Sunset Over Hispar La

The ultimate classic traverse of the Hispar glaciers proceeds through a wilderness of rock and ice up the Biafo, across Luke Lawo, over the Hispar La, and down the meadow-lined snowy Hispar.

Together with the Biafo and Hispar glaciers, the Karakoram’s second- (65km) and fifth-(49km) longest glaciers, form the Karakoram’s longest continuous stretch of the glacier (114km) linked by the Hispar La (5151m).

Trekkers who attempt the Hispar La trek on their own risk both accident and becoming lost. Almost every year one or two unaccompanied trekkers disappear needlessly, falling into crevasses. In the event of injury or accident, self-rescue is the only option. Hire an experienced individual to show you the way. What would you least like to part with, your money or your life?

More than a dozen 7000m peaks tower above these glaciers and the Biafo’s granite spires-Luke Lawo Brak (6593m), Luke Brak (6029m), and Baintha Brak (7285m), or The Ogre- form a magnificent cathedral of mountain architecture. Lower pastures along the Biafo Glacier are used by Balti villagers from the Braldu Valley, and lower ones along the Hispar Glacier are used by Burushaski-speaking Nagyrkutz.

The upper ablation valleys and meadows along the glaciers, however, are filled with flowers and are unused except by wildlife. Brown bears occasionally appear (raiding campsites, especially Karpogoro), as do ibex and eagles.

An unsealed road from Hispar village due to the KKH follows the Hispar River, but is subject to blockage by high water, rock fall and landslides. From June to September, you must plan to walk the 16km between Hispar village and Huru, from where the road is usually open. Vehicles from Hispar and Huru are infrequent, so either prearranges a special hire to meet you or walk to the KKH.

Some parties send a ‘runner’ ahead to the KKH to request a jeep in Huru. These are typically VIP jeeps where drivers usually allow a maximum of four passengers. Huru-KKH special hires cost Rs 1700 (1¼ hours, 26km). When the road is open to Hispar village, a Hispar-Nagyr Proper special hire.

The walk to the KKH is hot and dry, so carry water from Huru. When porters carry loads from Huru to the KKH, you pay them an additional two stages. This can equal the cost of a jeep, so you may as well as hire one and enjoy the ride. Porters with no loads aren’t paid for walking between Huru and the KKH.