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Holidays

Hunza, Shimshal and the Rush Lake Trek

Pakistan, Karakoram
Available Departures: May, Jun, Aug, Sep

16 days from

US$3,265

without flights
Walk & Trek
Guided Group
MODERATE MODERATE

An adventure holiday in the Karakoram, including Gilgit, Karimabad, Shimshal and Rush Lake accompanied by unbeatable mountain views

Trip Code: RLT
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Hunza, Shimshal and the Rush Lake Trek

Highlights
  • Trek across glaciers and alpine meadows to camp atop Rush Lake
  • Take in the views of Karakoram giants, including K2 (8611m)
  • Stay at the Shangri-La village of Shimshal and trek for astonishing views of the Yazghil Glacier
  • Marvel at the incredible natural beauty of the Hunza Valley as seen from the Eagle’s Nest
  • Sail across the azure-blue waters of the recently-formed Attabad Lake

At a Glance
  • Group Size 5 to 12
  • 7 days trekking
  • Max altitude - 5098 metres
  • Join In Islamabad

Accommodation & Meals
  • All meals included
  • 8 nights Hotel
  • 5 nights Camping
  • 2 nights Guesthouse
Overview

North of the regional capital and former Silk Road trading post of Gilgit, the famously scenic Hunza Valley provides access to some of the highlights of Northern Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountains. Here, the intrepid traveller will discover historic towns and isolated villages, welcoming people, ancient forts, the newly-formed Attabad Lake, as well as a wealth of breath-taking scenery including some of the world’s biggest glaciers and mightiest snow-capped peaks. This fantastic new adventure holiday allows you to experience all of this without having to undertake a particularly long or sustained expedition-style trek.


Starting out in Karimabad, we visit the old Baltit Fort and have breakfast at the renowned Eagle’s Nest Hotel with its superb overview of the Hunza Valley, overshadowed by Rakaposhi (7788m). We then take a beautiful ferry ride along the length of the recently created Attabad Lake and, from Passu, drive up to the traditional Wakhi village of Shimshal, one of the highest and most remote communities in the Hunza area. Day-hikes from Passu and Shimshal provide us with more exceptional mountain views and help with our fitness and acclimatisation before we embark on the week-long trek from Hopar to the rarely-visited Rush Lake (4694m), perched on a high ridge between the Hispar Valley and the Barpu Glacier. This stunning lake is one of the highest alpine lakes in the word. From a viewpoint above the lake, the sensational panorama includes every one of the Hunza peaks, the Hispar La, Snow Lake and the giants of the Central Karakoram including K2 (8611m), Broad Peak and the Gasherbrums. For an unforgettable taste Northern Pakistan’s mountains and warm hospitality, without the challenges of a lengthy and committing expedition-style trek, come and join the Karakoram Experience.

After flying up to Gilgit, we begin this great holiday with 6 days of exploring, sightseeing and acclimatising in the Hunza Valley and its tributary valleys. This part of the holiday includes 2 superb day-hikes, one from Passu and one from Shimshal, which each take around 5 hours and provide us with a great introduction to Karakoram trekking and a useful warm-up ahead of the 7-day Rush Lake Trek.

This walking holiday is at the top end of its grading. The daily distances are short on this trek, but the height gain is not inconsiderable, reaching a high camp at 4695m. We have a rest day for acclimatisation during the 4-day ascent to Rush Lake. This is not intended to be a long or continuous trek and should fall within the compass of regular weekend hillwalker. The classic outing involves cross the Bualtar and Barpu glaciers (twice each), mostly on unconsolidated moraine material but also on exposed glacier ice. We are able to keep clear of crevassed areas and these crossings are actually relatively straightforward. No specialist skills nor equipment are needed for this trek but a sense of adventure and a willingness to adapt to the needs of self-supporting group travel will stand you in good stead.

Why KE?

With more than 35 years of experience running adventure holidays in Northern Pakistan, there really is no alternative if you are looking to visit this stunning part of the world and we have long considered ourselves to be the experts on operating treks in this region. Our most renowned Pakistan treks are epic in nature, so we have developed this walking holiday to access some of the most staggeringly beautiful scenery in Pakistan for those who would like to experience this wonderful country another way.

