This bridge in northern Pakistan is a surreal span

The Hussaini Hanging Bridge provides a precarious pathway in a mountain landscape where nature rules.

The Hussaini Hanging Bridge is located in the remote Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan.
PHOTOGRAPH BY KEVIN FAINGNAERT

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. 

Sky-high

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.)

Engineering marvel

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.

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