7 minute read
This year I had an “achievement unlocked” moment when I accomplished something I had been planning since last year but couldn’t do so due to my twisted ankle sadly – Rakaposhi Basecamp!
Tagafari aka Rakaposhi Basecamp is a fun, “apparently” easy trek for most regular trekkers. With it’s access point in Hunza, a relatively more secure area than any other in Pakistan, it is even doable for solo females both local and foreign.
Time & Duration ⏲️
Ideally, for a regular trekker, the total trek till Rakaposhi Basecamp should be 6-7 hours depending on the breaks. But in order to fully enjoy the experience, one must break the journey at Hapakun, the closest point to the Basecamp and stay a night there to continue to the Basecamp the next day, which is hardly 1.5 – 2 hours away from this point.
My Journey 💕
This trek had been on my mind since 2018 beginning. I knew I would end up doing it solo since all my trekking mates had done it already and hardly anyone wants to do these treks again. Unless someone is a die hard enthusiast. However, luckily, I was able to find two local mates to join me on this trek which turned out to be a great decision in terms of good company as well as the fact that since we were on our own, we had the freedom to drive the plan according to our wish and time stamp.
I had gathered all the information about this trek from the locals in advance and honestly Rakaposhi Basecamp doesn’t need strenuous prep coz the trek is self explanatory and it’s not too lengthy per se, just a little too inclined at most parts. But obviously you should have prior experience of long steep treks before you attempt this. Coz this basecamp is all about inclination!
Where / How to Start? 🚌
If you’re stationed in Aliabad, head to the local bus stop and catch a bus to drop you off to Minapin, well not exactly Minapin but it will drop you off at the main Karakoram highway, from where the uphill Pissan – Nagar road begins towards the Minapin village.
Btw Pissan is famous for it’s apricots and juicy apples. There’s also a shorter hike to Tagafari that goes from Pissan directly but that’s not used very often and the locals don’t even recommend it for tourists as it’s mostly deserted and unfriendly in terms of the terrain.
Bus charges from Aliabad to Minapin (KKH drop-off) = Rs. 80/person *
Where to Stay? 🏘️
Roughly a 20 – 30 min walk is required to get to the centre of Minapin village where all the tourist lodges are built. There are many hotels up on the way as well like Diran guest house, Osho thang etc. But personally I loved the location and setup of Huts N Hills Lodges as it’s right besides the massive river confluence of Minapin & Pissan glacier at full throttle and also coz this hotel is closer to the initiation point of the trek.
Hotel charges vary from season to season but it’s usually between 3000 – 5000 per room. Camping charges are 1000-1500
Starting the Trek! 🏞️
First things first, like all other treks – START EARLY!!
Ideal time to leave is around 7am to have covered maximum part of the trek by the time the Sun is directly over you. Unlike us who started off at 9:30/10 am which is considered very much late for such treks. Due to the bare canopies, it gets difficult to ascend uphill as the sun gets harsher and hits directly on your head, making you feel more lethargic and sweaty.
The Initiation Point
Opposite Huts n Hills, that is across the river is a narrow unmetalled path going alongside the giant water pipeline that will lead you straight to the hydro power plant built and maintained by the locals. Coming here, you’ll already start feeling the ascension slightly as this is the spot where the steep inclination begins, in the form of multiple bends that I forgot to count.
As you go up on the curves, you start losing out on breath and will naturally start taking breaks at every turn. The scenery around so far is part barren part green (considering the month of July) and you can see partly snowy tips of Ultar range and Diran range, minapin and Pissan village in the distance, gushing brown river at the bottom and a never ending trail up ahead. But then comes this beautiful waterfall in sight which holds your breath for a while. It’s sprinkles cold enough to freshen any tired soul.
Dare not go near it as the stones around it are unbelievably slippery and it would simply take a momentary slip for you to go down nearly 200-300ft!
Dhaba On The Way! ☕
God bless this soul (whose name my forgetful memory has slipped) for opening up a roadside chai dhaba and resting point right in the middle of the way enroute Hapakun.
The tea served here is absolutely fantastic and his hospitality is even more appreciable. He built this place all by himself and keeps snacks, beverages and straw beds for passers by.
