ON SOUTHERN BOUNDARIES OF CKNP
The gate to Baltoro Glacier
Skardu district is at the confluence of Indus and Shyok rivers and makes it the starting point for the touristic destinations in Gilgit-Baltistan, including K2. Skardu city, outside the southern boundaries of the Park, is built in a very open valley on a sandy layer. The Indus river creates here enormous dunes and the valley is so open that airplane can land making round circles. Historically this place has been the starting point for all the Karakorum explorers, as famous pictures shows. Skardu inhabitants speak English and Urdu but their mother tongue is Balti. Of particular interest, Kharpocho Fort, Manthal Rock (Buddha Rock), Sadpara and Kachura lake, beautiful Shangile lake and the Deosai Plateau should be cited.
A few kilometres from Skardu there is Shigar village with its beautiful fort. Shigar fort, renovated following scientific guidelines while preserving the cultural and architectural values, on the one hand presents a through learning of the history and culture and on the other hand offers a comfortable stay in traditional room/suites with continental and local food varieties.
Where Braldu river flows into Shigar river, the Shigar valley splits into Basha and Braldu valleys. Following Braldu river you arrive to Askoli, the last village before entering in the heart of Karakorum and hike on the Baltoro glacier.
Skardu is the logistic point from which the most famous trekking of Karakorum could be reached. Usually, jeeps area leaving from Skardu to Askoli, from where trekking to K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrums base camps start.
Main Park’s valleys near Skardu: Astak valley, Tormik valley , Skoro valley and Shigar valley dived at the end in Basha and Braldu valley, probably the most famous.
Trekking Routes list in Skardu Area: 1-2-3-4-5-7-8-9-12-28-29-38-40-41-46-47-48-49. (see Trekking Route list)
Cultural Routes list in Skardu Area: 50-52-53-54-55-56-57-60 (see Cultural Route list)
Basha valley is a very long valley going through the park from Braldu valley, few kilometres after Shigar to Spantik peak, at the end of Haramosh glacier. From a cultural point of view, it offers interesting routes from Sighar to Arindu (see Cult Routes 55). Arindu is the village entry point on the park boundaries. From here, to enter the Park means to walks on the Haramosh glacier to the Spantik base camp on north-west direction (trek 12) to Haramosh valley on west direction (trek 10) to Astok valley on south west direction (trek 41) and to Tormik valley south direction (trek 47). From Arindu, going on north direction through a green valley you can reach the Hisper glacier (trek 40). Finally going on east direction through the Tsilbu glacier, you can reach the lower Braldu valley (trek 46).
This valley is leading to Baltoro glacier and to the base camps of four 8000 peaks. Askoli is one of the three official entry points of the Park. From Askoli (see Askoli Museum) some of the most famous trekking of Karakorum starts (trek 1-2-3) and reaches K2 and some of the most famous mountain of the world.
Astak valley It is a quite short valley between Skardu and Gilgit. Many villages are present in this valley, and the majority of the land is cultivated (see trek 41 and 26).
The Tormik valley runs along the park boundaries between Skardu and Astok valley. Dasu is the main village. From this green valley it is possible to get to the lower Basha valley (trek 27), through the Stak La, the Astak valley (trek 26), and the Haramosh glacier (trek 47) .
It is a very short valley which, just after Shigar, cuts the massif dividing Shigar valley from Braldu valley. Laeving from Churka, in the Shigar valley, and passing through the Skoro La (5065 m) you could quickly arrive to Askoli.
It is a very interesting trekking and cultural route at the same time. (trek 8, Cult route 53).