Thinking Citizen Blog — Mountains of the World (VII): the Karakoram Re-visited

Thinking Citizen Blog — Wednesday is Climate Change, the Environment, and Sustainability Day

Today’s Topic: Mountains of the World (VII): the Karakoram Re-visited. The Eighth Wonder of the World

According to some, the eighth wonder of the world is the Karakoram Highway, aka N35, aka KKH, aka the Chinese Pakistan Friendship highway, aka China National Highway 314. Following one of the paths of the ancient Silk Road it connects Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad with the Xinjiang region of China. The highway has stretches of extraordinary scenic beauty, is 810 miles long and one of the highest paved roads in the world with a maximum elevation of 15,466 feet. Pakistan gets access to the Chinese market and China gets access to the Arabian Sea and the West. The road runs through Kashmir, often called the most dangerous place on earth as three nuclear powers have territorial claims there. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.


1. Three nuclear powers (India, Pakistan, China) in conflict over territorial claims in the Kashmir region. See the map above for the current status of territorial occupation.

2. At the time of India’s partition and the creation of Pakistan both countries claimed 100% of the region.

3. Today, India controls 55% of the land area and 70% of the population. Pakistan controls 30% of the land area. China 15%.

NB: Four India-Pakistan wars (1947,1965, 1971,1999) have involved Kashmir. Since then there have been periodic military skirmishes and street protests against alleged atrocities committed by the other side — killings, torture, rape, and kidnappings. Any experts out there?


1. Best times to visit: spring and early fall.

2. Often shut in winter months due to heavy snow and avalanches.

3. Monsoon rains in July and August often leads to landslides.

NB: Border crossing between China and Pakistan only open between May and December.


1. Construction began in 1959 and ended in 1979.

2. Pakistani deaths: 810.

3. Chinese: 200.

NB: The most scenic section of the road is said to be the Naltar Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region Pakistan. See above. Also, do not miss the travel videos — last two links below.

Karakoram Highway

India and Pakistan Clash in Kashmir, the Most Dangerous Place in the World

Karakoram Highway, one of the highest paved roads in the world

Kashmir conflict

Indo-Pakistani wars and conflicts

KARAKORAM (Published 1979)

Bike ride through the China portion:

Another tour: unbelievably beautiful vistas, irresistibly cute children,

and animals (by bus, truck, van)

Click here for the last three years of posts arranged by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to climate change or the environment. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to climate change that the rest of us may have missed. Your favorite chart or table perhaps…

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.



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