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Baltoro glacier from air.jpg
Baltoro glacier in the central Karakoram with 8000ers, Gasherbrum I & II
Highest point
PeakK2, Pakistan and China
Elevation8,611 m (28,251 ft)
Coordinates35°52′57″N 76°30′48″E / 35.88250°N 76.51333°E / 35.88250; 76.51333
Native name
  • سلسلہ کوہ قراقرم  (Urdu)
  • 喀喇崑崙山脈  (Chinese)
  • काराकोरम पर्वतशृंखला  (Hindi)
High Asia Mountain Ranges.jpg
Karakoram and other ranges of Central Asia
States/ProvincesGilgit-Baltistan, Ladakh, Xinjiang and Badakhshan
Range coordinates36°N 76°E / 36°N 76°E / 36; 76
Borders on

The Karakoram or Karakorum is a large mountain range spanning the borders of Pakistan, India, and China, with the northwest extremity of the range extending to Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It begins in the Wakhan Corridor (Afghanistan) in the west and encompasses the majority of Gilgit–Baltistan (Pakistan) and extends into Ladakh (India), and the disputed Aksai Chin region controlled by China. It is the second highest mountain range in the world, and part of the complex of ranges including the Pamir Mountains, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayan Mountains.[1][2]. The Karakoram has eight summits over 7,500 m (24,600 ft) height, with four of them exceeding 8,000 m (26,000 ft):[3] K2, the second highest peak in the world at 8,611 m (28,251 ft), Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II.

The range is about 500 km (311 mi) in length, and is the most heavily glaciated part of the world outside the polar regions. The Siachen Glacier at 76 kilometres (47 mi) and the Biafo Glacier at 63 kilometres (39 mi) rank as the world's second and third longest glaciers outside the polar regions.[4]

The Karakoram is bounded on the east by the Aksai Chin plateau, on the northeast by the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and on the north by the river valleys of the Yarkand and Karakash rivers beyond which lie the Kunlun Mountains. At the northwest corner are the Pamir Mountains. The southern boundary of the Karakoram is formed, west to east, by the Gilgit, Indus, and Shyok rivers, which separate the range from the northwestern end of the Himalaya range proper. These rivers flow northwest before making an abrupt turn southwestward towards the plains of Pakistan. Roughly in the middle of the Karakoram range is the Karakoram Pass, which was part of a historic trade route between Ladakh and Yarkand but now inactive.

The Tashkurghan National Nature Reserve and the Pamir Wetlands National Nature Reserve in the Karalorun and Pamir mountains have been nominated for inclusion in UNESCO in 2010 by the National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO and has tentatively been added to the list.[5]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ KARAKORAM As You Have NEVER SEEN BEFORE | K2K Pakistan
  • ✪ Driving the Karakoram Highway
  • ✪ The Great Karakoram
  • ✪ Karakoram Highway, 1300 km running from China to Pakistan. Incredible and awesome engineering
  • ✪ Karakoram Highway / Silk Road - Pakistan to China


