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Humshehri: Thinking Pakistan's History

Thinking Pakistan's History

Famous Mountain Peaks

Urdu Version

Gilgit-Baltistan is home not only to the second highest peak in the world, but also to several famous mountain peaks such as Nanga Parbat and the Gasherbrums.

Last Updated: 23 Oct. 2013


K-2 Peak
(Vasiq Eqbal)

K2 (K stands for Karakoram) is the 2nd highest peak in the world at 8611 meters. It lies partly in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan and partly in the Xinjiang Region of China. In 1856 Thomas Montgomerie, a Lieutenant-Colonel of British Royal Engineers and a surveyor with the Great Trigonometric Survey of India, observed two tall peaks in the Karakoram Mountain Range and mapped them numerically. K1 was known locally as Masherbrum but K2, perhaps due to its remoteness, did not seem to be very well known. Its local name is Chogori, which means ‘Big Mountain’ in the Balti language, but this name is not widely used. Due to its high mortality rate, high altitude, and difficult terrain, climbers sometimes refer to K2 as the Savage Mountain.

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat ariel view
(Vasiq Eqbal)

Nanga Parbat is the 9th highest mountain in the world at 8126 meters and lies on the western end of the Himalayas. The Kashmiri name Nanga Parbat is derived from the Sanskrit words Nagna Parvata, meaning Naked Mountain. The Arabic name for the peak is Diamir and means king of the mountains. In its vicinity there is no other mountain that crosses the barrier of even 7000 m and so it stands visible or naked amongst its neighbors. Nanga Parbat has earned the frightening title of The Killer Mountain. It is visible from the Karakoram Highway.


Gasherbrum IV
(Vasiq Eqbal)

The Gasherbrums are a cluster of six remote peaks located at the northeast end of the Baltoro Glacier in the Karakoram Range. Gasherbrum is often, but incorrectly, thought to mean shining wall, but in Balti, Gasherbrum is a combination of two words, meaning beautiful mountain.

Gasherbrum I, also known as K5, is the highest peak amongst the Gasherbrums at 8068 meters, 2nd highest in the Karakoram Range and 11th highest peak in the world. It is also given the name Hidden Peak by William Martin Conway in 1892 in reference to its extreme remoteness. Gasherbrum II has an elevation of 8035 meters, Gasherbrum III of 7952 meters, Gasherbrum IV of 7925 meters, Gasherbrum V of 7321 meters, and Gasherbrum VI of 7001 meters.


(Vasiq Eqbal)

Masherbrum at 7821 meters is the 24th highest peak in the world and 11th highest peak in Pakistan. This mountain has two high points: The main or north summit stands at an elevation of 7821 meters and the southwest summit is 7806 meters high.

In Baltistan, it is believed that the name Masherbrum comes from the Balti words mashadar, meaning muzzle-loading gun, and brum meaning mountain, as the mountain resembles an old muzzle-loader. It is also suggested that masha stands for queen or lady and therefore Masherbrum means queen of peaks. Although rarely referred to as such, Masherbrum is also known as K1 and lies in the Karakoram Range.

Laila Peak

Laila Peak
Laila Peak, Hushe Valley
(Vasiq Eqbal)

There are actually three Laila peaks in Pakistan. Laila means dearest or most loved one in local language. The highest peak, at 6986 meters, is located on the south side of the Chogo Lungma Glacier in the Haramosh Mountains. The second highest Laila Peak, at 6096 meters, is in Hushe valley near the world’s highest mountain pass, Gondogor La. Its shape is spear like. The smallest Laila peak is on the south side of the Rupal Valley in the far western Himalaya. This peak is only 5971 meters.

Find out more

Books & Articles

Khalid, Nazir Ahmed. Geography of Pakistan. Lahore: Career, 2003.

BigLee. “Laila Peak.” SummitPost: Climbing, Hiking & Mountaineering. 18 Apr. 2009.

“Gasherbrum.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Oct. 2013.

“K2 (mountain, Asia).” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 27 May 2010.

“Masherbrum.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Oct. 2013.

“Nanga Parbat.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Oct. 2013.


Pakistan Mountains