Our fixed Departure :15 July 2019
Seat Available: 6
Duration: 23 Days
• A must do trek for mountain connoisseurs and rightly listed as one of the world’s Top 5 Mountain walks.
• A spectacular trek up the Baltoro glacier, over the challenging
GondogoroLa pass and down the beautiful Hushe valley.
• Views of K2 8611m(second Highest peak in the world) Broad Peak 8046m, Masherbrum, GI 8060m & II 8035m, Trango towers and Leila peak among many others.
• There is an option to do the K2 & Concordia trek and descend back down the Baltoro rather than go over the Gondogoro La pass.
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.
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, Masherbrum, K2 and Broad Peak 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 thebeautiful Hushe valley. The route up and down the Gondogoro La is maintained by a local team from Hushe who fix the ropes for trekkers.
If you think the crossing of the Gondogoro La is going to be challenging for you, we offer an option whereby you can descend the Baltoro. If you are interested please ask for further details.
It is our intention to keep to the day by day itinerary detailed below, although there might be some flexibility due to local conditions or other factors beyond our control. If this is the case the trek leader will do everything possible to work out the changes to the itinerary in order to minimise your inconvenience.
You will be met at the airport on your arrival to Islamabad. Please provide travel plans on booking and we will arrange the pickup and transfer. A full trek briefing will be given in the afternoon. Overnight at Chancery Guesthouse (B).
Fly to Skardu.
Today we will try to fly to Skardu in GilgitBaltistan, if the fight is cancelled then we will spend the night in Islamabad and drive Karakoram Highway (“KKH”) tomorrow. Overnight at K2 Motel in Skardu (B,L,D) or Chancery Guesthouse (B).
Drive KKH to Chilas (if flew to Skardu yesterday then we explore the town today).If the flight was cancelled on Day 2 then we will start driving KKH. Overnight Shangri La hotel in Chilas (B,L,D).
If we flew to Skardu on Day 2 then this is a day to explore Skardu, it is well worth going into town to see explore the bazaar and visiting the Skardu fort which has a good view of the Indus river. We might be lucky and get to watch a game of polo in the evening. Overnight at K2 Motel in Skardu (B,L,D).
Drive to Skardu on KKH (if flew on Day 2 then this is buffer day).
Skardu to Askole (3,050m) by jeep 7 hours driving, 1 hour trekking.An exciting drive on a winding jeep trail in the arid landscape past villages with fertile terraces and apricot trees, Askole is the last village we will see for a few weeks. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Jeep ride to Askole (Menno Boermans)
Trek to Korofong (3,100m) 4 to 5 hours walking.
We follow a trail next to the Braldu river and, once passed the snout of the Biafo glacier, we arrive at the green oasis of Korofong. Given that we will be in camp by lunchtime we can spend the afternoon relaxing by the river, and also do a short acclimatisation walk if we wish.
If the sun is out then this can be a very hot day with temperatures often approaching 40 degrees. It is important to bring plenty of water (at least three litres), wear a sun hat and apply plenty of sun cream. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Trek to Bardumal (3,305m) 7 hours walking.
From Korofong we follow the path up a side valley and cross the river by a good bridge (rather than the old trolley system or “jhola” as used in the past). We then walk for another half an hour or so to reach the Jhola Camp. The views are impressive with Bakhor Das (5,809m) and Paiju Peak’s needles in the distance. From Jhola as continue onto Bardumal campsite (also known as Skambong Scok). Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Trek to Paiju (3,380m) 3 to 4 hours walking.
After an early start from Bardumal we will arrive at Paiju midmorning. The path is quite loose in places and again it is likely we will have to take boots off where the river has flooded the path in a few places. Paiju is a green oasis under the shadows of Paiju Peak (6,611m). From this camp we have the first views of the immense Baltoro Glacier. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Trek to Khoburtse (3,760m) 6 to 7 hours walking.
After an hour we will walk up onto the Baltoro glacier for the first time. The path on the glacier is pretty good although care has to be taken as the moraine on the surface is uneven (trekking poles are useful from here on).
We will probably stop for lunch at the old campsite at Lilligo. After this break we cross below the snout of the Lilligo Glacier and then get back on to the Baltoro and walk up and down several moraine ridges before arriving at the Khoburtse campsite. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Trek to Urdukas (4,130m) 4 hours walking.
During the walk today there are great views of Trango & Cathedral spires and Uli Biaho and Bial mountains. It is a short day but quite hard work as we walk up the undulating moraine and gaining height all the way. The campsite at Urdukas is very impressive with views over the Baltoro and to the dramatic rock spires on the opposite side of the glacier. Overnight camping (B,L,D). Trango Spires viewed from Urdukas Grassy slopes behind Urdukas
Rest day at Urdukas (4,130m)
We have found in the past that taking a rest day at Urdukas has worked well, the advantages of spending an extra night here are:
• it helps the acclimatisation process and has proved to more effective than a rest day at Paiju (the traditional place for a rest day after only three trekking days).
