Daily Walking: 6-8 Hours
Max Altitude: 5650m/18536ft
Duration: 30 Days
Trekking: 24 days
Trip Overview Karakorums/Karakorams are the most forbidding mountains in the world with over 70 mountains above 7000 meters and four above 8000 meters. Some of the largest glaciers outside the Polar ice caps flow through these immense mountains giving birth to the wildest rivers in the world. The Great Karakoram Traverse is one of the longest and highest walking trails in the world. Winding beneath the world’s highest peaks and visiting some of the most remote communities on earth, it passes through lush green valleys, arid high plateaus and incredible landscapes. The trail covers almost the full distance of the Karakoram Range in Pakistan from the Baltistan’s capital Skardu to Khaplu valley and ultimately continues through Baltoro, Biafo and Hispar Glaciers to Hunza and Gilgit. The 30 days trek begins from the beautiful Hushe valley, gateway to Mashaburm, Charakusa peaks. The thrilling half day jeep journey leads you to the heart of the peaceful Hushe valley from Skardu. From Hushe you begin the adventurous trek into the great Karakorum wilderness and will not see another village for another thirty days. A couple of days trek through Hushe valley leads you to Gondogoro La and after crossing it to the great Baltoro glacier with the most remarkable mountain vistas in the world. After a visit to the base camp of K-2 (the second highest in world at 8611 meter) we return to Concordia and proceed to Biafo Glacier and Hispar La. This pass leads you into the beautiful Hoper valley Nagar and further to Hunza
Karakorums/Karakorams are the most forbidding mountains in the world with over 70 mountains above 7000 meters and four above 8000 meters. Some of the largest glaciers outside the Polar ice caps flow through these immense mountains giving birth to the wildest rivers in the world. The Great Karakoram Traverse is one of the longest and highest walking trails in the world. Winding beneath the world’s highest peaks and visiting some of the most remote communities on earth, it passes through lush green valleys, arid high plateaus and incredible landscapes.
The trail covers almost the full distance of the Karakoram Range in Pakistan from the Baltistan’s capital Skardu to Khaplu valley and ultimately continues through Baltoro, Biafo and Hispar Glaciers to Hunza and Gilgit.
The 30 days trek begins from the beautiful Hushe valley, gateway to Mashaburm, Charakusa peaks. The thrilling half day jeep journey leads you to the heart of the peaceful Hushe valley from Skardu. From Hushe you begin the adventurous trek into the great Karakorum wilderness and will not see another village for another thirty days.
A couple of days trek through Hushe valley leads you to Gondogoro La and after crossing it to the great Baltoro glacier with the most remarkable mountain vistas in the world. After a visit to the base camp of K-2 (the second highest in world at 8611 meter) we return to Concordia and proceed to Biafo Glacier and Hispar La. This pass leads you into the beautiful Hoper valley Nagar and further to Hunza
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.
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.
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.
DRIVE TO HUSHE (3100m/10170ft) APPROX 5-6 hrs
On the following day first we start a 2 hours journey by jeep on a spectacular road beside the Indus to the village of Khaplu. Beyond Khaplu we cross the Shyok River to begin an entertaining next four hour jeep ride up to Hushe, through a number of small and picturesque villages in the lower Hushe Valley. En route we must cross a number of ‘nullahs’ or small river valleys. These nullahs which are fed by snow melt-waters from the glaciers high above the valley, are often dry in the early morning but can become impassable by the afternoon as the hot sun goes to work. Hushe is the highest village in the area at 3100 metres (10,170 feet) and is the last permanent habitation until we reach Back to the same Village . We set up camp in a field just below the village with the huge bulk of Masherbrum dominating the valley to the north.