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Itinerary

Your holiday starts at the hotel in Islamabad. Transfers from Islamabad Airport are provided. The majority of international flights arrive in the early morning and you may want to rest before lunch. The first group get-together will be at lunch, during which the tour leader will provide a pre-trip briefing. If there is the opportunity to include a sightseeing tour today, either in the modern city of Islamabad or in nearby Rawalpindi, a city from the days of the British Raj, it will be optional and there will be a charge payable locally.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

L D

We take the early morning flight to Gilgit, capital of the newly re-named region of Gilgit-Baltistan. This short, but spectacular, flight skirts past the breath-taking Nanga Parbat (8126m), the 9th highest peak in the world, before descending into the valley of the Gilgit River. Arriving at our accommodation in Gilgit by late morning, we will settle in and enjoy our lunch there. Then, in the afternoon, the tour guide will take the group on a relaxed walking tour through the bazaars of this historic town, situated at the confluence of the Gilgit and Hunza rivers. Gilgit has always been an important regional trading post and its shops are stocked with spices, dried fruit, hand-woven rugs, gemstones and all manner of produce from nearby China. Our hotel has pleasant gardens shaded by chinar trees; a pleasant place to catch up on reading and relaxing before taking our dinner and turning in.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Today, we set off on the drive northwards into the Hunza Valley. It will take a couple of hours or so on the Karakoram Highway to reach Karimabad (2500m), the effective capital of the Hunza District, where we check in at our accommodation which looks across to the towering peak of Rakaposhi (7788m). Formerly known as Baltit, Karimabad occupies a dramatic location above the Hunza Valley and directly below the imposing Ultar (7388m). There are a couple of ancient and well-preserved historical forts on the outskirts of the town, and after lunch at our hotel we choose to take a stroll through the streets with our guide up to the impressive Baltit Fort which has been updated several times in its more than 700 years of history. The present-day fort, extensively rebuilt at the end of the 19th century (having been dismantled by the British Raj), is rather Tibetan in style with a whitewashed façade, wooden pillars and intricately carved wooden windows and balconies. If time allows, we can also visit the Altit Fort. We will return to our hotel for dinner with views from the restaurant across to the deep valley of the Sumayar River as our backdrop.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

We will have an early start this morning and transfer on a switch-back road, climbing through poplar forest to the renowned Eagle's Nest Hotel (3000m) at Altit. Here, we will have breakfast on the terrace with an amazing 360 degree panorama across the Hunza Valley. Our guide will identify the big peaks: Ultar, Diran and Rakaposhi, to name only the most prominent. After a leisurely breakfast and taking in the vista, we will drive back down to the Karakoram Highway and continue up the valley to Attabad. Here, we will find the astonishing spectacle of the 20km-long Attabad Lake that formed as a result of a landslide in January 2010, completely blocked the Hunza Valley. Before the adjacent road tunnels were completed, reopening the Karakoram Highway, all traffic had to be carried across the lake by boat. This water-borne traffic is now much reduced, the only boats remaining serving visitors and travellers looking for a different experience. Sailing across the unusually azure-blue lake is an unforgettable experience, passing close to vertiginous cliffs plunging directly into the water and offering great views of the mountains beyond. We disembark close to Passu and check in at our hotel which is situated beneath the stunning Tupopdan peak (6106m), also known as Passu Cathedral. One of Passu's renowned highlights is the late-afternoon lightshow on this peak's steep rock walls and towers as the sun follows its downwards trajectory.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

To the west of Passu, several immense glaciers grind and scour their way down from the range of peaks known as the Batura Mustagh. Today we will experience this spectacular area as we trek up above Passu. After 20 minutes we arrive at Passu Lake, situated at the snout of the Passu Glacier. From the shore of the lake, we can see the glacier terminus and the towering summits of Passu Sar, Shispare Sar and Ultar. Continuing beside the lake, and then up onto the ridge to the south, we have increasingly impressive views of the Passu Glacier, Passu Sar and back towards the village and the green Hunza Valley beyond. The further we go up the ridge towards the west, the better these views are. We drop down towards the south into a hidden bowl where we soon come across a rough jeep road, irrigated fields and the scattered dwellings of the upper part of the village of Borit. A little further on, we reach Borit Lake, a bucolic small pool surrounded by greenery and home to ducks and other birdlife. We can have our picnic lunch beside the lake before continuing our exploration up onto the moraine ridge on the north side of the Ghulkin Glacier. This is a super viewpoint for the peaks of the Batura Mustagh and we can also look down from here to Attabad Lake. Returning to Lake Borit, we walk down the rough jeep road to the village of Hussaini, located on the Karakoram Highway, and from there transfer back to our hotel in Passu.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

