Occasional Climber

Baltistan – Skardu and surrounds, August 1992

Behind Skardu Rock on the banks of the Indus lies an apricot grove on the outskirts of a small village called Nantsok, through which these young local boys wander on their way home
Also behind Skardu Rock beside the Indus, a group of young shepherds bring home their goats at dusk
On the Skardu plain the Indus appears deceptively tranquil. In narrower terrain it is a brutal force. The water is laden with silt and finely ground glacial debris, giving the river it's brownish gray colour – liquid concrete
A birds eye view of Skardu’s mosque
From the highest point of Skardu Rock, 290 metres above and looking towards Skardu
Also from the top of Skardu Rock, looking back towards the Indus flood plain
Up on Skardu Rock a herd of Himalayan Ibex roam free
A climb up to the summit of Skardu Rock, 290 metres above the town, offers a good "warmup" for more serious trekking further into the mountains. It also provides a magnificent view of the Indus flood plain and surrounding mountains
Viewed from the Satpara Road above Skardu, layers of trees and sand, whipped by the fierce winds into shapely dunes on the flats, are offset by layer upon layer of steeply rising, fortress-like ridges behind - a barren, yet ruggedly attractive spectacle
A short steep climb up to the remnants of ancient Karpochu fort rewards the climber with this expansive view back over Baltistan's main town, Skardu. Situated at 2,300 metres near the banks of the Indus River, the town enjoys a relatively moderate climate, but is subject to blinding dust storms in the warmer months
A grain merchant on Skardu’s main street, Naya Bazaar
Also on Naya Bazaar, linen merchants pose staunchly
Another proud trucky poses with his four-wheeled visual symphony
The interior of the trucks is no less lavish than the exteriors – so colourful in fact that it’s a wonder that the drivers can concentrate on their driving
A group of Balti men take time out in one of the narrow lanes of old Skardu. Some of them sport a rolled woolen cap typical to the people of this area. All of them wear the ubiquitous, loose-fitting shirts and trousers of Moslem Pakistan
Satpara Lake, used as a reservoir for nearby Skardu
On the road to the Deosai Plains, above Satpara Lake, which is visible in the distance
A village near Satpara Lake
An ancient Buddhist rock carving on the outskirts of Skardu
My ride back from Skardu to Gilgit. Without breaks, it was a very long journey descending beside the roaring Indus on engine break  > Rawalpindi to Skardu

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