Baltoro Glacier with Concordiaplatz and Gasherbrum

The Karakoram is up to 8611 m high mountains in Central Asia. He wears the K2 the second highest mountain on Earth, as well as Broad Peak ( 8051 m), Gasherbrum I ( " Hidden Peak ", 8080 m) and Gasherbrum II ( 8034 m) three eight-thousanders. Here, visitors find 63 independent seven thousand and several secondary summit. The Karakorum extends across the north of Pakistan, India and western China, parts of the border are controversial. The Indus River and its tributary the Shyok limits Karakorum on the Himalayan main chain in the Southeast.

The mountain has an area of ​​about 700 kilometers in length and a width of 100 to 150 kilometers and extends in a slight arc from northwest to southeast.

The Karakoram is referred to as the highest mountain in the world. The highest mountain on earth, Mount Everest, is not located in the Karakoram, but more than half of the mountain area is located above 5000 meters. The Tibetan Plateau is situated at an altitude 4500-5000 meters, but relatively flat or corrugated, whereas the Karakoram, with its steep mountains and deep valleys having the largest area of topographical relief over 6000 meters.

  • 8.1 The four central glacier
  • 8.2 Other important glacier
  • 8.3 Karakorumgletscher during the Ice Age


The name Karakoram comes from the Turkish and means black boulders. It is derived from the Karakoram Pass, which is itself outside the southeast of the mountain. There you will find the eponymous black scree. The Englishman William Moor Craft (1767-1825) is considered the first European geographer, who used the name for the Karakoram mountain range between the Indus and Tarim Basin. The name prevailed initially, until the end of the 19th century had doubts as to its suitability. Tellingly seemed to be a name of the local population: Muztagh means iceberg and describes the strongly glaciated high mountains reasonable. From various efforts have been made to replace the name of the Karakoram by Muztagh. However, these efforts brought more confusion than benefit, because the term Muztagh is ambiguous, and is also found outside of the Karakoram, for example in the Pamir mountain Muztagata. Günter Dyhrenfurth pointed out that the term Muztagh is to be used only in compound names. In addition, Muztagh was rather because perceived as a description than a name, the retention of the name Karakoram was recommended. This was followed by the Karakoram Conference 1937 by divided the mountain in Greater and Lesser Karakoram, the term Muztagh was used for the mountain ranges within the Great Karakoram, Baltoro Muztagh or Hispar eg Muztagh.


Geographical boundaries

The Karakoram Conference 1936/37, consisted of participants in the Survey of India, the Royal Geographic Society, the Alpine Club and the Himalayan Club. She suggested the now largely valid classification of the mountain, after the boundaries of Karakorum were determined. The river Shyok is fed by the glaciers on the east side of the south-eastern part of the Karakoram main chain. He turns first to the south and then turns northwest and flows from the Indus. The headwaters of the Shyok, the eastern boundary of the Karakoram represents the southern boundary of the Karakoram is defined by the Shyok of the bend in the East ( Koordinate34.12944444444478.209722222222 ) to the mouth of the Indus ( Koordinate35.22833333333375.916944444444 ), then from the Indus to the confluence of the Gilgit river ( Koordinate35.74166666666774.624305555556 ) and from Gilgit to the confluence of the Ishkoman in the West ( Koordinate36.20944444444473.737222222222 ). The Ishkoman, whose northern headwaters is called Karambar represents the western border, the north-west corner of the mountain is located on the Chillinji Pass ( Koordinate36.8007674.06116 ) on the north side of the Ishkoman Valley. The northern boundary runs from Chilinji pass through the valley of Chapursan River to the east until shortly before its confluence with the Hunza valley to the north over the Kermin Pass ( Koordinate36.82222222222274.645833333333 ) changes in the northern neighboring valley. Here it follows the Kilik east to its confluence with the River Kunjirap ( Koordinate36.74291666666774.824444444444 ). The water of these two rivers flow as Hunza River to the south. The Karakorumgrenze further extends the Kunjirab Valley up to the Kunjirap Pass ( Koordinate36.84830775.423546 ), whose north side over the Oprang Pass to the east by the Oprang Valley to its confluence into Shaksgam Valley ( Koordinate36.60277777777875.945555555556 ). The Shaksgam valley leads up the Karakoram northern border in southeastern direction until the source of the river at the Shaksgam Shaksgam Pass ( Koordinate35.55944444444477.470277777778 ). From there, the eastern border is on the east side of the Rimo Glacier on ( Koordinate35.45694444444477.531666666667 ) and runs through the valley of springing on Rimo Glacier Shyok south. f1 map with all coordinates: OSM, Google and Bing

Neighboring mountains

The high mountains are located between the Pamirs in the north, the Aghil Mountains and the Kunlun Shan in the east, the Ladakh Range to the southeast, and the Himalayas in the south and the Hindu Kush to the west. When about 500 km long mountain range, it spreads out in western China, northern India and northeastern Pakistan in northwest-southeast direction.

