Skardu is the Gilgit Baltistan district of Pakistan, sandwiched between China and Indian held Kashmir a bisected by the Indus River. North of the Indus, the Karakoram Range rise in a serried wall 150 kilometers thick, with over 100 peaks higher than 7,000 meters. South of the Indus, the uninhabited Deosai Plateau separates Pakistan from India. Until this century Baltistan was an unexplored dead end, with only two difficult made routes from Tibet and Ladakh, following the Indus and Shok Rivers, and another crossing the deserted Deosai Plateau from Srinagar. Only one snow bound pass led across the Karakoram to China, an even that was blocked by ice early in the nineteenth century. Skardu is the capital of Baltistan, has an altitude of 2,340 meters. It serves as the starting point fro some of the most scenic and adventurous trekking in the world and most visitors are mountaineers or trekkers. There are five main valleys in the district Skardu, Shigar, Khaplu, Rondu and Kharmang. All of them produce apricots, peaches, pears and apples in such profusion that this region is known as the land of apricots and apples.