Snowland
K2 Peak High Resolution Photo

K2 Base Camp Trek

Key Destinations

Islamabad-Skardu-Shigar-Braldu-Baltoro Glacier
Concordia-K2-Broad Peak
Askoli-Karakoram Highway-Naran Kaghan
Trip Summary

Daily Walking: 5-7 hours

Max Altitude: 5150m/16896ft

Duration: 21 Days

Trekking: 13 Days

Group Photo september 2011 at Concordia

Trip Highlights

  • A spectacular trek up the Baltoro glacier, K2 Base Camp 
  • Views of K2, Broad Peak, Mashabrum, GI & II, Trango towers.
  • Walking in Concordia and the Baltoro Glacier
  • One of the world`s top 5 trekking adventures.

Trip Overview

K-2 is located in the heart of the Karakoram Range and can be seen in its entirety from Concordia. This sublime pyramid sits at the head of the Godwin Austin Glacier which unites with a second glacier at Concordia to form the mighty Baltoro Glacier.The journey to K2 base camp the second highest mountain in the world begins with a domestic flight(Weather permitting) to Skardu from, Islamabad; otherwise, we will travel by road. After an overnight rest in Skardu we will proceed by jeeps as far as the track is passable towards Askoli. Askoli is located at 3300 m. and is the last village before reaching K-2 base camp.

Beyond Askoli is complete wilderness consisting of glaciers spouting the beginnings of rivers with mountain guards of unimaginable heights lining their beds. From Askoli we begin the walk taking two to three days to reach Paiyu Campsite (3666 m.) situated under the majestic Paiyu Peak (6660 m.) with the tip of the 62 km. long Baltoro Glacier visible in the distance.The next stage of our journey takes us over the Baltoro Glacier to our destination, Concordia. The walk on the Baltoro provides one with ultimate mountain scenery with such well known mountains as Masherbrum (7852 m.), Uli Biaho Tower (6190 m.), Trango Towers (6300 m.), the Grand Cathedral (5228 m.) and Muztagh Tower (7273 m.) shooting up from this immense highway with sheer vertical lines that defy reality.

After four to five days we will reach 4691 m. at Concordia. Here one is encircled by Marble Peak, K-2 (8611 m.), Broad Peak (8047 m.), Gasherbrum Group, Golden Throne (7312 m.), Chogolisa (7654 m.) and Mitre Peak (6038 m.). Indeed, this is “Throne room of the mountain gods.” We will spend two to three days at Concordia and then begin our return to Askole via the same route. Upon reaching the lush green fields of Askolie a walk ends and a new way of viewing our earthly existence begins.

 

Holiday Itinerary

Day

1

ARRIVE RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD
On arrival transfer the group to hotel/ Guest House, in Rawalpindi Islamabad (the airport is situated mid-way between Islamabad and Rawalpindi). You will meet your guide in the afternoon at the hotel for a trip briefing and gear check.

Day

2

Fly to SKARDU (45 min Flight)/ Drive to Chilas (10-12 Hours Drive)
a) Weather permitting, we take a spectacular flight to the high mountain region of Baltistan in the north east. On a clear day we should be able to see Nanga Parbat (8124m) and K2 (8611m) towering above all other mountains. (It is quite possible adverse weather in Islamabad or Skardu may affect our flight plans and make it necessary to drive by the Karakoram Highway to Skardu, a journey of approx two days).
b) In case of cancellation of flight drive 10-12hrs by air conditioned coach/car to Chilas (480km) on the Karakoram highway. Overnight at Shangrila Indus View Hotel or Panorama hotel

Day

3

Drive to Skardu from Chilas/Rest Day (2340m/7677ft)
a) Overnight Mashabrum Hotel. Preparations for our trek and depending on our time of arrival into Skardu, there may be time to visit the town and possibly an excursion to Kachura Lake situated at the edge of the valley. Skardu is the regional capital of Baltistan, lying at the edge of a broad floodplain that is the confluence of the Shyok, Indus and Basha Rivers. b) If we are driving the road journey today will be 7-8 hrs to Skardu (275km). On route are spectacular views of Nanga Parbat (8125m) overnight Hotel.

