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The glaciers of Pakistan- 20 important facts

    The glaciers of Pakistan are absolutely fascinating. A country not known particularly for its tourism industry, Pakistan offers untouched beauty that isn’t always easy to find nowadays. But what do we need to know about the glaciers of Pakistan? Keep reading to find out…

    The glaciers of Pakistan

    Many tourists visit Pakistan every year to trek high-altitude mountains and admire breathtaking scenery. Glaciers of Pakistan are a common sight along these trek sites and expeditions, as they are in most alpine regions. Pakistan has about 7,200 glaciers, making it the third pole beside the Antarctic and Arctic.

    In this article, I will share 20 important facts about the glaciers of Pakistan and what it takes to conquer these icy giants. The more you read, the more you will understand these picturesque glaciers of Pakistan. After reading this article, I’m sure these facts will inspire you to travel to Pakistan and see the glaciers for yourself. 

    With that said, let’s dive into the first fact!

    glaciers of pakistan

    1. Home to More than 7,000 Glaciers

    It is estimated that Pakistan has over 7,253 glaciers at the moment. Because of this number, Pakistan is one of the most glaciated countries outside the polar regions. Most of these glaciers are located in the northern part of the country and are breathtakingly beautiful.

    These iconic glaciers are accompanied by hidden valleys, soaring peaks, and many trekking routes. If you are up for adventures, then you can pack your gear and set yourself up for a trekking venture along these marvelous glaciers.

    2. Glaciers are Growing in Size

    Climate change has been affecting the glaciers of Pakistan significantly. However, resources have revealed that some of the glaciers in Pakistan are growing in size instead of shrinking. Environmentalists call this unusual phenomenon is as “The Karakoram Anomaly.”

    Why this phenomenon is occurring in Pakistan still remains a mystery. Scientists believe the rubble covering the glaciers provides insulation against climate change. No matter what the reason behind this paradoxical phenomenon is, the Karakoram Anomaly remains a fascinating concept.

    3. Homes the World’s Fifth-Longest Glacier

    One least known fact about the glaciers of Pakistan is that it includes some of the world’s longest glaciers outside the polar regions. The Baltoro Glacier, which runs 63 km long, is the fifth-longest glacier in the world. Moreover, it is also home to some of the world’s tallest mountains, including K2, Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum II.

    To witness this beautiful glacier in person is a treat for nature lovers. Baltoro has been famous for its unreal location and awestruck grandeur, which helped it get the nickname “The Throne Room of the World.” If you ever visit Baltoro glaciers, make sure to explore dozens of smaller glaciers nearby.  

    facts about the glaciers of Pakistan

    4. Biafo Glacier is Pakistan’s Longest Glacier

    Biafo glacier is one of the longest glaciers of Pakistan. This scenic glacier runs 67 km long with the starting point in Askole and runs all the way to the North to trespass the Hispar Glacier. Among the many glaciers of Pakistan, Biafo is considered relatively comfortable for camping.

    The bottom of the Biafo glacier has semi-arid meadows that the locals often use for grazing their cattle. The scenery at the Biafo glacier is stunning, and it even surpasses the beauty of the Baltoro.

    The snow lake and the Hispar La pas are a few key attractions to visit at the Biafo glacier. Campsites along the Biafo are placed away from the glacier, near lateral moraines and steep hillsides.

    5. Snow Lake is among the World’s Greatest Treks

    Together the Hispar and Biafo glaciers form one of the world’s greatest treks known as the Snow Lake. Hispar glacier is icier than any other glacier of Pakistan. When you reach this glacier’s peak, you will witness empty white snow scattered all over the fields. Because of the extreme weather conditions trekking there is a risky task.

    Technically trekking on the snow lake without the right gear is a deadly idea. Trekkers must rope up themselves when crossing the lake as the risk of stumbling upon crevasses is too high.

