This bridge in northern Pakistan is a surreal span
Published September 6, 2022
3 min read
Stretching over the glacier-fed waters of the Hunza River and linking the rugged faces of the Karakoram Range, the Hussaini Hanging Bridge appears to be no more than a delicate thread. Indeed, when the wind blows, the entire length of rope and wooden planks begins to sway.
Getting the shot
To capture this image, photographer Kevin Faingnaert didn’t have to set foot on the precarious passageway, which has claimed lives. He took aim from the western bank of the river. From that vantage point, Faingnaert says, he could fully appreciate the scale of the surrounding peaks.
Not far from the river rises the towering Rakaposhi mountain, a destination for skilled climbers, who can reach Rakaposhi Base Camp on a two-day trek from Hussaini. This is a landscape that produces adventurers: Mountaineer Samina Baig was the first Pakistani woman to tackle the Seven Summits, the highest peak on each continent.
(Explore Pakistan’s wildest, most beautiful landscapes.)
Access to the bridge is via the Karakoram Highway, an 800-mile road cut through some of the toughest terrain on Earth. Road construction took almost 20 years and was challenging in part because of the remote location and high altitude. Crews from China and Pakistan collaborated, creating a modern Silk Road between their countries.
By the numbers
395: Distance of bridge from Islamabad, in miles
500: Approximate length of bridge, in feet
25,550: Height of Rakaposhi mountain, in feet
This story appears in the October 2022 issue of National Geographic magazine.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.