Day

4

Drive to Askoli (3000m/9842ft) Approx 7-8 hrs
Jeep drive. It takes about six hours to drive from Skardu to Askolie or near Askolie. The drive through the Braldu Gorge is guaranteed to knock your socks off Overnight in tents.

Day

5

Trek to Jola (3200m/10498m) Approx 6-8 hrs
After considerable organisation of equipment, supplies and porter loads for the journey ahead, we commence trekking towards Jola. The walk from Askoli to Jola is on an easy gentle plain and can be done in 6 to 8 hours. We cross the snout of the Biafo Glacier on the way. The first sight of the pinnacles of the Paiyu Group is stunning. Overnight in tents

Day

6

Trek to Paiyu (3450m/11318ft) Approx 7 - 8 hrs
We follow the Braldu and the Biaho rivers to a river’s edge campsite. On the way we have to cross the Domurda River coming out of Choktoi and Panmah Glaciers. This crossing is done on a ‘garari’ or on a bridge upstream. Depending upon the time it takes for the crossing, the walk can take 8 hours or more.The Masherbrum Group may be glimpsed to our right via the Xiangang Valley. The range is a vast array of peaks that extend almost the full length of the southern side of Baltoro. Walking conditions are hot and dry and care must be taken to prevent sunburn.

Day

7

Paiyu – rest day (3450m/11318ft)
Rest day. Wash up, relax, read, climb on a steep ridge behind the camp, sing and dance with the porters! Depending upon the size of the party, goats or a goat will be sacrificed and meat will be distributed to the porters as a form of thanksgiving and to bring us good luck on our next day’s walk on the Baltoro.

Day

8

trek to Kurbutse (3930m/12893 ft) APPROX 6-8 hrs
Trek on Baltoro Glacier. Six to eight hours of walking. A tough day as we climb on the rocky moraines of the Baltoro, but the sight of Baltoro pinnacles and Paiyu Peak is astounding! An earlier alternative campsite is Liligo, but there is no water there. We will cross some gushing streams on the way.

Day

9

Urdukus (4050m/13287) APPROX 3-4 hrs
A short 4 hour plus walk on the rocky moraines and ablation valley of the Baltoro. We will cross couple of icy side glaciers on the way and may have our first sight of Broad Peak and the Gasherbrums. The historical campsite is located on a grassy slope high above the Baltoro and commands one of the most intense mountain views in this world. The campsite was prepared by the Duke of Abruzzi in the beginning of this century.

Day

10

TO GORO II (4380m/14370 ft) APPROX 6-7 hrs
This is a tough day’s walk on the undulating Baltoro. However, the footing becomes easy as the rocks become smaller and smaller as we move up the Baltoro. It takes about 7 hours to get to Goro II. We walk right smack up the center moraine of the Baltoro. As Masherbrum emerges on the right, it takes our breath away and so does Gasherbrum IV right in front of us. Goro is a cold campsite! It has a great view of the Muztagh Tower.

Day

11

CONCORDIA (4650m/15255 ft) Approx 4-5 hrs
A special day today as we trek into Concordia and enjoy our first views of K2 (weather permitting!). This location must be considered one of the world's most spectacular camps as it is totally surrounded by stunning peaks. As we leave Goro II, the Biange Glacier to the north provides a superb view up to Mustagh Tower (7284m), one of the most difficult mountains in the Karakoram to climb. The trail continues along fairly easy rolling slopes of moraine marked by cairns and then passes among ice towers or seracs as we approach the colliding glaciers at Concordia. Mitre Peak (6030m) rises to our right, with Golden Throne (Baltoro Kangri) (7312m) beside it, while the Gasherbrum Group is directly before us. The expanse of Broad Peak (8050m) is to the left and finally K2 (8611m) looms above the ridge towering over the Godwin Austen Glacier twelve kilometres away.

