The lofty mountains and high peaks of Northern Areas carve some of the world's famous passes, which served in the history as ever exploited conduits for social, economic or expansionist interests of various powers and civilizations. The area is widely interspersed with mountain as well as glacier passes. A few of these are mentioned here. Mintaka Pass
Mintaka Pass (4,827 meters / 15,837 feet), is located in the Karakorum Mountains, separating Pakistan and Xinjiang in China. In ancient times, the Mintaka Pass and the nearby Kilik Pass were the two main access points through Hunza Valley to Kashmir and then on to Taxila or West to Chitral which provided relatively easy access to either Jalalabad, or Peshawar via Swat.
At an elevation of 4,827 meters (15,837 feet), Kilik Pass lies 30 km to the West of Mintaka Pass in the Karakorum Mountains between Pakistan and Xinjiang China.
At an elevation of 3700 meters (12,200 feet) it is located in District Ghizer of GB. Shandur Pass is one of the four major mountain passes of GB. Shandur Top is often called 'Roof of the World' where the Hindu Kush, Pamir Mountains and Karakorum Range meet. It is a flat plateau which can be only crossed between late April and early November. It is more known for its famous "Shandur Festival", trout streams and its gradual grade.
At an elevation of 4173 meters (13,69 1feet), the Babusar Pass although not located in GilgitBaltistan, has a great significance for the Northern Areas. It is a major alternative route available for move into GB and joins the Kaghan Valley in District Mansehra to Chilas on the Karakoram Highway (KKH). The pass remains snow clogged between October to late May and movement through the pass is also restricted during monsoons.
At an elevation of 4,100 meters (13,500 feet), it is an ancient pass and caravan route between Srinagar and Gilgit. This route was extensively used till partition. It is the oldest route connecting Gilgit with Srinagar and Skardu through Deosai Plateau.
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