Those Who Dare.....
Valleys of Pakistan
All visitors to Pakistan must have a passport valid for six months after their intended departure from Pakistan, and most nationalities need a visa. Application forms are available from Pakistan embassies and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) offices. Rates vary depending on nationality.
official Pakistani definition of trekking is walking below 6,000 meters.
Trekking areas are divided into three zones: open, restricted and closed. No
permit is required for the open zone, which
covers most of Pakistan. The restricted zone
covers the border areas with India, China, Afghanistan and Iran and includes
most of Baluchistan and some areas of Chitral.
It also covers certain very popular treks in Baltistan,
where the number of trekkers needs to be
areas are generally defined as being within 48 kilometers of the frontier,
though there are exceptions—in Azad Kashmir,
for example, the restricted zone is within 16 kilometres of the border. India
and Pakistan have been fighting on the Siachen
Glacier since 1984, so all of the Siachen area is now closed.
Ministry of Tourism has approved ten treks in restricted zones, for which
permits are required and a trekking fee of Rs lOO/-
per person is levied. Five of these treks are along and around the Baltoro
Glacier, including the Vigne, Gondogoro
and Masherbrum passes (all of which lead onto
the Baltoro Glacier from the south) and the Panmah Glacier
(north of the Baltoro Glacier, towards the Chinese border). The remaining five
restricted treks are in Chitral: the three Kalash
valleys of Birir, Bumburet
and Rumbur and the Utak
Pass connecting Rumbur to Garam Chashma;
from Garam Chashma
up the Shishgol, close to the Afghan border;
the trek into Tirich Mir from Barum; the Shah jinali
Pass; and the Thui Pass. These last two have
recently been reclassified from closed to
( for foreigners )are issued by the Tourism Division (College Road, F7/2, Islamabad) within 24
hours of application, which must be made in duplicate through an approved trekking-tour
operator and accompanied by two passport photos and
passport details of all participants. An approved guide must accompany
all treks in restricted zones, and guides and porters must be insured for the
sum specified by the government. All trekkers
must be briefed in Islamabad before departure and register at the check
posts along the way.
is possible, but difficult, to get permission to trek along restricted routes
other than the ten mentioned above. This takes time. Applications must be made
through a recognized trekking-tour operator
and accompanied by a route map, photos and passport particulars of all trekkers.
If permission is given, a liaison officer will be assigned to accompany the
detailed information on all the trekking rules and regulations, apply to the
Tourism Division in Islamabad. Mountaineering rules and regulations, which are
different from trekking ones, are available from the same source. Specify that
you require the rates for hiring porters and jeeps, as these are a special
appendix and not in the trekking and mountaineering rules booklets (rates vary
in the different valleys).
The regulations detail the open, restricted and closed zones and conditions for the hire of porters, guides and liaison officers. The exact duties of liaison officers, mountain guides and the government specifies all high- and low-altitude porters—as are their equipment and food rations. Groups of more than five members must have a doctor or someone qualified in first aid with them, and there rules governing photography, foreign, insurance, security and what to do in case of accident.