550 M

Descent

550 M

Time

5 hrs trekking

Distance

10 KM

After an early breakfast, we'll drive up to the village of Shimshal, often described as a vision of Shangri-La. This used to be a journey that could only be made on foot over three days, but now the valley is connected with a jeep track that means it now takes 3 hours to drive. Shimshal is a traditional village and home to people of the Wakhi ethnic group. Set amongst irrigated fields of barley, wheat and peas and abundant groves of apricot, walnut and poplar trees; Shimshal is a remote and pretty spot. The Shimshalis keep large herds of sheep and yaks on pastures high above the village, notably at Shuwert on the Shimshal Pass. Whilst we won't climb that high on this visit, we will appreciate a better perspective on the way of life here by taking an enjoyable return hike up the valley. Following the Shimshal River as far as the tributary Pamir-e-Tang, we cross this stream on a bridge and then ascend a steep spur to the viewpoint at Gar-e-Sar (3500m), a name which means 'top of the rock'. 3 hours after setting off, we will reach the outstanding panorama of the Yazhgil Glacier and the rarely-seen peaks of Yukshin Gardan Sar (7530m) and Kunyang Chhish (7852m). We retrace our steps to Shimshal where we overnight at a basic guesthouse.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

600 M

Descent

600 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

13 KM

Today, we'll drive out to the Karakoram Highway and then back down the Hunza Valley through the Attabad Lake tunnels. Constructed to reconnect the Karakorum Highway with the Chinese border, the five tunnels together stretch for 7 kilometres. We then take a spur road into the Nagar Valley and follow the Hunza River, flowing parallel to the road. We continue for 20 kilometres to the collection of small hamlets known as Hopar (2750m); each of them set amongst a pretty patchwork of fields. Surrounded by lush, green fields, the village is overlooked by distant snow-capped mountains. It will take around 6 hours including a lunch stop to reach the Hopar Inn, overlooking the moraine of the Bualtar Glacier which we will cross tomorrow at the start of our trek up to Rush Lake.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

The first leg of our trek takes us across the Bualtar Glacier, which is one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world (at a rate of 20cm a day!). After leaving the village of Hopar, we soon drop down onto the glacier via a steep zig-zag path. A cairned trail leads across the glacier surface, strewn with moraine and boulders, and after an hour or so we climb across a spur between the Bualtar and Barpu glaciers. Dropping down onto the Barpu we now cross this next glacier over moraine rubble and ice for a further hour to finally reach the ablation valley beyond. An easy further hour of walking along this natural feature takes us to our wild campsite amongst sparse woods at a place known as Barpu Giram (3250m), where there is also a ruined shepherd's hut.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

500 M

Descent

200 M

Time

4 hrs trekking

Distance

6 KM

Our route up towards Rush Lake now heads away from the glacier, climbing steeply on a scant trail up to the long ridge that separates the Barpu Glacier from the lower Hispar Valley. We pass tiny seasonal dwellings and observe a traditional way of life that has existed here in Pakistan for centuries, untouched by modernity. After 3 hours steady climbing, we reach a slightly more level section of ridge which takes us, after a further hour or so, to our camping place at Hura (4150m.) There are excellent views out over a wild and glaciated landscape.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

950 M

Descent

50 M

Time

4 hrs trekking

Distance

5 KM

We will spend day based at our camp at Hura (4150m), exploring the mountainside with some gentle walks and enjoying the superlative views that extend down to the village Hopar and the valleys of Hunza and Hispar. Spending a second night at Hura is important for our programme of acclimatisation before heading further up to the objective of our trek: Rush Lake.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

The ground steepens as soon as we leave camp, the track climbing through a boulder field for half an hour or so to reach a more level ridge-top trail. We gain height steadily and after around an hour of walking we reach Rush Lake (4694m) and set up camp. The lake is unusual in its ridge-top location and attracts a number of migrating bird species. We will also spot one or two yaks or dzos (yak-cow crossbreeds) grazing on the lakeside pasture. This is a lovely and rarely-visited Karakoram gem and we have the afternoon free to enjoy the far-reaching breath-taking views, notably across to Malubiting (7458m) and down into the Hispar Valley almost 2000 metres below. After lunch, there is the option to hike further up the ridge to the viewpoint known as Rush Phari Peak (5098m) which includes a steep and quite rocky final approach. From the summit, there is an incredible 360-degree mountain panorama. All the high peaks of Hunza can be seen; from Ultar to Diran and Rakaposhi, while to the south, the 'Golden Pillar' of Spantik (7027m) catches the eye. On a clear day, we will be rewarded with views towards the Baltoro giants of K2 (8611m) and Broad Peak (8047m). This optional and extremely rewarding afternoon hike will add 3 to 4 hours to the day's trek.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

