Baltistan lies right at the heart of the Karakorum Mountains and possesses a landscape that is spectacular and exhilarating as it is forbidding, inhospitable and isolated. The region’s main attractions are the opportunities it offers for climbing and trekking. However, you don’t need to be a mountaineer or dedicative walker to appreciate the beauty of these mountains, since many of the most attractive areas are easily accessible by jeep, including, Shigar, Khapulu, Hushe, Shangri La resort and Deosai Plains. But Baltistan is not just awesome mountain scenery; it is also home to the Balti people, whose hardly resilience is matched only by their warmth and friendliness. The history and culture of this region, stretching back to Buddhist times and earlier, is also still very much in evidence in the local architecture, language and traditions of its people.
To the north, the Karakorum Mountains dominate the region, a huge tangle of rock and ice with 12 of the 30 highest peaks in the world. At its core is the Baltoro Glacier, covering some 1200 square kilometers and four peaks exceeding 8000 meters; K2 the 2nd highest mountain in the world at 8611 meters, Gasherbrum-I (8068 meters also known as hidden peak), Broad peak (8060 meters) and Gasherbrum-II (8035 meters). There are dozens of 7000 meters peaks and literally hundreds of 6000 meters ones, the majority of them unnamed. To the south is Deosai, an enormous expanse of high plateaus, all above 4000 meters. Following through the middle of Baltistan and diving these two main features is Indus River. Entering the region from the south across the ceasefire line with India, it than trends northwest, at one point spreading out over white glacial plain around Skardu, before raging through a narrow gorge till it loops sharply south to emerge near its confluence with the Gilgit River. Joining it from the east is the Shyok River flows in from the north. Although lesser in terms of size, the latter two are of crucial importance in terms of the opportunities for settlement which they afford.
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