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Kilik Pass

The Kilik Pass (elevation ), to the west of Mintaka Pass is a high mountain pass in the Karakorum Mountains between Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan and Xinjiang in China. The two passes were, in ancient times, the two main access points into the Upper Hunza Valley (also called Gojal Valley) from the north.

It should not be confused with the Kilik Pass, just west of the Sanju Pass which led from Shahidula into the Tarim Basin.

This pass was the shortest and quickest way into northern India from the Tarim Basin, and one that was usually open all year, but was extremely dangerous and only suited for travellers on foot. From Tashkurgan one travelled just over south to the junction of the Minteke River. Heading some west up this valley one reached the Mintaka Pass, (and further, the alternative Kilik Pass), which both led into upper Hunza from where one could travel over the infamous rafiqs or "hanging passages" to Gilgit and on, either to Kashmir, or to the Gandharan plains.

Laden animals could be taken over the Mintaka and Kilik passes into upper Hunza (both open all year), but then loads would have to be carried by coolie (porters) to Gilgit (an expensive and dangerous operation). From there, cargoes could be reloaded onto pack animals again and taken either east to Kashmir and then on to Taxila (a long route), or west to Chitral which provided relatively easy access to either Jalalabad, or Peshawar via Swat.

The Mintaka Pass was the main one used in ancient times until the fairly recent advance of glacier ice. After the glaciation of the Mintaka Pass, the Kilik Pass was favoured by caravans coming from China and Afghanistan as it is wider, free of glaciers and provided enough pasture for caravan animals.[1]

The new Karakoram Highway heads further south, and then west over the Khunjerab Pass (); ).


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