Karakoram Mountain range

Posted in : Jammu & Kashmir

(added few years ago!)

The Karakoram is a large mountain range spanning the borders between Pakistan, India and China, located in the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan), Ladakh (India), and Xinjiang region, (China). It is one of the Greater Ranges of Asia, a part of the greater Himalaya while north of the actual Himalaya Range.

The Karakoram is home to the highest concentration of peaks over eight kilometres (five miles) in height to be found anywhere on earth,[ including K2, the second highest peak of the world (8,611 m/28,251 ft). K2 is just 237 m (778 ft) lower than the 8,848 m (29,029 ft) tall Mount Everest.

The range is about 500 km (311 mi) in length, and is the most heavily glaciated part of the world outside the polar regions. The Siachen Glacier at 70 km and the Biafo Glacier at 63 km rank as the world's second and third longest glaciers outside the polar regions.

The Karakoram is bounded on the northeast by the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and on the north by the Pamir Mountains. The southern boundary of the Karakoram is formed, west to east, by the Gilgit, Indus, and Shyok Rivers, which separate the range from the northwestern end of the Himalaya range proper as these rivers converge southwestward towards the plains of Pakistan.

Due to its altitude and ruggedness, the Karakoram is much less inhabited than parts of the Himalayas further east. European explorers first visited early in the 19th century, followed by British surveyors starting in 1856.

The Muztagh Pass was crossed in 1887 by the expedition of Colonel Francis Younghusband and the valleys above the Hunza River were explored by General Sir George K. Cockerill in 1892. Explorations in the 1910s and 1920s established most of the geography of the region.

Karakoram is a Kyrgyz term meaning black gravel. The name was first applied by local traders to the Karakoram Pass. Early European travellers, including William Moorcroft and George Hayward, started using the term for the range of mountains west of the pass, although they also used the term Muztagh for the range now known as Karakoram. Later terminology was influenced by the Survey of India, whose surveyor Thomas Montgomerie in the 1850s gave the labels K1 to K6 (K for Karakoram) to six high mountains visible from his station at Mount Haramukh in Kashmir.

The name Karakoram was used in the early 20th century, for example by Kenneth Mason, for the range now known as the Baltoro Muztagh. The term is now used to refer to the entire range from the Batura Muztagh above Hunza in the west to the Saser Muztagh in the bend of the Shyok River in the east.

he Karakoram and the Himalaya are important to Earth scientists for several reasons. They are one of the world's most geologically active areas, at the boundary between two colliding continents. Therefore, they are important in the study of plate tectonics.

A significant part, 28-50% of the Karakoram Range is glaciated, compared to the Himalaya (8-12%) and European Alps (2.2%).

Mountain glaciers may serve as an indicator of climate change, advancing and receding with long-term changes in temperature and precipitation. A study by the Universities of California and Potsdam found that the Karakoram glaciers are mostly stagnating because, unlike in the Himalayas, many Karakoram glaciers are covered in a layer of rubble which has insulated the ice from the warmth of the sun. Where there is no such insulation, the rate of retreat is high.


The notable peaks of the Karakoram are:

•             K2 (8,611 m)

•             Gasherbrum I (8,068 m)

•             Broad Peak (Phalchen Kangri) (8,047 m)

•             Gasherbrum II (8,035 m)

•             Gasherbrum III (7,952 m)

•             Gasherbrum IV (7,925 m)

•             Distaghil Sar (7,885 m)

•             Kunyang Chhish (7,852 m)

•             Masherbrum I (7,821 m)

•             Batura I (7,795 m)

•             Rakaposhi (7,788 m)

•             Batura II (7,762 m)

•             Kanjut Sar (7,760 m)

•             Saltoro Kangri (7,742 m)

•             Batura III (7,729 m)

•             Saser Kangri (7,672 m)

•             Chogolisa (7,665 m)

•             Haramosh Peak (7,397 m)

•             Momhil Sar (7,343 m)

•             Baintha Brakk (7,285 m)

•             Muztagh Tower (7,273 m)

The majority of the highest peaks are in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Baltistan has more than 100 mountain peaks exceeding 6,100 metres (20,000 ft) height from sea level.

The Karakoram mountain range has been referred to in a number of novels and movies.

Rudyard Kipling refers to the Karakorum mountain range in his novel Kim, which was first published in 1900.

Marcel Ichac made a film titled Karakoram, chronicling a French expedition to the range in 1936. The film won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival of 1937.

Greg Mortenson details the Karakoram, and specifically K2 and the Balti, extensively in his book Three Cups of Tea, about his quest to build schools for girls in the region.

Reaching Karakoram

Srinagar to Jalal Abad Road, Jalal Abad (527Km)

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Baramulla to Jalal Abad Road, Jalal Abad (475 Km)

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Sudhan Galli to Jalal Abad Road, Jalal Abad (414Km)

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Karakoram Images

Tags : Karakoram, Mountain range

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(added few years ago!) / 5187 views
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