Biafo Glacier


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Introduction: The Biafo Glacier is a 63 km long glacier in the Karakoram Mountains of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. which meets the 49 km long Hispar Glacier at an altitude of 5,128 m at Hispar La (Pass) to create the world's longest glacial system outside the polar regions. The Biafo Glacier is the world's third longest glacier outside of the polar regions, second only to the 70 km Siachen Glacier disputed between Pakistan and India and Tajikistan's 77 km long Fedchenko Glacier.

Attractions: This highway of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms, Nagar (immediately south of Hunza) in the west with Baltistan in the east. The traverse uses 51 of the Biafo Glacier's 63 km and all of the Hispar Glacier to form a 100 km (62 mi) glacial route. The Biafo Glacier presents a trekker with several days of very strenuous, often hectic boulder hopping, with spectacular views throughout and Snow Lake near the high point. Snow Lake, consisting of parts of the upper Biafo Glacier and its tributary glacier Sim Gang, is one of the world's largest basins of snow or ice in the world outside of the polar regions, up to 1,600 m in depth. Campsites along the Biafo are located off of the glacier, adjacent to the lateral moraines and steep mountainsides. The first three (heading up from the last village before the glacier, the thousand-year-old Askole village) are beautiful sites with flowing water nearby. Mango and Namla, the first two campsites, are often covered in flowers and Namla has an amazing waterfall very near the camping area. Baintha, the third camp site, is often used as a rest day. A large green meadow, it has a few running streams near the camp and many places to spend the day rock climbing or rappelling. Evidence of wildlife can be seen throughout the trek. The Ibex and the Markhor Mountain Goat can be found and the area is famous for brown bears and snow leopards, although sightings are rare.

Accessibility: One can reach there by 8-10 days walking from Askole Shigar valley of Gilgit Baltistan, which is preceded by a jeep ride of 6-7 hours from Skardu Capital of Baltistan Region of Pakistan. An alternative access path is 3-4 days walk via Hushe valley.


Biafo Glacier Fact Sheet

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Activities: class 4 climbing, Panoramic views of mountains
Best Time: Mid June to October
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Tours to Biafo Glacier
Grand Karakoram Traverse
Snow Lake Hispar La Experience
K2, Baltoro & Biafo - Concordia & Snow Lake Trek