This is K2 (Mount Goodwin Austin) This is Baltoro (Glacier) This is Siachen (The Third Pole) And I am, Noman Abid. Let’s check out Karakoram. This is Nature's Greatest Creation! This world's tallest and most dangerous mountain range THE KARAKORAMS A lot of people believe that the Karakorams are a part the Himalayas. This mountain range is not a part of the Himalayas This is the “daddy” of Himalayas. The average height of Himalayan mountains is is almost 18 thousand feet but the average height of gigantic Karakorams is about 23 thousand feet This is the highest average compared to any other mountain range in the world Himalayas are also great They contain Mt. Everest and Nanga Parbat Himalayas span across Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan But Himalayas are no Karakorams! Wanna know why? Let's compare Karakorams' tallest mountain K2 with Himalayas' tallest Mount Everest Mt. Everest is 200m taller than K2 It is world's tallest peak. K2 comes at the second place. They say nobody remembers who came second. But let us remember this second-place holder 13 people above the age of 60 have climbed Everest. A 73-year young woman has also conquered Everest. A 13-year old boy and a 13-year old girl have also reached the summit. Blind, amputees and cancer survivors, all have climbed Everest. And 3 Nepalese have made Everest their playground. Each of them has climbed Everest 21 TIMES! Over 7000 people have conquered Everest so far. Now, wanna know about K2? Only about 300 people have been able to brave K2 But, K2 has claimed more lives than Everest. K2 has claimed more lives Than any other in the world. Perhaps that is K2 is known as the Savage Mountain Most of the Karakoram mountains are extremely tall and extremely dangerous Perhaps that's the reason the Karakorams hold so many world records. Baltoro's frozen river in the Karakorams can be clearly seen from the space. On the last end of the Karakorams, lies Siachen Glacier. This a huge sweet-water stock But, it is also world's highest theatre of war. Pakistani and Indian armies are contaminating this sweet water resource with their artillery. Our soldiers brave this cold-hell only for their country and do not hesitate in making the ultimate sacrifice but war helps no one. Siachen is melting And, in the next few years, it is feared to die out. What a tragedy it is that nobody cares for such issues in Pakistan. Neither the TV channels, nor the political leaders. I'm getting sidetracked. Let's come back to our topic. So what does "Karakoram" mean? It is a Turkish work meaning: "Black Gravel" or "Black Mountain" Karakorams got their name because centuries ago - when Qaim Ali Shah was a young man - the main pass through which silk trade took place was situated in dark shadowy mountains. This pass got named the Karakoram Pass. Hence, the whole mountain range got their name. The Karakoram But, this pass is no more in use. Because it is situated exactly on the Line (out) of Control. These days, Khunjrab Pass is used for trade (with China). Khunjrab is the world's highest JCP (Joint Checkpost). And, it is the world's highest trade route. And, the world's highest ATM is also here. Crossing the Khunjrab Pass is the Karakoram Highway. It is one of the world's most beautiful roads. It is also nicknamed the 8th wonder of the world. And rightly so. Rightly so because it is next to impossible to construct roads on such places. Let me give you an example. Switzerland's mountains are quite famous. You must have seen them in (Bollywood) films Switzerland's highest point is Monte Rosa And it is rises to 4600 meters. And Karakoram Highway is constructed at 4700 meters That's 100 meters above the highest point of the tallest mountain in Switzerland. The Karakoram Highway (KKH) is considered a testament of the Pak-China friendship. And, rightly so. The construction of KKH began in 1959 but it took 20 years to complete it. 810 Pakistani and over 200 Chinese workers gave their lives in the construction of this road. in Gilgit's China Yaadgaar (China Memorial) graveyard taking the eternal nap, these Chinese brothers still remind us that a resolve can move mountains. Now, Pakistan and China resolve to make CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) And, the gateway of CPEC is the Karakoram Highway. That's why there's more work being done on this road. It is being expanded. It is being turned into a year-round trade route instead of a 8-months a year. Karakoram Rail Link will also accompany KKH in future. We, here at K2K are extensively researching on CPEC And we will soon be uploading truly great videos on CPEC So, more on CPEC in those videos Let's talk Karakoram right now. But, if you're interested in CPEC Quickly subscribe to K2K. But, what do I talk about Karakorams... I have already given all the info. But, I do wanna recommend a Hollywood flick Vertical Limit This film is made on K2. It's a good movie. If you like mountains then do watch this movie. You'll love it. And, one last thing before I sign off. Subscribe the channel yaar! We're making awesome videos. We do a lot of research. So, you can get authentic info. So, see you in a few days.



"Karakoram" is a Turkic word referencing the mountains' black gravel, as seen near Pakistan's Biafo Glacier.
"Karakoram" is a Turkic word referencing the mountains' black gravel, as seen near Pakistan's Biafo Glacier.

Karakoram is a Turkic term meaning black gravel. The Central Asian traders originally applied the name to the Karakoram Pass.[6] Early European travellers, including William Moorcroft and George Hayward, started using the term for the range of mountains west of the pass, although they also used the term Muztagh (meaning, "Ice Mountain") for the range now known as Karakoram.[6][7] Later terminology was influenced by the Survey of India, whose surveyor Thomas Montgomerie in the 1850s gave the labels K1 to K6 (K for Karakoram) to six high mountains visible from his station at Mount Haramukh in Kashmir.

In ancient Sanskrit texts (Puranas), the name Krishnagiri (black mountains) was used to describe the range.[8][9]


Due to its altitude and ruggedness, the Karakoram is much less inhabited than parts of the Himalayas further east. European explorers first visited early in the 19th century, followed by British surveyors starting in 1856.

The Muztagh Pass was crossed in 1887 by the expedition of Colonel Francis Younghusband[10] and the valleys above the Hunza River were explored by General Sir George K. Cockerill in 1892. Explorations in the 1910s and 1920s established most of the geography of the region.