Karakoram and Himalaya

The question of the membership of the Karakoram to Himalaya is answered in different ways: as a northern and eastern boundary of the actual Himalayas applies the Indus River, which demarcates the Himalayas in the north- west and north of the Hindu Kush and Karakoram and the north east of the Ladakh Range and the southeastern extension is called the Trans Himalaya. The Swiss researchers Himalayas Günter Oskar Dyhrenfurth recommended in 1935 as the correct designation (" if a little long-winded " ) Karakoram Himalaya. In his book "The Third Pole", a standard work on the Himalayas, he explains this as follows:

" The separation point of main Himalaya and Karakorum by Shayok and Indus goes no deeper than, for example, the contrast between the ( Austroalpine ) crystalline Central Alps and the ( southern Alpine ) Dolomites, or between the Bernese Oberland and Valais Alps. "

The name Karakoram Himalaya, however, has not enforced (also Dyhrenfurth they did not use ) and a separation between the Karakoram and the Himalayas will also advocates. Nevertheless Dyhrenfurth is correct in his assessment that the geological similarities between the Himalaya and Karakoram are greater than those between Central and Southern Limestone Alps. Thus, for example, form of the actual Himalaya scoring Nanga Parbat with the northern (beyond the Indus ) Haramosh a geologic unit, to call this the Nanga Parbat massif Haramosh. Dyhrenfurth finally used the term "Himalaya " system, in which the Karakorum was included.

Plate tectonics provides a further indication that speaks for a separation of the Himalaya and Karakoram: The orogeny began 40 million years ago when the Indian plate collided with the Eurasian plate. During the Karakorum from the part of the earth's crust is formed, which lay at the edge of the Asian continent, the mass of Himalayas has been unfolded from the edges of the drifting against Asia Indian subcontinent. The Indus is a part of the suture line ( Indus suture ) dar.

Mountain ranges within the Karakorum: the Great and Little Karakorum

Great Karakoram

The main chain of the Karakoram is as Big Karakorum (English: Greater Karakoram ) refers. It can be from Saser Muztagh in the extreme southeast of the mountain to the Hispar Muztagh in the northwest to the east of Hunzatals represented as a long mountain ridge that never drops deeper than 5200 m. To the west of Hunzatals the main chain is in the Batura Muztagh continues as the westernmost mountain range of the Karakoram. The ridge, however, is here interrupted by the Hunza Valley, the highest Batura Muztagh connection from the eastern part of the main chain via the Mingteke Pass, which is, by definition, by the Karakoram conference already outside the Karakorum.

The individual mountain ranges of the Great Karakoram and their start and end points were defined in the report of the Karakorum Conference 1937 from northwest to southeast as:

Note: For a listing of the highest mountains of each mountain range can the list at the end of the article sort by mountain ranges.

The Batura Muztagh lies to the south of Batura glacier runs from the mountain Koz Sar in the west to Hunzaschlucht. For Batutara Muztagh include the mountains Batura Sar ( 7795 m, the highest mountain of the mountain ), and Shispare Ultar Sar, the Karimabad, the former capital of Hunzareichs surmounted.

From the Hunzaschlucht to the so-called Snow Lake, a Gletscherbasin north of Biafo Glacier, north of the glacier Hispar the Hispar Muztagh. The highest mountain of Muztagh Hispar is the 7885 m high Distaghil Sar, he is also the highest mountain of the Karakoram Baltoro Muztagh outside. Other high mountains are Kunyang Chhish, Kanjut Sar and I Momhil Sar.

The Panmah Muztagh is described as the mountain range which is drained by the Panmah Glacier and its Hauptzuströmen. It is located east of Biafo glacier and runs from Snow Lake to the western Muztagh pass. The backbone of the Panmah Muztagh runs north and east of the Panmah glacier, while the highest mountains in the Panmah Muztagh - The Ogre ( 7285 m) and Latok groups - west of Panmah glacier between it and the Biafo lie.

On the eastern side of the Western Muztagh Pass the Baltoro Muztagh begins. It lies on the north and east side of the Baltoro Glacier and contains the K2 ( 8611 m), Broad Peak and the mountains Gasherbrum I, II and IV, the five highest mountains of the Karakoram. Other well-known mountains are Muztagh Tower and Skil Brum, "invented" at the 1957 Alpine style was, and the rugged granite cliffs of the Trango Towers. The other end of the Baltoro Muztagh lies to the southeast of the Gasherbrum group.

