The Karakoram: Ice Mountains of Pakistan

Colin Prior
The Karakoram is the result of six expeditions to the region. While most of the world’s great peaks are almost blanketed in snow and ice, the Karakoram is an exception: the mountains are so vertical that they rapidly shed snow, leaving their bold, jagged outlines of granite glistening in the sun.
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9781858946870

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The ice mountains of the Karakoram are among the world’s greatest natural treasures. K2 is the second tallest mountain on Earth, and there are three other mountains in the range that top 8000 metres (26,247 ft). With its highest peaks located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of north-eastern Pakistan, the Karakoram is part of a complex of Central Asian ranges that includes the Hindu Kush to the west and the Himalayas to the south-east. These mountains, however, are distinctive. This is the most glaciated region on the planet outside the Arctic and Antarctic. But while most of the world’s great peaks are almost blanketed in snow and ice, the Karakoram is an exception: the mountains are so vertical that they rapidly shed snow, leaving their bold, jagged outlines of granite glistening in the sun. The name of the range comes from the Altaic term for ‘black gravel’ or 'black pass'.

The renowned landscape photographer Colin Prior was initially inspired to visit the Karakoram in his early twenties after picking up a book by the climber and photographer Galen Rowell and being instantly captivated by images of the sharp, fractured peaks and vast glaciers. He has been passionate about these mountains since his first trip in the mid-1990s. Prior’s new book is the result of a further five expeditions to the region. Because it is so remote, each expedition requires careful planning and miles of trekking with a team of porters and ponies. There are regular rockfalls and perilous snow-covered crevasses to contend with. The reward for Prior is what he calls the ultimate mountain landscape: ‘The scenery is graphic, with towers, minarets and cathedrals of rock.’

This elegantly produced volume showcases the breathtaking beauty of the Karakoram in some 90 duotone and colour photographs. The images are arranged to follow Prior’s progress up the glaciers, and are accompanied by well-chosen quotations from historical accounts of early expeditions.

Mick Conefrey – author of The Ghosts of K2, an account of the first ascent of this iconic mountain – contributes an essay on the importance of photography to the Karakoram and to mountaineering in general, while Prior's introduction chronicles each expedition he has made, and highlights the challenges of documenting the most exceptional mountain range in the world.

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More Information
Dimensions 34.6 x 28 cm
Image Count 90 duotone and colour illustrations
Binding Hardcover
Signed Copy No
Publisher Merrell
Date Published 2021
ISBN 13 9781858946870
Edition 1st
No. of Pages 160