contact details for all Pakistan Consulates can be found on the Embassy or High Commission websites.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking including your sleeping bag and mattress should be no more than 12.5 kgs / 27 pounds. This limit which is set by the porters is strictly enforced and bags will be weighed prior to setting off on trek. Anything not required on the trek can be left at the group hotel in Islamabad. Please note that your mountaineering equipment will be packed into additional, communal kitbags at the start of the trekking and this equipment will not be part of your personal 12.5 kgs weight limit.

  • When selecting clothing for this holiday, please be culturally sensitive. Tight fitting or revealing clothing is not appropriate. Shorts and tee shirts can be worn but only once we are above the last temporary habitations of the valley.
  • You must bring the following items:

    • 4 season sleeping bag*
    • Thermarest or similar sleeping mat*
    • Daypack c. 30 to 40 litres
    • Hiking boots or approach shoes
    • Mountaineering boots (see ‘Mountaineering equipment’ below)
    • Trainers / sneakers or sandals for river crossings and camp use
    • Socks
    • Technical walking socks (2 or 3 pairs)
    • Spare laces
    • Trekking trousers / pants
    • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rain-pants
    • Underwear
    • Long johns (thermal underwear)
    • Thermal baselayer shirts (2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve)
    • Shirts or T-shirts
    • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Warm jacket (down)
    • Sunhat
    • Warm hat or balaclava
    • Eyewear - Sunglasses
    • Thermal gloves
    • Warmer over gloves or mittens
    • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
    • Water bottles 1 litre (x2)
    • Headtorch / headlamp with spare batteries
    • Washbag and toiletries
    • Antibacterial handwash
    • Small towel
    • Basic First Aid Kit including: A broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).
    • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)

    The following items are optional:

    • Insect repellant – (DEET)
    • Trekking poles (recommended)
    • Scarf or buff
    • Sleeping bag liner
    • Pee bottle
    • Travel clothes
    • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
    • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
    • Camera, film / memory cards, batteries

    Mountaineering Equipment

    • Warm and robust 4-season hiking boots which can be securely fitted with crampons. (B1 grade minimum).
    • Ice axe*
    • Crampons*
    • Climbing harness*
    • Karabiners (2 x screwgate)*
    • Sling (120cm. / 3ft.)*
    • Prussik loops X 2 (4m. / 10ft. of 6mm cord makes 2)*
    • Climbing helmet*

    Equipment hire / rental

    • Items marked * can be hired / rented through KE Adventure Travel. Please make requests at least 6 weeks prior to the trip departure. All hire / rental equipment is issued in Pakistan.

    Needle Sports (specialist mountaineering equipment shop)

    • Needle Sports is the English Lake District's foremost specialist climbing shop supplying mountaineering, rock, ice, alpine and expedition equipment worldwide. Internationally recognised as among the very best of the UK's top technical climbing gear retailers. They have a good range of equipment appropriate for this trip and offer knowledgeable advice both on their website and in store.
    • View >>

    We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    Know before you go

    As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

    KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

    It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. For this trip you need to be aerobically fit and also comfortable with walking up to 10 hours on some days. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Regular hiking in hill country is the best training but running, tennis and swimming are also good for developing cardio vascular fitness and stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

    From mid June to August, we can expect to encounter temperatures as high as 30°C at Skardu and 25°C at Askole and Hispar Village. Above 4000 metres snow can fall at any time of the year. At any time of the season the night-time temperature above 4000 metres are likely to drop to freezing or below and at our highest camp on the Hispar La, may reach minus 10 or 15°C. The weather is generally good throughout the summer season, with clear skies and little rain or snow. However, weather in mountainous areas is difficult to predict, and short-lived storms can occur at any time of the year.

    Trekking in Pakistan. Isobel Shaw. Karakoram Highway. King. Top Treks of the World. Steve Razzetti. Blank on the Map. Eric Shipton

    Pakistan: Leomann Trekking Maps of the Karakoram: 1 : 200,000.

    Maps designed specifically for the trekker, presenting the topography by line drawings of mountain ridges, with altitudes of main peaks and passes shown. The maps also show rivers and villages and clearly indicate trekking routes. On the reverse are route descriptions and other information about the area. For this trek Sheet 2, Skardu, Hispar, Biafo Area, is required.

    Recent Reviews & Blog Posts