Pakistan K2 Base Camp
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This is considered to be one of the world’s great treks with breathtaking scenery, unsurpassed anywhere else in the high mountains. This is a challenging trek to Concordia and K2 Base Camp followed by crossing the technical Gondogoro La pass (5,625m).
The trekking route is lined with rugged mountains all the way from Askole, the last village in the Braldu gorge, to Concordia. On our walk up the Baltoro glacier, we will see the Trango Towers (6,363m), Masherbrum (7,821m), Muztagh Tower (7,283m), Gasherbrum IV (7,925m), K2 (8,611m), Broad Peak (8,051m) and Chogolisa (7,668m) among many others. Concordia has been described as the “Throne Room of the Mountain Gods” for its unique 360˚ panorama of 7,000m mountains and impressive views of K2.
After some time exploring K2 and Broad Peak Base Camps, we start the challenging trek out over the Gondogoro La and descend down the beautiful Hushe valley to complete a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
On arrival to Islamabad, you will be met by the group leader and/or guide and transferred to the hotel. You will have a trip briefing and gear check with the group leader at the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
We will take a spectacular flight to Skardu in the mountain region of Baltistan, the home of mighty Karakoram. This flight route is one of a kind, offering amazing scenery and views of some of the mightiest mountains in the world, i.e. K2 (8,611m), Nanga Parbat (8,126m), Rakaposhi (7,788m) and others Karakoram peaks. Skardu lies at the edge of a broad floodplain that is the confluence of the Indus, Shyok and Basha rivers. Overnight stay at hotel.
There is a possibility that turbulent weather conditions in Skardu or Islamabad may affect the flight plan. In that case, we will travel on private air-conditioned coach by the Karakoram Highway to Skardu. The Karakoram Highway follows the Indus river, cutting through the steep gorges and offering some spectacular scenery (including views of Nanga Parbat (8,126m) and Rakaposhi (7,788m)) all the way to Skardu. Karakoram Highway is rightly known as the 8th wonder of the world. The long journey to Skardu will be spread over 2 days, with a night stopover at Chilas. The drive time will be approximately 10-12 hours. Overnight stay at hotel.
If we arrive at Skardu by air, this day will be used for a Jeep safari to the Deosai Plains, the Land of Giants. With an average elevation of 4,114m (13,497 ft) above sea level, Deosai is the 2nd highest plateau in the world after Changtang Tibetan Plateau. Deosai, with its lush green grass, colourful wildflowers and rare butterflies, is rightly described as the “Summer’s Palace” by the locals. Given the elevation of Deosai Plains, this trip will help us acclimatize for the trek as well. We will have lunch at the gorgeous Sheosar lake, from where we can witness some spectacular views of Nanga Parbat (8,126m). By evening, we will be back at the hotel from an unforgettable day trip. Overnight stay at hotel.
If we are travelling by road, the journey from Chilas to Skardu will be approximately 7-8 hours. On the way, we will be able to see some spectacular views of Nanga Parbat (8,126m) and Rakaposhi (7,788m). We will also see the confluence of 3 stunning mountain ranges of the world, i.e. Karakoram, Himalayas and Hindu Kush. Overnight stay at hotel.
We will be briefed by the tourism department regarding your trek to the Central Karakoram National Park. Later, we will have some free time for final equipment and gear check with the guide and group leader. Depending on time, we will visit Katchura Lake and perhaps Skardu fort. The view from the fort is breathtaking, with Skardu city and Indus River framed by the formidable Karakoram Range. Overnight stay at hotel.
We will travel by Jeep to Askoli. The road to Askoli passes through the majestic Shigar and Braldu valleys, each having its own mystique and uniqueness. Shigar valley comprises of several villages and farms with fields of wheat, barley, apricot trees and cherry trees. The taste of apricots and cherries of Shigar valley is second to none. Locals will greet us with a big smile as we pass through the road and may show us their hospitality by inviting us to their farms to eat fresh apricots and cherries!
