Pakistan: A paradise for mountaineers

Published October 22, 2014
The world's second largest mountain, the 8,611 meter high K2 (seen in the distance), and the 8,051 meter high Broad Peak (R), are illuminated by the moon at Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers, in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
The world's second largest mountain, the 8,611 meter high K2 (seen in the distance), and the 8,051 meter high Broad Peak (R), are illuminated by the moon at Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers, in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
Trekkers and porters hike down the Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
Trekkers and porters hike down the Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A porter guides his trekking client down the Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A porter guides his trekking client down the Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A porter leaves snow-covered Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers, wearing make shift gaiters near K2 in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A porter leaves snow-covered Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers, wearing make shift gaiters near K2 in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A German trekker removes snow from a kitchen tent at Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers, near the world's second highest mountain K2 (8,611 meters) in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A German trekker removes snow from a kitchen tent at Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers, near the world's second highest mountain K2 (8,611 meters) in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A group of Pakistani soldiers carry their guns uphill along the K2 base camp trek in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A group of Pakistani soldiers carry their guns uphill along the K2 base camp trek in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
Porters make their way through deep snow on the Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range in northern Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
Porters make their way through deep snow on the Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range in northern Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
The moon illuminates the snow-covered Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers, near the world's second highest mountain the K2 (8,000 meters) in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
The moon illuminates the snow-covered Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers, near the world's second highest mountain the K2 (8,000 meters) in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A local farmer drives his mules down the rock-covered Baltoro glacier near Urdokas along the K2 base camp trek in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A local farmer drives his mules down the rock-covered Baltoro glacier near Urdokas along the K2 base camp trek in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
A group of Japanese trekkers climb the rock-covered Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range. -Reuters Photo
A group of Japanese trekkers climb the rock-covered Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range. -Reuters Photo
Tents stand under dark rain clouds in the valley of the river Braldu at Bardoumal near the Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range. -Reuters Photo
Tents stand under dark rain clouds in the valley of the river Braldu at Bardoumal near the Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range. -Reuters Photo
Shukrullah Baig, a 52-year-old brick layer and former cook at a five-star hotel chain cooks a chapati in the village of Askole in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo
Shukrullah Baig, a 52-year-old brick layer and former cook at a five-star hotel chain cooks a chapati in the village of Askole in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. -Reuters Photo

Geographically, Pakistan is a climbers paradise. It rivals Nepal for the number of peaks over 7,000 meters and is home to the world's second tallest mountain, K2, as well as four of the world's 14 summits higher than 8,000 meters. While other parts of Pakistan and northern India were flooded last month, Concordia in the Karakoram mountain range was covered with a seasonally unusual amount of snow. In more peaceful times, northern Pakistan's unspoilt beauty was a major tourist draw but the potentially lucrative industry has been blighted by years of violence. The number of expeditions has dwindled, wrecking communities dependant on climbing for income and starving Pakistan's suffering economy of much-needed dollars.

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