Top Six Mountain Ranges in Pakistan: Fact and Features

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Written by Aniza Pervez

Hello there, Friend. My name is Aneeza, and I enjoy adventure, food, and discovering new places and things. While traveling, I have the opportunity to write. I feel that life is brief, so instead of limiting yourself to a town or city, you should travel the world to discover a deeper purpose in your life. If you make a plan for yourself, you will undoubtedly notice a difference in your health, thinking, or mood. The act of traveling in the natural environment is restorative in and of itself, and discovering new foods is a life-affirming experience:)

February 2, 2022

A variety of geological processes forms mountain ranges. Yet, the majority of the significant ones are caused by plate tectonics. About 26.5% of all continental land surfaces are mountainous. Probably, It s considered that 67 of the 195 countries in the world have mountains.  So, what makes Pakistan so crucial in this regard? Obviously, the three most extensive mountain ranges in Pakistan explain this. 

It is estimated that Pakistan has more than ten mountain ranges. Actually, five mountains in Pakistan are higher than 8000 meters, out of 14 in the world. Likewise, these mountain ranges have 108 peaks of more than 7000 meters. Indeed, they are all lovely to tourists, climbers, and geologists.

Obviously, you’ve come to the right place if you’re a hiker, mountaineer, or someone interested in learning more about mountains and Pakistan’s highest peak. There will be a discussion of essential mountain ranges discussed in this article. 

Importance of Mountain Ranges in Pakistan

Importance of mountains

International Mountain Day (11 December)

Indeed, mountains are actually of great importance to the Earth. Approximately 22% of the Earth’s surface is covered with mountains, and 13% of the population lives on them. Moreover, It is important to note that mountains provide 60 to 80 percent of the world’s freshwater. Similarly, UNO estimates that over half of the human population relies on mountains for water and nutrition.

Mountains are, in fact, significant for biodiversity, clean water, clean air, research, cultural diversity, recreation, landscape, and spiritual significance. Furthermore, they play a role in disaster risk reduction because climatic variations are causing disasters. Additionally, mountain ranges play an essential role in economic support by attracting tourists and providing timber and minerals.

In fact, the details of each mountain range in Pakistan must fascinate you. Let’s find out.

Himalayan Mountain Range

Longest mountain ranges in Pakistan

Image of Himalayas from FT Sites

The Himalayas (meaning “abode of snow”) is Asia’s most extensive mountain range and the region is between the Tibetan Plateau and the Indian subcontinent’s alluvial plains. Basically, it is located in Kashmir Valley and Northern Pakistan, south and east of the Indus River, and is dominated by the Nanga Parbat massif. Indeed, this is a popular climbing spot and one of Pakistan’s most visited tourist attractions.

There are many high peaks over 8000m in the Himalayas, but the central part contains the majority. Furthermore, the Himalayas is drained by 19 major rivers, the largest of which are the Indus and Brahmaputra. Mount Everest is its highest peak, while Nanga Parbat is its highest peak in Pakistan.

Nanga Parbat (Himalayas’ Highest Peak in Pakistan)

Killer mountain

Nanga Parbat (Killer Mountain)

This peak is the ninth highest globally and the highest in Pakistan’s Himalayan range, with an elevation of 8,126 meters (26,660 feet). Actually, it is in Pakistan’s administered Kashmir, in the Diamer District of Gilgit-Baltistan, south of the Indus River. In contrast, the Karakoram range is north of it.

Due to the high number of climber deaths, Nanga Parbat, also known as Killer Mountain, is one of the riskiest mountains to climb. On July 3, 1953, Austrian climber Hermann Buhl, a member of a German-Austrian team, made the first ascent of Nanga Parbat via the Rakhiot Flank (East Ridge). Ali Sadpara had successfully ascended Nanga Parbat four times in his mountaineering career. 

Features

Height: 8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft)

Highest Peak: Mount Everest

Countries: Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan

Length: 24,000 KM 

Karakarm Mountain Range

Karakaram Mountain range

Second-largest mountain range in Pakistan

The Karakoram is the second-highest mountain range globally, and it straddles three borders: Pakistan, India, and China. This range originates from Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor in Pakistan and occupies the Gilgit-Baltistan region largely. Likewise, it forms the continental divide between Asia and Africa. Moreover, Pakistan’s Karakoram highway to China passes through this range.