The landscape will become desert-like, with barren mountains and steep gorges, as we approach the Braldu valley. We will be crossing several suspension bridges over the Braldu River, which is an experience in itself. Due to steep mountain slopes and land sliding areas, the road can be blocked at some points. This can prolong the journey time. With patience, we will arrive at the first campsite of the trek, i.e. Askoli village. People of Askoli are self-sufficient, growing their own wheat, vegetables and fruits. They also own large herds of goats and sheep. At Askoli, we will meet several trekking and mountaineering expeditions. It will be a great opportunity to mingle with like-minded people. After dinner, the tour leader and guide will brief us about the next day’s schedule. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
This will be our first day of trekking and the trekking expedition will begin in earnest. 30 minutes after commencing trekking towards Joula, we will be taken to the Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) office by the guide, where group entry will be registered. We don’t have to worry about the entry fees at this point, as it is included in the tour cost and will be taken care of. Moving ahead, the Braldu valley will open out to reveal the Mighty Biafo glacier, which flows from Hispar Pass and Snow Lake to Braldu valley. Biafo Glacier is a gigantic 67 km long glacier and is world’s 3rd longest glacier outside polar regions. The first day of trekking will bring a little taste of moraine walking as we will cross the snout of Biafo glacier and reach Korophong, our lunch spot beside the river.
The first day of trekking will be through a very stark environment, which forms the base of the giant mountains of Baltoro region. Following the valley, we will reach the confluence of the Braldu River and Dumordo River (flowing from Panmah Glacier). Here, the famous ‘Joula’ or flying fox is located which was used to cross the fast flowing Dumordo River. However, a footbridge has now been built, making the crossing of river much safer and convenient. The Dumordo River valley leads to the Panmah, Chaktoi, Nobande-Sobande and Chiring glaciers, Sim (5,833m), Skam (5,407m) and West Muztagh (5,735m) passes and famous Karakoram peaks such Latok 1 (7,151m), Latok 2 (7,108m), Biantha Brakk (7,285m), etc. This valley once used to be a passage between Baltistan and Yarkhand through West Muztagh Pass (5,735m) into China. After crossing the river, we will walk along the riverbank to the Joula campsite. Paiju campsite has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
We start the day early and walk along the Braldu River. The trek will mostly be through severe stark landscape, which often ascends and descends depending on the level of erosion and water level of the river. The lunch will be served at Bardumal, an old campsite. Moving ahead, we may be able to see a glimpse of the Masherbrum Group to our right via the Xiangang Valley. Masherbrum range is a vast array of peaks, which cover almost the full length of the south side of Baltoro Glacier.
The weather often gets very hot and dry, creating difficult walking conditions. Therefore, care must be taken to stay hydrated and prevent sunburn. As Paiju campsite approaches, several small streams fed by glaciers descend from the north. Moreover, we will be able to see the glimpse of Trango Towers and Uli Biaho. We will also be able to see the vast snout of Baltoro glacier, the massive 63km long glacier, which is the 5th longest glacier outside polar regions. It will be hard to gather a sense of the scale of Baltoro glacier from such a distance. The coming days will reveal the beauty, wilderness and immense scale of the mighty Baltoro glacier. Paiju campsite has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite
This day will be used to relax and let our bodies acclimatize to the altitude. This rest day will be very helpful in the coming days on Baltoro glacier. Paiju is the traditional stopping point for all trekking and expedition groups heading towards Concordia due to presence of spring water. Depending on energy levels, we can use some time of the rest day to hike up the hill above campsite for extensive views of the Trango Towers and Cathedral peak, and potentially a glimpse of the mighty K2, still many miles away. We will also be able to meet several like-minded people with other expeditions and make global contacts. Our porters will also get the opportunity to prepare their bread for the days ahead on the glacier. Paiju campsite has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
