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Khunjerab Pass

Khunjerab Pass (sometimes called Khunerjab Pass) is a high mountain pass on the northern border of Pakistan with China, at an elevation of 4.733m (15,528ft) above the sea level. The Khunjerab Pass is the highest border-crossing in the world and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway.

Khunjerab Pass is located in the Karakoram Mountains in a strategic position on the northern border of Pakistan's Gilgit–Baltistan Hunza-Nagar District on the southwest border of the Xinjiang region of China. For comparison, Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe, is 4.810 m and Mount Whitney, the highest point in the 48 contiguous United States, is 4.421. This section of the road was completed in 1982 and is possibly the highest metalled border crossing in the world. On the Pakistani side, the surface of the road is gravel. On the Chinese side, the surface of the road is a bad asphalt.  

During the rainy season (December-April), because of mudslides the pass is closed to all vehicles except large trucks. The long, relatively flat pass is often snow-covered during the winter season and as a consequence is generally closed from November 30 to May 1. Choose your time carefully. The road bad conditions, with extremely large pot holes could potentially pop a tire, crack a rim, or screw up your cars allignment.  Portions of the road may be temporarily closed due to road work or inclement weather. Heavy or prolonged rain can cause local flash floods that cover the road with water or wash out culverts or bridges. There are some police checkpoints along the highway in China that may slow down your journey significantly if there are many cars and trucks. It is not advisable to take cars, 4x4 is preferred but a Van / coaster would serve the purpose.The unpaved sections of the road can be impassable when wet. In any case, driving 4WD is recommended due to uneven surface. During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and can easily get muddy if it rains making it challenging to get through. It’s a tough terrain and expect landslides during rainy season.
Watch out for sudden loose-gravel breaks. And that pavement can ripple like a roller coaster track in places where “frost heaves” are caused by seasonal freezing and thawing of the ground. The surface on this gravel road is often loose, especially along the sides of the road. It makes necessary to drive carefully and slow down whenever approaching an oncoming car. Besham is the start of Kohsitan which is famous for its ruggedness and stubbornness. It is highly advisable to limit your stay and keep going preferably during day time. Kohistan borders Baltistan which is relatively safe. Main town to stay overnight is Chillas.
Pic: Travelling Pakistan

 

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