The chain of the Siachen Muztagh follows from there on the northeast side of the Siachen Glacier to the pass between the Teram - Sher- Rimo Glacier and the glacier. The Teram - Sher flows west to Siachen, the Rimo Glacier to the east, the eastern foothills of the Siachen Muztagh are continued on its northern side to the upper reaches of the Shaksgam. The highest peak in the Siachen Muztagh is the Teram Kangri ( 7441 m). Not clear is the association of the Sia Kangri. This mountain stands at the head of the Siachen Glacier. The report of the Karakoram conference counts him the Siachen Muztagh. Günter Dyhrenfurth, head of Erstbesteigungsexpedition to Sia Kangri in 1934, are both possibilities, Siachen and Baltoro Muztagh, is in fact that the saddle, the Sia Kangri the significantly higher with the Gasherbrum I, its nearest neighbor in the Baltoro Muztagh - ( 6782 m ) as the saddle east of the mountain, which connects the Sia - solid with the other mountains of Siachen Muztagh: the 5759 m high Indira Col.

The Rimo Muztagh lies to the south of the pass between Teram - Sher and Rimo Glacier and north of the Sasser Pass. Highest mountain is 7516 m high Mamostong Kangri, which dominates the Rimo I by about 130 meters.

The Saser Muztagh range from Sasser Pass in the north to the arch of the Shyok River. The Saser Kangri I is with 7672 m the highest mountain of the Great Karakoram south of Gasherbrum I.

Small Karakorum

The other mountain ranges of the Karakoram to the north and south of the main chain to collectively as the Little Karakorum (English Lesser Karakoram ) are referred to. For the individual departments of the suffix Muztagh seemed inappropriate. The report of the Karakoram conference here preferred the term chains ( rank ), Groups ( Groups) or mountains ( Mountains ).

North of the main chain are the Lupghar Group (not to be confused with the Lupghar Sar, a mountain in Hispar Muztagh ), west of the Hunzatals and north of Batura Glacier, as well as the Ghujerab Mountains east of Hunzatals and north of Hispar Muztagh, on the north side of the Shimshal valley. The Ghujerab mountains are traversed by the Ghujerab River from east to west ( Hunza ) and divided into a northern and southern section. Highest mountain in the Ghujerab Mountains is the Karun Koh.

South of the main chain of the report of the Karakorum Conference has defined four mountain ranges:

The Saltoro Mountains lie to the west of the Siachen Glacier and the Nubra River, north of the Shyok and east of Kondusgletschers. The 7742 m high Saltoro Kangri is the highest mountain chain, surrounding mountains are Ghent Kangri and K12. To the north of the Ghent Sia La Pass connects the Saltoro mountains with the Karakorum main chain

The Masherbrum Mountains lie south of the Baltoro Glacier and are separated on the east by Kondus glacier of the Saltoro Mountains. To the west of Shigara borders as drainage of the Baltoro Glacier from the mountains of the Spantik - Sosbun Mountains. Southern border is also the Shyok and the Indus, after receiving the waters of the Shyok. Highest mountain of the entire small Karakorum is the 7821 m high Masherbrum, more mountains in the mountain range named after him are Chogolisa, Baltoro Kangri, K6 and mango Gusor.

The portion south of the Hispar Glacier, east of the Hunza, north of the Indus and the west of the Biafo glacier is divided by the Karakoram conference in the Rakaposhi chain and in the Haramosh chain. The Rakaposhi chain runs from the 7788 m high Rakaposhi on the east side of Hunzatals east over Diran and Malubiting and from there north to the Spantik. Between Spantik and Malubiting is the accumulation zone of the Chogo - Lungma glacier, which flows to the east and discharges its effluent into the Shigar. To Rakaposhi chain all the mountains were east and north of the Spantik Chogo - Lungma glacier counted. The Haramosh chain is bordered to the south east of the La - Haramosh Malubiting to the Rakaposhi chain and next to the 7406 m high Haramosh includes all further east, mountain ranges south of the Chogo - Lungma glacier.

The Cartographer Jerzy Wala has proposed another classification, then the mountains north of Chogo - Lungma Glacier are not counted for Rakaposhi chain but called Spantik - Sosbun Mountains. The name derives from the 7027 m high Spantik and further east on the west side of the glacier Biafo Sosbun Brakk are ( 6413 m). The Rakaposhi - Haramosh Mountains are the mountains formerly known as Haramosh chain and the subsequent westward train from Malubiting to Rakaposhi.

The chains of the Little Karakoram have been referred to as Kailas - Karakoram, the couple Visser instead used the term Saltoro - Karakoram, with which not only the Saltoro mountains, but also the entire Small Karakorum was meant.

