Friday, August 24, 2012

Skardu Desert: The coldest desert above the clouds

[Photo: Rizwan Saddique ]
Those who venture the K-2, the second highest mountain after Everest - but much more difficult to scale than Everest, pass through the last major town of Pakistan, Skardu. Located at an altitude of around 8,200 feet in the Gilgit Baltistan region, Skardu leads the way to five of the fourteen eight thousanders of the world, both in the Karakorum and Hindu Kush mountain ranges.

Skardu Valley, which is 10 kilometers wide and almost 40 kilometers long, is located on the confluence of the famous River Indus and Shigar River. The grey-brown mountains overlooking the Skardu town hide the countless peaks of Karakorum mountain range, that also include four of the five  eight thousanders located in Pakistan. The four peaks include the K-2, the Gasherbrums and the Broad Peak, besides the highest sheer verticals - the Trango Towers. Skardu is also the gateway to the Deosai Plains, the second highest plains in the world at 13,500 feet, stretched over an area of 3000 square kilometers.

Tourists, beside mountaineers from all over the world come to visit so much that Skardu offers them and finally takes them to the nearby Shangrila tourist resort on the Lower Kachura Lake with its deep blue waters. Besides, there is Upper Kachura Lake and awe inspiring Satpara Lake, not far from Skardu.

Skardu is also the gateway to the Baltoro and Biafo glaciers, one of the biggest glaciers of the world.

Although all above make Skardu a unique place to visit, there is something else which is very unique and amazing at the height at which Skardu is located - the cold Skardu desert.

Spectacular Skardu Desert: the Coldest Deseret above the clouds [Photo: Rizwan Saddique ]
Yes,  desert that makes you shivers with blowing cold winds, not sweat with hot winds as we usually do in the normal deserts located anywhere in the world.

Skardu Desert by Gerda
The Skardu desert, surrounded by valley covered with lush green vegetation, is said to be the highest cold desert in the world, as despite temperatures ranging between a maximum of 27 °C and a minimum (in October) 8 °C, which further drop to below -10 °C in the December-to-January, while the lowest temperature that can reach -25 °C, the Skardu Desert is really cold and freezing.

Watch a video of this amazing cold desert:

Next time you visit Pakistan or have plans to visit Skardu, do not miss out the awesome Skardu Desert among many other sightseeing places in and around Skardu.

Video courtesy:  / YouTube