K2 Base Camp Baltoro Treks

Top of the world

Enjoy spectacular views as you summit peaks

Rich Culture

Go on culture exploration adventures

On foot

Head for the hills and visit mountain villages

Splash out

Explore remote lakes, waterfalls by foot

Delicious Food

Enjoy the rich flavours and spices

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K2 Base Camp Baltoro Treks

Overview

Bordering Pakistan and China, K2 stands tall in the Karakorum range at 28,251 feet making it the second tallest mountain in the world which provide the best route to experience on this Baltoro K2 trekking. Nestled deep in the Karakoram range of Northern Pakistan lies a series of legendary mountains steeped in mystery, cloud, snow and ice.

It traverses some of the most spectacular mountain scenery on the planet, the most humbling of which is seen at Concordia, dubbed the “Throne Room of the Mountain Gods” by the famous mountaineer/photographer Galen Rowell, is a truly remarkable place.Three major glaciers converge at this point, creating a natural

Concordia amphitheater that offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. Above, four of the world’s 14 eight-thousand meters peaks stand shoulder to shoulder, their soaring summits rising 3,050 meters/10,000 feet into the sky.

But there are other famous peaks here too: Gasherbrum IV, Chogolisa, the Golden Throne, Marble Peak, Crystal Peak, Angel Peak, Bride Peak, Mustagh Tower, and in the distance Paiju Peak and Masherbrum – not to mention the four eight-thousand metres giants themselves:

K2, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum I and II. The region boasts the greatest concentration of 8,000-metre peaks anywhere in the world, and more than a 100 summits that exceed 7,720 meters/25,000 feet in altitude.

Summiting K2 is widely considered the ultimate prize for elite mountaineers. It may be second in stature to Everest, but it has a grace and symmetry that make it the most striking of the 14 eight-thousanders.

It is possible to experience K2 without having to scale one of her death-defying flanks. The standard base camp approach, or trek, is in Pakistan. Karakoram has been described by Fosco Maraini as the greatest museum of shape and form on earth.

Treks into this region are undertaken ‘expedition style’ – everything needed for survival being carried in

by a team of porters: food, tents, bedding, tables and chairs, fuel, cooking apparatus and personal belongings. Once you leave trailhead village of Askole on day one of the trek, there are no permanent human settlements. There are no villages along the way, and no where to collect supplies.

The K2 Base Camp trek is one of the most popular trekking holidays on earth. Walking through the stunning Baltoro region of Pakistan to view the highest peaks in the world is an adventure of a lifetime and something everyone should (and can) experience at least once. While this iconic trek does not require climbing skills, you need a good level of fitness and determination. K2 base camp sits at 16,400 feet. The altitude change over the trek is spread out quite a lot as in the beginning it is slow going, walking up the valley and gaining height gradually.

The trek is challenging. The absence of proper trails and the loose moraine and scree on the Baltoro Glacier can make it slow at times. Additionally, you’ll be camping on the glacier for at least four nights, which is significantly colder than sleeping on rock or grass. Baltoro Glacier, the second-longest glacier outside of the poles, extends for 62 kilometers, and has been measured scientifically to a depth of more than a mile.

The surface of the glacier has a life all its own, with huge chunks of sharp-pointed ice (which resemble the white sails on sailing ships) ‘floating’ on top of the glacier – which is indeed a ‘river of ice’.

There are also clear streams of melt-water on the surface of the glacier flowing for many kilometers through narrow channels, before being sucked down into the bowels of the glacier to join the highly sedimented water that flows at rock-bed level. This water later emerges as a fully-fledged river, that passes down the Shigar valley to the mighty Indus river, three hundred kilometers away.