Political Structure

The Karakoram is situated in the northern part of the disputed region of Kashmir. The largest surface part lies in the autonomous region of Pakistan Gilgit -Baltistan, the former Northern areas. To the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China is a small part of northeast Kunjirab Pass before the border between Pakistan and China is identical along the Oprang Valley with the Karakoram northern border. Only where the WESM Mountains abut the Shaksgam Valley, the state border is not in the valley but over the ridge south to the main watershed in the northeastern Panmah - Muztagh. From there it follows the Karakorum main ridge to the east and south by the Baltoro Muztagh to Indira Col, near which the disputed border triangle between China, Pakistan and India is. The border between India and China continues to the southeast on the main ridge of the Siachen Muztagh where it north of the Rimo Glacier, Karakoram Mountains, the leaves towards the east and further leads to the Karakoram Pass. The two south-eastern mountain ranges of the Great Karakororum are so entirely in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The southern border of Gilgit- Baltistan to India was in the Shimla Agreement in 1972 set as the Line of Control, but it ends at the coordinate NJ 980 420 ( Koordinate35.02333333333377.001111111111 ) in the south of Saltoro mountains, the further course to the Chinese border remained unclear. This led in 1984 to the Siachen conflict. While the Indian government considers that the boundary line runs north on the main ridge of Saltoroberge to Indira Col, the Pakistani government interprets the boundary line in a straight line from Point NJ 980 420 to the Karakoram Pass. The latter would mean that the northern part of the Saltoro Mountains and the south side of the Siachen Muztagh ( to the Chinese border ) was one as well to Pakistan as the northern part of the Rimo - Muztagh, while the southern part of the Rimo Muztagh would be separated and how the Saser Muztagh would remain under Indian control. According to this interpretation of the Siachen Glacier would be entirely in Pakistan, while the valley of his discharge, the Nubra valley belonged to India. According to the Indian conception ( border demarcation by the Saltoro Mountains ) of the glaciers would entirely in India.


The Karakoram is a geologically young fold mountains. He was raised along with the southeast, Himalayan chain, as before around 40 million years collided northward aspiring Indian plate with the Eurasian plate, was pushed up as a result more and more deeply into it and drilled by this ( thrust ). Thus, the Karakoram is a part of alpidischen mountain system to which, inter alia, also Alps, Carpathians, Caucasus and Hindukush be expected. The wedge of the Indian plate, the north invaded deep into the Asian plate furthest pushed next to the Karakoram and the adjacent chains of the Hindu Kush, Pamir and western Kunlun arc north on. Here meet the highest mountains of our planet, often referred to as Roof of the World.

The mountain range is subject to the orogeny complicated processes. It is compressed, lifted and folded. Older strata are placed over younger, from a great depth can metamorphic rocks ascend. To some extent mountainous parts are moved over long distances ( rejection ). Simultaneously with the rise of wind and water begin so, remove the mountains and re-forming. The present appearance of the Karakorum, which also contributed the glacial activity, especially in the ice ages by ausschürfte the valleys deep, the result of these processes. Today, the building and erosive forces largely balanced.

At the highest mountains of the Baltoro Muztagh is metamorphic, formed in a highly compressed Subduktionskeil rocks, which are called batholith. On the northern edge of this chain parallel to the edge of the Indian plate pulls the so-called Karakorum Fault, a pronounced side rejection on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, from Kashi to the holy Mount Kailash in the Trans Himalaya. It forms a natural dividing line between the Karakoram and Pamir. The offset along this fault is estimated to be up to several hundred kilometers.

In the south, the Karakoram is separated by the Karakoram - Kohistan Suture - the so-called Kohistan complex. The Kohistan complex is an example of an island arc - continent collision. He was literally crushed between the Indian plate and the Karakoram, whose predecessor originally represented the continental margin of Asia. In the south of the Kohistan complex is separated from the Indian plate by the Indus suture.

The Karakoram is still a geologically active region. Still meets the Indian subcontinent with a speed of about 4 cm per year further into the Asian landmass. As a result, stops the uplift in the Karakoram, it is even more pronounced. On the southern edge of the mountains in the Indus gorge it is about one centimeter per year. During the collision of the plates there can be large overthrust tectonic ceilings. In the depths of the earth's crust has intensified under the Karakorum up to 70 km thick and floats on the underlying heavier layers. Only then, the mountains can lift at altitudes above 8000 meters.

In the Karakoram and its surroundings, the tensions that build up due to the interlocking of the tectonic plates in the earth's crust discharged repeatedly in earthquakes. So it was, for example, October 8, 2005 a devastating earthquake in Kashmir, which demanded about 75,000 lives in Pakistan and India.


