THE WEEKLY #265: EXPLORING HUNZA

After the K2 Basecamp Trek, there was a definite need for some rest. However, a few days back in Islamabad had us ready to rock and roll again. We weren’t heading out for quite as big of an expedition as the two-week trek to K2 Basecamp but a few micro-adventures in Hunza were waiting for us.

We flew from Islamabad to Gilgit and drove to a small yurt-style accommodation called Mountain Story. This trip felt very relaxed and we were enjoying the laidback atmosphere of traveling with just three guys compared to the big group. The owner at Mountain Story brews his own beer from his very own hops and treated us to a couple of IPA’s. The trip was off to a great start.

The next day we headed off to Ghulkin Village, which is home to less than 2500 residents. Here we would base for a few days as we took in the village vibes. Staying at a homestay, we were able to explore the village and see how the locals went about their business. It was a beautiful place, which was covered in green crops and apricot trees. Huge peaks surrounded the village creating a great atmosphere within this small town.

A small hike one morning along the local suspension bridges dusted off the cobwebs from the K2 Trek and gave us some insights into the local scenery. A yak burger gave us insights into the local cuisine. We capped off our local sightseeing with a swim in Borath Lake to cool off in the searing heat.

Our big adventure for the trip was a 3-day trek to Patundas Meadows. Hidden amidst the towering peaks of the Upper Hunza region is an incredible plateau, wedged between two enormous glaciers. The Patundas ridge is in effect a shepherd’s meadow but it is so much more. Surrounded by the Passu Glacier on one side and the mighty Batura Glacier on the other flank, Patundas offers some of the most incredible glacier views in Pakistan. The three-day expedition begins by crossing the Passu Glacier before climbing up the ridge to reach Patundas Camp (4,300m). From the camp, it is possible to explore further up the ridge towards Passu Peak, where we reached 4800m of elevation.

This three-day hike was one of the best I’ve done with not another hike seen on the entire trek. It felt like a true adventure and we had a sunset I’ll never forget up at 4,800m on the ridge as we looked down on both glaciers.

After the trek, we were all pretty fatigued and spent a few days back at Mountain Story recovering and eating well. It was then goodbye to Joao, who headed off back to Islamabad, en route to Portugal. It was now just Chris and myself as we headed off to Skardu in preparation for our next big adventure.

These are my favorite moments from the week. I hope you had a good one also.

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