Trekking the Hopar glacier

The northern areas of Gilgit Baltistan are home to looming mountains, and some of the largest glaciers in the world. This includes the famous Hopar glacier situated in the scenic Nagar valley, Hunza.

Whenever someone is headed towards Hunza, they are asked to visit the glacier once since it’s a spot known even among foreign travellers who crave to see the numerous formations in the mountain range.  Reaching the glacier, however, isn’t easy. It requires at least a one-and-a-half-hour trek and a lot of stamina.

For locals, this glacier is important because the water from Hopar falls into the Hunza river. The residents of the area drink this water and many claim it has healing properties.

The itinerary that you form to visit the glacier is completely up to you though. You can either stay and Karimabad or find a rest house at Nagar valley. But having said that, you must keep in mind that the drive within the gorgeous mountains and lakes isn’t the problem, the trek is.

The trek

The minute you get off near the glacier site, you will find numerous food and souvenir stalls. Children will run to you and offer help with the trek – they make a living by assisting travellers in climbing the Hopar glacier. Those who don’t realise how tough the trek is, often say no to their assistance, however, we advise you to accept this helping hand, especially if you don’t have much experience in trekking.

Here’s why the trek is tough – you have to climb down the rocky mountain to reach the glacier. Though the people of Hunza can be seen running around this trek without a care in the world, the journey can be challenging to those who reside in cities.

Also remember, its going to take more than an hour to reach the glacier and before that, all that is within your view is a muddy rocky terrain. However, the minute you set your eyes upon the glacier, you forget the long walk it took to get to the point. All you will see is solid snow mixed with mud till miles.

How far you trek from that point on is your choice, but keep in mind that the temperature gets extremely cold as soon as you reach the glaciers.

If you are the adventurous sort and want to continue the trek up to the mountains, we advise you keep the following items with you.

Things you need to improve the trekking experience

  • Hiking backpack.
  • Hiking boots or shoes.
  • Snacks such as fruits, protein bars or dry fruits.
  • Plenty of water.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Hiking pole.
  • Gloves.

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