Trek to Karambar Lake - The complete guide


Trek to Karambar Lake is a must in the bucket list of an adventure lover. Trek difficulty level is EASY but involves multiple hours trekking so prior trekking experience will be preferable. The trek is one of the most diverse treks in northern areas of Pakistan and has many entry and exit points to the lake. It is also one of the most beautiful treks. Karambar lake lies on the boundary of Broghil valley in Chitral and Ishkoman valley in Gilgit Baltistan. The easy and shortest route to Karambar lake is from Chitral side (via Mastuj, Broghil valley). It took us 11 days for the round trip from Islamabad with spending two nights at the lake.

Karambar Lake © Fakhr E Alam‎
Karambar Lake © Fakhr E Alam‎

Get NOC for Karambar Lake


When you plan your trek to Karambar Lake, make sure you get NOC via fax or mail from Chitral. If you do not know the steps, here is the step by step guide How to get NOC for Karambar Lake?

Karambar Lake


Karambar lake ranks to the 31st highest lake in the world and it is not very far away from Karambar pass which connects Broghil valley and Ghizer district. The width of the lake is around 3.3 KM and has the area around 2.56 square km.  The outflow of the main lake flows into another mini lake before moving downstream towards Broghil. Another beautiful lake called Ribat lake is at least 1 mile away from Karambar lake.
Keep your luggage/belongings in 1 piece (10 kgs max) to be allocated amongst porters.
Because of wilderness & remoteness of the terrain, washing facilities will be of adventure level.
We expect all participants to understand the difference between entertainment and adventure

Karambar Lake, Ishkoman valley. ©Usman Zubair
Karambar Lake, Ishkoman valley. ©Usman Zubair

Itinerary - 01


Following was our original itinerary for our 2015 Karambar lake trek:

Day 01: Islamabad to Mastuj

  • Departure from Islamabad to Mastuj via Chitral
  • Public transport leaves at night at 8 pm (public transport/van/car) from Pir Wadai. 
  • From Chitral, we took a jeep to Mastuj and stayed in a hotel overnight. 

Day 02: Drive from Mastuj to Ishkarwaz

  • Jeep ride from Mastuj to Ishkarwaz (3300m) & Overnight in camps in Ishkarwaz. 
Drive from Mastuj to Ishkarwaz. ©DestinationPak
Drive from Mastuj to Ishkarwaz. ©DestinationPak

Our journey to Ishkarwaz turned out to be over incredibly difficult terrain. Please keep in mind that we got jeep track open all the way to Ishkarwaz which normally is open only till an area near Kishmanja when river water overflows. This adds 2 days of a trek to Ishkarwaz so please keep these extra days in mind.

 

Day 03:  Ishkarwaz to Showrsheer via Lashkargaz

The actually hardcore trekking starts from Ishkarwaz and because this area is very close to Afghanistan border, military soldiers check your ID cards. There is also a check post for Gilgit Baltistan scouts which also verify your NOC which you have with you.
 

Ishkarwaz to Showsheer. © DestinationPak.com
Ishkarwaz to Showsheer. © DestinationPak.com

A couple of hours walk away from Ishkarwaz is Garhil village which is Inhabited by a few households, This is one of the most beautiful spots of the whole area in terms of landscape. After crossing Garhil, one walks beneath the Darwaza pass and reaches Lashkargaz. Darwaza pass is another way to enter into Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor. Before Lashkargaz, the main attraction of this day is a series of small but beautiful lakes with changing colors. In total, there are five different lakes just adjacent to each other. Every few kilometers on this path, one comes across a new pasture which is used as the grazing land for yaks. Lashkargaz is the place where traditional polo festival is held each year where Wakhi people from the whole region participate.


Day 04: Showrsheer to Karambar Lake

Showsheer to Karamber Lake © DestinationPak.com
Showsheer to Karamber Lake © DestinationPak.com

Its roughly 15-20KM trek for the day with no major climbs. People often break it down to two days because sometimes the weather near the lake is so unpredictable. If you also want to do that then camp at Laleerabad which is 10km before Karambar.


Day 05:  Karambar Lake (Rest Day)

Enjoy a free day at the lake. 


Day 06:  Karambar to Lashkargaz

You should choose a different route on your return and come back via Darkot pass (Yasin Valley). This is another beautiful trek which involves an extra bit of effort to climb the Darkot pass. On the way back, camp at Lashkargaz after crossing Showrsheer. There is also a small two-room hotel in Lashkargaz which is owned by a local in the area if you find the weather unpredictable or there are chances of rain, you can stay at this hotel instead of pitching your tents. 
For more information about distance, elevation please see the images above. 


Day 07: Lashkargaz to Chikar

Chikar is the base camp for climbing Darkot Pass from Broghil Valley. For more information about distance, elevation please see the images above. 


Day 08: Chikar to Darkot Base Camp

Trek to Darkot Pass base camp and enter to Darkot in Yasin Valley. It could take you 9-10 hours and you should take rest and do not attempt Darkot pass on this day. Crossing Darkot pass requires some effort and you shouldn't attempt it and reach Rawat at 12 am. 


