The Baltoro glacier from the air, looking east
|Location||Karakoram range, Baltistan, Pakistan|
|Length||63 kilometres (39 mi)|
The Baltoro Glacier, at 63 km (39 mi) in length, is one of the longest glaciers outside the polar regions. It is located in Baltistan, in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, and runs through part of the Karakoram mountain range. The Baltoro Muztagh lies to the north and east of the glacier, while the Masherbrum Mountains lie to the south. At 8,611 m (28,251 ft), K2 is the highest mountain in the region, and three others within 20 km top 8,000 m.
The glacier gives rise to the Shigar River, which is a tributary of the Indus River. Several large tributary glaciers feed the main Baltoro glacier, including the Godwin Austen Glacier, flowing south from K2; the Abruzzi and the various Gasherbrum Glaciers, flowing from the Gasherbrum group of peaks; the Vigne Glacier, flowing from Chogolisa, and the Yermandendu Glacier, flowing from Masherbrum. The confluence of the main Baltoro Glacier with the Godwin Austen Glacier is known as Concordia; this location and K2 base camp are popular trekking destinations.
The trough of this glacier is very wide. Small valley glaciers form icefalls where they meet the trunk glacier. The sidewalls vary from very steep to precipitous. The glacier has carved striations on the surrounding country rocks. Moving ice has formed depressions, which serve as basins for numerous glacial lakes.
The glacier can be approached via the important Balti town of Skardu.
List of peaks
A list of notable peaks adjacent to or near the Baltoro Glacier includes:
- K2, 2nd highest in the world at 8611m
- Gasherbrum I, 11th highest in the world at 8,080m.
- Broad Peak, 12th highest in the world at 8,047m.
- Gasherbrum II, 13th highest in the world at 8,035m.
- Gasherbrum III, 7,946m. (Often regarded as a subpeak of Gasherbrum II.)
- Gasherbrum IV, 17th highest in the world at 7,932m.
- Masherbrum (K1), 22nd highest in the world at 7,821m.
- Chogolisa, 36th highest in the world at 7,665m.
- Muztagh Tower, 7,273m.
- Snow Dome, 7,160m.
- Biarchedi, 6,781 m
- Uli Biaho Tower, 6,417m.
- Trango Towers, 6,286m. (Their vertical faces are the world's tallest cliffs.)
- Mitre Peak, 6,010m.
Looking NE towards K2, at top centre
- Baltoro Muztagh
- Sarpo Laggo Glacier
- Biafo Glacier
- Northern Areas
- List of mountains in Pakistan
- List of highest mountains
- List of glaciers
- The Fedchenko Glacier in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan is 77 km long, the Siachen Glacier which lies southeast of the Baltoro is 70 km long, and the Biafo Glacier to the northwest of the Baltoro is 67 km long. Exact lengths are relatively easy to determine with modern maps and imagery so as to include recent glacial retreat. Measurements are from recent imagery, generally supplemented with Russian 1:200,000 scale topographic mapping as well as Jerzy Wala,Orographical Sketch Map: Karakoram: Sheets 1 & 2, Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, Zurich, 1990.
- Concordia K2 Trek