Brief Overview of the K2 Region’s Significance

Nestled within the heart of the Karakoram Range, the K2 region stands as a testament to nature’s grandeur and the allure of high-altitude adventure. Towering over the landscape is K2, the world’s second-highest peak, a formidable challenge that beckons mountaineers and trekkers alike. Beyond its towering peaks, the region boasts a collection of awe-inspiring treks, each offering a unique blend of rugged landscapes, cultural richness, and a sense of achievement.

The K2 region isn’t merely a destination; it’s a pilgrimage for those seeking the extraordinary. From the iconic K2 Base Camp to the challenging Gondogoro La Trek, the region unfolds a tapestry of snow-clad mountains, glacial valleys, and diverse ecosystems. Beyond the physical challenge, these treks unravel the stories of the local cultures, revealing a harmonious coexistence between nature and humanity.

As adventurers traverse the trails, they are greeted by the legendary faces of K2, Broad Peak, and Concordia, standing as silent witnesses to the indomitable spirit of those who dare to explore this pristine wilderness. The K2 region isn’t just a geographical marvel; it’s an expedition into the soul of the Karakoram, where every step echoes the tales of triumph, resilience, and the unyielding beauty that defines this remarkable corner of our planet.

Overview of the K2 Treks and best times to undertake each trek

The best time to trek in the K2 region is generally during the summer months of July and August, when the weather is relatively stable, warm, and dry. However, some treks can also be done in late spring (May and June) or early autumn (September and October), depending on the altitude, difficulty, and duration of the trek. The following table summarizes the best times to undertake each trek in the K2 region:

Table

 
TrekBest TimeDurationDifficultyAltitude 
K2 Base Camp TrekJune – October18-20 daysStrenuous5,100 mRead More
K2 Gondogoro La TrekJuly-Mid September18-20 daysChallenging5,650 mRead More
K2 Broad Peak and GI & GII Base Camps TrekJune-September23-24 daysStrenuous5,100 mRead More
K2 Base Camp and Nanga Parbat TrekJune-October22-24 daysStrenuous5,100 mRead More
K2 Gondogoro La and Khosar Gang Climbing ExpeditionJune- September28-30 daysExtreme6,400 mRead More
Grand Karakoram Traverse TrekJuly-August30-32 daysExtreme5,650 mRead More
Express K2 Base Camp TrekJune-September15-16 daysModerate-Strenuous5,100 mRead More
Leisurely Paced K2 Base Camp TrekJune-September22-24 daysModerate-Strenuous5,100 mRead Mo

Brief Overview of Each Trek

K2, the second highest mountain in the world, is a dream destination for many adventurers and mountaineers. Located in the remote and rugged Karakoram range, K2 offers a variety of treks that showcase its beauty, challenge, and diversity. Whether you want to reach the base camp of the mighty peak, cross a high-altitude pass with stunning views, or explore the surrounding valleys and glaciers, there is a trek for you in the K2 region. In this guide, we will introduce you to some of the most popular and rewarding treks in the K2 region, and provide you with some tips and resources to help you plan your trip.

 

Classic K2 Base Camp: K2 Base Camp Trek

Length: 20 days | Difficulty: Strenuous

This is the classic trek to the base of the world’s second highest mountain, K2. It involves walking along the Baltoro Glacier, passing by stunning peaks such as Trango Towers, Masherbrum, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum IV, and reaching Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers. From there, you can make a day trip to the K2 Base Camp and the Gilkey Memorial, where many climbers who perished on the mountain are commemorated. The trek usually takes 14 to 16 days round trip from Skardu, the nearest town with an airport. You will need to hire porters, guides, and cooks, and camp at designated sites along the way. The best time to go is from June to September, when the weather is relatively stable and clear.

The classic trek through Shigar valley Baltoro to the base of Mount K2 and return the same way back. It’s our most popular guided trek to K2 Base Camp from Mid May to October.

Embarking on the K2 Base Camp Trek is not just a journey; it’s an odyssey into the heart of the Karakoram, where every step immerses you in the unique fusion of raw wilderness and cultural richness. Traversing glacial moraines, trekking through snow-laden valleys, and reaching the foot of towering giants like K2, Broad Peak, and Concordia, this trek is a testament to the awe-inspiring power of nature.

