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Bike in Baltistan

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Bike in Baltistan

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Northern Pakistan, Pakistan, Asia

Lat/Lon: 35.29944°N / 75.53101°E

Date Ridden: Feb 28, 2010 12:00 am

Activities: Cross Country

Season: Spring

 

Page By: Railbum

Created/Edited: Apr 4, 2010 / Mar 18, 2011

Object ID: 275580

Hits: 3338 

Page Score: 79.78%  - 11 Votes 

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Skardu Road

 
Skardu, Baltistan
 
Flying from Islamabad and landing in Skardu around midday leaves time for a quick sprint up to Satpara lake, only 8kms uphill all the way blacktop except for the last bit. If you feel energetic then turn off before the security guard and continue on dirt to the village and up to Desoai Plain at around 4000m. Back to the hotel its all downhill dodging the trucks and occasional tractor carrying supplies up to the new dam. If you feel really energetic get a local kid to show you the track to Karpochu fort for sunset views over the river, sandunes and mountains. Day 2 and its out to Shigar valley, 28kms of good blacktop. At the MP Post its tea and shaking hands with everyone carrying assault rifles then slow climbs and fast downhills till the turnoff at Farghu where you cross the Indus. Now its even longer climbs and faster downhills with the Shigar river in the distance to Shigar village where you can stay in the former Rajas fort or hit the bakery for supplies and sprint back to Skardu for the night.

Khaplu

 
A Village Near Skardu, Karakoram, Pakistan
 
Day 3 and its about 100kms to Khaplu, past your friends at the MP Post racing above the Indus then Shyok rivers through villages with friendly people and spectacular landscapes. Another army checkpost across another bridge then more climbs and drops sometimes hundreds of metres above the rapids with only inches between you and the edge. Make sure your brakes work you'll need them when the jeeps are 2 abreast on the single lane blacktop. When you roll into Khaplu you might want to stay down in the bazaar its a long hike up to the bigger hotels up top. After you retrace your tracks back to Skardu you get another outside lane over the Indus on the way to Astak. Its more climbing and dropping along cliff tops inches from fatal drops to the river far below. Traffic is heavier along this section and the surface isnt as good, you have to ford streams in places, dodge waterfalls and keep an eye open for falling rocks from the mountains above. You pass glaciers reaching down to the river and convoys of Pakistani trucks with their fantastic artwork. These drivers are the best truckies i've come across everyone waves and smiles, offers you rides up the big climbs and asks you join them for tea. Finally the PTDC Astak and you can get a hot shower and good feed.

Onto Gilgit

 
Amazing trail for Mountain Biking in Pakistan
 
From Astak you will need an early start if you want to make Gilgit. This section stretches well over 100kms of blacktop before the KKH turnoff. Although it was the same narrow river valley road along clifftops inches from the edge it was also the freakiest section, about 1 hour out of Astak a convoy of trucks was stopped and you could see the chassis of a truck halfway down to the river. Many distressed looking drivers were trying to rescue one of their colleagues who had gone over the edge in the night. Another hour up the road and an ambulance passed heading towards the next village where there was a hospital. About 80
kms along the valley widens into a massive junction of river valleys and mountains ranges that is truly spectacular. You cross the river and head north to Gilgit or south to Chilas. At the moment the KKH is real offroad material due to construction, the 2.10 Tioga Square eights and Marzzochi Bombers proved their worth. Riding in Northern Pakistan is sensational, there is plenty of good dirt roads as well as blacktop along narrow river valleys to keep you honest. The weather was cold but clear in spring and the people are welcoming and hospitable. Dont forget to drop Afzal a line if your headed there. Thanks also to Afzal for letting me use some of his images.

Images

Amazing trail for Mountain Biking in PakistanAn Amazing Trail at 3000mBaltistan Trail, Karakoram, PakistanSatpra Lake, Skardu, Pakistan

Comments


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Viewing: 1-6 of 6

AfzalThanks!

Afzal

Voted 10/10

Thank you very much for writing a excellent trip report about Baltistan! Thank you for mentioning my name in your trip report. If you have some photos of this wonderful trip, please add here.
Best regards, Afzal
Posted Apr 6, 2010 4:16 am

RailbumRe: Thanks!

Railbum

Hasn't voted

Thankyou Afzal your information and photos helped inspire this trip. Hope more riders make it as its a great place to visit. Take care
Posted Apr 6, 2010 6:37 am

AdeelExcellent

Adeel

Voted 10/10

trip report!
Posted Apr 8, 2010 12:14 pm

RailbumRe: Excellent

Railbum

Hasn't voted

Thanks for the kind support Adeel
Posted Apr 8, 2010 1:42 pm

RayMondoRe: Excellent

RayMondo

Voted 10/10

Nice to see news from afar. Indeed a great visit to an inspiring region.
Posted Feb 26, 2011 5:10 pm

RailbumRe: Excellent

Railbum

Hasn't voted

Yeah RayMondo, it is a great area and all going well I plan to ride over the Shandur Pass this year from Chitral to Gilgit then catch the action in the Tour of Himalaya. This international teams event runs 16-18 september in the Kaghan valley. Contact the Kaghan Memorial Trust if you want more info about this MTB event which supports a school. Thanks.
Posted Mar 8, 2011 4:25 am

Viewing: 1-6 of 6