There is a pleasant walk behind the campsite through grassy slopes full of alpine flowers. Climbing high & sleeping low is the best way to help the acclimatisation process. this is the last campsite on grassy slopes off the main glacier, it also has facilities for washing and cleaning.
western leader will lead a training session in the afternoon explaining in detail the techniques for crossing the Gondogoro La.
Urdukas to Goro II (4,250m) 6 to 7 hours walking. The trail on the Baltoro goes past the Yermanandu Galcier, which flows from Masherbrum, and there are views of Muztagh (7,270m), Masherbrum (7,800m) and Gasherbrum IV at the head of the Baltoro and Concordia. The campsite at Goro II is on the glacier where ledges have been levelled out for the tents. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Goro to Concordia (4,600m) 5 to 6 hours. Today we reach Concordia where the Baltoro, Abruzzi and Godwin Austen glaciers converge, within a radius of 15 kilometres there are an incredible 41 peaks over 6,500m with 4 over 8,000m. The 360 degree panorama is simply incredible and has to been seen. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Concordia to K2 and Broad Peak BCs and return – 10 to 12 hours walking.This is a long day which typically takes 6 hours to K2 Base Camp and 5 hours for the return to Concordia. Some people might prefer to walk to Broad Peak Base Camp rather than walk all the way to K2 Base Camp. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Concordia rest day.
You can go on further exploration walks today around Concordia or spend a day in camp enjoying the views. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Concordia to Ali camp (5,000m) 6 to 7 hours walking.
From Concordia there are several moraine ridges to scramble over to reach the Vigne Glacier which is flatter with fewer crevasses. If it is a clear day we will get some spectacular views of K2 and the other mountains around. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Ali Camp and over the GondogoroLa pass (5,600m) to Khuspang 10 or 11 hours walking.This is a tough day but the views from the top of the pass really make it worthwhile. All four 8000’ers are visible in one direction and the other way looks down the Hushe valley with the beautiful Leila peak.
We will start early, probably about 12 o’clock, to minimise the risk of rockfall on the descent down the Hushe side of the pass. 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.
You 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 karabiner and sling onto the rope for safety.
The Hushe 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 Khuspang, you can put your feet up and relax remembering the excitement of the day. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Relaxing at Khuspang with Leila peak behind (Menno Boermans)
Important note! The crossing of the Gondogoro La is dependent on good weather and conditions on the approach to the pass. If it is not possible to safely ascend the pass the group will walk back down the Baltoro glacier to Askole.
We believe our itinerary maximises our chances of crossing the pass because:
Everyone should be well acclimatized due to the gradual ascent on the trek and also from the careful monitoring of everyone’s acclimatization by using the pulse oximeter.
We have three nights at Concordia (many of tour operators only allow two nights) and we also include a spare day on Day 18. This gives more flexibility in case of bad weather or poor conditions.
The set up and organisation of the trek also increases our chances:
We bring a climbing rope so that the group can rope up to cross the glacier to the base of the pass. Usually this is not required as the crevasses are open but a snowfall could easily cover them up.
We also bring fixed rope, ice screws and snow stakes to fix extra sections of the pass if required. In the past the western leader has gone ahead to Ali Camp on the group’s rest day at Concordia to check the condition of the ropes and where necessary to fix extra rope.
We also donated 200m of rope and anchors to the Hushe Rescue team for their future use. We plan to obtain weather forecasts by SMS text direct to the satellite phone (to be confirmed).
Buffer day at Khuspang. In case of bad weather on Day 17, this will give us another chance to cross the pass. If we successfully got over the pass on Day 17, you may well enjoy a rest day or the other option is to continue down to Hushe to spend a night. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Khuspang to Shaisho 6 to 7 hours walking. After a couple of minutes of easy walking we get onto the glacier where we pick our way across the moraine and ice, finally crossing the glacier up to the camping site to reach Dalsangpa which means ‘field of flowers’.
There is a spectacular view of Masherbrum and the glacier cascading down from Masherbrum Pass. It is a beautiful walk to Shaisho as we pass yak pastures and see the first trees since Paiju. Shaisho is a small village and has a shop run by a friendly local who has worked as a High Altitude Porter on a K2 expedition. Overnight camping (B,L,D).
Trek to Hushe, drive to Skardu 2 hours walking, 7 hours driving.An easy day walking to the village of Hushe and then a beautiful drive through villages to Skardu. Overnight at K2 Motel in Skardu (B,L,D).
Fly to Islamabad.
We will hopefully take the early morning flight to Islamabad (inshallah!), if unable to fly we will drive the KKH to Chilas. Overnight at Chancery Guesthouse in Islamabad (B) or Shangri La in Chilas (B,L,D).
If driving down the KKH we will arrive in Islamabad late afternoon. If we managed to fly the day before then we will spend today sightseeing in Islamabad. In the evening we will have a final group meal. Overnight at Chancery Guesthouse in Islamabad (B).
Fly back home.
Transfer to Islamabad airport for the flight back home. End of trip.
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