The name Karakoram was used in the early 20th century, for example by Kenneth Mason,[6] for the range now known as the Baltoro Muztagh. The term is now used to refer to the entire range from the Batura Muztagh above Hunza in the west to the Saser Muztagh in the bend of the Shyok River in the east.

Hunza Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan
Hunza Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan

Floral surveys were carried out in the Shyok River catchment and from Panamik to Turtuk village by Chandra Prakash Kala during 1999 and 2000.[11][12]

Geology and glaciers

The Karakoram is in one of the world's most geologically active areas, at the plate boundary between the Indo-Australian plate and the Eurasian plate.[13] A significant part, 28-50% of the Karakoram Range is glaciated, compared to the Himalaya (8-12%) and Alps (2.2%).[14] Mountain glaciers may serve as an indicator of climate change, advancing and receding with long-term changes in temperature and precipitation. The Karakoram glaciers are slightly retreating,[15][16][17] unlike the Himalayas where glaciers are losing mass at significantly higher rate, many Karakoram glaciers are covered in a layer of rubble which insulates the ice from the warmth of the sun. Where there is no such insulation, the rate of retreat is high.[18]

The Karakoram during the Ice Age

In the last ice age, a connected series of glaciers stretched from western Tibet to Nanga Parbat, and from the Tarim basin to the Gilgit District.[19][20][21] To the south, the Indus glacier was the main valley glacier, which flowed 120 kilometres (75 mi) down from Nanga Parbat massif to 870 metres (2,850 ft) elevation.[19][22] In the north, the Karakoram glaciers joined those from the Kunlun Mountains and flowed down to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) in the Tarim basin.[21][23]

While the current valley glaciers in the Karakoram reach a maximum length of 76 kilometres (47 mi), several of the ice-age valley glacier branches and main valley glaciers, had lengths up to 700 kilometres (430 mi). During the Ice Age, the glacier snowline was about 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) lower than today.[21][22]

Highest peaks

Highest Karakoram peaks in the Baltoro region as seen from International Space Station
Highest Karakoram peaks in the Baltoro region as seen from International Space Station

The highest peaks of the Karakoram are:

The majority of the highest peaks are in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan. Baltistan has more than 100 mountain peaks exceeding 6,100 metres (20,000 ft) height from sea level.


View from the top of K2
View from the top of K2


View of the moon over Karakoram Range in Pakistan
View of the moon over Karakoram Range in Pakistan

The naming and division of the various subranges of the Karakoram is not universally agreed upon. However, the following is a list of the most important subranges, following Jerzy Wala.[24] The ranges are listed roughly west to east.


Chinese and Pakistani border guards at Khunjerab Pass
Chinese and Pakistani border guards at Khunjerab Pass

From west to east

The Khunjerab Pass is the only motorable pass across the range. The Shimshal Pass (which does not cross an international border) is the only other pass still in regular use.

Cultural references

The Karakoram mountain range has been referred to in a number of novels and movies. Rudyard Kipling refers to the Karakoram mountain range in his novel Kim, which was first published in 1900. Marcel Ichac made a film titled Karakoram, chronicling a French expedition to the range in 1936. The film won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival of 1937. Greg Mortenson details the Karakoram, and specifically K2 and the Balti, extensively in his book Three Cups of Tea, about his quest to build schools for children in the region. In the Gatchaman TV series, the Karakoram range houses Galactor's headquarters. K2 Kahani (The K2 Story) by Mustansar Hussain Tarar describes his experiences at K2 base camp.[25]

