Guide To Scale & Explore the Raw Landscapes & Valleys
It’s no surprise that 8000ers get all the attention and glory. Just as an estimate, the Everest and K2 basecamps get a footfall of around 100,000 trekkers, respectively, every year. But, away from the bustle of K2 base camp, there is a hidden treasure trove of a 4000-meter peak that will leave you breathless.
In this edition of “tales from the trail,” we unveil the secret—Sukai Sar Peak—with an elevation of 4690 meters. Situated in the heart of Allai Valley, Sukai Sar Peak should be on your bucket list this summer.
How do you access this off the beaten path adventure? What’s the difficulty level? What should you expect on the Sukai Sar expedition? In this article, we condense the whole adventure of Sukai Sar and address all your queries.
Where Is Sukai Sar?
Heading to Sukai Sar is an absolute adventure that will leave you breathless and spellbound. The mesmerizing Sukai Sar Peak is hidden in the magnificent Allai Valley, between Kohistan and Kaghan Valley.
Allai Valley is not just home to the spectacularly breathtaking peak; the whole trek leaves you in awe of its views. From landscapes that look frozen in time to beautiful glaciers and lakes, reaching the Sukai Sar top is a sensory overload. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t add this peak to your next mountaineering adventure.
Who Should Opt for the Sukai Sar Expedition?
The Experienced Mountaineer/Trekker
If you have intermediate to professional level experience in climbing, mountaineering, or trekking, then the Sukai Sar expedition is for you. Having the necessary expertise in high-altitude areas will make it easier for you to climb the 4000-meter peak.
With moderate difficulty level and technicality, this peak isn’t the best option for beginners and first-time trekkers. Sukai Sar requires at least two days of intense trekking that is not for the faint of heart. From the most slippery glacier crossings to dealing with high-altitude issues, many factors are at play here. Hence, we recommend individuals with prior experience in trekking for this expedition.
The Seen-it-All & Want-More Kind
Sukai Sar can be the perfect adventure for those who have seen and explored the lengths of Pakistani landscape, but their wanderlust asks for more. While the Allai Valley and Sukai Sar Peak have been gaining some notoriety in the tourism sector, it’s unexplored and untouched to some extent.
The Beat-the-Crowds Kind
Every tourist and explorer has different priorities and preferences for an ideal trip. With the tourism sector growing at a record-breaking pace, many popular destinations have become too densely populated and commercial.
Therefore, some die-hard explorers prefer the landscapes in their all-raw and natural glory. So, if you have such affinities, Sukai Sar is the best destination in 2022.
How To Get To Sukai Sar Top?
Now that you know Sukai Sar will be your ultimate adventure, let’s explore how you can plan your expedition.
A Comprehensive Road Map To Sukai Sar
Here’s a general route that most travelers follow for their Sukai Sar expedition.
The First Leg of the Journey: Islamabad to Thakot
Your travel plan will kickstart from Islamabad to Mansehra. The real adventure starts beyond Mansehra as you follow the Karakoram Highway to reach Thakot, a preferred spot to take a break and grab refreshments.
Towards Last Village of Allai: Shamsher
Next, you will begin the journey towards Allai. The rocky roads and rough terrains are not suitable for conventional vehicles. You must hire a 4×4 vehicle to reach the last village of Allai, called Shamsher Village. This is the final stop for all the vehicles and cellular network coverage. From Shamsher Village, the trek will be on foot.
Which Route Should You Opt For? Kas Khwar vs. Jari Bela
There are two routes to Sukai Sar Peak—Jari Bela and Kas Khwar. The selected route depends on your trekking preference and what approach you and your guide will take to ascend the peak.
The Kas Khwar Route
The base camp route via Kas Khwar is the easier hike. Leaving behind Shamsher, you can reach upper Kas Khwar within a day and camp for the night. There are three attractive features to ascend Sukai Sar via Kas Khwar:
- First, you will cross the Ghazian Pass, with an elevation of approx 4150 meters, bordering Allai Valley and Kohistan.
