Yukshin Gardan Sar, a high peak in the Shimshal Valley of the Karakoram range in Pakistan, stands tall as an awe-inspiring beauty. Its height is often cited as 7,469 meters (24,505 feet) or 7,641 meters (25,069 feet), adding to its enigmatic allure. Situated approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles) northeast of Khunyang Chhish and 6 kilometers (3.75 miles) northwest of Kanjut Sar, this mountain is flanked by the Yazghil Glacier to the northwest and the Yukshin Gardan Glacier to the northeast, both feeding into the Shimshal River.
A Tale of Name Confusion
In the local Shimshal village, an interesting naming confusion prevails. According to many residents, Yukshin Gardan Sar is considered the name of the adjacent peak, Kanjut Sar, and vice versa. The original namings, accepted and used by the locals, differ from international recognition, adding an intriguing element to the mountain’s identity.
Conquering the Heights: First Ascents
The first successful ascent to Yukshin Gardan Sar’s summit took place in 1984, led by Rudolf Wurzer, with a Pakistani-Austrian expedition. They charted the South Ridge, accessible via the Yazghil Glacier on the west side of the peak. Shortly after this triumph, a Pakistani-Japanese group made an alpine-style ascent on the same South Ridge route, marking the second ascent on July 23, 1984. In 1986, a Spanish team comprising Alejandro Arranz, Iñaki Aldaya, Alfredo Zabalza, and Tomás Miguel achieved the third ascent, using the same route as the first-ascent party.
A Gem in the Hispar Muztagh
Yukshin Gardan Sar holds its place as a remarkable peak in the Hispar Muztagh sub-range of the Karakoram. Ranking 55th in the world and 21st in Pakistan, it stands amidst the grandeur of the Khunyang Chhish and Kanjut Sar peaks, as well as the breathtaking Yazghil Glacier and Yukshin Gardan Glacier.
The Journey Begins
The Yukshin Gardan Sar Expedition commences from Hispar in the Nagar Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan. While a route from Biafo Glacier in Baltoro exists, the relatively easier and shorter journey through Nagar Valley and the Hispar Glacier is preferred. The best time to undertake this exhilarating ascent is during Pakistan’s summers, spanning from May to August, when weather conditions are more favorable.
Karakoram: Home to Mighty Mountains and Enchanting Valleys
The Karakoram Mountain Range, spanning across Pakistan and China, stands as a colossal chain hosting some of the world’s greatest mountains, including K2 and Gasherbrum. Stretching 500 kilometers long and 200 kilometers wide, it connects with the Hindukush and Himalaya Mountains at select points. The region’s diverse valleys and the people who inhabit them, such as Skardu, Hunza, and Gilgit, add to the region’s cultural richness.
Embracing Nature's Majesty
Upon successfully scaling Yukshin Gardan Sar’s peak, adventurers can venture towards Concordia, often referred to as the “Throne Room of The Mountain Gods,” due to the presence of mighty giant peaks. Alternatively, they can return to Nagar Valley, cherished for its verdant pastures and rich cultural heritage, making it one of the most beautiful locations in Pakistan.
Yukshin Gardan Sar, with its towering presence in the Karakoram, calls forth daring souls to undertake the journey to its summit. The intriguing naming confusion adds a touch of mystery to this already enchanting peak. As we celebrate the triumphs of the first ascents, let us also vow to protect and preserve the natural wonders of the Karakoram range, ensuring that Yukshin Gardan Sar’s splendor continues to inspire and captivate for generations to come.