Day

12

At Concordia /K-2 base camp/Concordia Approx 04-05 hours each way
Our schedule is somewhat flexible according to the prevailing weather conditions and group preference. One of our objectives is to visit K2 Base Camp (approx 5150m) and the Gilkey Memorial, a spectacular full day trip from camp.The most exciting day of this trek as you walk past Broad peak and get nearer to K-2 and arrive at the strip which is the most popular camping area for nearly all the expeditions to K-2. Here some of the top climbers of the world can be seen busy in preparations for the challenges ahead. Return to your camp at Concordia for overnight (K-2 base camp is too high and trekkers can get seriously ill from altitude if they stay for the night at this altitude, therefore the group must return to Concordia).

Day

13

Hike to Goro II (4380m/14370 ft) Approx 4-5 hrs
We begin the return trek descending first to Goro II where we have magnificent views of the surrounding granite spires and towers. Camp

Day

14

Trek to Urdukus (4050m/13287) Approx 3-4 hrs
We continue our descent of the Baltoro glacier, today reaching as far as Urdukas where we make camp off the glacier for the first time in several days.

Day

15

Trek to Paiyu (3450m/11318ft) Approx 8 -10 hrs
Crossing the Baltoro to its north side beneath the towers of Uli Biaho we finally climb down its snout to reach a good trail back to the spring oasis of Paiyu.

Day

16

Trek to Jola (3200m/10498m) Approx 6-7 hrs
Following the Braldu River downstream, we make the detour into the Panma Valley to the bridge across its tributary to reach Jhola or Korofon

Day

17

Trek to Askoli (3000m/9842ft) Approx 3-4 hrs
The final day of trekking to the village of Askole. Here we say goodbye to our porters who will return to their villages.

Day

18

Drive to Skardu (2340m/7677ft) Approx 5-6 hrs
Making an early start we drive to Skardu through the relatively verdant Shigar Valley. We check into the Hotel and the afternoon is free for sightseeing

Day

19

Fly Islamabad or Drive to Chilas
a) Weather permitting we will fly to Islamabad today, on arrival transfer to the Invite Inn Guest House for overnight. b) In case of flight cancellation it is necessary to drive to Chilas and overnight at the Chilas Inn or Panorama hotel on the banks of the Indus.

Day

20

Rawalpindi/Islamabad
Extra 'cushion' day! *Note: Day 20 will be used as a 'cushion' day in case of delays in travel due to weather, route change, health, acclimatization issues during the trek, etc.

Day

21

Trip Concludes in Islamabad
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight

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Our holidays are generally organised to maximise the time spent on the activity you have chosen to come to Pakistan for, with downtime in Islamabad kept to a minimum. However if you have the time, it is well worth extending your stay in the capital both before and after your main holiday or further extend the trip in Karakoram and Himalayan Mountains. Not only will this give a more relaxed feel to your holiday but the cities/villages that make up the Pakistan Valleys are rich in ancient culture and architecture, while shopping for bargains in the maze-like bazaars is a memorable experience. We can arrange extra nights in Islamabad staying in any of the hotels of your choice. Please contact us for a quote or simply request your additional night’s hotel requirements or trip extensions on your booking form.

The following  tours are suggested extensions of this trip:

Fairy Meadows and Nanga Parbat Base Camp Trek

Snow Lake and Biafo Hispar La Traverse 

K2 Base Camp, Baltoro, Concordia Trek FAQs

How can I get more information about K2 B.C and Baltoro Trek?

We produce comprehensive information for each of our trips. Once you’ve decided which trips interest you, please e-mail/call for a trip dossier. The trip notes/dossiers contain a detailed day by day route, photos and other information which may help answer any questions you may have. Our website’s trip pages also provide a lot of information. You can discuss any particular trip with our office staff, who can give you practical first hand advice. Please email us at info@snowland.com.pk or snowlandtours@gmail.com  for further information, or use contact us from to send your request.

How difficult is K2 base camp trek ? What fitness level is required?

This tour is graded as Demanding as it involves long hike and ascents on higher elevations. A good level of fitness is required for this trip, although there will be guides to escort you while trekking if you were to run into difficulty.

We are in our 60s but both reasonably fit, jogging regularly, do you think we would cope with the trekking as I have heard that the altitude can have a bad effect even on young people?

