The hike to Rakaposhi Base Camp is considered to be one of the most beautiful hikes you can do in Pakistan, up there with hiking in Fairy Meadows. Most people hike the Rakaposhi Base Camp with a guide in 2 - 3 days but did you know that you can do it all in one day independently? I did it in October 2018 and I am here to let you know how I did it and how you can hike the Rakaposhi Base Camp in one day as well.
The Rakaposhi mountain is a 7,788 m high mountain in the Karakoram mountain range located in the Nagar Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The name Rakaposhi, meaning "snow-covered" came from one the fact that you can see its exceptional rise of its snow-covered peaks all the way from the Karakoram Highway route that goes through Nagar Valley. You can even see its majestic wall of snow all the way from Hunza Valley.
At 3,500 m, the Rakaposhi base camp stands for any hikers to climb and witness the majestic mountain up close and personal. Here is the complete guide to hiking the Rakaposhi Base Camp independently in one day:
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Rakaposhi Hiking Map
When to Go
The best time to hike Rakaposhi is from May to October where the trails are clear of snow and you are more likely to have a nice clear day.
I did the trek in October and the trail was completely empty with no one walking the trail nor do anyone occupying any of the camps en route, which is perfect since I was doing a one-day hike anyway.
The weather in October can be a bit windy especially on the viewpoint ridge and may drop below zero at night, so good thing I made it a day hike instead of a multi-day hike like most people do.
Things to Prepare
When it comes to hiking, a great preparation goes a long way. Here are some things to prepare before you make the trip:
- Good Sturdy Shoes: The trails are pretty tame with no requirement for technical gear (unless there is snow) so normal sturdy shoes should be enough for the trail.
- Weather-proof Jackets: Prepare layers as it can get cold the further you climb. It gets exceptionally windy when you approach the ridge before the base camp so a weatherproof jacket is recommended. Also, the weather changes fast up there so prepare a rain jacket and weather-proof pants as well.
- Prepare Lunch and Snacks: You will be hiking all day from 8 AM to 4 PM so be sure to prepare lunch and snacks to sustain your energy beforehand. You can ask your guest house to cook you lunch and borrow their food container for the hike. Water can be refilled from the water stream at Hapakun campsite so having 2 liters of water should be enough.
With anything related to hiking, it is always important to have a good travel insurance to cover accidents that may happen. If you are looking for a travel insurance, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure.
How to Get to Minapin
From Gilgit, you can take a public van from the north bus station (location shown below) to Minapin. The van is scheduled to leave at 3 PM bit they will often wait until it's full. The trip will take around 2 hours and it will cost you around 200 PKR. The bus stop is not much of a bus stop as there is no waiting room and seatings for you to wait. I had to ask a shop nearby to allow me to sit in their warehouse for 3 hours waiting for the van to come.
You can also hitchhike your way to Minapin. To be honest, it will be much much faster and more efficient if you just hitchhike. I did wait for the van all day and I still arrived at 8 PM.
Where to Stay in Minapin
Diran Guesthouse - 15 USD/Night (Double Room + Hot Shower)
Diran guesthouse might be a bit expensive for Pakistan standard but they do have a working hot shower you will appreciate that after a long day hike. They also have a nice garden when you can eat lunch and dinner from their restaurant.
The Hiking Trails
Minapin to Hapakun (2.5 hrs one way)
Length: 2.5 hrs one way
What I love about this hike is that the trail begins straight from Minapin. The entire hike will take approximately 7 hours without breaks so I would recommend you start as early as 8 AM. From Minapin, head south along the road until you stumble upon a bridge to a hydroplant.
From there, you will have to follow a gravel path up the rocky mountain. The paths zigzag up the side of a mountain and then the trail becomes leveled as you walk through thick forest.
You will be passing through a local's village while the Minapin Glacier will start to be visible on your left. Continue walking on the flat path through the forest for about an hour and you will start ascending up a hill until you arrive in Hapakun campsite.
There is no mistaking the campsite. You will see one big white tent (unoccupied if you are there in October) on a vast area of grass plain where you can rest and refill your water from the stream nearby if need be.
Hapakun to Rakaposhi Base Camp (1.5 hrs one way)
Length: 1.5 hrs one way
From here on out, it is all up with a steep climb that zigzags through the alpine forest for at least an hour until you are out of the forest, and are completely exposed. You will start to see Rakaposhi roaring in the background as you came out of the forest.
Continue and climb up the path until you have reached a ridge where you will be able to get a panoramic view of the mountain range and the glacier below it.
I'll be honest with you, the Minapin glacier is probably one of the most beautiful glaciers I have ever seen. Its psychedelic pattern just captivated me more than other glaciers.
I spent almost 2 hours just walking around the ridge, taking photos of the glacier and the beautiful mountain range behind it. The view from the ridge makes the trip all worthwhile.
By the time you arrive at the ridge, it should be around 12 PM. You can either stay here for the next 2 hours or continue onward to the base camp which is only 15 minutes away from the ridge. If by 2 PM, you have not reached the ridge, I would recommend you turn back as you will likely be hiking in the dark on your way down, and as I told you, when the sunset, the temperature can go below zero smart so please turn back if you have not reached the ridge by 2 PM.
From the Rakaposhi base camp back to Minapin, it is all down so it will take you around 2.5 hrs to descend. I started heading down by 2 PM and arrived back at my guest house at 4:30 PM, all in one day independently.
And there you have it. You can hike from Minapin to Rakaposhi base camp and back in 8.5 hours including 2 hours break at the top, plenty of time to get some nice photos of the beautiful Rakaposhi mountain and its psychedelic glacier. Are you planning to do some hiking in Pakistan? If you have any question regarding hiking to Rakaposhi Base Camp, do not hesitate to ask me in the comments below.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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