One of the fascinating peaks in the Karakoram Range is Laila Peak (6,096). It is a remarkable spear-shaped mountain in the Hushe Valley district of Ghangche Baltistan, Pakistan, with a northwest face that slopes at a 45-degree angle for more than 1500 vertical meters. Laila Peak’s elevation is debatable; some say it is 6200 meters, while others say it is 6614 meters.
In contrast to the surrounding valleys of Gondogoro and Chogolisa, which are close to Pakistan’s borders, Laila Peak and the nearby settlement of Hushe in the Masherbrum valley do not lay in a “restricted zone.” As a result, if you’re a foreigner interested in climbing in these areas, you must get permission and employ a certified guide.
June through September is the peak climbing season. Due to heavy precipitation throughout the winter, very few people climb the Karakoram Range. No matter which month is selected, climbing conditions are less than ideal. The biggest issue in scaling peaks like this one in the Karakoram is that snow can occasionally remain liquid during the night. As many people are aware, climbing through soft snow that is 55 degrees is painful and exhausting.
Snow conditions have led numerous trips to the Karakoram to abandon their plans. Snowfall can happen at any time, though it usually happens relatively sparingly in the summer. After a protracted stretch of severe weather, an unstable snow pack can nevertheless quickly accumulate at high altitudes. On the west face, there may also be a risk of slab avalanches if the snow is not adequately consolidated. It’s crucial to have patience when waiting for ideal climbing circumstances.
The first ascents were made without the required documentation, as was the case with several peaks of this height in the Karakoram that were conquered in the 1980s and 1990s. The first acknowledgment of climbs was so modest. A British expedition led by Simon Yates, Sean Smith, and Mark Miller reached the summit first in 1987 by ascending the Gondogoro Glacier’s west slope. Simon Yates’ first significant ascent since the spectacular climb of Siula Grande in 1985 was this one. Although it was an “unofficial” ascent, Simon Yates wrote a chapter on it in his autobiography, “Flame of Adventure,” making it just as legitimate as any “official” ascent. This contained several superb images of the ascent.
When Fredrik Ericcson and Jorgen Aamot, two skiers from Scandinavia, descended Laila Peak in 2005, people began to take notice. In 2005, they observed Gasherbrum II while skiing. On Gasherbrum-II 8035m, they did ski. However, they were unable to make Laila skiable from the top. But on this lovely mountain, they ski down from 200 meters below the summit. Fredrik and Jorgen ascended to G-2 following an unsatisfactory ski trip.
How to get there
Although Laila Peak is located in the center of the Karakoram, Hushe village can easily approach it via a Skardu road. Therefore, foreign visitors must take a flight into Skardu before proceeding to Laila Peak. Private jeeps that can accommodate passengers, an adventure, and a trekking load are available from here through trekking companies. It takes about 8 hours to get from Skardu to Hushe.