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GANTO LA

GANTO LA (4806m)To the west and south of the Basha Valley are the infrequently visited Tormik and Stak valleys. Thir rarely crossed passes make for unspoiled and adventurous trekking. Only basic supplies are available in villagers, so bring everything you need. Bagicha and Dassu (1½ hours from Skardu), Stak (three hours from Skardu) and Sassi (1½ hours from Gilgit) are trailheads along the Gilgit-Skardu road. It’s easy to get on or off any daily transport between Skardu and Gilgit at any of these places.       

Ganto La (4606m) is a pass, usually open late June to early September, linking the Basha and Tormik valleys. It’s an interesting, but steep, exit from the Basha Valley. The moderate trek starts from Hemasil in the Basha Valley, just across a stream north of Chu Tron, which means hot springs in Balti. This excellent hot spring, perfect for a pre-or post-trek soak, is around 39°C, has almost no sulphur smell, and gushes forth in a large flow. The villagers have constructed several enclosed bathhouses with doors, open ceilings and cement, walled, knee-deep pools.

It takes two or three days to cross the Ganto La to Harimal in the Tormik Valley from where you can head south to reach Dassu or Bagicha on the Gilgit-Skardu road in one easy day, or head north-west and cross Stak La. From Hemasil, ascend steeply 1000m to the ridge above Chu Tron. Camp in a meadow near huts at Matunturu. The next day, continue steeply to the Ganto La, with a permanent steep snowfield below the pass. Descend steeply to a pleasant meadow camp site called Pakora. Harimal is a short day’s walk farther.      

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