600 M

Descent

50 M

Time

3 hrs trekking

Distance

3 KM

After breakfast at our lakeside camp, we drop down directly southwards to the Sumaiyar Bar Glacier. It is 1100 metres of descent to the grazing ground, known as Phahi Phari, and this takes around 2 hours, depending on our fitness. From here, we follow a trail beside the glacier for an hour or so until we are beyond its confluence with the Barpu Glacier. We then drop down onto the ice to make the one and a half hour glacier crossing. Here, we are well above the crossing point that we used at the beginning of our trek and we encounter different conditions. The central part of the glacier is easy going on level white ice, which is not at all slippery on account of the gravel that is melted into its surface. The edges of the glacier, in contrast, are more broken up and we have to take care to find the best route. Reaching the west side of the glacier, we climb up to the seasonally inhabited settlement of Hapa Kund (3400m), where there is a collection of stone-built houses and an area of cultivated land surrounded by extensive pasture. From our camp here, there are brilliant views back across the Barpu Glacier to the Golden Pillar of Spantik at the head of the valley. In the evening, if we are lucky, our porters and the local herdsmen will get together for a session of singing and dancing.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

200 M

Descent

1500 M

Time

5 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

After a leisurely breakfast at camp, we set out to gradually descend the western margin of the Barpu Glacier on a good trail used by the people of Hopar, as they travel between the main village and their summer shepherding and farming camps. Taking our time and enjoying this final day of trekking, it will take us the remainder of the morning to reach the Bualtar Glacier and we may stop for lunch before crossing to Hopar. At the village, after saying farewell to our porters and crew, we drive back to Gilgit where we check in at our hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

400 M

Descent

900 M

Time

5 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

It's just a short transfer to Gilgit Airport where we board our plane for the 1-hour flight back to Islamabad. Arriving in the Pakistani capital, after a period in the mountains, is always a strange experience and it takes a little time to get used to the hustle and bustle and especially the traffic. Our private bus will be waiting at the airport to transfer us to the group hotel and once we have settled in it will be time to take lunch (unless we have experienced unusual flight delays). After lunch, the rest of the day is free for independent sightseeing or to relax at the hotel. Your trip leader will advise you on the possibilities for sightseeing. Shopping for hand-made rugs is a usually popular option. This evening, we come together again for a celebratory meal at the hotel or in a local restaurant.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Gilgit is a 'weather dependent' airport which means the planes will only fly here if the weather isn't hampering the visibility of the runway. Fortunately, the weather is mostly clear in the Karakoram but local weather conditions can bring cloud and rain from time to time. The drive down the Indus River to Islamabad will take up most of one day, so this is an important contingency day to allow for this. If we have flown to Islamabad yesterday, this will be a further day for sightseeing in the capital and your leader will advise the group on the options available for today.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Your holiday ends after breakfast. Transfers to Islamabad Airport are provided.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Airport Airport
Point Point
Peaks Peaks
Direction Direction
Transfer
Trek

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • An experienced KE Western leader
  • Islamabad Airport transfers for international flights on Day 1 and Day 16
  • Internal flights and associated airport transfers
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals throughout the holiday
  • Full trekking service including food and all equipment (excluding personal equipment)

  • Travel insurance
  • Pakistan Visa
  • Tips for local guides and support staff
  • Guided Islamabad sightseeing
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc
  • PLEASE NOTE: an airport departure tax of Rs500 is sometimes payable.

Travel on the Karakoram Highway

We encourage you to read the up to date Travel Advice on the FCDO website. Currently, the FCDO warns against travel on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) between Mansehra and Chilas.

We generally manage to avoid travel on the KKH by flying from Islamabad to and from Gilgit. Occasionally it may be necessary to drive on the KKH if the flight is cancelled one or both ways, but in this event, the route taken on the Karakoram Highway does not include the section referred to in the FCDO advice. 

