( Najeeb Ahmad Khan )
Concordia, K2 Base Camp, Gondogoro-La
This challenging trek gives great views of four 8,000m peaks and is thought by many to be one of the best high mountain treks in the world.
Some of the wildest and most dramatic landscapes on earth are found in the vast, rugged Karakoram Range situated in Northern Pakistan. Remote and spectacular, the icy peaks and vast Glaciers of the Karakoram offer unparalleled opportunities for adventurous trekking. The 62km long Baltoro Glacier is Pakistan's number one trekking destination. Seven of the world's twenty-five highest peaks rise above this glacier, while the lower reaches are surrounded by some of the world's highest granite walls and spires.
The Baltoro Glacier meets the Vigne and Godwin-Austen glaciers at the huge natural amphitheater of Concordia. This is one of the most spectacular mountain campsites in the world. The huge pyramid of K2 only 10km distant dominates the view and creates a breathtaking atmosphere.
The highest point reached on this trek is the 5,150 meter. This is a challenging and technical route, which links the high glacial basin of the upper Baltoro The view is one of the most overwhelming mountain panoramas in the world, with four of the Karakoram 8,000m peaks close at hand.
The trekking in the Karakoram calls for a spirit of adventure, strength, determination and a sense of humour. In return you will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular mountain sceneries in the world, along with the warm, generous welcome of the local people.
We take the spectacular flight to Skardu passing close to Nanga Parbat. This flight is often cancelled because of bad weather. In this case we will drive to Skardu by road along the Karakoram Highway (KKH). This is a two day journey requiring 24-28 hours driving and we will spend a night in either Besham or Chilas.
Skardu is the administrative capital of Baltistan and the base for expeditions visiting this region of the Karakoram. We have some time to explore the town and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the many travellers purchasing supplies and hiring porters. The journey to the mountains starts with an exciting jeep ride through the fields of Shigar before entering the rocky gorge of the Braldu Valley. The trekking route follows the Baltoro glacier to the heart of the Karakoram Range, passing the dramatic rock spires of the Trango and Cathedral groups. As we gain altitude the soaring peaks of snow and ice become visible and the trail passes close to the North face of Masherbrum (7,821m).
Three huge glaciers converge at Concordia where we spend a few days visiting the Base Camps of K2 and Broad Peak. From here we return back to Urdukas and Jula.
Climate and Terrain
The months of July and August are generally thought to be the best times for trekking in the Karakoram. The weather is usually quite settled. Sunshine and clear blue skies can be expected on 60-70% of days. The temperature during the day should be pleasant for walking at altitudes between 3,500 and 5,000m. Below 3,500m it can be quite hot during the day, while night temperatures above 4,500m can dip below 0°C. A few days of precipitation can be expected. At lower altitudes this will take the form of mist or rain. Higher up this will fall as snow. During the trek there is a variety of conditions underfoot. For several days we will be walking on good paths. Some days will involve crossing sections of glacial moraine and scree although there is usually an adequate path for much of the way. Most of the glacier walking will be on 'dry' sections of fairly level ground. This will usually be covered with stones although short sections of bare ice will be encountered. The large numbers of people using this route ensures that there is almost always a distinct path.
Day ONE: Islamabad, fly to Skardu
If the weather condition permits, we will fly to Skardu. Bad weather in the mountains often causes this flight to be cancelled. In this case, we will make the long road journey up the Karakoram Highway (KKH). Overnight in Concordia Hotel.
Day TWO: Rest day in Skardu
Skardu, the administrative center of Baltistan, is a prosperous frontier town on the banks of the Indus River encircled by snow covered peaks. This day may be needed to complete the KKH road journey. Alternatively, leaving Skardu will enable us to enjoy an extra day of trekking. Overnight in K2 Hotel.
Day THREE Drive to Jula via Askole (3,140 m)
An exciting jeep journey takes us through the fields of the Shigar Valley before the road narrows to a mountain track leading to the road head at Askole and Jula where we camp for the first night.
At Jula porters are assembled to carry our luggage for the next section of the journey.
Day FOUR: Trek to Paiju (3,420m)
A short day of trekking over fairly easy ground to reach Paiju, the last grove of trees before the trail moves onto the glacier (5-6hrs).
The porters are issued with their rations and prepare food for the days ahead. We get our first views of the Trango Towers from near this campsite.
Day FIVE: Trek to Liligo 3810m)
A short walk takes us to the snout of the Baltoro Glacier where we climb through a mass of loose scree and rocks to reach the lunch stop at Liligo. The path on the surface of the glacier gets easier as the trail follows the edge of the glacier to Liligo (4-6hrs).
Day SIX: Trek to Urdokas (4,200m)
This camp has superb views across the Baltoro Glacier to the Trango peaks, and is our last 'green grass' campsite (3-4hrs).
Day SEVEN: Rest day at Urdokas
Day EIGHT: Trekfrom Urdokas to Goro2 (4,300m)
Travelling on the glacier all the time now, it is an all-day walk over the boulder-strewn glacier to the campsite at Goro. Masherbrum is visible on the right side of the glacier, and Muztagh Tower on the left. Gasherbrum IV and Broad Peak can be seen directly ahead, as they catch the evening sunlight (5-7hrs).
