|Zone and Permit
|Open, no permit
|This trek through forested glades and flower- filled meadows along sparkling trout streams leads over the high Kachakani An from intimidating Swat into more peaceful Chitral.
The scenic Kachakani An trek crosses a glacier and a pass (4766m) between Swat’s Ushu Gol and Chitral’s Bashqar Gol. Upper Ushu Gol has lush pastures, forested hill sides and turquoise lakes.
The US AMS 1:250,000 topographic maps Churrai (NI 43- 1) and Mastuj (NJ 43- 13) cover the trek.
Guides and Porters
A reliable, responsible guide is indispensable. Hire a guide associated with a trekking company or the government. Porters from Laspur may be more reliable than those from Swat. Porters ask for a flat rate per day, including payment for food rations.
Many inexpensive hotels and eateries line the road. PTDC Motel (0936- 830014) has single/ doubles; deluxe rooms. Basic supplies are available in the Bazaar.
Access to Kalam Kohistan is from Saidu Sharif or Mingora in the Swat Valley. PTDC operates a luxury bus from Rawalpindi to Saidu Sharif that departs at 9am. From Mingora’s general bus stand, regular transport runs all day to Kalam. The trip Mingora – Kalam (2½ hours).
GETTING TO/FROM THE TREK
To the Start
The road is sealed as far up Ushu Gol as Matiltan, 16km beyond Kalam, but jeeps go beyond to Mahodand Lake. Minibuses are generally available between Kalam and Matiltan. Kalam- Mahodand Lake special hires (two to three hours). Alternatively, you can walk on the road from Matiltan to Machiangaas (six to seven hours, 13km).
From the Finish
Sor Laspur is on the Chitral- Gilgit road, but no regular transport goes to Chitral or over the Shandur Pass to Gilgit. Occasional Sor Laspur- Mastuj jeeps. Mastuj- Chitral jeeps. Sor Laspur- Chitral special hires, and Sor Laspur Gilgit.
Day 1 : Machiangaas to Diwangar
4- 5 hours, 9.5km, 160m ascent
Machiangaas (2890m) meadows lie just south of the cedar and pine- fringed Mahodand Lake, famous for its trout. Swat’s highest peak, snowy Falak Sar (5918m) soars above. Follow the wide trail through alpine forest along the Ushu Gol to the summer settlement of Diwangar (3050m). The Dadarelli An route (see Ghizar’s Other Treks,) heads north from here.
Day 2 : Diwangar to Shonz
4- 5 hours, 10km, 150m ascent
The broad trail rises through pine forest. Cross to the Ushu Gol’s true right bank and continue to Shonz (3200m), a Gujar summer camp at the foot of Bashkaro An (see Ghizar’s Other Treks,).
|The area has a heavily armed populace, which necessitates trekking with an armed escort. Reports of robbery (or worse) of unescorted trekkers are not uncommon. Register with the police on arrival in Kalam. Beware of thievery and post guards at night.
Day 3 : Shonz to Bokhtshal
4- 5 hours, 8km, 675m ascent
The trail follows the stream, rising steadily through willow and birch groves, past a series of small falls and blue- green lakes to Bokhtshal (3875m), a summer pasture. Alpine scenery of birch trees, wildflowers and a sparkling stream makes this a pleasant camp site at the base of Kachakani An.
Day 4 : Bokhtshal to Khunza Uts
8- 9 hours, 11km, 891m ascent, 1016m descent
Start early and follow an ever- steepening trail. The view opens as you climb, with side glaciers and peaks coming into view. Climb over snow slopes, which are difficult when soft, to the Kachakani An (4766m).
Descend steeply on snow- covered glacier, then move onto moraine along its true right margin. Beware of rock fall, especially late in the season. Pass the Kachakani Glacier’s snout and continue downstream to the grassy camp of site Khunza Uts (3750m, ‘Queen’s Spring’), with a clear stream and fine mountain views.
Day 5 : Khunza Uts to Bashqar Gol Camp
4 hours, 9km, 335m descent
Follow the Kachakani Gol downstream to its confluence with the Bashqar Gol and Bashqar Gol Camp (3415m).
Day 6 : Bashqar Gol Camp to Sor Laspur
4- 5 hours, 10km, 565m descent
Follow the Bashqar Gol’s true right bank downstream. Pass through the hamlet of Nalagh to Reach Sor Laspur (2850m).