    6. Siachen Glacier is the World’s Highest Battlefield

    For many years the Siachen glacier has been remembered as the highest battlefield in the world. Unfortunately, for the past 40 years, India and Pakistan have been having a constant battle on the territory of Siachen. The Siachen Glacier is located in the heavily glaciated region of the Karakoram, frequently referred to as the “Third Pole.”

    It is one of Karakoram’s longest glaciers that, runs 76 km long. not only this, but Siachen is also the world’s second-largest glacier outside of the polar region. It is just south of the large drainage that divides the Eurasian Plate from the Indian subcontinent.

    7. Magnificent Alpine Landscapes at Siachen Glacier

    Siachen glacier hosts some of the most awestruck alpine landscapes and picturesque mountains. You might have discovered alpine landscapes, but none could ever be compared to the ones found in Siachen.

    Even though we all might want to visit this glorious glacier, however, right now, it is impossible. Perhaps there could be a time when the battle between the two nations would be resolved, and we can explore this snowy heaven. I am sure none of us is going to miss out on this one!

    Siachen glacier has some of the rarest species of animals, like snow leopards, ibex, and brown bears, besides picturesque glaciers and alpine landscapes. The saddest part is that these species are getting extinct because of the military activities in the region.

    8. You Can’t Discover the Glaciers of Pakistan All Alone

    If you ever think of going on a voyage to discover the glaciers of Pakistan, remember not to go all alone. Trekking can be all fun, but when you do it on a path fully covered with snow, you can face fatal consequences. In most cases, you might slip and tumble under a pile of snow.

    Before arranging your trip, make sure you are purchasing the right gear. Next, you must decide on your tour guide or partner with whom you will join the journey. It is always better to contact local touring guides or campers as they are aware of how to survive in extreme conditions.

    9. Panmah Glacier Comprises of Debris

    Panmah glacier is situated in the Gilgit Baltistan region of Pakistan and is included in the Central Karakoram National Park. This glacier is 44 km long and has an altitude caliber area of 4061 meters.

    Panmah glacier would look like a mountain covered in snow and debris from a distance. Explorers who have been there revealed that this glacier has been receiving surges due to the pile of rubble. And this debris is what exactly imparts this glacier with a snowy and muddy look.

    10. Rare wildlife species live in Biafo Glacier

    Trekking at the Biafo glacier can be a fascinating journey as it is home to some of the rarest wildlife species. Almost all the glaciers of Pakistan have somewhat traces of wildlife, but the one found at the Biafo is just incredible.

    If you ever visit there, you will find the Ibex, the Markhor, and the Himalayan brown bear. You could spot the ibex and Markhor while trekking but bears and snow leopards are some rarest species. So, don’t forget to capture them if you spot any of them but remember to maintain your safe distance because, after all, they are wild!

    11. Godwin-Austen Glacier Honors its Explorer

    Godwin-Austen glacier received its name from its early explorer Henry Haversham Godwin-Austin. This glacier was named after him to honor the contribution of Godwin-Austin in discovering this marvelous glacier.

    The Godwin-Austen glacier is located in the Gilgit Baltistan region of Pakistan. This glacier is close to K2 as it is right in the center of Karakoram and can be reached via the Balti town of Skardu. So if you want to catch an exhilarating shot of K2, then the Godwin-Austen glacier must be your ultimate destination.

    Together the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers form a conjunction known as the Concordia. The site is most famous among tourists for its trekking route and the view of enormous mountains in the surroundings.

    Godwin Austen Glacier offers an unparalleled variety of outdoor activities. Going down the Godwin-Austen glacier is less difficult than going up. However, the weather will have a significant impact on your experience.

    Pakistan has a total of five mountains that are over eight thousand meters tall. Godwin-Austin glacier is the only glacier of Pakistan from where you can spot four of these gigantic mountains together at once. And trust me, the scene is purely magical! 

    facts about the glaciers of Pakistan

    13. Abruzzi Glacier Holds the Perfect View of K2

    The Abruzzi Glacier is located in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, to the North of the Baltoro Kangri peak. This glacier gets its name from its explorer Prince Lugi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi. He managed the expedition to explore the mountains in the Karakoram range in 1909.