Actually, it is believed that this range has 30 glaciers, including the second and third longest glaciers outside the polar region, the Siachen Glacier and Biafo Glacier. Also, this range has 18 peaks that exceed 7,500 meters (24,600 feet) in height, and four of those surpass 8,000 meters (26,000 feet). 

In 1856, a European team attempted to climb the Karakoram. Thomas Montgomerie, one of the members of this team, named this peak K2 due to its second-order position. The other four peaks are: K1 (Masherbrum), K3 (Broad Peak), K4 (Gasherbrum II) and K5 (Gasherbrum I).

K-2 (Mount Godwin Austen)

K-2 is the highest peak of the Karakoram range, ranked as the world’s second-highest peak. It lies in the northwestern Karakoram Range, partially in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

A 1953 American expedition on K2 member told reporters, “It’s a savage mountain that tries to kill you”.  Indeed, K2 is the riskiest of the five highest mountains globally, with an average of a fatality per four people attempting to summit.

Features

Height: 8,610 m (28,250 ft)

Highest Peak: Mount Godwin Austen

Countries: China, India, and Pakistan

Length: 1316 KM

Hindukush Range

Mountain ranges in Pakistan

Peak Koyo Zom in the Hindukush mountain range

This range is located in the northwest of Pakistan. Their range extends from southeast to southwest in Afghanistan, and these mountains are mostly found there. Initially, Ibn Battuta used the term Hindukush. Actually, the Hindu Kush means Hindu Killer since enslaved people from the Indian subcontinent died during their journey out of India to Turkestan due to the harsh conditions of the mountains.

A majority of the ranges’ peaks reach between 4,400 and 5,200 meters, with some reaching even higher, with an average peak height of 4,500 meters. Similarly, on the west side of Kabul, they rise to 3,500 to 4,000 metres (11,500 to 13,100 ft); on the east they rise to 4,500 to 6,000 metres (14,800 to 19,700 ft).

Actually, these mountainous areas are primarily barren or sprinkled with trees and stunted bushes. Some of the significant peaks in this range are Tirch Mir, Noshaq, and Istoro Nal. The highest peak of this is Tirich Meer.

Tirich Meer

mountain ranges in Pakistan

Tirich Meer: The largest peak of Hindukush Mountain Range

It is the highest peak in the Hindukush mountain range, located in the Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 7,690 meters (25,229 ft) in elevation. An expedition led by Arne Naess climbed the mountain for the first time in 1950. 

Furthermore, the glacier is challenging to cross, and you must cross it if you intend to climb this peak,

Features

Height: 7,708 m (25,289 ft)

Highest Peak: Tirich Mir

Countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan

Length: 800 KM

Koh-e-Safaid Range

Koh e Safaid

Safaid Koh image from hamariweb.com

In Pashto, it is called Spin Ghar. This range extends from south of the Kabul River to the Kurram River northward and along the Pak-Afghan border south. Most of this range is in Pakistan, but some parts are in Afghanistan. In addition, its average elevation is 3600 meters. Peshawer-Kabul road connects Pakistan and Afghanistan via Khyber pass.

The Koh-e-Safaid mountains are part of the Hindukush mountain system. Actually, the lower slopes are nearly barren; previously, pine and deodar trees grew in the main range, but devastation during the Afghan war cut down the number of trees. The valleys, however, support some agriculture. Sikaram is the highest mountain in the region.

Mount Sikaram

sikaram peak

Mount Sikaram: Highest peak of Spin Ghar

It is the highest peak in the Koh-e-Safaid mountain range at 4,755 m (15,600 ft). It is present in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in the Kurram District, north of Peshawar. Moreover, several villages, districts, and tribal areas are located in the small valley on this, including Peiwar, Alizai, Tari Mangal, Narai, Speena Shaga, and Khewas.

Features

Height: 4,755 m (15,600 ft)

Highest Peak: Mount Sikaram

Countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan

Salt Range

Salt mountain ranges in Pakistan

Salt Mountain range: Punjab

This range is one of the central mountain ranges of Pakistan located between the rivers Jhelum and Indus, to the south of the Potohar plateau. The average height of this range is 700 meters (2296 feet). It stretches for about 186 miles (300 kilometers).  Furthermore, its width ranges from 5 to 19 miles in the central and eastern parts of the range.

