Karakorum, mountain range, Kashmir

Karakorum or Karakoram, mountain range, extending c.300 mi (480 km), between the Indus and Yarkant rivers, N Kashmir, S central Asia; SE extension of the Hindu Kush. It covers disputed territory, held by China on the north, India on the east, and Pakistan on the west. Karakorum's main range has some of the world's highest peaks, including K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen; 28,250 ft/8,611 m), the second highest peak in the world. Karakorum also has several of the world's largest glaciers. Its southern slopes are the watershed for many tributaries of the Indus. The mountains, the greatest barrier between India and central Asia, are crossed above the perpetual snow line by two natural routes. Karakorum Pass (alt. 18,290 ft/5,575 m), the chief pass, is on the main Kashmir-China route. Another important pass, Khunjerab (Kunjirap) Pass (alt. 15,420 ft/4,700 m), is on the Pakistan-China route.

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