The Karakoram is situated in the subtropical high pressure belt and separates the sub-tropical areas of the Indian subcontinent from the steppes and deserts of Central and High Asia, with its arid continental climate. The predominant over the year saw West wind lays out particularly in winter and spring with large amounts of precipitation falling in the highest positions throughout the year as snow on the ground and contribute to extreme glaciation of the area. The maximum rainfall is achieved, however in the summer months when coming from the Indian Ocean southwest monsoon in a weakened form, because already milked reaches of the upstream mountains, the backbone of the Karakorum. The Pakistani, open to the lower Indus west is rainier and greener than the north and east of the mountains. This has a corresponding effect on the glacier, which largely end up in the Hunza Valley at altitudes 2000-2500 m in the east ( Rimo Glacier ) partly 4500-4800 m. The total rainfall remain significantly behind those on the southern slopes of much further south ( east) located Himalayas back. You take it from the Indian plate over the headland through to central Karakoram from. Only the highest elevations receive a total of so much precipitation, that one can speak of humidem climate here, while it is dry valleys in the surrounding lowlands.


As the brothers Robert and Hermann von Schlagintweit 1856 first recognized in their research expedition in High Asia, some of the Karakoram mountain ranges forming part of the watershed between the catchment area of ​​the upper Indus ( the Indian Ocean ) and the endorheic Tarim Basin. The watershed runs from the Karakoram Pass to the west across the eastern spurs of the Siachen Muztagh north of the Middle Rimo Glacier to the Karakorum main ridge on Apsarasas Kangri I. It now follows the Karakorum main ridge to the north- west over Teram Kangri and Singi Kangri and the passports Turkestan La, India passport and Indira Col on the Baltoro Muztagh - and continue on the crest of Sia Kangri, Hidden Peak, Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak to Skyang - La ( Windy Gap ) and turns thence westwards over Skyang Kangri, K2, Skil Brum and Muztagh Tower. After the eastern Muztagh Pass it turns to the north of the Trango Group to the north and crosses the western Muztagh Pass to Panmah - Muztagh and turns on Skamri Sar back to the west on the north side of the Nobande - Sobande glacier along. North of the Sim -speed Gletschs leaves the watershed the Karakoram main chain and runs along the ridge between Braldu glaciers in the east and Vijerab Glacier in the west to north to the Shimshal Pass. To the north of this passport to pass through the mountains to Khunjirap Ghujirap - pass and leaves the Karakorum.

The other mountain ranges have only a secondary function as a regional watershed. Your drains flow over a few tributaries still within the limits of the Karakoram in the Indus.

Flora and Fauna

The vegetation of the Karakoram is a typical mountain vegetation. Large parts of the mountains are covered with alpine meadows, mountains and glaciers. In the valleys there will be parallel woody formations, such as deciduous and coniferous forests or bush areas. Among the larger mammals are found in the Karakoram, including the Marco Polo argali, a large wild sheep with huge horns, the Asian ibex, blue sheep and markhor. Their greatest natural enemy is the snow leopard. More Raiders of the Karakoram are wolves, brown bears and lynx. To protect the nature of the Karakoram protected sites, such as the Central Karakorum National Park and the Khunjerab National Park established


Marco Polo was the first European to set off on his trip to China in 1274 in the vicinity of the Karakoram. On his way through Asia he came through Kashgar, which is the starting point of the Karakoram Highway today. The first known European to Baltistan traveled, was the British explorer Godfrey Thomas Vigne, who gave his name to the Vignegletscher that pulls down from the Chogolisa. He traveled in the years 1835-1838 also Kashmir and Ladakh. In his lectures, he reported on the craggy peaks and huge glaciers in the Karakoram.

As part of the Great Trigonometrical Survey, the British government for strategic reasons a lot of interest to explore the northern outside of British India mountain areas in more detail. It was suggested here has long been the highest mountains in the world. 1852 was the height of Mount Everest, then known as Peak XV, determined. 1855 began with the survey in Kashmir in the northwest of the Himalayas. As part of this undertaking Thomas George Montgomerie was born in September 1856 by its position on the western peak of Haramukh (Station Peak) in Ladakh some 200 kilometers away, the first European to the highest mountains of the Baltoro Muztagh, including the K2, and numbered them by (K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, etc.). While for most this peaks other names are in use today, the working title of Montgomerie for the 8611 meter high K2 has received.

In the same year, 1856, Adolf Schlagintweit came, who was with his brothers Hermann and Robert on behalf of the East India Company on a very fruitful research trip to India and High Asia, for the first time to the Baltoro Glacier and climbed the Old Muztagh Pass. The trip took a bad end for Adolf, he was beheaded the following year in Kashgar as a suspected Chinese spy.

