THE KARAKORAM : Ice Mountains of Pakistan

LONDON: The spectacular Karakoram Mountains are among the world’s greatest natural treasures. With its highest peaks located in north-eastern Pakistan, the range includes K2, the second tallest mountain on Earth. This is the most glaciated region on the planet outside the Arctic and Antarctic, yet the mountains are so vertical that they rapidly shed snow, leaving their jagged outlines of granite glistening in the sun. These dramatic towers, spires and cathedrals of rock form a landscape that has captured the imagination of renowned photographer Colin Prior like no other. In this superbly produced book, Prior’s photographs reveal the breathtaking beauty of the Karakoram. The images are the result of several expeditions that Prior has made since the mid-1990s, each trip requiring meticulous planning and miles of trekking with a team of porters and ponies. There are also regular rockfalls and perilous snow-covered crevasses to contend with. The reward for Prior, though, is the opportunity to communicate the sense of awe and wonder that he has experienced during his travels in the region – something he finds almost impossible to convey in words. Arranged to follow his progress up the glaciers, Prior’s magnificent photographs are accompanied by quotations from historical accounts of early expeditions.

Mick Conefrey – author of The Ghosts of K2, an account of pioneering attempts to conquer this exceptionally forbidding mountain – contributes an essay on the importance of photography to the Karakoram and to mountaineering in general. Prior’s introduction and his photographic notes at the end of the book highlight the challenges – both technical and physical – of documenting one of the most awe-inspiring mountain ranges in the world. Colin Prior is an acclaimed landscape photographer. He has been the subject of three BBC documentaries entitled Mountain Man and his recent awards include the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture (2020). His previous books include The World’s Wild Places (2006), Scotland’s Finest Landscapes (2014) and, most recently, Fragile: Birds, Eggs and Habitats (Merrell, 2020). Mick Conefrey is an award-winning author and film-maker. His documentary The Ghosts of K2 – an account of early attempts to conquer the mountain – won prizes at the Banff, Telluride and Trento film festivals, and he has made films about Everest, the Matterhorn and Mount Denali.