Watching Rakaposhi..

Trip Start May 02, 2006
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Trip End Mar 02, 2007


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Flag of Pakistan  ,
Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Belated greetings from Karimabad.

Karimabad is a small mountain village in the Hunza region of Northern Pakistan. It's a lovely little place and was described to us as a Japanese commune. Seems the Japanese kids just love to spend a month or so doing nothing but smoking cigarettes whilst viewing the mountain scenery that surrounds Karimabad.

Fortunately or unfortunately for us we were there to do a little trekking up to Ultar Meadow and then move onwards up the Karakoram Highway (KKH).

Firstly, a little about Karimabad itself. Karimabad is said to be the most touristed town in northern Pakistan but by no means does that mean it's completely lacking of any soul (aka Dubrovnik). In fact we didn't find it touristy at all, there was a few westerners around but by no means was it overrun by the foreign devils. In reality it's a great little town where we could get chocolate cake and real coffee for dessert each night at a great little bookstore/cafe. All in all a great place to spend a few days before heading off on some of the longer treks in the area. We unfortunately only had time for a day trek before heading up to Passu.

So, the trek we decided to attempt was the Ultar Meadow trek. The story of Ultar peak is as follows - On the lofty summit of Ultar (7388 Metres) towering dramatically above Hunza, a fairy queen once lived in a crystal palace. And from this legendary mountain flows Hunza's life giving irrigation water. Baltit Fort guards the entrance to the steep narrow canyon which opens in it's upper reaches onto surrounded by a cascade of glaciers and granite.

The walk to the meadow left us breathless for the most part as it's a very steep ascent (770mt) in a relatively short distance if that makes any sense. Essentially it was almost vertical. Frequent avalanches and snow melts in the area makes the track extremely hazardous in some sections and on several occasions we had to peel off the shoes and wade across the freezing cold river. After half a day of scrambling along landslides and through rivers we gave up as the paths had been washed away by a flood a week earlier. We still had a lovely day and a great picnic right beneath the peak so in the end even failure paid dividends.

On the way back down we ran into a bunch of village ladies bringing back straw from one of the higher meadows. Seeing a strapping lad such as myself the older lady decided to try her luck on a soft westerner, a ruse which I sadly fell for. I was instructed to pick up the heaviest bale and carry it back to the village. It was bloody heavy let me tell you and I can't understand for the life of me why it's considered women's work. I could hardly stand which all the women (including Kat) thought was hysterical. Next time I'll give the old bags a wide berth lest they rope me in again.

And that's about it for Karimabad/Ultar Meadow. A great place to spend a couple of days and base yourself for a few of the local treks and certainly a place that Kat and I would love to come back to one day.

Next Pod - Passu, Pakistan.

Love,

Nath and Kat.
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