TREK TO SAITCHO (3350m/(10,992 ft)) APPROX 4-6 hrs
A short day of about 4-6 hours takes us to the idyllic campsite at Saitcho. This camp lies at the junction of the Charakusa and Gondogoro valleys and is sited on a sandy, tree-shaded area beside a swift-flowing river. There are excellent views of Nameka, the rock pillars of K7 and from the trail leading to the camp there is a sighting of the impressive Charakusa Spire. Altitude at camp is 3350 metres (10,992 feet)
TREK TO DALSANPA (4150m/13,616ft) APPROX 5-6 hrs
Heading up alongside the Gondogoro Glacier now, we take a path on a wooded moraine ridge which climbs quite steeply to the seasonal goat-herder’s settlement at Gondogoro Village. Here, we stop for lunch, before dropping down onto the glacier for a scramble along its edge to bypass a section of steep rock. A final scramble up a rocky gulley leads to the very spectacular campsite at Dalsan (4150m. / 13,616ft.) where there are a couple of tiny lakes and staggering views of a range of rocky summits, culminating in the snow-plastered summit of Masherbrum. 5 hours walking
TREK TO HUISPANG (4600m/15090ft) APPROX 5-6 hrs
Dropping down again onto the glacier, our path follows the centre of the ice river, sometimes walking on moraine and sometimes on snow and ice. We get our first views of the Gondogoro La at the head of the valley and pass the stunning spire of Layla Peak. A long day, walking beneath the beautiful spire of Layla Peak, takes us to the place called Huisprung (4600m/15090ft), a grassy terrace beside a small melt water lake. 5 to 6 hours walking
TREK TO GONDOGORO LA BASE CAMP (4800m/15,750ft)
In preparation for the crossing of the Gondoro La, we will move our basecamp to below the pass on a level site on the lateral moraine of the Gonogoro Glacier at approximately 4800 metres (15,750ft) This is a short walk of just a couple of hours and the remainder of the day is spent in preparation for the crossing. We have an early night for a midnight wake up call
CROSS THE GONDOGORO LA TO ALI CAMP (4800m/15,750 feet)
A long day, but we are now well-rested and more acclimatised to the altitude. We start out very early to make the best of the snow conditions. The climb to the pass is a fairly straightforward snow climb, with the final stretch to the pass being slightly more than 45 degrees of steepness. We will fix ropes to safeguard the ascent of clients and porters. After about 4 or 5 hours our efforts are rewarded by one of the most fantastic panoramic views in the Karakoram. K2, Broad Peak, Chogolisa and the Gasherbrums are all laid out before us as we stand at the crest of the pass Descending from the pass presents greater route finding difficulties than the ascent and we must rope up, since there are a number of crevasses and some short sections of steeper snow as we near the Vigne Glacier. It will take us an hour or more to descend from the pass to the West Vigne Glacier, and from here we have a further three hours of roped trekking to our spectacularly sited camp - the so-called Ali Camp at 4800 metres (15,750 feet). We should be in camp by late morning after a tiring but thoroughly uplifting day. Around 8 to 10 hours walking
TREK TO CONCORDIA(4650m/15,255ft) APPROX 6-8 Hrs
From Ali Camp we head straight out onto the Vigne Glacier, and make our way to a junction with the Upper Baltoro. The views of the Gasherbrum’s, Broad Peak, Mustagh Tower and mightiest of all K2 are simply spellbinding as we make our gradual descent to Concordia (4650m/15,255ft). Concordia is not a finite place but the name given to the meeting of three great glaciers. We will make our camp on the stones of the moraine with the pyramid of K2 framed in the Godwin Austin Valley – surely one of the best views from a tent anywhere in the world.
REST DAY OR TREK TO K2 BASE CAMP (5100m/16,732ft) APPROX 10 hrs
For those that wish there is an optional hike to K2 Basecamp, passing close under the flanks of Broad Peak. This is at least a 10 hour round trip and for those who do not wish to make such an extended outing it is well worth visiting the basecamp of Broad Peak which is located halfway from Concordia to K2 Basecamp. This round trip takes around 6 hours. These hikes are optional and those who wish can also take this as a rest day. There are also several options for shorter walks from Concordia
TREK TO URDUKAS (4050Mm/13,287 ft) APPROX 8 hrs
Leaving Concordia, we head down the Baltoro Glacier, reaching the camping place at Shachspong (4200m/13,780ft), a name meaning ‘big pile of stones’, at lunchtime. Here, we are in the centre of the glacier, directly below the imposing spire of Masherbrum. During the morning's walk we have a good view of the shapely summit of the Mustagh Tower on our right and of Masherbrum on our left, or south, side. After lunch, we continue down the glacier, trekking across and around enormous piles of glacial debris, we head for our first off-glacier campsite for some days, at Urdukas (4050Mm/13,287 ft). This famous camp is sited in the green ablation valley on the south side of the Baltoro Glacier and offers fantastic views of the stunning granite architecture of the Lobsang, Cathedral and Trango groups of peaks, as well as the Uli Biaho Spire. 8 hours trekking.
TREK TO PAYU (3450m/11,320ft) APPROX 6 hrs
We continue our descent of the Baltoro, both on the glacier itself and also a trail cut into the valley side. We pass the off-glacier camping place at Horbose and shortly thereafter cut across the glacier to its northern side and descend from the glacier's snout to the camp at Paiju (3450m/11,320ft). Here, there are the first stunted willow trees that we have seen since the Hushe Valley. 6 hours walking.
TREK TO KOROPHON (3100m. / 10,170ft.) APPROX 6-7 hrs
Following the Braldu river downstream, we skirt beneath Paiju Peak and follow a sandy and boulder-strewn path beside the Braldu River. Beyond the place known as Chowblok, we reach the tributary Panma Valley and head up-river for half an hour to reach a a bridge which provides the only way of crossing the torrential Panma River. On the other side, the route climbs over a steep spur to rejoin the north bank of the Braldu, which we follow for two hours to the camp at Korophon (3100m. / 10,170ft.), just before the snout of the Biafo Glacier. 6 to 7 hours walking.