- Next, you get the spellbinding view of an Alpine lake called Khapero Dand, allowing you to see the Sukai Sar mountain in all its glory.
- Finally, via the Kas Khwar route, you can witness the north-western ridge of Sukai Sar featuring hanging glaciers. This particular view is breathtaking.
Despite its magical and mesmerizing views, trekking via Kas Khwar may not be for everyone. Wonder why?
This route is lengthy, extending the hiking duration till Khapero Dand to 2 days at least. Plus, getting to the mountain’s south ridge would require approximately 5 hours of hiking from the lake. Once you add up the five-hour-long hike to the main ascend towards the peak, fighting exhaustion and fatigue could pose a real challenge.
The Jari Bela Route
On the flip side, the approach to the basecamp via Jari Bela is shorter. But beware, the hiking route is far steeper, and the final leg of hiking can be quite technical. This shorter route cuts down the journey duration. And trekkers can reach the mountain’s south ridge within a day and make it a basecamp—for early ascent the next morning.
From Shamsher to Jari Bela is a three to four-hour hike. After a short break, you can continue the steep hike and cross glaciers towards Jari Bela pass (a 6-hour long hike) leading to the Sukai Sar base camp.
The Final Ascent & Descent of Sukai Sar
From traversing the narrow ridges to slippery slopes and spikey glaciers, reaching the peak is no easy game. Our advice is to always stay with the group, step wisely and follow the anchor. You will make it to 4690 meters elevation to hoist the national flag and witness the raw beauty of Sukai Sar concealed in the clouds.
However, the adventure will be far from over! Because the descent to Khapero Lake has to be swift and cautious. You can easily reach the campsite sometime after sunset by carefully timing your ascension and descending hike.
How To Prepare for the Sukai Sar Expedition?
With its 4690 meter elevation, Sukai Sar is a technical peak to scale. This majestic peak is not easy to conquer, and has only been successfully climbed a few dozen times. Many return with failed attempts and the mystery of Sukai Sar remains untouched and unwavering.
Our tip: To scale this mystical peak, prepare ahead and prepare well!
Train Yourself Ahead
First, climbing the Sukai Sar top requires strenuous physical effort, strong will, prior hiking experience, and mental preparedness. So, start training yourself as you plan the trip and rebuild your stamina. Training for the trek will allow you to acclimatize to the increasing elevation quickly.
Get Your Resources Sorted
Whenever you are planning for such technical expeditions, proper resource planning is essential. The resources would include equipment, climbing gear, food supplies, and the local guides and porters. Don’t skimp on resources because in the wilderness, being well-prepared reduces the risk of potential emergencies and safety concerns.
Connect With The Locals
If you connect with experienced guides and porters, you will accomplish half the challenge of scaling Sukai Sar. Get in touch with the local community, and you will find highly skilled guides and helping staff in Allai and Shamsher Village. The locals know the mountains like the back of their hands because they understand the signs of nature to get you to the peak successfully.
Be Disciplined Yet Flexible
An experienced trekker/climber knows that staying on course and following a well-planned itinerary translates to a successful expedition. But they also acknowledge the weather changes, limits of physical tolerance, and fatigue. Therefore, when you are on the trek, stick to the plan but do not push yourself to breakable limits, take breaks when needed, and make campsites for shelter to avoid extreme weather conditions.
Sukai Sar is the hidden jewel of Allai Valley, and climbing this technical peak is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If the challenge of surmounting the height gives you an adrenaline rush, the opportunity to witness the lush meadows, breathtaking peaks, and lakes will make your soul flutter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you plan an expedition in summer or winter, the climate on Sukai Sar is always unpredictable. During the Sukai Sar expedition, you may encounter rainstorms, hail, and fog, which may cause reduced visibility. So, always have a contingency plan in place for weather disturbances.
Climbing Sukai Sar in summer is notably easier than in harsh winter conditions. But, even in summers, this you may have to deal with unpredictable rains.
On the Kas Khwar route, you can make a campsite in 2 major locations to spend the night. The first would be a basecamp at Upper Kaskhwar, and the next camping spot would be at Khapero Dand for the final ascent push.