Sunday, 31 May 2015

Trekking styles in Pakistan

There are four basic styles of trekking in Pakistan. The one you choose depends on your experience and finance.  Backpacking is cheap but for most people are not fit for long treks. Self-organized be difficult and time consuming to without a fair command on language.  Going through a local agent is more reliable removes the need of some equipments without taking with it all of your flexibility, but it can be expensive.  Trekking with an international adventure travel company is very expensive, catering for those with little experience or time.

   Whatever style you chose, remembering that each trekking or mountaineering represent another wedge of destruction of fragile environment and culture and step-lightly.

     Talking of stepping lightly a word of warning, Most of Karakoram Glaciers re cover in gravel and boulders, and some are deeply crevassed, particularly where two glaciers are met or where glacier is surging forward. Other glaciers may be smoother and less cover in rocks, particularly high up, and some are like kilometres wide, motorways of ice with only small crevasses. In August you reach patches of permanent snow starting between 4500 and 500 metres; here the glaciers become very dangerous as the crevasses are hidden. Trekkers who venture this for must walk in single file, probing forcefully in front with walking stick to find the crevasses. It is better to rope up at least the first two or three in line. Mid-afternoon is most dangerous time, when the snow is at its softest. Someone in the group should be trained crevasses rescue.

   Also a world of warning about bridges; some are washed away each season and only the local know which are in place and safe. If you are trekking unguided, be sure to ask frequently about the condition of the path and bridges ahead.

      Nowadays trekking without guide has been easier than earlier, because you find someone in every village who can speak little English to clear the message.


     The cheapest way to trek is to do by yourself; find the cheapest flight to Pakistan, travel by public transport to the beginning of your trek, then put your kit in bag and set off without guide and porters, like in Nepal where it is possible to live off the land and sleeping and eating in village guest houses, but trekking in Pakistan is different from it. Most of the trekking here is higher than the permanent villages, so there are no shops tea houses, or hotels along the trails. This means you must carry everything with you and that unless you are particularly fit and experienced trekkers aware of your own capabilities your range is reduced to a few days. Backpacking does, though, provide maximum flexibility. You can go everywhere you like or slowly as you wish.




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