Although there is trekking involved, it is never fast paced and all treks are carried out at the trekkers own pace. There will be support porters to assist if clients do get into trouble but as long as you take the trekking at a steady relaxed pace you should be fine. Altitude sickness can affect people in different ways and can affect people of all ages. The fittest young person on the tour may encounter altitude sickness more so than someone in their 60s.

What’s the age limit on K2 and Gondogoro La trek?

 There’s no upper age limit – we think that your age doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re willing to participate, experience new cultures and enjoy yourself. As long as you’re fit enough to take part in the tour then you’re more than welcome. We don’t however take children on our normal tours – we know that a lot of our travellers come on our trips to get away from the kids! Older teenagers may be allowed to join group tours provided they are accompanied by a parent or guardian who accepts full responsibility for them.

Can I use credit cards in the places visit in trekking?

In most cities yes (Islamabad, Skardu, Gilgit), to some extent, however once you leave those cities behind, all you need is cash.

Could you give some more information about the trek, the distance, the height climbed and the length of the trek? Don’t know how severe your ‘Strenuous trekking’ is?

In terms of distance covered, this ranges from 8 to 14 km depending on the day. As many trekkers will know, distance is not the most important factor, time is. The main trekking days (days 13-14) have approximate times of 6-8 hours. These times do of course depend on the level of fitness of the trekker. During the main trekking days, the maximum ascent the group take is 800m, but please remember the walks are up and down.

What’s the maximum number of people on my tour?

This depends on what Type/package of trip you’re doing. On our standard package it’s normally 4-12. However, there are some exceptions – you should check your trip dossier for full details.

Will there be somewhere to charge my camera?

You will be able to charge your camera batteries in Askoli village.  There will be solar panels on the base camps installed for climbing expeditions you will usually be able to negotiate a small fee for a camp crew to charge your batteries.

What happens if I get sick?

The most important thing is DON’T PANIC. You should ALWAYS ensure that you have a well-stocked and appropriate medical kit as well as sufficient insurance in case you should have to be evacuated. A slight case of diarrhoea is to be expected, as well as sprains and muscle aches – all a part of walking in the hills. Altitude sickness is extremely dangerous but mostly avoidable if you follow a few simple rules: trek high and sleep low, drink at least 2 litres of water per day, and BE SENSIBLE. If you feel shortness of breath, a slight headache or dizziness, tell your porter/guide and rest immediately. Lie down, drink water. If you are still feeling unwell you may consider going down a few hundred metres. Do not pretend you are okay, and do not go down alone. A descent of a few hundred metres overnight may be enough to make you fully able to start trekking again tomorrow.

How much gear will I carry?

Porters will carry all of your gear except for your day pack, and they will break down and set up camp while you’re trekking each day. Your day pack will carry your water, rain gear, sunscreen, and camera, which typically weighs 4-6 kgs (10-12lbs). Personal porters can be arranged to help carry your daypack.

What Is the Temperature Range on the Mountain?

Temperatures on the mountain vary widely; it may be between  30C  to 40C   during the day and and -5 to -10 during the nights near the K2 base camp. The weather often changes dramatically without warning, so you must always be prepared for rain, snow, carrying your waterproof shell at all times. Layering of several thin articles of clothing is the most flexible way to adjust to the weather you will experience as you trek higher and higher.

Will I See Wildlife on K2 and BaltoroTrek?

The Baltoro Glacier hiking trail is quite inhospitable to most species; only the hardiest venture into this zone. The Ibex is often seen around campsites of Urdukus.

What is the weight limit for luggage on this trek?

It depends on the package you choose. However, normally, 13-20 kg (28.6-44 pounds) of personal luggage is permitted on K2 trek. If your luggage exceeds this allowance, there will be a surcharge. In general, it is recommended to only bring what you need for the trek. K2 trek leaves from and returns to Skardu. You can leave your luggage in your Skardu hotel and they will keep it safe for you. Personal porters can legally carry a maximum of 25 kg (55 pounds).

How can people contact me when I am on my trek?

If you bring a cell phone with international coverage, it will work in major cities and towns (Islamabad, Skardu, Shigar ). However, on trek satellite phones will be provided on extra payment In addition, internet access is available at some of the hotels in towns.

