Extreme snow hikes: kora kit testing in the wild mountains of Northern Pakistan

Setting off on assignment for kora saw us plan our epic hiking journey through the Haramosh Valley (35°50′24″N 74°53′51″E ) in Northern Pakistan in the Karakoram mountain range, all the way to Kutwal Lake.

From the Skardu road we took a 2-hour jeep ride on a rough off-road track until just beyond the village of Dasso. We started to hike in the valley until the very last tiny village called Gure that is located at an elevation of 3000m. The settlement is truly an authentic experience with no electricity, internet, phone coverage and other facilities. People live in close connection with nature here.

The avalanche started from Haramosh and it did not stop when it reached the glacier but pushing through even to the lake before it hit our tent.

We arrived at sunset and decided to stay close by the village for the night. The next morning our way lead through beautiful pine forest and after few hours of hiking we entered Kutwal Valley with mind-blowing views of the towering peaks of Malubiting (7458m), Laila (6096m), Haramosh (7409m), Paraber (6322m) and all the rest of the surrounding giants. As we were proceeding deeper in the valley and gaining altitude, we got more and more snow under our boots.

After 4-5 hours of walking we had to carry on in knee deep snow already. We reached the lake late afternoon, and we officially entered a real winter wonderland. The landscape was so pristine and peaceful with everything covered with snow. We set up our camp at around 3,500m altitude while experiencing many avalanches happening on the giant wall of ice and snow. One was especially huge and a little close for comfort. The avalanche started from Haramosh and it did not stop when it reached the glacier but pushing through even to the lake before it hit our tent. We stayed inside and hoped for a minimal impact on us. A few moments later it got pretty intense wind and a huge snow breeze. We were not in danger, but the experience was quite real and close.

During the night it was around -15 Celsius and we had most of our kora apparels on. We slept well and our kora gear kept us perfectly warm. In the middle of the night we heard steps on the snow right outside our tent and in the morning we found the trails of a snow leopard. After we finished with our shooting and stood back to really enjoy the view it was time to hike our return.

It took 2-days to return to the starting point and we were happy that we accomplished this amazing but quite challenging winter hike. We made excellent use of the kora layers, hats and neck gaiters/ warmers. Weather circumstances made it possible to wear our wool base and mid layers as they were meant to be used. From very sunny midday hiking only in the base layer to morning/evening moments with multiple layers on. We truly appreciate the quality and value of the products that kora offered us and we both officially became huge fans! We pushed our limits by going on this 4-day hike in the middle of November and our kora layers heavily contributed that our experience; we were perfect in our level of comfort and warmth.

Our yak and merino wool base layers and wool mid layers are perfect for multi-day hikes in altitude. kora fabrics help to keep your body temperature regulated and their natural breathability and wicking properties mean they can be worn without washing for several days at a time.