With a group of local support came in 1861, the British topographer Henry Haversham Godwin - Austen also into the heart of the Karakoram ago. About the Baltoro glacier he rose to such an extent that he could take a look at the K2 near the Masherbrums. His goal, the Muztagh Pass, he did not reach. From Godwin - Austen originate a first directions and a map at a scale of 1:500,000. According to him, the down -withdrawing from Skyang Kangri Godwin - Austen Glacier, a Tributärgletscher the Baltoro was named. The proposal to designate also the K2 after him - analogous to Mount Everest - was rejected, yet there is Mount Godwin Austen in the name of some cards works.

In 1887, crossed the British explorer Sir Francis Younghusband, who came to his later Tibet expedition to Lhasa and was responsible for massacres among Tibetans, from Kashi coming on his long journey from Beijing to Srinagar the Karakoram from east to west. When he had the Aghil Mountains crosses east of the Karakoram Pass on the Aghil so named in the episode and saw the top of the Baltoro Muztagh from the northeast over the Shaksgam Valley of time, he wrote:

"What I had so ardently longed to see what now spread out before me. Where I had reached no white man had ever reached before. And there before me were peaks of 26,000 feet, and in one case 28,000 feet in height, rising above a valley bottom only 12,000 feet above sea -level. For mountain majesty and sheer sublimity, did scene is hardly to be Excelled. (What I hoped so fervently to see was now spread out before me. Where I was, no white man had yet been before. And there before me were the summit of 8000 meters, in one case by over 8500 meters above sea level, which is a valley be raised, which was only 3600 meters above sea level. regarding pure excellence and grandeur of these mountain scenery can hardly be surpassed. ) "

From Shaksgam Valley of the SARPO - Laggo glacier rose Younghusband, the beginning of his journey had no mountaineering experience and had never been on a glacier on the north Seites the Baltoro Muztagh up and crossed the Eastern " Old " Muztagh Pass whose existence was only known by hearsay, to the Baltoro glacier. Once in Askole, the first ( or last ) settlement in Braldu valley, he broke straight back on to exceed the Panmah Glacier also the Western " New " Muztagh pass back to SARPO - Laggo Glacier, but the rise on the west side of the pass proved to be unworkable.

Two years later, Younghusband crossed a second time the Aghil Pass toward Shaksgam Valley, this time he followed the Shaksgam downstream and explored from there the northeast side of the Karakoram. A baptized of him Crevasse Glacier Glacier he could not commit, but he found the Shimshal Pass and so the transition to the Shimshal Valley, on the north side of the Hispar Muztagh and followed the Shimshal river to the Hunza Valley.

1890 climbed Roberto Lerco from Gressoney first time on the lower slopes of the Südostgrates on K2, having previously conducted research rings around the Nanga Parbat. Two years later, in 1892, William Martin Conway led an expedition in the Karakorum. Among the participants were also Oscar corner stone, the crampon - inventor, and Matthias Zurbriggen, a Swiss mountain guide, and Charles Granville Bruce, a British officer and mountaineer. They explored the Hispar and Biafo glacier, then traveled corner stone that did not get along with Conway, from, and the expedition Baltoro Muztagh the central turned to. Here Conway named the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin - Austen Glacier as Concordia. Also the name of Broad, Hidden and Bride Peak back to Conway. Conway's name Golden Throne for the Baltoro Kangri is now, however, been somewhat forgotten. The expedition reached 6890 meters a height record for that time.

Corner stone returned in 1902 to a first serious attempt at climbing K2 at the Baltoro back. The team consisted of the Austrian Victor Wessely and Heinrich Pfannl, the Swiss doctor Jules Jacot Guillarmod, as well as the British engineer and art collector Guy Knowles, who as a financier only allowed the expedition. Also present was the eccentric Englishman Aleister Crowley, who was indeed an excellent climber, but otherwise rather than black magic earned dubious fame. The Mountaineers turned the ridge, which appeared to them to steep for the carrier, and from the northeast ridge, but eventually failed due to the difficulties and the bad weather. The expedition explored yet the Godwin Austen Glacier and rose to Skyang La ( saddle of the Winds, 6233 m). The highest number of Jacot Guillarmod and Wessely point was at an altitude of about 6700 meters. Pfannl barely survived a pulmonary edema, after he had been removed a few days after the onset of the first symptoms to lower altitudes. The variously rumored representation, according to which the malaria fever -ridden Crowley had directed at an altitude of 20,000 feet, close to the edge of the crash a revolver on Knowles, but could be disarmed, can not be proved from the records of the expedition members and it is very likely wrong. From Jacot Guillardmod the first photographs of the K2 come.