Showcasing Uniqueness

What sets this trek apart is the kaleidoscope of experiences it unfolds. From the spectacular rock walls of Trango Towers to the monolithic stone sentinels like Lobsang Spires, each moment on the trail is a canvas painted with the breathtaking beauty of the Karakoram. The trek is not merely about reaching destinations but about savoring the journey itself.

Major Attractions: K2, Broad Peak, and Concordia

At the heart of the trek lie the jewels of the Karakoram – K2, the world’s second-highest mountain; Broad Peak, an imposing giant in its own right; and Concordia, a mesmerizing confluence of multiple peaks. As you stand in their shadows, you’ll understand why this region is often referred to as the “Throne Room of the Mountain God.”

Significance Beyond a Trek

Beyond the physical challenge and breathtaking vistas, our treks are gateways to cultural immersion. Encounter the warmth of the local communities, witness their traditions, and become part of a legacy that ties human spirit with the untamed wilderness. The K2 region is not just a destination; it’s a transformative experience, an exploration of self amidst the grandeur of nature. Join us on a journey where the mountains echo stories, and every trek is a chapter in your adventure tale.

Map of K2 Base Camp Trek

K2 Base Camp & Exit via Pass:K2 Base Camp Gondogoro La Trek

Length: 20 days Difficulty: Strenuous

This is an extension of the K2 Base Camp Trek, which adds a challenging crossing of the Gondogoro La Pass (5585 m) to make a circular route. The pass offers spectacular views of four 8000-meter peaks: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I, and Gasherbrum II. However, it also requires technical skills, equipment, and experience, as it involves steep slopes, crevasses, and fixed ropes. You will also need a special permit and a liaison officer to cross the pass. After the pass, you will descend into the scenic Hushe Valley, where you can visit some local villages and enjoy the greenery and hospitality. The trek takes about 18 to 21 days round trip from Skardu, and the best time to go is from mid-June to mid-July, when the snow conditions are favorable.

The classic trek through Shigar valley, Baltoro glacier to Concordia, and to the base of Mount K2 with a spectacular climb to Gondogoro La (5585m) for unrivalled views of K2, GI & GII, and surrounding peaks. It’s our most popular guided trek to K2 Base Camp with all dates guaranteed to depart.

Difficulty and Starting Point:

Embarking from the picturesque town of Skardu, the journey presents a challenging terrain that demands determination and preparation. With a maximum altitude of 5,585 meters, this trek is a thrilling odyssey that attracts avid trekkers seeking an adrenaline rush amidst unparalleled natural beauty.

Route Highlights:

The trail winds through diverse landscapes, from lush green valleys to the rugged wilderness of the Gondogoro Pass. As you trek, each step brings you closer to the crown jewels of the Karakoram – K2, Broad Peak, and the mesmerizing Concordia. The awe-inspiring views of seracs on the Baltoro Glacier and the daunting heights of Gondogoro La are sights etched in the memory of every adventurer.

Scenic Attractions:

Picture yourself surrounded by the grandeur of the Trango Towers, the majestic Muztagh Tower, and the imposing presence of Gasherbrum IV. The trek offers a front-row seat to witness nature’s grand spectacle, where towering peaks and glacial wonders paint an ever-changing canvas.

As you tread the ancient paths, our meticulously designed itinerary ensures acclimatization and immersion in the unique cultures that call this rugged terrain home. The K2 Gondogoro La Trek is more than a physical challenge; it’s an intimate encounter with the raw beauty of the Karakoram, leaving an indelible mark on the soul of every adventurer. Join us on this unforgettable journey into the heart of the mountains, where every step echoes the triumph of human spirit over untamed wilderness.