Tea: Rs. 30/-
Reaching Bangidaas 🐂
Bangidaas is a small meadow, little ahead of the chai dhaba mentioned earlier. Where a few families reside and keep a canister of fresh goat “lassi” in the flowing river stream for travelers, that too free of cost!
It’s kept in the river so as to keep it icy cold and freshen up the almost fainting trekkers and revive their energies for the remaining journey. Trust me, it helps!
Camping at Hapakun 🏕️
Hapakun is the popular stopover for this trek with two camping sites, one right at the top and one a little below the hills. We stopped at the top one
Camping charges are Rs. 500/- (if you have your own camp) else it’s 1000-1500/- The food is expensive and can range from Rs. 700-2500 ranging from a simple meal of Daal Chawal to chicken gravies.
Though the Basecamp is hardly 1.5 hours away from here but upon reaching Hapakun, we decided to camp there a night for its utterly gorgeous and soothing views – cattle grazing here and there, lush green meadows, perfectly cascading views of steep hills and the villages far far below, breath taking diran glacier and it’s winds hitting the pasture loudly, was all pretty dramatic.
After having a scrumptious meal of aromatic lentils and rice it was just impossible to walk any further, hence we just decided to rest out the day and camp here for the night.
Best decision ever – the healing sunsets and a night full of stars is what you don’t want to miss!
One of the most common questions I received in regards to this trek was about the washroom facilities – well you won’t find any on the way from the starting point till you reach Hapakun – till then you’ll have to rely on makeshift washroom-ing. But Hapakun has a pretty decent mess area which just rattles a lot when the winds blow but otherwise it’s small but neat and has a constant water flow, a bucket and a small narrow space for a shower as well.
Rise & Shine to Rakaposhi 🏔️
After an eerily quiet night, the morning was spectacular here but the breakfast was meh! Imagine starting an important trek without a satiable cup of tea and good breakfast, so maybe you can bring something along with yourself as an option.
Easy to say it’s just a 1.5 hour journey to the finish line BUT beware of the instant inclination that welcomes you right after the camping site because that will surely get you out of breath soon. So go slow but go steady, keep yourself hydrated and take pauses often. Just when you start getting frustrated, you see the tip of Rakaposhi smiling down at you, taking away all the pain you felt coming up.
The scenery changes from here onwards, with pink, purple and yellow flowers scattered wildly all over the field, pathway becoming narrower and steeper and Rakaposhi revealing itself more and more with every step you take.
Make sure to keep a jacket with you coz while trekking up here may have gotten you sweaty, reaching the basecamp will first get you welcomed by cold minapin glacial winds – which my friends, is going to be colossally loud and strong!
Imagine a white glistening massif of ice rising 7788m high above sea level, stretched as far as your vision can extend – Rakaposhi, the 12th highest mountain of Pakistan is right in front of you! What do you say? What do you feel? Absolute awe and wonderment takes over you in such a moment. To witness such magnificence is completely surreal and that’s not enough, your sight is bestowed with another piece of art as you look to your left – Diran Peak, 7266m high, probably the most dangerous peak in Pakistan in terms of ascension is there to complete the canvas.
This scenery is somewhat daunting as two of the most beautiful yet challenging peaks are right in front of you with the very ferocious looking Minapin glacier underneath giving you the unfriendly look although inviting you to take the dare and walk over them!
The Descend ⬇️
Snapping ourselves out of such impressive beauty, clicking necessary photos at the Basecamp and feeling much gratitude for finally being here, we decided to descend. The downward slope is always quick and fun but also pretty exhausting for the knees. However in less than an hour,we were back at Hapakun to wrap our stuff to get to the village to catch a bus back to Aliabad.
However we made a few long stops on the way down, that led us to miss the local bus that doesn’t move after 5pm (tentatively) and we had to grab a private taxi instead. (Charges till Aliabad: Rs. 1000/-)
So this was my achievement this year so far, for carrying out a task that was long due on my plate. I hope this guide will thoroughly tempt & help you to plan your trip to Rakaposhi Basecamp soon.
I’m dropping a small video here for you guys to watch and get a better feel of the trek. Otherwise, if there are any queries regarding this, feel free to drop a comment below!