Hunza

One of the most dramatically situated settlements I’ve ever visited, the Hunza region is simply a stunning place.

One of the best places to appreciate it from is Doikar Hill, by the Eagles Nest hotel at 2,900m, a wonderful place to stay for the views. It is surrounded by seven peaks higher than 7,000m, providing an almost overwhelming panorama.

Ladyfinger Peak was one of the more distinctive sights, reminding me of the Tower in Torres del Paine, Patagonia.

The largest of the peaks is the 7,788m Mount Rakaposhi, which has the highest unbroken slope on earth, an uninterrupted 6,000m from the summit. It is quite spectacular from any angle.

As well as phenomenal scenery Hunza also has human history dating back thousands of years. The 700 year old Baltit Fort is a wonderful example. Clearly inspired by Tibetan palaces it was basic but practical, and had some pretty epic views.

Close by was the meeting of waters in the Hunza River, clear from the different colour of the waters.

From here I was lucky enough to see an avalanche in the distance. At first I thought there was a cloud infront of the glacier, but it soon became clear what is was.

Further up the valley the Hoper Glacier was quite a sight. I’ve seen many glaciers but few this long this close up, as we took a few careful steps on it.

More human history in the form of the sacred rocks at Hunza, covered in 2,000 year old rock carvings,.

Nearby was the impressive chimney of an old brickworks.

There were also deceptive views of the Altit Fort, which is much lower in the valley than the Baltit Fort but seen from below looks epic. The later photos from above give a better idea of its position.

The Karakoram Highway runs through Hunza. One of the engineering marvels of the world, it took twenty years and over a thousand lives lost to finally complete this link between China and Pakistan, one of few roads to cross the Himalayas. In 2010 a huge landslide blocked 27km of the highway, requiring 8km of tunnels. The upside was the newly formed Attabad Lake, vibrant blue even on a dull day.

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