Actually, the name derives from extensive deposits of rock salt in the area. Aside from its salt deposits, then it is highly diversified in fossiliferous stratified rocks. It also contains coal, gypsum, and many other minerals. Additionally, it has salt mines, such as Khewra, Kalabagh, and Warcha. Moreover, Kallar Kahar lake is also present in this range.

Sakaesar

Sakesar

Sakesar’s image from Tripako

The highest point of the above range is Sakesar, with 1522 meters (4,992 ft). It is located in the Khushab district of the Punjab province, at the outer edge of Soon Valley. Moreover, Uchhali Lake lies below it. Obviously, this is an excellent place to picnic and take a mid-level walk.

Features

Height: 1,522 m (4,993 ft)

Highest Peak: Sakesar 

Location: Kallar Kahar 

Length: 300 KM

The Suleiman Mountains

Koh-e-Sulaiman

Image of Koh-e-Sulaiman from explorepakistan.com

This mountainous region lies between Balochistan and Punjab. This range can be present in the Zabul, Kandahar, and Loya Paktia regions of Afghanistan. Furthermore, they form the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau and the northeastern edge of the Balochistan Plateau.

They cover most of northern Balochistan and some parts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. Also, the river Bolan falls into the Indus throughout the region through the Bolan pass.

Sulaiman’s most famous peak is the twin-peaked Takht-e-Sulaiman or “Throne of Solomon,” situated near Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan, at 3,487 meters. Zarghun Ghar is the highest peak at 3,578 meters (11,739 ft) near Quetta.

Some Conventions About Takht-e-Sulaiman

Takht-e-suliman

Takht-e-Sulaiman: Highest peak of Koh-e-Sulaiman

Many conventions are famous about Takht-e-Sulaiman, such as the claim that Prophet Sulaiman climbed it and surveyed South Asia. Moreover, some believe that a legendary ancestor of the Pashtun nation, Qais Abdur Rashid, is buried atop Takht-e-Sulaiman. Furthermore, it is also said that Noah’s Ark landed at Takht-e-Sulaiman.

Features

Height: 3,487 m (11,440 ft)

Highest Peak: Takht-e-Sulaiman (throne of Sulaiman)

Countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan

FAQs

How many mountain ranges are in Pakistan?

Pakistan has a mountainous terrain covering almost 61% of the country. Basically,  there are almost fifteen mountain ranges in Pakistan among the three mountain ranges: the Northern, Western, and Central mountain ranges. These ranges include Himalayan, Karakoram, Hindu Raj, and Hindukush.

What are the top three mountain ranges in Pakistan?

The three most significant and most spectacular mountain ranges in the world are present in Pakistan. These three world-famous mountain ranges in Pakistan are the Himalayas (the “Home of Snow”), the Karakoram (the “Killer of Hindus”), and the Hindu Kush (the “Killer of the Hindus”).

How many mountain peaks does Pakistan have?

Pakistan is home to five peak peaks with more than 8000 meters plus, 108 peak peaks over 7000 meters in height, and 4555 peaks exceeding 6000 meters in height. Furthermore, over 5,000 and 4,000 meters have not been counted.

What is the actual name of K-2?

The real name of K2 is Mount Godwin Austin. Actually, the peak is named after the peak’s first surveyor, H.H. George Austen, a 19th-century English geographer. Its elevation is 28,251 feet (8,611 meters), making it the second-highest peak.

Which mountains are called killer mountains?

The K2 and Nanga Parbat mountains are considered killer mountains since they are difficult to climb even in the summer. Indeed, the mountains are extremely challenging to climb, and the high death rate has earned them the nickname Killer Mountains. 

Which mountain range separates Pakistan and Afghanistan?

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Koh-e-Safiad mountain range extends westward for 100 miles (160 km) between the Vale of Peshawar (Pakistan) and the Lowrah Valley (Afghanistan). Moreover, the Khyber pass is located in this range, joining Pakistan and Afghanistan by the Peshawer-Kabul road. 

Conclusion

Indeed, mountains have a significant economic and geographical impact on a country. Actually, mountainous terrain covers 26.5% of the world’s land area , and 40% of Pakistan’s population lives there. Furthermore, mountain ranges provide biological diversity, clean water, clean air, recreational opportunities, views, and spiritual significance. Moreover, Pakistan’s rivers originate in these mountain regions and are rich in adventure sports and tourism opportunities. 

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