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20 interesting facts about Pakistan

From savage mountains to political firsts, we share the most interesting facts about Pakistan.

I recently visited Pakistan for the first time to complete the K2 base camp trek. I would be lying if I said that I had booked my flights without a hint of trepidation. Pakistan has long suffered from bad press, exacerbated by years of political instability. As such, there are still areas of Pakistan where travel is not advisable

During my visit, however, I not once felt in danger or concerned for my safety. I felt more comfortable walking the streets in Pakistan than I have in most South-Asian countries – though I should add that this is anecdotal and comes from my experience as a white man.

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22 interesting facts about K2

We share the most interesting facts about K2, gathered from years of reading, writing and dreaming about this notorious mountain.

Rising from the Baltoro Glacier in the heart of the Karakoram is K2, one of Earth’s most remarkable mountains. Revered in the mountaineering world, the pyramidal peak is the ultimate challenge for climbers. The world’s elite alpinists have attempted its treacherous slopes. Several have conquered the summit, but many have lost their lives.

I recently visited Pakistan for the first time to complete the K2 base camp trek followed by a crossing of the Gondogoro La Pass. The route took me past some of the most beautiful mountains in the world: Trango Towers, Masherbrum, Mitre Peak and Laila Peak to name but a few.

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Everest vs K2 base camp: which trek is right for you?

Everest vs K2 base camp – what’s the difference? We compare the two classic treks.

Since the first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953, followed by K2 in 1954, the Himalayas and its satellite ranges have become far more accessible to trekkers. The 4,000km crescent of mountains that stretches from Kyrgyzstan to Burma was once solely the domain of professional mountaineers.

These days, there are myriad ways to experience the highest mountains on Earth. From multi-day treks and luxury lodges to cultural tours and “under-the-skin” homestays, Asia’s great peaks are open for exploration.

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25 best mountaineering movies ever made

Our carefully curated list of the best mountaineering movies ever made.

Recently, I re-watched one of the best mountaineering movies I’ve ever seen: Touching the Void.

Historically, mountaineering movies have struggled to bridge the gap between climbing documentary and Hollywood blockbuster. However, Everest – released in 2015 and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin – managed to please both thrill-seeking moviegoers and mountaineers alike (unless you’re Jon Krakauer of course).

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K2 base camp trek: a walk among giants in the Karakoram

The K2 base camp trek is a stunning journey to the foot of a legendary mountain in the Pakistani Karakoram.

The K2 base camp trek through the mighty Karakoram mountains of Pakistan is one of the world’s finest high-altitude treks. Earlier this year an opportunity arose to join Lost Horizon Tours and Treks on a trek to K2 base camp combined with a technical crossing of the Gondogoro La Pass.

With over 25 years of experience guiding in the mountains of Pakistan, Lost Horizons were the perfect partner for an expedition of this kind. After completing the Everest base camp trek earlier in the year, I couldn’t resist the chance to trek to this infamous mountain too.

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20 interesting facts about the Arctic

A series of interesting facts about the Arctic, prompted by our recent trip to the Greenland ice sheet.

Our first trip to the Arctic Circle delivered more than we had hoped for: stunning Northern Lights, a close encounter with Arctic reindeer and a night-time husky hike replete with husky puppies. Based in the city of Tromso, however, we saw little of the wilderness that defines the polar regions. 

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19 interesting facts about Greenland

We share the most interesting facts about Greenland collected on a visit to the spectacular polar region.

My recent trip to Greenland was defined by highs and lows – literally and metaphorically. My up-and-down adventures trekking the Arctic Circle Trail were thrilling but also tinged with bitter disappointment when I failed to complete the trek due to a wildfire.

My spirits were lifted, however, by a captivating night camping at Russell Glacier followed by an unplanned stint in Ilulissat. I was rejuvenated by a series of exhilarating excursions including a visit to Eqi Glacier, a midnight-sun iceberg sightseeing boat trip and plenty of hiking around the icefjord.

