In the Baltoro Valley, northern Pakistan, along the route to K2, there are many villages literally sunk into picturesque verdant oasis of poplars and terrace cultivated fields that are well irrigated by an extensive canal network.
That is the area where the plain folk of the Balti still live in a rather rough way in rudimentary houses made of stone, mud, wood and straw. Men, normally farmers and shepherds, become porters during the season of mountaineering expeditions.
Women, very shy, wear a headscarf, tend to hide from strangers and regularly take care of cultivation and household chores.
Children are lively and curious just like all children worldwide and have deep penetrating looks.
Located at an approximate altitude of 3.000 mts. asl, Askòle is the last village deep in the Baltoro Valley. There are 800 inhabitants, whereas another 1.000 people live in the nine surrounding hamlets. It has a school and a mosque.
There is no electricity supply, waste water drains in open air and a public waterworks laboriously supplies only one small fountain. There is no telephone service for communication. In order to communicate with the outside world, messages are sent via telegraph or by couriers travelling to the town of Skardu.