/ The best map for Pakistan/Karakoram?
The Swiss one probably has the best overall coverage but there are more local maps. Where are you planning to head?
We bought a couple of maps from Stamfords when we went to the Hispar Glacier. I think one of them was that Swiss map you mentioned.
They're pretty basic, great for working out where you are or what a peak is, but you can't navigate on them.
It is worth taking a GPS and maybe printing off some close up images of the specific areas on Google Earth.
Where are you heading? Get in touch if you want and I'll be happy to share any info I have.
Most of the hiking/climbing stores in Skardu sell fairly comprehensive maps of the Karakorum. From memory it is a set of 4. Each map was around ~$USD5 each
There'll be the Leomann maps from memory. They look a bit like the Swiss maps but are actually very poor quality in comparison. They are also quite easy to find in the UK.
From the couple of trips I've done to the Karakoram, I reckon that whilst it's good to have a map, you don't actually use them all that often. They're great for working out the name of the peaks you're walking amongst, but I've never used them for navigation (as far as I can remember). You're mostly following pretty good tracks along or across glaciers, or up and down large valleys, it's fairly obvious. Also porters tend to know where they're going. I did find the descriptions in the LP trekking guide very useful however.
For the Baltoro and close nearby, the Polish sat map is best. Made by Gregor Glazek of the Polish Mountaineering Association and GeoSystems. Published by PZA, 2004. It's b&w but with all peak names and glaciers overlaid on a large sat image. Stanfords used to sell it.
The two-sheet Swiss map is the only other decent one I know of. The Leomann maps are not only basic, they have a sufficient number of errors to be too misleading, maybe even dangerous, for actual routefinding. The old Soviet maps are quite accurate, and comprehensive, but even if you read Russian they are inaccurate in terms of roads, tracks, villages etc. and of varying scale, depending where you want.
But those maps have not, nor will be, ever improved, as none of them beat Google Earth and a good colour A3 printer.
The AMS maps are very poor. Eg, look at how few peaks have actually been properly marked on the maps.
You'd be better off just using Google maps with the coutures switched on.
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