Map of K2 Base Camp Gondogoro La Trek

Go Remote: Grand Base Camps (K2 Broad Peak and GI & GII Base Camps) & Pass

Length: 24 days  Difficulty: Strenuous

This is another variation of the K2 Base Camp Trek, which allows you to visit the base camps of three more 8000-meter peaks: Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I, and Gasherbrum II. These peaks are located on the opposite side of the Godwin-Austen Glacier from K2, and are popular destinations for mountaineers. You can reach their base camps by following the upper part of the Godwin-Austen Glacier from Concordia, and then retracing your steps back. The trek takes about 17 to 19 days round trip from Skardu, and the best time to go is from June to September. You will need to hire porters, guides, and cooks, and camp at designated sites along the way.

Description of the trekking route and prominent peaks

    • The trek follows the same route as the K2 Base Camp Trek until Concordia, the confluence of four glaciers and the best viewpoint of K2 and other majestic peaks. The trek then diverges from the K2 Base Camp Trek and heads towards the Godwin Austen Glacier, which leads to the base camps of Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I, and Gasherbrum II.
    • The trek visits the base camp of Broad Peak on the 11th day of the trek, which is located at 4950m above sea level. Broad Peak is the 12th highest mountain in the world, and stands at 8047m. It is also known as Falchan Kangri, which means the Great Mountain in Balti. It is called Broad Peak because of its long and broad summit ridge, which spans for 1.5km. Broad Peak is considered to be one of the easier 8000m peaks to climb, but it still poses many challenges and dangers, such as crevasses, avalanches, and high winds.
    • The trek visits the base camps of Gasherbrum I and II on the 13th day of the trek, which are located at 5100m and 5200m above sea level, respectively. Gasherbrum I and II are the 11th and 13th highest mountains in the world, and stand at 8080m and 8035m, respectively. They are also known as Hidden Peak and Shining Wall, respectively, because of their remote and impressive appearance. They are part of the Gasherbrum group, which consists of six peaks, four of which are over 8000m. Gasherbrum I and II are among the most difficult and dangerous 8000m peaks to climb, due to their technical difficulty, extreme weather, and long distance.
    • The trek then retraces its steps back to Concordia, and follows the same route as the K2 Base Camp Trek back to Askole. The trek offers views of many other peaks along the way, such as Masherbrum, the 22nd highest mountain in the world, which stands at 7821m. It is also known as K1, which means the King of Mountains in Balti. It is one of the most beautiful and symmetrical peaks in the Karakoram, with its distinctive south face, which rises for 3000m. It is also one of the most difficult and rarely climbed peaks in the world, due to its steepness, remoteness, and complexity. The trek also offers views of Chogolisa, the 36th highest mountain in the world, which stands at 7665m. It is also known as Bride Peak, because of its twin summits, which resemble a bride and a groom. It is one of the most striking and elegant peaks in the Karakoram, with its smooth and snowy slopes. It is also one of the most challenging and dangerous peaks in the world, due to its avalanche-prone slopes, high altitude, and unpredictable weather. The trek also offers views of the Trango Towers, a group of dramatic and vertical granite spires that rise to over 6000m. They are some of the most iconic and spectacular rock formations in the world, and attract many rock climbers and base jumpers. They are also some of the most difficult and exposed rock climbs in the world, requiring high levels of skill, courage, and endurance.
  • The K2 Broad Peak and GI & GII Base Camps Trek is a variation of the K2 Base Camp Trek that also visits the base camps of Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I, and Gasherbrum II, which are located on the opposite side of the Godwin Austen Glacier from K2.
  • The trek is one of the most comprehensive and spectacular treks in the K2 region, as it offers a closer look at four of the 8000m peaks that form the Karakoram Crown. It also offers views of many other peaks, such as Masherbrum, Chogolisa, and the Trango Towers.
  • The trek takes about 20 days of trekking and requires a moderate level of fitness and experience. It is suitable for trekkers who want to explore the K2 region in depth and witness the beauty and majesty of some of the highest and most challenging mountains in the world.
  • The trek starts from Skardu, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan province, and ends in Askole, the last village before the wilderness. The trek involves a jeep ride from Skardu to Askole, and a flight from Skardu to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
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Map of Grand Base Camps Trek