The south-east ridge of K2 is today referred to as the Duke of Abruzzi Abruzzigrat by Luigi Amedeo of Savoy -Aosta. The Italian aristocrat led a large expedition in 1909, including 360 carriers, a serious attempt took on this ridge, which should subsequently prove easiest route to the summit. However, since they did not have enough insurance to fixed ropes on the route, they had to turn back empty-handed after they had already reached a height of over 6,000 meters. Unimpressed Luigi Amadeo turned to other destinations. At the south-east of Skyang Kangri they went on until they crevasses made ​​it impossible to 6600 meters height advancement. At the peak of the Bride Chogolisa they came to some 150 meters below the summit, but 7500 meters meant a height record for the time. Among the eleven climbers of the expedition the well-known mountain photographer Vittorio Sella, the sensational images was get from the mountains and glaciers. The doctor Filippo de Filippi, even participants of the study tour, wrote a detailed report about the expedition.

Then it was quiet for several years in the central regions of the Karakoram. In 1929 it was again the Italians, who sent an expedition, this time in the Baltoro Muztagh scholarly emphasis. Ardito Desio, the first successful expedition initiated on K2 a quarter of a century later, was the most famous participants in this venture. The following year, Giotto Dainelli explored the area around the Rimu Glacier.

Further studies on Shaksgamgletscher and its surrounding valleys in Chinese Xinjiang today (including the north side of K2) took British scientist before in 1937. Eric Shipton, Harold W. Tilman and Michael donors committed Among other things, the institution designated by Younghusband as Crevasse - Skamri Glacier Glacier, at its exploration Younghusband was itself failed. From there they found a way through the main chain of the Panmah Muztagh to Snow Lake on Biafo glacier. They also explored the Spantik - Sosbun Mountains on the west side of Biafo.

From 1938 mountaineer they turned again to the second highest mountain in the world. But it took until 1954 to Lino and Achille Compagnoni Lacedelli become the first men could put their foot on the summit of the designated often as difficult of all eight-thousanders K2.

Glaciers of the Karakoram

In the Karakoram, some of the largest glaciers outside the polar regions are including Alaska and Patagonia. The total glaciated area is 16,000 km ².

The four central glacier

The four largest glaciers are located approximately in a line and separate the Karakoram range in the north of the main mountain ranges of the Little Karakoram in the south. The Nährgebiete of Baltoro and Siachen Glacier are also connected to each other, like those of Hispar and Biafo glacier.

The longest glacier in the Karakoram is the 70 km long Siachen glacier, which is only surpassed in the Pamirs in Asia from Fedchenko Glacier. It is fed by numerous side glaciers, the Teram - Sher Glacier is the largest. The Siachen flows from Sia Kangri and from the surrounding mountains to the south-east and is drained by the Nubra - Shyok river to.

On the northwest side of the Sia Kangri is the accumulation zone of the Abruzzi Glacier, which is the extreme influx of the Baltoro Glacier and is referred to by the influx of southern Gasherbrum glacier as the upper Baltoro glacier. At the Place de la Concorde he unites with the forthcoming from K2 Godwin Austen Glacier and flows as Baltoro Glacier to the west. The Baltoro glacier is from Conway saddle between Sia Kangri and Baltoro Kangri to the tongue end about 60 kilometers long, the Baltoro system, with its many glaciers page covers an area of ​​524 km2. Its outflow, the Braldu, later Shigar opens in Skardu the Indus River.

A few kilometers further down the river penetrates the snout of the glacier Biafo from the northwest to the Braldu valley before. This glacier is with a length of 68 kilometers, the second longest Karakoram glaciers. Its accumulation area is known as Snow Lake about 300 km2 Gletscherbasin whose ice is almost flat and lies at an altitude of 4500 meters. At its equilibrium line the ice of the glacier Biafo is up to 1400 meters thick. Unlike most other glacier in the Karakoram Biafo is not nourished primarily by avalanches from the surrounding mountains, but mainly by snow in the Snow Lake. The surface of the glacier Biafo consists mainly in the summer months of relatively flat, bare ice, without significant fracturing. Therefore, it is compared with the other Karakoram glaciers exceptionally easy to hike.

To the west of Snow Lake, the 5150 meter high Hispar La pass transition to Hispar Glacier dar. This glacier flows from there 46 km far to the west. Its outflow, the Hispar River, empties in Karimabad in the Hunza. From the branched chain of Hispar - Muztagh pass four large valley glaciers to Hispar, from east to west are the Kani Basa Glacier, Glacier Jutmaro, Pumari - Chhish Glacier and Kunyang Glacier.

Other important glacier

Like the other parts of the main chain and the Batura Muztagh - is separated by a large glacier of a chain of small Karakorum. However, the Batura Glacier does not flow as opposed to the four largest glaciers on the south but on the north side of the main chain along east to the Hunza Valley. With a length of 52 kilometers, it surpasses the Hispar Glacier.

