Around 60% of Pakistani lands consist of mountainous terrain and plateaus, while the remaining 40% are expanses of plains lands. The Himalayan and Karakoram ranges are the highest points in the country. K2 on the Chinese border is the tallest mountain in Pakistan, while the Gasherbrum Massif holds four of Pakistan's ten highest peaks. The Himalaya also contains high mountains such as the Nanga Parbat, which is ranked globally at position nine. Other significant peaks are found in the Hindu Kush. The Karakoram mountain range has the highest mountain peaks with K2 as one of its tallest points. The Karakoram extends to India and China as well. Five of the world's tallest mountains are in Pakistan.
With an elevation of 8,611 meters, K2 is among the highest mountains in the world, second only to Mount Everest. Its location on the China-Pakistan border gives it a great take on the landscape. However, the salvage mountain has been a death zone to mountaineers over the years. The harsh weather, the falling ice, and high avalanche danger make the climbing impossible in winter, and people can only climb in June, July, or August. The mortality rate for climbers is at 27% where for every four climbers one dies. In 2008, 11 mountaineers died on K2. The Bottleneck is the most dangerous climb due to its steep couloirs over hanged with Seracs.
This mountain is ranked as the 9th highest in the world. It is in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, on the western side of the Himalayas and south of the Indus River. The peak of Nanga Parbat rises to an elevation of 8,126 meters and climbers who have attempted a climb without proper guidance have died. In the 20th Century, the mountain was nicknamed Killer Mountain due to the high number of mountaineering deaths. The vertical relief in all directions makes the mountain a forbidding place.
The Gasherbrum Peaks
Gasherbrum is a remote group of peaks located at the northeastern end of Baltoro Glacier. The mountains lie in the Karakoram Range of the Himalaya. The residents call the mountains the shining wall presumably from the high visibility of Gasherbrum IV. Gasherbrum I is the highest with an altitude of 8,080 meters, followed by Gasherbrum II (8,035 meters), Gasherbrum III (7,952 meters), and Gasherbrum IV (7,925 meters).
This mountain lies on the border between Pakistan and China. It has a summit of around 8,051 meters in elevation. It lies along the western Baltoro glacier between Gasherbrum IV and Gasherbrum IV. Compared to other mountains in Pakistan, Broad Peak expeditions consider the summit as an easy climb and over the years teams have had success climbing to the top.
Masherbrum is known as the world's hardest Alpine climb. The mountain lies to the south of Baltoro Glacier. The rivers sourcing from these mountains pour into the Arabian Sea. With a summit of 7,821 meters, the mountain has an altitude and exposure of the Everest, but the technicalities of a climb are tedious. Also, the descent becomes more difficult as there is little information regarding the dangers, perils, or references. The dangerous avalanches, the moving ice when temperatures rise and large ice of the mountain making expeditions difficult.
Economic and Cultural Importance of Pakistan's Mountains
The Himalayas stretch out for a distance of around 2,500 kilometers from east to west. The people of Central and South Asia consider these Himalayan Ranges as the "roof of the world". The mountains of Pakistan provide a source from which all the rivers begin. The Northern Mountains protect Pakistan from foreign invasion and the severe Siberian winds which would affect the temperatures of Pakistan negatively. The mountain ranges, the peaks, the steep gradients are a major tourists attraction making tourism an important sector in the country. The mountains provide timber for construction purposes, and the river feeds the people living in their basins.
The Himalayan topography is snow-capped, with steep-sided peaks and underlying valleys rich in natural vegetation. The Karakoram Mountains are inhospitable, and the culture of the people living around is sporadically nomadic. Although some agriculture takes place at the valleys, the Karakoram ranges have steep peaks with a fast flowing making most of the valley space. Since the mountains are located at geographical boundaries of other countries, disputes have arisen over the years between Pakistan and China, India, Afghanistan, and other nations. Even so, the mountains have survived the debates and each of these countries taking ownership of the mountain face facing their country.