TREK TO MANGO (3626m/(11,897 ft) APPROX 8 hrs
We cross the rubble-strewn snout of the Biafo and turn north to follow grazing trails beside this amazing glacier. The path beside the glacier is at first quite demanding as it clings to the valley side, neither truly on the glacier nor quite off it. The moraine-strewn glacier itself gives further tough underfoot conditions and it is with some relief that we climb the lateral moraine to discover a grassy meadow in the ablation valley beyond. This is Namla, a good place to eat our lunch. After lunch, we drop back onto the glacier and follow moraine ridges running up the centre of the glacier. After a good afternoon's hike, we find a route through the contorted ice to the valley side and climb up to the pleasant green ablation valley at Mango. There are magnificent views across the glacier to the Latok peaks and the Ogre. Altitude at camp is 3626 metres (11,897 feet). 8 hours walking
TREK TO BAINTHA (3940m/12,927 ft) APPROX 5-6 hrs
Dropping down once again onto the glacier, we cross the jumble boulders to the moraine ridges in the centre of the glacier. Soon we reach the ‘miracle highway’ of white ice which provides easier walking for 2 to 3 hours until we can cross over to the east side of the glacier to make camp at Baintha. This is a splendid camping place, with lush grassland, an abundance of flowers and birds and the chance to spot shy ibex on the mountain slopes above the camp. Altitude at camp is 3940 metres (12,927 feet). 5 to 6 hours walking
We will certainly take a rest day at Baintha, since the alpine loveliness of this camp is not something to be rushed, bearing in mind that there is absolutely nothing in the way of greenery beyond this point for some considerable distance. This rest stop also allows the porters the opportunity to bake a supply of Balti bread and chapattis to last them over the coming days. There is the very worthwhile option today of ascending a peak above the camp for fantastic views down the glacier and across to the Latok group of mountains and the Ogre.
TREK TO NAPINA (4215m/18,830ft) APPROX 3-4 hrs
Back onto the glacier, which at this point is over 3 miles wide, on our right-hand side we pass the rocky peaks of the Latoks and Conway’s Ogre, whilst directly ahead of us we can see the rugged spires of the West Biafo Wall, including the ‘fairy tale’ castle of Sosbun Brakk. Here the distances begin to deceive your eyes as the scale of the landscape tests your legs. The walking is at first straightforward, on the ice ‘motorway,’ but as we reach a slight steepening of the glacier the ice becomes more broken and we have to carefully thread a path around numerous crevasses, some small and some enormous. If there is a covering of snow we must rope-up to safeguard our passage over the hidden ‘slots.’ The last off-glacier camp on the Biafo Glacier is at Napina (4215m/18,830ft) 3 to 4 hours.
TREK TO SIM GANG (4500m/14,765 ft) APPROX 4 hrs
Once more we have to thread our way between crevasses as we approach the southern edge of Snow Lake, with Sosbun Brakk now just off to our left. We make camp beside a mound of rocks at the junction of the Biafo and Sim Gang glaciers. This is the camp known as Sim Gang Basecamp and it is from here that we will cross the southern arm of Snow Lake to the Hispar La. Altitude at camp: 4500 metres (14,765 feet). 4 hours walking.
CROSS SNOW LAKE TO HISPAR LA (5151m/16,900ft) APPROX 7-8 hrs
An early start for the long traverse across Snow Lake. The ascent to our camp on the Hispar La (5151m/16,900ft) is a fairly gentle climb, but at altitude it is nonetheless strenuous. This climb is rewarded by one of the most incredible camping places in the world, with views straight down the Hispar to the mountains of Hunza in one direction and back to the Sim Gang Glacier, with its dominant peak the mighty Ogre (7285m/23,902ft), in the other direction. 7 to 8 hours trekking
DESCEND TO KHANI BASA (4395m/14,420 ft) APPROX 4-5 hrs
We rope up again for the initial descent from the pass on broad snow slopes. After 1½ hours the glacier levels out and we pass beyond the snow line. Continuing down the glacier we have to negotiate a rubble strewn terrain for a further 2 to 3 hours to reach our campsite in a small ablation valley on the east side of the tributary, Kani Basa Glacier. Altitude at camp: 4395 metres (14,420 feet). 4 to 5 hours trekking
TREK TO JUTANMAL (4200m/13,780ft) APPROX 5 hrs
Crossing the Kani Basa Glacier allows us fine views toward Kanjut Sar (7760m/25,460ft). After some tricky moraine negotiation we reach a lunch spot at the first water beyond the glacier crossing. There are several outwash streams to cross on the next section of our route and these are best crossed as early as possible in the day. We camp at Jutanmal (4200m/13,780ft). 5 hours walking.
