Occasional Climber

Karakoram Highway – Hon Ridge, August 1992

A typical house in Ganesh, a small village near Karimabad, at 2,500 metres, North along the Karakoram Highway from Minapin
Four brightly clothed little Hunzakut girls greet me outside their home in Ganesh
Down the road, also in Ganesh, four boys pause to check me out on their way to school. On the roof of the house behind are trays of apricots drying in the sun
Atop a densely terraced ridge sits Altit Fort. More than 600 years old, the fort commands a fabulous and intentionally impregnable outlook over the Hunza River and Karakoram Highway
From the watch-tower of Altit Fort a mountain goat's effigy looks down with unseeing eyes. Inside this fort, the musty, dimly lit interior speaks volumes about a colourful past
Directly below the fort is Altit village and, sandwiched between it and the spectacular 7,388 metre Ultar Peak, are rows of irrigated folliage, horizontally lining the steep rock walls. From the anonymity of this bird's eye view it is easy to while away several hours watching the activities in the village below
From Karimabad, Ultar Peak is dramatic. Several attempts have been made to climb it, yet no one has reached the 7,329 metre summit
The entrance to the trail leading to Hon ridge, which starts on the left side of this deep chasm
A view from Ultar meadows of the Ultar glacier and peak (right, 7,388 m)
This memorial to a Japanese climber, sited above a stone shepherd’s hut about 1,000 metres above Altit, stands testimony to the dangers associated with an attempt to conquer Ultar Peak
It takes time to get used to the smoky atmosphere inside the shepherd’s hut
The view from Hon Ridge (4,600 m), above Altit
Another view from Hon Ridge (4,600 m), above Altit  > On to the Khunjerab Pass

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