We have been taking groups to Pakistan for over 35 years and have never had any problems on this road. In actuality, the journey along the Karakoram Highway is spectacularly scenic and an epic experience which has been enjoyed by hundreds of KE clients.

The group will meet at the hotel in Islamabad.

Transfers are provided from/to Islamabad Airport for all clients arriving on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary and departing on the last day of the Land Only itinerary.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

All meals are included in the holiday price from arrival on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 16.

It is not recommended to drink untreated water from the taps. If you are on a trekking or cycling holiday, water is supplied to fill up your individual bottles. This will be boiled, filtered or provided in large jerry cans or 5 litre bottles. Additionally you should take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water when in towns or where water is not supplied. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

During the Rush Lake Trek breakfasts and dinners will be provided in a mess tent at camp. There will be a mix of local and Western dishes made from ingredients purchased in Pakistan and cooked by highly trained trek cooks. Breakfasts consist of cereal, muesli or porridge, eggs, bread or chapatti, tea and coffee. Lunch is generally a picnic consisting of 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 is a three course meal; soup, main course, dessert. At the hotels we use during this holiday, it is not unusual that dinner is provided in the form of a buffet with a wide choice of dishes.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

During this trip the group will have 3 nights in Islamabad at a good standard of hotel. There will also be several nights in tourist class hotels in Gilgit, in Karimabad and in Passu, whilst in Shimshal and Hopar we will use more simple guesthouses. Accommodation at each of these places is twin-share and there are generally en-suite facilities. Whilst on trek there will be 5 nights camping in 2-person tents. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired with another single client of the same sex. Single room occupancy can be pre-booked for each of the hotel nights and you can also pre-book additional hotel nights in Islamabad. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary. It is also possible to arrange for single tent occupancy at additional cost.

Gilgit is a weather-dependent airport. Since the valley is completely surrounded by high mountains, planes can only land here in good visibility and this means flights to and from Gilgit are never guaranteed. The planes fly more often than not, but cancellations can occur and in these circumstances we will travel by road. If we were not prepared to do this, our groups would risk being stranded in Islamabad. See our 'Important Note' about travel on the Karakoram Highway for more details.

The group will be led by an experienced KE Western leader assisted by a local guide. During the Rush Lake Trek the group will be accompanied by a support crew, including a cook and a team of porters who will carry all equipment and personal trek bags. This crew is drawn from local villagers who depend on working for trekking groups to supplement their subsistence income. Most of the crew will have worked with KE groups before. Travelling with these friendly and hardy people is a major part of the experience of Karakoram trekking.

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. 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.

Approximately £200 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) changed into local currency should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses, including porter and trek crew tips. You will also pay directly for guided sightseeing in in Islamabad if this works out for your group and you choose to take part in the tour. The cost of this will be approximately 50 US dollars for a half-day tour. 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. 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, taking care that all notes are new, clean and in good condition. US dollars, Sterling and Euros can readily be exchanged at the airport. US dollars will give you more flexibility to exchange in smaller towns or in an emergency. Credit cards can be used to purchase many goods in Islamabad or Skardu and are particularly useful for more expensive items such as carpets. Withdrawing cash from an ATM machine may prove to be impossible anywhere on this trip. 

It is usual to tip the members of your local crew and drivers, if you are happy with the services provided. We estimate that £80 (in local currency equivalent) will cover this aspect of your trip expenditure. 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.

Our holidays are normally designed with minimal 'down time' at the start of the trip, but having a day or two at the beginning will have the additional benefit of allowing you time to get over the stress of a long journey or travelling across time zones, leaving you refreshed and ready for your holiday. We can easily arrange for you to have additional nights and airport transfers.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage, which should be a soft and sturdy duffel bag, and one day pack.  Your baggage will be carried in the support vehicle and by porters or pack-ponies during the trek. The packed weight of your bag whilst trekking including your sleeping bag and camping mattress should be no more than 12.5 kgs. 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 and also in Gilgit.

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.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

All British passport holders are required to obtain a visa for entry into Pakistan. Download our Pakistan Visa Information document for full details of how to apply.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any vaccinations or other medical preparation prior to your holiday. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella), along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis is discretionary for this trip. Malaria exists in the area around Islamabad. However, incidences of urban transmission of malaria are extremely low. In Skardu or Gilgit and in the mountains there is no malaria risk. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hrs through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Travellers who intend to visit Pakistan for 4 weeks or more should note that proof of Polio vaccination will be required on exiting the country. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in Pakistan is the Pakistani Rupee.