Day 09: Cross Darkot pass to Rawat

Chikar to Darkot Pass and Rawat. ©DestinationPak.com
Chikar to Darkot Pass and Rawat. ©DestinationPak.com

Trek and cross the Darkot pass and reach a small village Rawat. Darkot pass is very steep so, you need to move carefully and in groups. When you reach on on the other side, trek for 30-40 mints to reach a small village of Rawat and pitch your tents.
 

Day 10: Rawat to Gilgit

This should probably be the last day of trekking from Rawat to Darkut village. Hire a jeep from the village and reach Gilgit. Stay overnight in Gilgit city.

Day 11: Gilgit to Islamabad

Personal van or public transport, get yourself packed and reach Islamabad. 

Chitti Boi Glacier located in Ishqoman Valley, on our way towards Gilgit alongwith a cattle after visiting Karambar Lake. Pamir mountains in the background. ©Aheed Naveed
Chitti Boi Glacier located in Ishqoman Valley, on our way towards Gilgit alongwith a cattle after visiting Karambar Lake. Pamir mountains in the background. ©Aheed Naveed
Karambar lake, Brogil National Park, Pakistan. ©Syed Hamza Mobeen‎
Karambar lake, Brogil National Park, Pakistan. ©Syed Hamza Mobeen‎

Itinerary - 02


If the path from Mastuj is not accessible due to landslide or flood, take the alternative path from Darkot, Yasin valley.  

Day 01: Islamabad to Gilgit

  • Start journey from Islamabad in the evening and travel through the night and next day and reached Gilgit. 
  • Day 01: Night at Gilgit city in a hotel

Day 02: Gilgit to Darkot Village

  • Drive to Darkot village and night in camps.

Day 03: Trek from Darkot Village to Darkot Pass

  • Trek to Darkot pass base camp, night in camps

Day 04: Trek from Darkot Pass to Chikar. 

  • Day 04: Trek to Chikar and night in camps. This stretch is covered in 2 days and we should have done the same but crossing Darkot pass didn't take that much time so we thought reaching Chikar would be easy but it wasn't so we had to trek in the night and some members reach Chikat by 12 am in the night.

Day 05: Trek from Chikar to Lashkargas

  • Day 05: Trek to Lashkargas and night in a hotel due to rain

Day 06: Trek from Lashkargas to Laly Rabat

  • Day 06: Lashkargas to Laly Rabat, night in camps

Day 07: Trek from Laly Rabat to Karambar Lake 

  • Laly Rabat to Karambar lake, night in camps

Day 08: Trek from Karambar Lake to Lashkargas

  • Karambar lake to Lashkargas, night in a hotel

Day 09: Lashkargas to Kashmanja

  • Day 09: Lashkargas to Kashmanja, first we had to trek to Ishkarwaz and then we were supposed to ride in jeeps to Mastuj but due to the landslides road was blocked severely at multiple points so we had to trek as much as we could hence reach Kashmanja and spent a night at Chitral scouts post there.
Chiiti Boi glacier, enroute to Karambar Lake. ©Aqib Dar
Chiiti Boi glacier, enroute to Karambar Lake. ©Aqib Dar

Day 10: Kashmanja to Powar

  • Day 10: Kashmanja to Powar, this was the toughest day on our return as early in the morning we had to cross a landslide which had blocked the road and was very unstable. Then trekking for an hour we found a jeep which drove us for around 15km before our journey was halted by another landslide. We trekking on the jeepable road after crossing the landslide and reached another point where we found a jeep with some fuel in it. That jeep drove us around 12km and then again we had to trek due to a landslide. We continued our journey and found another jeep with some fuel in the next Chitral scouts post. This time the jeep took us to a point just a few km short of Power so once more we had to trek till Power. 3 of our friends cross a high flooding Nullah and stayed at Chitral scouts post while the rest were forced to stay at a hotel beside Nullah.

Day 11: Trek from Powar to Brep

  • Day 11-13: Continued trekking on the 10th day from Poward and reached Brep by noon Like the previous day we had on and off jeep rides till Brep. Booked vehicle till Mastuj and then another one from Mastuj to Gilgit city. None stop traveling from Powar to Islamabad via Mastuj-Shandur pass-Ghizer-Gilgit-Babusar pass should have taken a break either at Mastuj or Shandur top but we were short on time so had to reach Gilgit.

Day 12 - 13: Brep to Islamabad

  • From Brep to Mastuj via Jeep and to Gilgit and Islamabad (Non-Stop)
Karambar Lake, Broghil Valley Pakistan. ©Haseeb Aslam Butt
Karambar Lake, Broghil Valley Pakistan. ©Haseeb Aslam Butt
beauty Misty morning at Karambar Lake. ©Talha Mir
beauty Misty morning at Karambar Lake. ©Talha Mir

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