After an hour trek, we will approach the Baltoro glacier. Witnessing the massive ice stretching across the Braldu River and seeing numerous porters forming an ant-like trail across the glacier will make us appreciate its size. The glacial ice rises approximately 70-80 meters above the river at the snout of the glacier. Due to its ever-changing nature, the glacial moraine can be difficult to navigate at this point. We should be prepared for a hard day of walking and must keep ourselves hydrated. Once on the other side of the glacial valley, the trail will follow the side and will often require a glacier or stream crossing of the glacier or the river. From here onwards, you will be able to witness uninterrupted views of Paiju Peak (6,610m), Uli Biaho Tower (6,109m), Trango Towers (6,363m) and Cathedral Peak (6,024m). These are the majestic, spired collection of mountains that the Baltoro region is so well known for. Behind us will be the steep grassy slopes, which are the grazing pastures of ibex. These rocks are also home to mouse hares (Pikas) and colourful hoopoe birds. After crossing Liligo glacier, which flows from south to the Baltoro glacier, we will reach Khoburtse campsite. Khoburtse campsite is on the south side of Baltoro glacier, just opposite Trango Towers. Khoburtse campsite has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
Keeping in mind to gradually increase our sleeping altitude, this day will be a considerably short trek. We will continue along the south side of Baltoro glacier, either on the side moraine or, sometimes on the glacier. We will also cross two glaciers flowing from Urdukas Peak (6,320m). This day we will also cross the Trango Towers and Cathedral Peak, both of which are on the north side of Baltoro glacier. We will arrive at Urdukas by lunchtime. Urdukas campsite is perched a 100m above the glacier on terraces originally hacked out of the hillside by the Duke of Abruzzi’s K2 expedition of 1909, and offers out of the world views of Trango Towers (6,363m) to the west, and the vast rock walls of Cathedral Peak (6,024m) and Lobsang (5,707m) rising like walls across the glacier. It is really an amazing campsite! Given the clear weather conditions, we will be able to see Broad Peak (8,051m) and Gasherbrum IV (7,925m) rising from the head of the valley. Urdukas campsite has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
After leaving Urdukas campsite, initially we will follow the moraine edge of the glacier before crossing to the centre of the glacier, where it will be easier to trek due to the smoother flow of the glacier. Soon we will be able to see the spectacular Masherbrum (7,821m) towards our righthand side, along with the vast Yermamendu glacier flowing from the south. We will be constantly ascending and descending the mountains of rubble which are scattered over the ice. We will have proper views of the peaks ahead of us, which surround Concordia. These include the stunning Broad Peak (8,051m) and Gasherbrum IV (7,925m). Looking back towards Paiju, the impressive mountain groups which dominated our views over the last few days will now be dwarfed as we trek higher and further away. At this point, we will be at a high altitude and camping on one of the largest pieces of ice outside the polar regions, so we will make sure to wrap up warmly for the cooler nights ahead. Goro IIcampsite has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
The final approach day to Concordia takes us through what is arguably the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere in the world! Concordia is considered one of the world’s most spectacular campsites as it is surrounded by numerous giant peaks of Karakoram and offers the highest concentration of +7,000 meter peaks anywhere in the world. After leaving Goro II campsite, the Biange glacier to the north will provide us with a spectacular view of Muztagh Tower (7,283m), which is considered one of the most technical mountains to climb in the Karakoram. The trail will be fairly easy to trek on, with gentle slopes of moraine. Here we will also see the famous “Ice Cubes” of Baltoro glacier, which are ice towers or seracs rising 40-60 meters out of the glacier.
Our schedule can be flexible over the next couple of days, depending on the group preference and prevailing weather conditions. One of our main objectives is to visit the K2 Base Camp (4,980m), Braod Peak Base Camp (4,850m) and Gilkey Memorial. On the other hand, we have the option of relatively easy trekking to the Upper Baltoro Glacier and Abruzzi Glacier to Gasherbrum I Base Camp (5,156m). Here we will be able to see several majestic peaks like Gasherbrum I (8,080m), Gasherbrum II (8,035m), Chogolisa (7,668m), Baltoro Kangri (7,300m) and Snow Dome (7,150m). Another option can be to relax at Concordia and enjoy the might of several mountains that are already before us: K2 (8,611m), Broad Peak (8,052m), Gasherbrum IV (7,952m), Baltoro Kangri (7,300m), Marble Peak (6,256m), Mitre Peak (6,070m) and many more. Ideally, we will stick to the Ultimate K2 Trek itinerary and visit the K2 Base Camp.
