Biafo Glacier is the third largest glacier outside the world’s polar regions. This large river of ice is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. The glacier lies inside the Karakoram mountain range. Biafo glacier meets the Hispar glacier at a height of 5128m.
Biafo was explored for the first time in 1892 by Sir Martin Conway, a British mountaineer.
The glacier has a total length of about 67km.
The area of the glacier is about 853km2. More than 70% of the glacier’s total area is made up of snow and ice.
Together with the Hispar glacier which is 49km long, the two glaciers form a long highway of ice more than 100km long.
Unlike, other glaciers of the Karakoram the Biafo’s main source of ice is from snowfall rather than avalanches.
The glacier collects a lot of snow each year. However, due to global warming and climate change, more snow and ice is melted and lost than is collected by the glacier.
The Biafo-Hispar highway has significant historical importance too. In ancient times the route served as an important path for traders as well as invading armies who used the path to attack adversaries located at the other end of the highway. In ancient times warriors from Nagar in the west used to cross this route to attack the Baltitstan Kingdom in the east.
The area also has some wild animals. These include the Himalayan Bear, Siberian Ibex, Mountain Goat(Markhor) and Snow Leopards.
At the Hispar Pass, the place where Biafo ends and Hispar glacier starts, there’s a large body of ice called the snow lake.
Snow Lake is about 16m wide and has a total area of about 77km2. The ice in the lake has a depth of more than 1.6km, and is considered one of the largest ice caps in the non-polar regions of the world.
Some people claim to have seen footprints of the cryptid Yeti, on the sufrace of the Snow Lake.
Biafo glacier is covered in moraines, boulders and has a lot of crevasses which makes trekking very difficult.