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The Famous Glacier in Pakistan | Baltoro Glacier

My father introduced me to the Baltoro Glacier when I was a young girl in the 1990s. Papa was on his way to Siachen. I was a curious child with many questions, so he told me about the region’s prominent glaciers, one of which was Baltoro. I used bestowed wisdom to conclude that Baltoro is a good match for Balti lol. I later discovered that the glacier can be reached via the Balti town of Skardu.

I told my father that I would go there someday and he laughed his head off. He then embarked on this expedition. I’m not sure if any kind of licensing was required back then. As I grew older, I realised that even Heli couldn’t get me there. (Wheelchair user’s dilemma.) But my inquisitive nature compelled me to learn more about the subject of my interest. The top priority was/is to travel to new places and write about them. Later, tourism blogging became my identity.

Basic Information

The Baltoro glacier is 63 kilometres (39 miles) long. It is one of the world’s longest glaciers outside of the polar regions and is located in the Karakoram range, Shigar District, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. It is located at 35°44′11′′N 76°22′51′′E.

Salient Features

Baltoro Muztagh is located to the glacier’s North and East. On the contrary, the Masherbrum range is to the South. K-2 (8,611 metres/28,251 feet) the highest mountain in this region, and three more 8 thousanders are within 20 kilometres. Conway Saddle or Conway Pass separates Siachen Glacier (the most strategic glacier) from Baltoro Glacier. The Baltoro glacier feeds the Braldo river, a tributary of the Shigar river which flows into the Indus. Baltoro Glacier is fed by a number of glaciers, including the Godwin-Austen Glacier, the Abruzzi, Gasherbrum Glaciers, the Vigne Glacier and the Yermandendu Glacier. Concordia is the meeting point of Baltoro Glacier and Godwin-Austen Glacier. This location, as well as the K-2 base camp, are popular trekking destinations.

Prominence

This glacier’s trough is quite large. Where small valley glaciers meet the trunk glacier, icefalls form, ranging from extremely steep to precipitous. Striations on the surrounding rocks have been carved by the glacier. Moving ice has created depressions that have turned into basins for numerous glacial lakes.

Peaks around Baltoro Glacier

Notable peaks near or adjacent to the Baltoro Glacier are as follows.

  • Biarchedi, 6,781 metres
  • Broad Peak, 12th highest in the world at 8,047 metres
  • Chogolisa, 36th highest in the world at 7,665 metres
  • Gasherbrum III, 7,946 metres
  • Gasherbrum II, 13th highest in the world at 8,035 metres
  • Gasherbrum IV, 17th highest in the world at 7,932 metres
  • Gasherbrum I, 11th highest in the world at 8,080 metres
  • K-2, 2nd highest in the world 8611 metres
  • Masherbrum (K-1), 22nd highest in the world at 7,821 metres
  • Mitre Peak, 6,010 metres
  • Muztagh Tower, 7,273 metres
  • Snow Dome, 7,160 metres
  • Trango Towers, 6,286 metres
  • Uli Biaho Tower, 6,417 metres

Quick Facts

  • This glacier is located in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region.
  • Skardu is the gateway to get to the glacier.
  • Baltoro is one of the world’s longest glaciers outside of the polar regions.
  • With a length of 63 kilometres, it is Pakistan’s second largest glacier (39 miles).
  • Baltoro is the third longest glacier in Karakoram and the world’s 5th longest glacier (non-polar).
  • Baltoro glacier is popular among trekkers and travellers because it can be crossed and trekked on from several points to reach Concordia and K-2 base camp.
  • The Baltoro Muztagh range, a subrange of the Karakoram Mountain range, contains four of the world’s ten highest mountains.
  • The Baltoro glacier is formed by the convergence of several tributary glaciers, including the Vigne, Gasherbrum, Yermandendu, and Godwin-Austen glaciers.
  • Concordia is the last confluence between Godwin Austen Glacier and Baltoro Glacier.
  • Lower Baltoro is known for its magnificent granite towers. Uli Biaho, Trangos, and Cathedrals are the most well-known.
  • Trekking to the glacier requires a permit from the Pakistani government as well as a licenced guide.
  • The trek to Baltoro begins in Askole village.
  • Baltoro Glacier descends from K-2’s Western Face via Godwin Austen Glacier to an elevation of 3,500 metres.

www.adventureplanners.com organises a tour to Baltoro glacier for national and foreign tourists. The itinerary may include:

  • Pick and drop from airport to hotel
  • Base Camps of K-2 and Broad Peak
  • Concordia
  • Trekking to Godwin Austen glacier via Baltoro Glacier
  • Gilkey Memorial
  • Indus, Panmah and Braldu rivers
  • Skardu and Shigar
  • Balti Porter
  • Askole Jeep Safari

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