It is recommended to wake up early this morning to witness the mesmerizing sunrise over the Gasherbrum IV (7,925m). Moreover, we will witness the awe-inspiring views of the Mighty K2 (8,611m) and Broad Peak (8,052m). We will start the day early and make our way towards Broad Peak Base Camp (4,850m) and will arrive around lunch time. After negotiating the difficult ground where Baltoro and Godwin Austen glaciers meet, we will eventually reach easy terrain and follow the medial moraine of the Godwin Austen Glacier to our destination, reaching around mid-day. From here, we will admire the sensational view of K2 in one direction and in the other look back to Concordia framed by Mitre Peak and the bulk of Chogolisa. A number of expeditions will be at the campsite, so it will be a great opportunity to mingle with the professional climbers and expand our networks. Broad Peak Base Camp has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
We will start the day early in order to visit K2 Base Camp and then trek back to Concordia. The route to K2 Base Camp will be a little tougher as we negotiate the swells of the glacier and several glacial streams. The increase in altitude also makes it a little tougher. However, given the Ultimate K2 Trek itinerary, we will be well acclimatized to the altitude (However, the health of all group members will be assessed and full precaution will be taken in following our safety standards). After around 3 hours, we will reach K2 Base Camp (4,980m). From here, we will see Savoia Saddle to the west, Windy Gap and Advance Base Camp on the Abruzzi Ridge to the east and Concordia framed by Mitre Peak, the bulk of Chogolisa to the south, and of course, the massif of the Mighty K2 to the north. This will be an unforgettable experience! We will also visit the Gilkey Memorial where the names of those who have died climbing K2 are inscribed on a collection of plaques and plates.
After lunch at the K2 Base Camp, we will head back to Concordia, following the Godwin Austen Glacier. On the way we will cross Pastore Peak (6,379m) and Marble Peak (6,56m), both of which will be on our righthand side. We will have views of Mitre Peak (6,070m) and Chogolisa (7,668m) all the way to Concordia. The return trek will be approximately 5 hours and we will reach Concordia campsite by evening.
At this stage we will also re-assess our return route, depending on the prevailing weather and route conditions and the capability of the group as a whole. Our planned return route, taking into account the above, is to ascend the Vigne Glacier from Concordia and cross the glaciated Gondogoro La (5,625m) to the Hushe Valley. If it is not possible to cross Gondogoro La due to the above reasons, we will make our way back by the no-less-spectacular trek back down the Baltoro Glacier to Askoli village. Heading in a different direction, the views are always different and the weather is always changing in the mountains, so one could not consider this route as repetitious by anyone’s standards.
Concordia campsite has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
We will head out of Concordia towards Upper Baltoro Glacier. After crossing several moraine ridges, we will reach Vigne Glacier. Vigne Glacier is much flatter and has fewer crevasses. We will have some spectacular views of K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum IV, Chogolisa and Mitre Peak during the trek. We will reach Ali Camp around lunch time. The campsite is just below Gondogoro La. We will have an early dinner and get some much-needed rest for the day ahead, which we have to start really early.
Approximately 5-6 hours
Adverse weather conditions may prevent us from our ascent of the pass on day 15 and it may be necessary to delay our crossing. Therefore, we have a reserve day. Your group leader will assess the weather, ice and snow conditions. Ali Camp has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
This will be a tough day, but the views from the top of the pass will really make it worthwhile! All four 8000’ers (K2, Brood Peak, Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II) are visible in one direction and the other way looks down the Hushe valley with the beautiful Laila peak.