    The only thing Abruzzi glacier is famous for is its unreal view of Pakistan’s highest peak, K2. Trekking there can be a challenging task, but everything depends on the weather conditions and the gear you choose.

    14. Pakistan’s Longest Glaciers are in the North

    One thing we are already aware of is that the number of glaciers in Pakistan is enormous. If you ever travel to the northern region of the country, like Hunza, Chitral, or Baltistan, it is mandatory for you to run into a glacier. Most of these glaciers are the longest outside the polar regions and are a must-visit for adventure lovers.

    15. Pakistan Gets a lot out of its Glaciers

    The glaciers of Pakistan not only aid in the country’s beauty and promote tourism, but it also has many other benefits. One shocking fact is that the Indus river exists mainly due to these glaciers. This mighty river is accountable for the agricultural industry of Pakistan, mainly in the Punjab and adjoining areas.

    Apart from the rivers, these glaciers are also responsible for maintaining a normal temperature. Without glaciers, the temperatures in these areas would be extremely hot.

    16. Rimo Glacier is Among World’s Highest Mountain

    At the height of 7,385 meters, Rimo I is the major summit of the Rimo massif (24,229 ft.). It is located in the remote Rimo Muztagh subrange of the Karakoram mountain range. Additionally, the Rimo glacier is the 71st-highest peak in the world and is situated about 20 kilometers northeast of the Siachen Glacier.

    Rimo glacier empties its water into the Shyok river, which gives it the name Rimo which means “stripped mountain.” Sadly Rimo is close to the Siachen glacier, and due to the military activity there, it doesn’t have much exploration or other fun activities.

    17. The Gasherbrum Glacier Lacks Vegetation

    The Gasherbrum glacier is located at the base of Gasherbrum Mountain in the Baltistan region of Ladakh. The weather here is extremely cold and remains below-freezing levels, due to which vegetation in the Gasherbrum glacier is nearly impossible.

    However, as the Gasherbrum glacier provides stunning views of the Nanga Parbat and many other mountains in the surrounding area, tourists visit it for climbing, mountaineering, and hiking.

    The Passu Glacier is located on the settlement of Passu’s southern side. The backside of this glacier is where Passu Peak is located. Many other glaciers, including Batura Glacier, are connected to this one. Passu glacier is well known for its breathtaking view of the Passu cones.

    Due primarily to the lack of noteworthy peaks or trails nearby, the Batura is not frequently visited by trekkers. The Passu is an adjacent glacier that is more commonly visited by tourists.

    The Patundas Meadow in the Hunza Valley offers the greatest views of the Passu Glacier. You can see both the Batura and Passu Glaciers from this location, which makes up a delightful portrait.

    19. Record-Breaking Glacier Surge in Pakistan

    Due to climate change and many other reasons, the glaciers of Pakistan have been reported to go through surges. Pakistan’s Kutiah Glacier records the fastest glacier surge. It traveled more than 12 kilometers in three months in 1953.

    Yearly a number of glaciers are facing surges due to many reasons, including climate change. Recently environmentalists have reported a faster-than-usual melting of glaciers due to high-temperature records. Since then, major villages and even cities in the North have been facing flash floods.

    20. Glaciers of Pakistan Aiding in Irrigation

    The glaciers of Pakistan are essentially the backbone of all northern civilization as it provides much-needed irrigation to the nearby villages. The natives have been utilizing these glaciers for building networks of pipes to irrigate crops and remove chunks for the refrigeration of staples. There wouldn’t be any life in the harsh North without these glaciers!

    Bottom Line- the glaciers of Pakistan

    Hopefully, the important facts mentioned here about the glaciers of Pakistan have intrigued you to arrange your next trip to Pakistan. Remember not to forget your safety gear and your companion before traveling to explore these magnificent white peaks. If you love to read more about traveling, you definitely need to read the articles below!