Beyond Hunza the Karakoram Hyway climbs and winds past glaciers towards
the Pakistani border station at Sust. Sust is actually a long, long
way from the physical border at the top of the Kunjerab Pass.
Left: Beyond the Hunza area, heading north and climing.
Right: The Pasu Glacier at Pasu town (at 2400 meters), seen from the
Beyond Sust -- after being stamped out of Pakistan -- you
must take the official transport (Toyota Land Cruisers!) into China
Left: The Karakoram Highway -- now unpaved -- winds steeply up
another 85 kilometers past the border post to the pass.
Right: My gang of travelers, and an intrepid cyclist,
take a break on the way up. The Pamir Mtns. in the back.
The pass, at 4730m (15,514 ft.), is perhaps the highest hiway in the
Left: This marker announces the beginning of China. Randy holds it up.
Right: Atop Kunjerab Pass looking toward China; Chinese Army boys loiter.
The Chinese border station at Pirali is not quite so far from the top of
Left: Pirali border station, Customs shed, and the Bank of China
in the background.
Right: The Chinese bus parked outside of customs. This bus will take us
to Kashgar, China -- but it will take 2 days!
A very thorough baggage search is conducted here; then you wait in the bank,
and wait for the bus.
Left: Snow above the Chinese barracks.
Right: View from the Bank of China as the rain continues.
On our second day from the Chinese border, after a night in the Tadjik city of Tashkurgan,
mount Muztagh Ata first comes into view.
Left: First view of the Muztagh Ata "Ice Mountain Father".
Right: The Muztagh Ata is 7540m (24,731 ft.) high.
Muztagh Ata: The mountain doesn't seem so high perhaps
because the road is at almost 11,000 feet.
Left: More views of the Muztag Ata. The deep glacier-cut morraines are
easily seen, with the glaciers still intact.
Right: Here a small camel cravan rests in the foreground of the mountain.
We spent half a day driving a semi-circle around Mt. Muztagh Ata and enjoying
views from many angles.
Left: A different "side-view" of the Muztagh Ata.
Right: South of Muztagh Ata a shimmering mica mountain rises south of
Just beyond the Muztagh Ata is the beautiful Kara Kuli ("Black Lake" --
sometimes spelled Karakol, Karakul, or Kara Kul).
Left: At the edge of the Kara Kuli lake with
Mt. Kongur in the background.
Right: View across the Kara Kuli to the Muztagh Ata. Below is the Kirghiz
yurt village, set up by the China Travel Service as a traveler's stop.
At this point, we are only a couple of miles east of Tadjikistan, former Soviet
Left: Kirghiz yurts at Kara Kuli. Author takes a look inside.
Right: Peter and Hau Kum have a look in at the yurts. We did not stay here;
on to Kashgar!
Left: Looking north to Muztagh Ata from Kara Kuli; this photo from the Southern
trip back to Pakistan.
Right: A goat and horse grazing near a local village at the base of
the Muztagh Ata Mt.
Left: The bus stopped again beyond Kara Kuli to fix brakes, and take
Right: Dipping a coffee can into glacial runoff and splashing it
on the brakes passes for preventitive bus maintenance here.
Many Pakistani merchants make the trip to trade at the market in Kashgar.
Left: This is the view as the Kongur just comes in to view traveling
Right: At 7720 meters (25,321 feet) the Kongur is still higher
than the Muztagh Ata, and just north of Kara Kuli.
Here we also are not far from the little finger of Afghanistan that reaches
out to touch China.
Left: Mt. Kongur rises steeply from the foothills of the Pamirs.
Right: The mountain's glaciers glisten in the summer sun.
Descending out of the Pamirs, the basin of the Ghez River is a desolate stop.
Left: What passes for the military Chinese check-point at Ghez River.
Right: Near the Ghez check-point, a vestige of civilization,
in the form of a shop selling thick noodle soup. Not good, but filling.
Next stop Kashgar, China!
Follow this trip into Western China in another photo gallery of Kashgar, China.