Glaciers of GB

Being “Roof of the World”, GB is home to hundreds of glaciers feeding the rivers of Pakistan. Some of the major glaciers are.

Siachen Glacier

Located in the Eastern Karakoram Range, just East of the Line of Actual Contact, it is 70 kilometers long and is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world. The Siachen Glacier lies immediately South of the great watershed that separates the Eurasian Plate from the Indian Subcontinent, sometimes called the “Third Pole.”The glacier lies between the Baltoro Range immediately to the West and the main Karakoram Range to the East. The Saltoro Range originates in the North from the Sia Kangri peak near China border. Pensively glaciated portion of the crest of Saltoro Range is almost 7,720 meters high (25,330 feet). The major passes on this range are, Sia La at 5,589 meters (18,336 ft) Bilafond La at 5,450 meters (17,880 ft), and Gyong La at 5,689 meters (18,665 ft). The average winter snowfall can be 10.5 m (35 ft) and temperatures can dip to -50 °C. Including all tributary glaciers, the Siachen Glacier system covers about 700 square kilometers. “Sia” in the Balti language refers to the rose family plant widely dispersed in the region. “Chun” refers to any object found in abundance. Thus the name Siachen refers to a land with an abundance of roses. The Glacier’s melting waters are the main source of the River Nubra in India, which drains into the River Shyok. The Shyok in turn joins the River Indus; thus, the Glacier is a major source for River Indus.


Biafo Glacier

The Biafo Glacier is a 67 km (42 mi) long glacier in the Karakoram Mountains of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan which meets the 49 km (30 mi) long Hispar Glacier at an altitude of 5,128 m (16,824 ft) at Hispar La (Pass) to create the world’s longest glacial system outside the polar regions.  This highway of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms, Nagar, in the west with Baltistan in the east. The traverse uses 51 of the Biafo Glacier’s 67 km and all of the Hispar Glacier to form a 100 km (62 mi) glacial route.



Baltoro Glacier

The Baltoro Glacier, at 63 km (39 mi) in length, is one of the longest glaciers outside the polar regions. It is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and runs through part of the Karakoram mountain range. The Baltoro Muztagh lies to the north and east of the glacier, while the Masherbrum Mountains lie to the south. At 8,611 m (28,251 ft), K2 is the highest mountain in the region, and three others within 20 km top 8,000 m.



Batura Glacier

Batura Glacier is 57 kilometers long. It lies in Batura Valley in Gojal region. The lower portions can be described as a grey sea of rocks and gravelly moraine, bordered by a few summer villages and pastures with herds of sheep,goats, cows and yalks and where roses and juniper trees are common.




Hispar Glacier

Hispar Glacier is a 49 km (30 mi) long glacier in the Karakoram Mountains of Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan which meets the 63 km (39 mi) long Biafo Glacier at the Hispar La (Pass) at an altitude of 5,128 m (16,824 ft) to create the world’s longest glacial system outside of the polar regions.




Godwin-Austen Glacier

The Godwin-Austen Glacier is close to K2 in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan. Its confluence with the Baltoro Glacier is called Concordia and is one of the most favorite spots for trekking in the area since it provides excellent views of four of the five eight-thousanders in the region.

The glacier can be approached via the important Balti town of Skardu. It receives its name from Henry Haversham Godwin-Austen, an early explorer of this region. The Karakoram peak K2 in the Himalayas was originally named Mount Godwin-Austin in his honour.