Karakoram is a mountain range spanning the borders between Pakistan, China, and India, located in the regions of Gilgit, Ladakh, and Baltistan. It is one of the Greater Ranges of Asia, often considered together with the Himalaya, but not technically part of that range.
The Karakoram is home to more than sixty peaks above 7,000m (22,960 ft), including K2, the second highest peak of the world (8,611 m, 28,251 ft). K2 is just 237 m smaller than the 8,848 m tall Mount Everest. The range is about 500 km (300 mi) in length, and is the most heavily glaciated part of the world outside of the polar regions. The Siachen Glacier at 70 km and the Biafo Glacier at 63 km rank as the world's second and third longest glaciers outside the polar regions.
The Karakoram is bounded on the northeast by the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and on the north by the Wakhan Corridor and the Pamir Mountains. Just to the west of the northwest end of the Karakoram lies the Hindu Raj range, beyond which is the Hindu Kush range. The southern boundary of the Karakoram is formed by the Gilgit, Indus, and Shyok Rivers, which separate the range from the northwestern end of the Himalaya range proper.
Due to its altitude and ruggedness, the Karakoram is much less inhabited than parts of the Himalayas further east. European explorers first visited early in the 19th century, followed by British surveyors starting in 1856.
The Muztagh Pass was crossed in 1887 by the expedition of Colonel Francis Younghusband and the valleys above the Hunza River were explored by George Cockerill in 1892. Explorations in the 1910s and 1920s established most of the geography of the region.
Marcel Ichac made a film entitled "Karakoram", chronicling a French expedition to the range in 1936. The film won the Silver Lion at the Venice film festival of 1937.
A portion of the Karakoram, disputed between India and China, has been re-created as a scale model by the Chinese government.