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. You need to be comfortable walking for 6 hours on the longest of the trekking days and you need to be able to cope with a variety of terrain including loose scree and boulders. Regular hiking in hilly country is the best training but running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing cardio vascular fitness and stamina.

From mid-June to the end of August, we can expect to encounter temperatures as high as 30°C at Gilgit, 20°C at Shimshal and 10°C at Rush Lake. If the weather is clear, it will be warm during the day and cool in the evenings above 3000 metres. This part of Pakistan is reasonably sheltered from the effects of the monsoon and the weather tends to be settled during the summer. However, weather in mountainous areas is notoriously difficult to predict, and short-lived storms can occur at any time of the year.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov 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 FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • Trekking in Pakistan. Isobel Shaw.
  • Karakoram Highway. King.
  • Top Treks of the World. Steve Razzetti.
  • Throne Room of the Mountain Gods. Galen Rowell.

TerraQuest: Karakoram. 1 : 175,000 Available from Stanfords - stanfords.co.uk

This is the best map for all of KE's current Karakoram treks. Covers the central part of the Karakoram Range on a waterproof and tear-resistant, double-sided map, with coverage extending from Gilgit and the Karakoram Highway to the peaks of K2 and Gasherbrum. The map is presented in a special format, handy for conveniently viewing just small sections of it at one time.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. You do not have to bring everything on the list and you should use your own experience and judgement, but we ask you to ensure you have the items on the mandatory list.  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:

  • Hiking boots
  • Sports sandals or old shoes (for river crossings)
  • Waterproof overtrousers
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm jacket (e.g. down)
  • Scarf or buff
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Daypack 30 to 40 litres
  • Headtorch and spare batteries
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 litre (x2) (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Sleeping bag (comfort rated -15°C)
  • Thermarest or similar sleeping mat
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters, blister treatment, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).
  • 2x small padlocks (one for left luggage and one for trek bag)

Packing checklist:

  • Socks
  • Trainers for camp use
  • Spare laces
  • Trekking trousers
  • Underwear
  • Baselayer shirts
  • Shirts or T-shirts
  • Thermal underwear
  • Trekking poles (recommended)
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Insect repellant
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Travel clothes
  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small towel
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Camera
  • Dry bags(s) for daypack/kitbag contents (to ensure they keep dry)

Notes:

PHD Gear Advisor PHD specialise in cold weather equipment, from the world’s lightest right up to the most protective for Everest or the Poles. It’s a large range. So to help you choose what you need to keep you warm, PHD have listed the gear that is appropriate for this expedition. View >>http://www.phdesigns.co.uk/gearadviserdestination.php?destinations_id=18

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

DATES & PRICES

Private Departure?

Gather a few friends, family or club and take over your own departure.

2024

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Hunza, Shimshal and the Rush Lake Trek
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: RLT /01/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 25 May and ends on Sun 9 Jun
  • This departure is available and departs within 40 days. Secure your place today with full payment
  • Single Supplement Price: US$285 - Includes all 10 group hotel nights - not camping
  • Single Tent Upgrade: US$160
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Hunza, Shimshal and the Rush Lake Trek
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: RLT /02/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 17 Aug and ends on Sun 1 Sep
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$900
  • Single Supplement Price: US$285 - Includes all 10 group hotel nights - not camping
  • Single Tent Upgrade: US$160
  • Download Trip Notes

2025

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Hunza, Shimshal and the Rush Lake Trek
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: RLT /01/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 24 May and ends on Sun 8 Jun
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$900
  • Single Supplement Price: US$300 - Includes all 10 group hotel nights - not camping
  • Single Tent Upgrade: US$160
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Hunza, Shimshal and the Rush Lake Trek
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: RLT /02/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 16 Aug and ends on Sun 31 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$900
  • Single Supplement Price: US$300 - Includes all 10 group hotel nights - not camping
  • Single Tent Upgrade: US$160
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary starting at the hotel in Islamabad. Transfers are provided from/to Islamabad Airport for all clients arriving on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary and departing on the last day of the Land Only itinerary.

ZEN_HOLIDAY_DATES_PRICES_LAND_ONLY_USD_NOTICE


Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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