We will start really early, probably about 1am. If the snow conditions are good and the trail has already been broken, the pass can be ascended quite quickly (in about 5 hours). Depending on snow conditions, it may be necessary to rope up for the crossing of the glacier before getting to the base of the pass. We will need crampons and ice axes on the Vigne side of the pass. There are several sections with fixed ropes in place which can be used as a handrail. It is also best practice to clip a carabiner and sling onto the rope for safety. The Hushey side of the pass can be a tricky descent although there are fixed ropes in place at the top. The slope starts at a sustained 50 degrees on snow and finishes on loose scree towards the bottom. On reaching the green oasis of Kuispang, we can put our feet up and relax, remembering the excitement of the day.
Kuispang campsite has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
A short easy walk after leaving Kuispang campsite leads to the glacier, where we will pick our way across the moraine and ice. The beautiful Laila Peak (6,096m) will be on our left-hand side. We will cross the Gondogoro Glacier to reach a beautiful campsite, Dalsampa, where we will have lunch. Dalsampa means ‘field of flowers’. Here, we will have a spectacular view of Masherbrum (7,821m) and Masherbrum Glacier cascading down from Masherbrum Pass. From here, it is a beautiful walk to Saicho campsite, as we pass yak pastures and see the first trees since Paiju. Saicho is a picturesque campsite nestled amongst tamarisks, wild roses and junipers set beside the river. There are views up to the Charakusa Valley towards K7 (6,934m). There is a shop run by a friendly local who has worked as a High-Altitude Porter on K2 expeditions. He will have a lot of stories to tell! Tonight, there is the chance for local songs and dances as the porters will be relaxed and happy with a successful crossing of the Gondogoro La behind them.
Saicho campsite has Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) managed toilet and bath facilities. Overnight in fully serviced wilderness campsite.
This will be our final day of trekking. A relatively short 3-4 hours of easy descent will bring us to Hushey village, which is the gateway for many expeditions travelling to Masherbrum, the Charakusa and Nangma valleys. At Hushey, we will say goodbye to our crew who, by now, will be our friends and make our way towards Skardu. Skardu is approximately 5 hours drive ride from Hushey. The drive is a pleasant one through pretty scattered villages. The locals will be really glad to see us and will show us their hospitality by inviting us to eat fresh cherries and apricots from their farms. We will travel through Khaplu, the second largest kingdom of the old Baltistan guarding the trade route to Ladakh along the Shyok River. In the evening, we will be debriefed by the tourism department regarding the trek. Overnight stay at hotel.
We will hopefully take the spectacular flight from Skardu to Islamabad, offering breathtaking scenery and views of some of the mightiest mountains in the world, i.e. K2 (8,611m), Nanga Parbat (8,126m), Rakaposhi (7,788m) and others Karakoram peaks. In the evening, we will have time for shopping and sightseeing in Islamabad, the Capital of Pakistan and enjoy dinner at Monal Restaurant, which is situated in Margalla Hills and offers spectacular views of the city.
However, if the flight gets cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, we will travel on private air-conditioned coach via Karakoram Highway (KKH) to Islamabad. Due to the long travelling time, we will have an overnight stay at Chilas. On our way, we will travel right beside the Indus River from Skardu and view the incredible force of the river by the deep gorges it has carved out. We then join the Karakoram Highway (KKH), which is also known as the 8th wonder of the world. We will enjoy the views of Nanga Parbat (8,126m) and Rakaposhi (7,788m) along the way to Chilas. The drive time to Chilas will be approximately 8 hours.
Overnight stay at centrally located hotel.
If we arrive at Islamabad by air, this day will be used for relaxing, sightseeing and shopping. However, if we are travelling by road, we will complete our 10 hours journey from Chilas to Islamabad.
Overnight stay at centrally located hotel.
After breakfast, the group will be transferred to the airport by guide and/or group leader for their flight back home or onward travel.
- International Airfares – can be booked by On Track Expeditions
- Visa – eVisa application prior to travel must be completed.
- Fully Comprehensive Travel and Evacuation Insurance – mandatory – we can be assist
- Porter Tip
- Trekkers personal equipment – as per the gear list
- Spending money for soft drink/gift/alcohol post trip
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