Presentation on theme: "Biking to the X-treme North [37º 05’ N, 74º 40’ E] Shahid Dad. Kaiser Tufail [180º Panoramic view of Kilak Pass; our footsteps can be seen at the left."— Presentation transcript:
Biking to the X-treme North [37º 05’ N, 74º 40’ E] Shahid Dad. Kaiser Tufail [180º Panoramic view of Kilak Pass; our footsteps can be seen at the left of picture]
The Objective – Kilak Pass
At the start of the expedition, we lodged at the FCNA Mess in Gilgit. After two days of utter luxury, in which we also assembled our bikes and took them out for a test spin, we finally set course, much to the amusement of the Gilgit garrison! Our biking route was Gilgit-Chaltnagar-Altit.Hunza-Pasu-Sost-Misgar, over some of the harshest climb gradients stretching over 250-km. From Misgar, we trekked another 40-km as biking was not possible over the treacherous mountain tracks. The last five kilometre stretch to Kilak Pass was over knee-deep snow at an elevation of 16,000 ft AMSL.
As if the shaky suspension bridge is not enough, they send you into a dark tunnel to attune you to what’s coming.
Rock carvings a short distance out of Hunza; these are claimed to date to 2 nd Century BC.
Despite our copper tans, we were usually taken for foreigners; locals claimed they had seldom seen any Pakistanis doing the ‘thing’!
Shahid, with his home-on-wheels.
One of many bridges over Hunza River along the famous Karakoram Highway.
A view from my room in Eagle’s Nest Hotel, Altit-Hunza.
Breakfast on the terrace of Eagle’s Nest Hotel, perched a thousand feet above the town of Altit-Hunza.
Breakfast at Eagle’s Nest Hotel was a feast for the eyes too!
Soaking some mist from a roadside waterfall.
20-km long Ata-abad Lake which was formed 3 years ago, after a landslide blocked the Hunza River. A section of the KKH has been submerged.
Crossing Ata-abad Lake by boat.
Seems like a postcard from Switzerland.
Cathedral Ridge, near Pasu.
Cathedral Ridge, Pasu, in the evening.
This young boy from Khaibar village could pass for a Bosnian!
A ‘Gatorade’ break.
These camera-shy urchins invited me to witness a cricket match that their team was playing at nearby Hussaini village.
Pakistan’s northern-most village of Misgar.
Two charming children of Misgar village.
Shahid with a delightful bunch of school children at Misgar. Literacy amongst the younger lot is 100%.
Setting course from Morkushi to Kilak.
A herd of yaks on the frozen Kilak River.
Our base camp at Sad Buldi; it was the coldest night with the mercury at minus 10ºC and wicked 40-kt winds and snow flurries throughut the night.
Setting course for Kilak Pass early in the morning, before the unusually thick snow started to melt. Melt it did, and I plunged knee-deep many times!
This much snow at the base camp during May was unusual.
We had been obsessively staring at the Google satellite image (inset) for months before the expedition. Finally we were actually there!
At our objective: Border Pillar No 2, Kilak Pass.
Border Pillar No 2 at Kilak Pass was raised in 1964 to demarcate the Pak-China border, after signing of the border agreement.
The snow-clad landscape was absolutely pristine. This is my favourite picture; I think it can find a place in NG.
Border fence at Kilak Pass. Pakistan is in the foreground, China across the fence.
Qalandarchi Fort, built by the British during the 19 th century ‘Great Game’. 5-km beyond Misgar, it is Pakistan’s northern-most fort.
The trek back to base camp over boulder-strewn terrain was hard on the ankles, which I am still nursing.
Our camp at Morkushi. Shahid can be seen stoking a fire for a dinner of teriaki rice!
After a hectic two weeks, we got a good rest at a luxury hotel in Aliabad-Hunza. This is a view from my room.