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8 best things to do in Ilulissat, Greenland

Our selection of the best things to do in Ilulissat will help you make the most of your time in this breathtaking part of the world.

Ilulissat is the Greenland of glossy brochures. Smatterings of multi-coloured houses, iceberg-strewn waters, majestic sled dogs and gigantic glinting glaciers all contribute to the region’s raw photogenic appeal. It is quite simply one of the most spectacular environments on Earth.

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25 best mountaineering books ever written

We list the best mountaineering books ever written, drawing on accounts of world-class climbers in the harshest environments.

As I’ve mentioned before, my bookshelves are filled with tales of adventure travel, survival against the odds and obsessive searches. I’m an avid climber keen on winter mountaineering and wild camping so, naturally, mountaineering books take up a good chunk of space on my shelf.

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Hiking around Ilulissat in Greenland: a complete guide

Hiking around Ilulissat is the quickest and easiest way to get close to the immense icefjord that fringes the town.

Ilulissat in Greenland is utterly unique in its location at the mouth of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ilulissat Icefjord. Nowhere else in the world is it possible to wake up at a hotel, eat breakfast and then stroll down to such a giant body of ice.

The combination of ice sheet and fast moving glacier calving into a fjord is a phenomenon that only occurs in Greenland and Antarctica. Annually, over 10% of all Greenland’s icebergs calve from Ilulissat Icefjord, producing more ice than any other glacier outside Antarctica. 

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Under the midnight sun: iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat

Iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat is best done at night, not by moonlight but beneath the Arctic’s infamous midnight sun.

Ilulissat is the Greenland you’ve always imagined. Positioned at the mouth of the 40km-wide Jakobshavn Glacier (Sermeq Kujalleq) itself buttressed by an immense icefjord, Ilulissat’s sprinkling of multi-coloured houses on the picturesque iceberg-strewn Disko Bay is one of the most wondrous settings on Earth.

Throw in abounding packs of sled dogs (and their cacophonous howling) and you have a destination that lives up to expectation in spectacular style. It is easy to see why Greenland’s third-largest town is its most popular tourist destination.

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12 of Earth’s most remote places and communities

From eastern Greenland to northern Alaska, we explore some of the most remote places on the face of the Earth.

Whether it’s astronomical distances, inhospitable climates or extreme terrains that define these remote and hostile lands, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re on my bucket list. That and the fact that people live there.

It’s highly unlikely I’ll actually make it to many of these far-flung realms – I certainly didn’t get to Ittoqqortoormiit on my recent trip to Greenland – but I salute the hardcore residents who carve out an existence in the most remote places and communities on Earth.

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Eqi Glacier boat tour: a journey to the edge of the world

The Eqi Glacier boat tour takes travellers to the precipice of the planet. There you will find an almost supernatural experience.

The gigantic Eqi Glacier in Greenland sits around 430km north of the Arctic Circle and around 1,600km south of the North Pole. On a planet of nearly eight billion people, very few carve out an existence at these latitudes.

Eqi, meaning ‘edge’ in Greenlandic, is an apt name for a glacier positioned at the last frontier of humanity. If Earth were indeed flat, Eqi Glacier may well be the spot marked on maps where ships disappear.

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poorest countries in the world ranked

Poorest countries in the world – ranked

African nations dominate the ranking of the poorest countries in the world based on the latest data from the World Bank.

We all have preconceptions about places. Take Ethiopia for example. As children of the eighties, Kia and I were only too aware of the struggles Ethiopia has faced historically: political unrest, civil war and, of course, famine. It was easy then to imagine a vast desolate dust bowl ahead of our visit in 2017. 

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Visiting the Greenland ice sheet and Russell Glacier

Visiting the Greenland ice sheet and Russell Glacier offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe the country’s infamous interior.

The understated and lonely settlement of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland feels like the edge of the world. Despite lying 50km north of the Arctic Circle, however, there is little evidence of the spectacular scenery that can only be found in the most extremes of the planet: the Polar Regions.

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