On the north side of the main chain are more larger glaciers. From the mountains of Hispar - Muztagh pass 10 major glaciers to the north or north- east to the Shimshal Valley. These include (from west to east) the Momhil Glacier (28 km), the Malangutti Glacier (17 km), the Yazghil Glacier (27 km), the Yukshin - Gardan Glacier (18 km), the Khurdopin Glacier (30 km) and the Virjerab - Glerscher (km). Further east flow of the 33 -kilometer Braldu glacier (not to be confused with the Braldu River, the outflow of the Baltoro ) and the 38 km long Skamri Glacier to Shaksgam Valley.

Within the Panmah - Muztagh the Nobande - Sobande, the Choktoi and the Chiring glacier flow together and form the Panmah glacier, whose runoff flows between the Baltoro Glacier in the Biafo and Braldufluss.

On the north side of the Baltoro Muztagh the SARPO - Laggo and the K2 glacier flow to Shaksgam Valley, on the east side of the Baltoro Muztagh are the Gasherbrum Glacier, Urdok Glacier (20 km) and the Sagan Glacier.

The importance of Chogo - Lungma glacier as separation between Rakaposhi - Haramosh and Spantik - Sosbun mountains described above. The outflow of Chogo - Lungma glacier is called Basa. This river, together with the Braldu the Shigar, which drains the central Karakoram to the Indus.

Karakorumgletscher during the Ice Age

During the Ice Age was in the Karakoram across a network of contiguous valley glaciers between Western Tibet and Nanga Parbat and the southern edge of the Tarim Basin and the massif of Kampire Dior about today's ice divides, ie it consisted of a Vergletscherungstyp Eisstromnetzes. In the East, had the Karakorumgletscher connection with the glaciers of the Himalayas and the Zanskar those of Western Tibet, to the west with the Eisstromnetz of Chitral and northern Hindukush. To the south of the Indus glacier flowed as the largest Haupttalgletscher to below 870 m above sea level. M. valley of 35 ° 30 'N, 73 ° 18' O35.573.3 down. This glacier was 120 km before its end yet inflow from the Nanga Parbat Eisstromnetz, which is still attributed to the western edge of the Himalayan system. In the north the Karakorumgletscher in Shaksgam valley flowed together with those of the Aghil Mountains. These glaciers have been in contact with those of the West Kunlun, of which the deepest Auslassgletscherzungen to about 2000 m above sea level. M. are flowed down into the Tarim Basin. While today's valley glacier in the Karakoram maximum reach 70 km in length, some of the glacial Talgletscherarme and Haupttalgletscher how the Gilgit Valley, Hunza, Shigar and Shyok - Indus Glacier 170 were up to 700 km long. The glacier snow line (ELA ), as the high limit between Gletschernährgebiet and Abschmelzzone was glacially lowered by about 1300 meters of altitude compared to today.


From the actual high mountain region alone the Hunza Valley is developed for tourism in the West, specifically mentioned by the Karakoram Highway paved road that leads over the Kunjirap pass in the Chinese Xinjiang. Here you can find hotels, guest houses, camp sites and facilities for medical care. Some tour operators offer guided trekking routes in the high mountains, of which the Baltoro Trek, which leads to Concordia at the base of the eight-thousanders, which is best known. Otherwise you have to at points on the edge of the high mountains ( Skardu ), or keep outside ( Leh ), or waive development. The road over the pass is Kunjirap ( to the Chinese border ) in a popular sporting cyclists route.

List of the highest mountains in the Karakoram

The following is a list of the highest mountains of the Karakoram and includes all the mountains, which have a saddle height of at least 500 meters. Information on secondary peaks ( saddle height below 500 m) can be found in the articles of the mountain groups or the individual mountains.


  • Rank: ranking that will be the peak in the Karakorum ( among the highest mountains of Asia and therefore the world ).
  • Summit: name of the mountain.
  • Height: height of the mountain in meters.
  • State: State territory in which the mountain is (PK = Pakistan, CN = China, IN = India). The asterisk (*) marks the mountains of Saltoro chain in the ill-defined border area between India and Pakistan immediately to the west of the Siachen Glacier.
  • Mountain: Chain of Karakorum to which the mountain is counted ( ... Muztagh = Large Karakorum; ... Mountains = Less Karakorum ).
  • Vertical separation: height difference can be achieved until the next Einschartung, from which a higher mountain ( in meters).
  • Mountain respect: the reference Mountain (Parent Mountain ) for the Vertical separation; Prominence given to the master ( the next highest mountain after Einschartung, which also has a greater saddle height ); in parentheses deviating Iceland parent is specified, missing the clamp output is the master at the same time Prominence Iceland Parent.
  • Reference notch: The highest notch, must be relegated to the minimum in order to achieve a higher mountain. Indicated is the height in meters ( and if appointed, their name ).