Khunjerab Pass

Khunjerab Pass, the highest border-crossing in the world

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.

Remember this is is a mountainous area, climbing up a high mountain, with a notorius absence of oxygen. Altitude and extreme weather are always a factor. It is highly advisable to limit your stay and keep going preferably during day time. Take warm clothes with you as it can get very cold. Its name is derived from two words of the local Wakhi language : 'Khun' means Blood and 'Jerav' means a creek coming from spring water/water falling. Bring plenty of water to help stave off the feeling of altitude sickness. It's one of the highest roads of the country.

In which province is Khunjerab Pass situated?

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 4.421m. This section of the road was completed in 1982 and is possibly the highest metalled border crossing in the world. The road to the summit is paved. The Pakistani side features the highest ATM in the world. The Khunjerab Pass is only open Monday through Friday.

Is Khunjerab Pass open?

The high elevation with its risk of altitude sickness, weather concerns, steep road grade and overall inaccessibility make the travel dangerous and difficult. 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. There are some police checkpoints along the highway in China that may slow down your journey significantly if there are many cars and trucks. Besham is the start of Kohsitan which is famous for its ruggedness and stubbornness. Kohistan borders Baltistan which is relatively safe. Main town to stay overnight is Chillas. This relatively flat and well signposted mountain highway is said to be the highest international road in the world and includes the world’s highest international border crossing, the Youyi Friendship Bridge and access to the stunning Karakul Mountain Lake. Don’t forget your passport. The journey is quite easy and it only requires a little preparation but, due to the strict measures imposed by the Chinese authorities, you will need an extra dose of patience.
Pic: Travelling Pakistan


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