The following treks are all in an open zone.
Chaprot Valley in Lower Nagyr runs west from Chalt village above the confluence of the Chaprot and Hunza Rivers. Described as ‘more beautiful than any other valley in the Gilgit Agency’ by Schomberg in the 1930s, Chaprot has beautiful views of Rakaposhi and easy one-to two- day walks from mid-June to October. Horses are available for hire.
Chaprot village (2134m) is one hour’s walk on the road up the valley’s north side from Chalt (1981m). A one-day walk leads north-west from Chaprot, up and over the ridge (3657m) to Daintar village (2743m) in the Daintar Nala. The Ghashumaling Valley (Rashumaling on the Swiss map) branches slightly south from Chaprot village. With gentle trails through mulberry, peach, apple and walnut orchards, it’s a popular day trek and picnic area. Follow the trail past Chaprot’s high school to Rahbat village and continue upvalley through a canyon. The Kacheli Glacier lies at this side valley’s head. Three to four hours up the Chaprot Valley from Chaprot village is Burishki (2591m), a summer settlement. A few jeeps ply between Gilgit and Chaprot.
Baltar and Toltar Glaciers
Bar Valley (bar means ‘valley’ in Burushaski) receives the water of two huge glaciers descending from the peaks at the Batura Glacier’s head: Baltar from the 7500m peaks of the Batura Wall to the north- east; and Toltar from Kampir Dior (7168m) to the north- west. Two nontechnical treks through summer pastures along both glaciers are possible mid-June to October. July and August are the most pleasant months for visiting the pastures. March to May, however, is reportedly the best time for watching the valley’s sizeable ibex population. A few jeeps from Gilgit go beyond Torbuto Das to Bar village (2200m), 22km from Chalt across from the KKH, but plan on starting from Torbuto Das.
The DAV 1:100,000 Hunza- Karakoram map is most accurate. Most place names and locations along the Baltar and Toltar Glaciers are inaccurately shown on the DAV and Swiss maps. The DAV and Swiss maps name the Baltar Glacier’s large northern branch as the Toltar Glacier, but the glacier it labels as Kukuar is locally called Toltar. Baltar pastures are shown on the west side of the Baltar Glacier’s northern arm, but Baltar is actually on the east side where the Swiss map has an unnamed black square. Kukuay pastures along the Toltar Glacier’s west side, and Saio-daru-Kush, on the hillside above the confluence of the eastern and northern arms of Toltar Glacier, aren’t shown.
It’s a moderate three-day round-trip to Baltar. On Day 1, cross the river at Bar village and follow the trail along its true left bank to the pasture at Shuwe. On Day 2, continue up the true left Bank of Baltar Glacier’s outwash stream as it bends east. Cross the moraine-covered Baltar Glacier to the large south- and- west facing pastures of Baltar, on the Baltar Glacier’s north side and east of its large northern arm. Retrace steps downvalley on Day 3. It’s four stages total starting from Torbuto Das: (1) Shuwe; (2) Baltar; and (3-4) two stages to return via the same route.
It’s a demanding eight-day trek up Toltar. On Day 1, follow the road to Bar village (2200m) and continue up the river’s west bank to Bitale Tok. If you start from Bar, you can reach Toltar the same day. On Day 2, cross the Toltar Glacier’s outwash stream to Toltar, the main summer settlement (2900m). Above Toltar are the yak pastures of Fagurgutum (3400m), a good day Hike. On Day 3, continue along the Toltar Glacier’s east side, passing through Kukuay summer settlement to Baru-daru-Kush. On Day 4, beyond Baru-daru-Kush, cross the Toltar Glacier to the north side and Dudio-daru-Kush. On Day 5, continue along the main glacier’s north margin, and make the difficult crossing of the north Toltar Glacier to the Saio-daru-Kush pastures (over 4000m). The peak above (6771m) has the same name as the pastures, but is called Seiri Porkush on the Swiss map.
Retrace steps downvalley in three days, returning to Torbuto Das on Day 8. It’s 10 stages total starting from Torbuto Das: (1) Bitale Tok; (2) Kukuay; (3) Baru-daru-Kush; (4) Dudio-daru-Kush; (5) Saio-daru-Kush; and (6-10) five stages to return via the same route.
Two easy options exist to explore the Bualtar Glacier above Hoper. First is a 12-hour day hike to the pastures along the glacier’s south-west margin. Two trails, a higher and a lower one, head to the pastures. From the ridge above the pastures are good mountain views. Second is a two-day route to Shaltar, the pastures on the Bualtar Glacier’s south side. From Hoper, cross the Bualtar Glacier to Lower Shishkin and head up its south-east margin to the pastures and camp. Return the next day via the same route. The mountain views from Shaltar are limited to Diran.
High above the Sumayar Nala and Silkiang Glacier, also known as the Mamu Bar, are the mines of Chuman Bakhur. Since 1989, the discovery of large aquamarine crystals up to 15cm across and 30cm long at this site has made Pakistan a world- famous source for these gem specimens. The easy two-day trek to these mines combines gorgeous views with a visit to a Karakoram growth Industry. The large new mosque at Askordas, built with revenue from the mines, gives an idea of the wealth of the deposits.
To reach the trailhead, leave the KKH at Murtazabad and cross the bridge over the Hunza River. Head upvalley on the Minapin-Sumayar road along the river’s true left bank to Sumayar village. Karimabad-Sumayar special hires cost Rs 1100. The road ends above Sumayar beyond the hydroelectric plant. Fida Hussain of Sumayar has set up tents here for visitors to stay. Climb steeply up the hillside, and enter the Mamu Bar area, the Mir of Nagyr’s former hunting grounds. A large 3m by 20m flat rock one hour above the tents is where the queen of Nagyr would sit to watch her husband hunt. Cross the river twice over footbridge, with a clear spring below the second footbridge. Ascend moraine on the valley’s east side, and climb 600m to a spring at the herders’ huts at Madur Kushi and camp 3½ to four hours from Sumayar.
The next day continue steeply p 750m in two hours. Then level off and traverses to the crystal mines at Chuman Bakhur in another hour. The views of Diran above and the Silkiang Glacier below are breathtaking. From Chuman Bakhur, either return to Sumayar in a Single day, or, for an adventurous trek, cross the ridge east (behind) the mines and continue across three high ridges to Hoper. The arduous route takes several days. Few people know the route via Bartar and Supaltar pastures to Hoper, so be sure to go with someone who does.