What are the sources of drinking water supply during trekking? In the cities you can use bottled water . During the trekking  at all camps you will have boiled water . We also recommend you to bring water purification tablets with you.

What if I do not want to carry anything, and I need a porter to carry my daypack, camera, etc?

This is fine but will cost extra. You also need to tell us in advance, so we can arrange an additional porter.

Why, when looking at different companies who offer K2 base camp Trek, the itinerary appears similar yet the costs often vary significantly?

The major sources of cost variations are the money spent on food, number of porters / guides provided porter and guide wages, quality of tents and the cost of getting to the glacier and pass. Snowland strives to provide quality food, well trained guides and porters, good tents and equipment, a full professional pre-climb orientation, inclusion of all park permits, and transfers in well maintained vehicles.  All this comes at a cost. We CHOOSE not to compromise on the quantity & quality of food, we will not exploit guides & porters by making them carry more than what they are required to by laws & regulations set by the government.

What is the maximum weight allowed on domestic flights?

The normal weight limit is 20 kilogrammes on PIA flights from Islamabad to Skardu.

What are the washing/cleaning/toilets/shower facilities on Baltoro Glacier like? The facilities on Baltoro Glacier are very basic at best.  

  • After Askoli village, single igloo type (Re-circulating chemical loo units) toilets are available on most of the campsite till Concordia. These are simple, deep pits or short pits that have been dug in the ground for use as toilets. These facilities have a roof and screen over them for privacy.
  • You do need to take your own toilet paper (2 rolls).
  • The river is used for the shower and washing facilities or in some villages a simple water pipe is used to flow the water onto the trekker for washing. Washing of clothes is done in the river. We suggest you bring environmentally friendly soap.
  • An Antibacterial Hand Gel is essential.
  • There are no specific changing rooms on the Baltoro Trek.

What are the walking times and distances each day? 

  • Wake up time on the track is usually around 5.00 am
  • Breakfast on the track is usually served from 6.00 am
  • We usually start walking around 7.00 am
  • There is usually 5-10 minute breaks every 30 mins or so along the track and depending on the size of the hill more often and a stop for morning tea and lunch.
  • Each walking day will vary between 5 to 9 hours with 7 to 8 hours being the average. On average, arrival times in the camps and villages are around 2.30pm to 3.30p.m. 

Is a walking pole necessary?

Walking poles are a must! They are used as a support and braking system for the steep downhill sections. You can buy walking poles through our office or from camping stores in Skardu. It is a good idea to train with the poles. Some people find one pole sufficient, but it is your choice.

What happens to the rubbish on Baltoro Glacier?

It is very important that we all take good care of the Trek. If you purchase soft drinks along the Track, then you need to crush the cans and carry them out with you. All rubbish is either burnt or carried out. Whilst trekking, please put your own rubbish in your backpack until you arrive at the next campsite. If you see rubbish on the Track, pick it up and put it in our rubbish bags.

What Medical Facilities are there on the K2 Base Camp  Trek?

Medical facilities catering to tourists are basic. There are hospitals and private clinics in Skardu town. However, there is no altitude clinic or hospital in Askoli and Hushe. There are pharmacies and small hospitals in Shigar, but other than that you’re on your own.It’s important to bring all medicines you think you might need with you, including treatments for every minor ailment you’ve ever had, all the common stomach bugs and AMS, and to have full medical cover, including helicopter evacuation, on your travel insurance.

I’d like to see K2 but I’m not sure I want to spend 21 days there. Are There Alternatives to the K2 Base Camp Trek?

Yes! There are tonnes. And, given you can’t see K2 from K2 Base Camp ANYWAY, a shorter trek to lower altitudes might well make sense, although you’ll miss out on the high mountain experience.

The walk from Deosai plains to Burge La Top takes two-four days – some folk drive to Hushe Valley, climb to the top of village (Honbrok) to see the spectacular K2 view. Others use Skardu as a base for shorter treks in the region, divert off into the mountains to go wildlife spotting, or pick a valley to explore. One advantage of staying lower is that conditions are a lot more pleasant than higher up the trail.

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