The paths leading towards K2 northern base camp in Xinjiang (SW China) cross some of the most remote areas in the Himalaya-Karakorum ranges, virtually unknown by most international trekkers and travelers as well as by most Himalayan geologists. At the heart of this “Shangri-La” is the Shaksgam valley, with its unmatched morphology and its challenging geologic setting.

This area includes a number of very different geologic units, and will certainly thrill all those interested in geomorphology, sedimentology, paleontology, structural geology, magmatic and metamorphic petrology.

Furthermore, the tectonic setting of western Tibet is complex and characterized by a number of blocks, terranes, sutures and major crustal faults. The geologic units described in this paper are actually located within this sort of “geopuzzle” between west Kunlun to the north and the main Himalayan chain to the south.