Day NINE: Trek from Goro 2 to Concordia (4,650m)
Trekking to the campsite at Concordia, we pass through some of the most spectacular mountain sceneries in the world. The trail is surrounded on all sides by several of the world's highest mountains: K2, Broad Peak, Baltoro Kangri, Chogolisa and Gasherbrum IV (4-5hrs).
Day TEN: Trek to K2 Base Camp (5,150m)
You may wish to make the return journey to K2 Base Camp in a single day (10 hrs round trip and return to Concordia(but just not to over stretch overnight stay at Broad Peak Base camp). It is strongly recommended that thenext day, you return to Concordia after making an excursion to K2 base camp.
Rest day at Concordia ( rest and relax for big day coming ahead)
After breakfast at Concordia, we will go on a five-hour trek to Ali Camp, situated at approximately 4900 m. above the Vigne Glacier. The fluted and icy-white slopes of Chogolisa tower in front of us. During our early afternoon arrival at Ali Camp, the kitchen staff will be present to serve us and keep us hydrated. An early dinner is recommended and sleep for few hours before starting at 2 am.
Day FOURTEEN : Ali Camp to Huspang via Gandogoro Pass
Gondogoro La requires basic technical experience and a good degree of fitness is essential for this trek as ithas to be done with fixed ropes. We willbegin the journey at 2 am while snow is still hard (easy to walk and climb with crampons) to cross the Gondogoro la.
An early start is a must. If delayed, the snow will be soft with sunshine and will require lot of energy to walkup on the rope with ice axe and Jumar in each hand. All the trekkers must have their gadgets and gear, ice axe, crampons, adjustable Harness, descender, helmet and a Jumar are required for the ascent of Gondogoro la. A highly trained high-altitude mountaineers GL Rescue Team will meet us at Ali camp to accompany us to the top of the Gondogoro Pass and descend into Gandogoro valley on a fixed rope. On reaching the top it’s probably one of the best and spectacular views of K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum and other Karakoram giants. From the top of the Gandogoro pass you will also see Laila peak across the Karakoram Range and on the Hushe side
Descending the Gondogoro la is probably the toughest part, 3 pitch rappels are utilized at the angle of 40 to 45 degrees. The route usually varies from year to year, but the crevasses are moderate. The rope is fixed for two sections on the both side of the pass. After coming down the pass we will reach the trail that takes us along the moraine and last part on green patches of grass and wild flowers to the Khuispang site. On arrival, the camping staff will cook food, afternoon rest and probably a long sleep is imminent.
After early breakfast trek to Dilzampa, on the way one can witness the wild flowers and magnificent views of Liala Peak with surrounding unclimbed small peaks with beautiful flowers on the way, on arrival at Dilzampa camp overnight stay in camps.
Dilzampa to Siyacho:
After breakfast walk to Siyacho, its 4-5 hours to Siyaco, the first settlement on the Husheside.
Walk to Hushe village and continue drive by jeeps to Khaplu overnight stay at hotel.
Drive to Skardu for flight to Islamabad. If the flight gets cancelled, then drive to Islamabad via stopping overnight at Naran.
Rest and Contingency Days - 2 days
These are included in the programme to allow for transport delays etc. If conditions permit these extra days will be added to the trekking programme.
Our experienced, qualified and licensed mountain trekking guides lead all our K2 Base Camp treks. We not only look to ensure that they have the relevant qualifications but also a good track record of mountaineering and trekking at high altitudes. Whilst qualifications and experience are essential requirements, we also make sure that our guides have the right temperament to lead a group comprised of individuals who have a range of previous experiences and expectations. To that end, we aim to provide a guide who will make the trek both successful and enjoyable throughout.
K2 Base Camp:A few decades ago the route along the Baltoro Glacier to K2 Base camp was thought to be one of the most difficult treks in the world. It is still described so in some of the recent trekking books. However, the reality is somewhat different. The infrastructure of Northern Pakistan has improved greatly in recent years: existing roads have been widened and improved, the road network has expanded further into previously remote valleys and new bridges have replaced old ones.
Similarly, the path up the Baltoro Glacier has been improved in several places, removing some of the previously hazardous sections and reducing journey times. Despite this, trekking in the Karakoram remains a more challenging experience than trekking in the popular regions of Nepal. Trekking in the Karakoram takes place in the high mountain beyond the last human settlements. Vegetation is sparse, the terrain rugged and the trails are often rocky and difficult underfoot. This is more than compensated for by the spectacular scenery, but the walking can rarely be described as 'easy'.
This trek is suitable for people with a good standard of fitness who enjoy regular hillwalking or other aerobic excercise. Experience of trekking at altitudes over 4,000m is strongly recommended. The daily programme usually requires 5-7 hours walking and is designed to allow gradual acclimatization to the increasing altitude. While few individual days can be described as 'difficult', the cumulative effects of trekking at high altitudes through a harsh mountain environment for many days should not be underestimated. Many people who have never traveled outside Europe join this type of trek and have a great time. However, people with more experience of high altitude environments, multi-day treks, hot climates, third world travel, multi-day camping trips, will be better prepared for the challenges of this trek.
Any trek or expedition to the Karakorum’s relies on the hard work of local porters. It is their carrying of our supplies and baggage that makes a journey into the mountains possible. Himalayan Holidays is therefore careful to ensure that they are well treated, not exploited
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