9 amazing mountain passes in Pakistan that you’d probably never heard of

Published: March 3, 2015
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You’ve all heard of the famous Khunjerab Pass which connects Pakistan with its northern neighbour China via the famed Karkoram Highway. But there are many other equally magnificent – if not more – mountain passes within Pakistan’s borders.

1.  The Mintaka Pass – at over 4,700 metres above sea level, this famed high mountain pass in the Karakorams just west of Khunjerab was used by travellers on the ancient Silk Route. In this picture, the pillar marks the border between China and Pakistan.

 

2.  Gondogoro La (Pass) – at an astonishing 5,940 metres, this is one of the highest passes in the world connecting the Concordia region with Hushe Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan. From its top one can see K2 and 3 other mountains that are above 8,000 metres. The picture shows top of Gondogoro La looking south towards Hushe Valley.

 

3.  The Dadarili Pass – 5,030 metres – this high mountain pass connects Upper Swat with the Ghizer Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan. With Swat cleared of militants, the pass can be used for a – somewhat strenuous – trek into Gilgit-Baltistan. The picture here is from the top of the pass looking towards the Ghizer side.

 

4.  Chillinji La (Pass) – Over 5,300 metres high, this pass connects the Karamber River valley in Ishkoman with the Chapursan River valley in Upper Hunza.

PHOTO: MUHAMMAD AHSAN

 

5.  The Burzil Pass – 4,100 metres – situated in Astore district in Gilgit-Baltistan, just west of the Deosai National Park. This is a motorable pass – jeeps can reach the top – but since it is close to the Line of Control (it used to connect Gilgit with Srinagar), it is currently closed.

 

6.  The Shimshal Pass – at 4,735 metres it leads to the Shimshal Braldu River valley. Shimshal Braldu River is a tributary of the Shaksgam river which straddles the Pakistan-China border. This area is used by mountaineers approaching the north face of K2. The picture shows a stream running through the top of the pass.

PHOTO: OMAR JAVAID

 

7. The Karambar Pass – At 4,300 metres, this pass in the Hindukush connects the Yarkhun River valley in Upper Chitral with Karambar River Valley in Ishkoman in Ghizer district. It is also known for its famed Karambar lake, seen in the picture.

 

8. The Boroghil Pass – at 3,800 metres, its relatively lower than the mountain passes found in the Karakoram. This mountain pass connects Pakistan’s Chitral District with Afghanistan’s Badaskhan province, which is in the legendary Wakhan corridor.

 

9. The Kachikani Pass – at over 4,700 metres, this mountain pass connects Pakistan’s picturesque Swat Valley with Chitral Valley to its west – this picture is from the top of the pass looking east towards Swat.

PHOTO: IFTIKHAR ALVI

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Mir Taqi
    Mar 3, 2015 - 2:10PM

    Amazing pictures of the beautiful northern areas of Pakistan… Good work!Recommend

  • Proud Khaki
    Mar 3, 2015 - 2:18PM

    I’ve the honour of flying over almost 7 of these passes. Only Army Aviators fly in these areas in extreme weather conditions.
    We proudly say :
    “We fly where eagles dare”Recommend

  • LuvAdventure
    Mar 3, 2015 - 2:23PM

    Jaw dropping. Living in gulf and interacting with multiple nationalities, I can definitely say for sure that if such places are marketed properly, there is no reason to believe that we can’t earn revenue out of these. I have seen very mediocre and expensive places where tourists visit, just because they were marketed well. I am hopeful that the once security issue is resolved, even the private sector would come up to promote such places. Recommend

  • Overseas pakistani
    Mar 3, 2015 - 2:37PM

    My eyes can’t believe this is pakistan inshaALLAH one day i will visit these places #MybeautifulPakRecommend

  • Queen
    Mar 3, 2015 - 2:56PM

    Great work and Amazing pictures. I hope to visit all these places in future Insha Allah.Recommend

  • ed
    Mar 3, 2015 - 3:24PM

    1) Please provide Photo Credits with each picture individually.
    2) There are many more and one would like the paper to publish a set of these more frequently.
    3) Kindly also discuss how the “passes” are referred differently in regional languages.Recommend

  • A Peshawary
    Mar 3, 2015 - 3:36PM

    Thanks for sharing a part of heaven on earth, even without a visit one can see/imagine the beautiful mother earth.

    Muhammad Ahsan; it is one of best shots produced through camera lenses.

    A PeshawaryRecommend

  • Mar 3, 2015 - 4:33PM

    Well its nice to read and see all these, you have come up with some informative post. But you have missed some of the amazing passes of Gojal valley Pakistan. Last year I went to Kilik pass which has no match as I have seen some previous wild plants and the famous Golden Marmot but we missed the brown bear. The altitude of Kilik Pass
    is 4,827 metres or 15,837 feet.
    Kilik Pass is famous because the real ancient silk-route runs through this pass. To add more the highest polo ground is in this area, known as Shupun shawarn and Shirin Maidun.
    The other Pass is Irshod but people write is as Irshad pass, situated in Chipursan valley of Gojal area. The altitude of Irshod pass is 4,977 metres or 16,329 feet.

    It will be great if you can add these info to the post. Recommend

  • Sajid Ali
    Mar 3, 2015 - 4:50PM

    Just a minor correction, Ishkoman Valley is in Ghizer District, not in Hunza District as written under Karambar Pass.Recommend

  • Mar 3, 2015 - 7:26PM

    Yeah that’s right. @editor you need to correct the location of Karambar Pass.Recommend

  • Mar 3, 2015 - 7:48PM

    good work. but there are many other passes worth to mention here, like mazeno pass, dainter pass, nalter pass, chachur pass, burji la, lupke la, skim la, chich pass, shounter pass and most famous hispar psss and many more. each of the said passes connects various valleys. Pakistan has unmatched beauty in the world. just need to be navigated thoroughly. to explore such a wonderful places one has to fall in love with mountain otherwise we the most of Pakistani tourists have no taste for exploring. we just visit hill stations for entertaining outing. it is sorry to say that foreigners have more knowledge about our mountains than us.Recommend

  • bashir ahmad
    Mar 4, 2015 - 12:15AM

    IRSAD (irshod) pass is also missing.This pass connects chipursan valley with Afghan pamirRecommend

  • Riz
    Mar 4, 2015 - 9:02AM

    Simply Beautiful. Love my country.Recommend

  • Mar 4, 2015 - 10:39AM

    My Amazing Pakistan…Recommend

  • zubi faridi
    Mar 4, 2015 - 11:02AM

    the beautiful Pakistan we never explore it ever Recommend

  • HASNAIN MEHDI
    Mar 6, 2015 - 5:20PM

    BEAUTIFUffL. I HAVE HAD THE PLEASURE OF FLYING OVER THESE PASSES SEVERAL TIMES . THERE ARE TWO MORE PASSES . KERMIN PASS AND KILIK PASS. WHEN YOU PASS OVER KERMIN PASS THERE ARE TWO VALLIES ONE ENDING AT KILK AND THE OTHER AT MINTAKA. BESIDES WHEN YOU CROSS BABA GHUNDI ZIARAT YOU GO TO IRSHAD PASS WHICH TOUCHES THE WAKHAN SECTOR.Recommend

  • ptr
    Mar 27, 2015 - 6:21PM

    Thank you.Recommend

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