TREK TO PUMARI CHHISH GLACIER (4000m/13,124 feet) APPROX 4-5 hrs
About an hour below camp, we reach the Yutmaru tributary glacier, and this takes a further hour to cross. There are excellent views of Kanjut Sar, Pumari Chhish and Kunjang Chhish from the centre of the glacier. Again, we have lunch at the first available water in the ablation valley beyond the Jutmal Glacier. We camp about twenty minutes' walk before the next major tributary (the Pumari Chhish Glacier). In 1990, a team of Canadian glacial hydrologists measured the depth of the ice on the glacier at this point to be 500 metres (1640 feet)! On this part of our trek, we are generally walking through green meadows with streams, flowers and many birds. Altitude at camp: 4000 metres (13,124 feet). 4 to 5 hours trekking
TREK TO BITENMAL (3718m/12,199 ft) APPROX 4-5 hrs
After a short section of difficult moraine, we reach the confluence with the Pumari Chhish Glacier. Excellent views up this tributary, as we cross it. This once difficult crossing is now much easier, the glacier having receded markedly in the past ten years. A very steep path leads through the moraine cliffs at the west side of the glacier, to our lunch spot at the meadow known as Dachigan. We camp at the expansive meadow of Bitenmal where there is a large group of huts, sometimes used by shepherds from Hispar, but usually deserted. Altitude at Bitenmal is 3718 metres (12,199 feet). 4 to 5 hours trekking.
TREK TO HISPAR VILLAGE
An early start is essential each morning as we descend the Hispar Glacier. This is because the side streams which must be negotiated are much less formidable before the heat of the day (and associated snow-melt) swells them to impassable proportions. After crossing the Kiang Glacier, there is a steep climb to regain the path which leads through the grazing grounds of Daltanas and Falolingkish. One large stream has to be crossed just before Falolingkish, and then a footbridge leads across to Hispar Village. This is a large village by Nagar standards and its cultivated lands stretch for miles along a huge alluvial fan. We will take lunch here and depending upon the state of the road, we may meet our jeeps here or we may have a further hour’s trek to 'Down Hispar'. We meet our vehicles here and will generally drive for 1 hour to our last campsite which is no less idyllic than the previous. A veritable lawn of grass beside a large pond provides the perfect place to say thank you and goodbye to our Balti and Hunza porters whose jolly company we are sure to remember as much as the spectacular scenery of the past two weeks
DRIVE TO GILGIT APPROX 5-6 HOURS DRIVE
We travel by jeep for 2 hours to Nagar and just beyond the village we reach the Karakoram Highway. Heading south, we pass below Rakaposhi, which at 7788 metres (25,552 feet) is the number 29 in the world rank of highest mountains. Rakaposhi was first climbed in 1958 by a British expedition which included George Banks and Tom Patey. The glacier spilling down from its flanks reaches almost to the road. We continue down the highway as far as the mountain town of Gilgit where we check into a comfortable hotel. Approximately 5 – 6 hours’ drive
FLY TO ISLAMABAD
After an early breakfast, we make the short transfer to the small airstrip just outside the town for the spectacular 1 hour flight back to Islamabad. The plane flies past the Rupal face of Nanga Parbat before following the fall of the Indus back to the capital. From the city airport it’s a 10 -15 minute journey to our hotel in the cantonment area of Rawalpindi
This is an important contingency day in case of any delays to the Gilgit flight.
Extra 'cushion' day! *Note: Day 29 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
TRIP CONCLUDES IN ISLAMABAD
After breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your return flights
|1 Departure||07 Jul - 06 Aug||07-Jul-2017||06-Aug-2017||Guaranteed|
|2 Departure||07 Aug - 06 Sep||07-Aug-2017||06-Sep-2017|
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:
Great Karakoram Traverse FAQs
How can I get more information about Great Karakorum Traverse?
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 via contact us form to send your request.
How difficult is Great Karakorum Traverse ? What fitness level is required?
This tour is graded as Extreme 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 Great Karakorum Traverse?
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 23-24) 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 and hispar Pass. 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 this Trek?
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. You will also be able to see some wildlife on Biafo and Hispar Glaciers.
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 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. You can leave your luggage in your Islamabad 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 Great Karakoram Traverse, 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 and Gilgit.
What are the washing/cleaning/toilets/shower facilities on Baltoro Glacier and Hispar Glaciers like?
The facilities on Baltoro Glacier are very basic at best.
What are the walking times and distances each day?
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 the trail?
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 Great Karakoram Traverse?
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 ,Hushe and Hispar villages. 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.