See also


  1. ^ Bessarabov, Georgy Dmitriyevich (7 February 2014). "Karakoram Range". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Hindu Kush Himalayan Region". ICIMOD. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  3. ^ Shukurov, The Natural Environment of Central and South Asia 2005, p. 512; Voiland, Adam (2013). "The Eight-Thousanders". Nasa Earth Observatory. Retrieved 23 December 2016.; BBC, Planet Earth, "Mountains", Part Three
  4. ^ Tajikistan's Fedchenko Glacier is 77 kilometres (48 mi) long. Baltoro and Batura Glaciers in the Karakoram are 57 kilometres (35 mi) long, as is Bruggen or Pio XI Glacier in southern Chile. Measurements are from recent imagery, generally supplemented with Russian 1:200,000 scale topographic mapping as well as Jerzy Wala,Orographical Sketch Map: Karakoram: Sheets 1 & 2, Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, Zurich, 1990.
  5. ^ "Karakorum-Pamir". unesco. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Mason, Kenneth (1928). Exploration of the Shaksgam Valley and Aghil ranges, 1926. p. 72. ISBN 9788120617940.
  7. ^ Close C, Burrard S, Younghusband F, et al. (1930). "Nomenclature in the Karakoram: Discussion". The Geographical Journal. Blackwell Publishing. 76 (2): 148–158. doi:10.2307/1783980. JSTOR 1783980.
  8. ^ Raza, Moonis; Ahmad, Aijazuddin; Mohammad, Ali (1978), The Valley of Kashmir: The land, Vikas Pub. House, p. 2, ISBN 978-0-7069-0525-0
  9. ^ Chatterjee, Shiba Prasad (2004), Selected Works of Professor S.P. Chatterjee, Volume 1, National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, p. 139
  10. ^ French, Patrick. (1994). Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer, pp. 53, 56-60. HarperCollinsPublishers, London. Reprint (1995): Flamingo. London. ISBN 0-00-637601-0.
  11. ^ Kala, Chandra Prakash (2005). "Indigenous Uses, Population Density, and Conservation of Threatened Medicinal Plants in Protected Areas of the Indian Himalayas". Conservation Biology. 19 (2): 368–378. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00602.x.
  12. ^ Kala, Chandra Prakash (2005). "Health traditions of Buddhist community and role of amchis in trans-Himalayan region of India" (PDF). Current Science. 89 (8): 1331.
  13. ^ Searle, Michael P., Geological evolution of the Karakoram Ranges, Ital.J.Geosci, (Boll.Soc.Geo.It.), Vol. 130, No. 2 (2011), pp. 147-159, 5 figs. (DOI: 10.3301/IJG.2011.08)
  14. ^ Gansser (1975). Geology of the Himalayas. London: Interscience Publishers.
  15. ^ Gallessich, Gail (2011). "Debris on certain Himalayan glaciers may prevent melting". Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  16. ^ Muhammad, Sher. "Changes in the ablation zones of glaciers in the western Himalaya and the Karakoram between 1972 and 2015". Remote Sensing of Environment.
  17. ^ "Changes in the ablation zones of glaciers in the western Himalaya and the Karakoram between 1972 and 2015". Remote Sensing of Environment. 187: 505–512. 2016-12-15. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2016.10.034. ISSN 0034-4257.
  18. ^ Veettil, B.K. (2012). "A Remote sensing approach for monitoring debris-covered glaciers in the high altitude Karakoram Himalayas". International Journal of Geomatics and Geosciences. 2 (3): 833–841.
  19. ^ a b Kuhle, M. (1988). "The Pleistocene Glaciation of Tibet and the Onset of Ice Ages- An Autocycle Hypothesis.Tibet and High Asia. Results of the Sino-German Joint Expeditions (I)". GeoJournal. 17 (4): 581–596. doi:10.1007/BF00209444.
  20. ^ Kuhle, M. (2006). "The Past Hunza Glacier in Connection with a Pleistocene Karakoram Ice Stream Network during the Last Ice Age (Würm)". In Kreutzmann, H.; Saijid, A. Karakoram in Transition. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press. pp. 24–48.
  21. ^ a b c Kuhle, M. (2011). "The High Glacial (Last Ice Age and Last Glacial Maximum) Ice Cover of High and Central Asia, with a Critical Review of Some Recent OSL and TCN Dates". In Ehlers, J.; Gibbard, P.L.; Hughes, P.D. Quaternary Glaciation - Extent and Chronology, A Closer Look. Amsterdam: Elsevier BV. pp. 943–965. (glacier maps downloadable)
  22. ^ a b Kuhle, M. (2001). "Tibet and High Asia (VI): Glaciogeomorphology and Prehistoric Glaciation in the Karakoram and Himalaya". GeoJournal. 54 (1–4): 109–396. doi:10.1023/A:1021307330169.
  23. ^ Kuhle, M. (1994). "Present and Pleistocene Glaciation on the North-Western Margin of Tibet between the Karakoram Main Ridge and the Tarim Basin Supporting the Evidence of a Pleistocene Inland Glaciation in Tibet. Tibet and High Asia. Results of the Sino-German and Russian-German Joint Expeditions (III)". GeoJournal. Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer. 33 (2/3): 133–272. doi:10.1007/BF00812877.
  24. ^ Jerzy Wala, Orographical Sketch Map of the Karakoram, Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, Zurich, 1990.
  25. ^ Tarar, Mustansar Hussain (1994). K2 kahani. Lahore: Sang-e-Meel (published in Urdu). p. 179. ISBN 9693505239.


External links

This page was last edited on 19 February 2019, at 05:01
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