Easy and Strenuous together: Nanga Parbat K2 Base Camps Trek

Length: 23 days | Difficulty: Strenuous

This is a combination of two treks, one to the base camp of K2 and the other to the base camp of Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world. Nanga Parbat is located in the western Himalayas, about 300 km from K2, and has a distinctive shape and a notorious reputation. It is also known as the “Killer Mountain” due to its high fatality rate among climbers. The trek to its base camp follows the Rupal Valley, which boasts the highest mountain face in the world, and the Fairy Meadows, a beautiful alpine meadow with views of the peak. The trek takes about 11 to 13 days round trip from Chilas, a town on the Karakoram Highway. You will need to hire porters, guides, and cooks, and camp at designated sites along the way. The best time to go is from June to September. To combine this trek with the K2 Base Camp Trek, you will need to travel by road from Skardu to Chilas, which takes about 8 to 10 hours, or take a flight from Skardu to Islamabad and then drive to Chilas, which takes about 12 to 14 hours.

Combination trek highlighting the diversity of landscapes

  • The trek consists of two parts: the K2 Base Camp Trek and the Nanga Parbat Base Camp Trek. The K2 Base Camp Trek follows the Baltoro Glacier to Concordia and then to the base camp of K2, the world’s second highest mountain. The Nanga Parbat Base Camp Trek follows the Fairy Meadows and then to the base camp of Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth highest mountain.
  • The K2 Base Camp Trek offers views of the Karakoram Range, which is part of the Himalayas, the highest and most extensive mountain range in the world. The Karakoram Range is home to some of the highest and most rugged mountains in the world, such as K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, Masherbrum, and Chogolisa. The Karakoram Range is also home to some of the longest and largest glaciers in the world, such as the Baltoro Glacier, the Godwin Austen Glacier, the Vigne Glacier, and the Gondogoro Glacier. The Karakoram Range has a varied and extreme geography, with altitudes ranging from 1000m to 8611m, and climates ranging from arid to glacial. The Karakoram Range has a rich and diverse flora and fauna, such as juniper, birch, willow, poplar, wild roses, edelweiss, snow leopards, ibex, markhor, marmots, and eagles.
  • The Nanga Parbat Base Camp Trek offers views of the Nanga Parbat Range, which is also part of the Himalayas, but is separated from the Karakoram Range by the Indus River, the longest and most important river in Pakistan. The Nanga Parbat Range is home to Nanga Parbat, the westernmost of the 8000m peaks, and the only one that lies entirely in Pakistan. Nanga Parbat is also known as the Killer Mountain, due to its notorious climbing history and high fatality rate. Nanga Parbat is one of the most beautiful and symmetrical peaks in the world, with its distinctive south face, which rises for 4500m. Nanga Parbat is also one of the most difficult and dangerous peaks in the world, due to its steepness, remoteness, and complexity. The Nanga Parbat Range has a varied and moderate geography, with altitudes ranging from 1500m to 8126m, and climates ranging from temperate to alpine. The Nanga Parbat Range has a rich and diverse flora and fauna, such as pine, oak, walnut, apple, cherry, apricot, peach, plum, iris, lily, daisy, bear, wolf, fox, monkey, deer, and pheasant.
  • The K2 Base Camp and Nanga Parbat Trek is a combination of two of the most iconic treks in Pakistan, that covers both the K2 region and the Nanga Parbat region.
  • The trek is one of the most diverse and spectacular treks in the world, as it offers views of two of the 8000m peaks that are considered to be the most beautiful and the most difficult to climb: K2 and Nanga Parbat. It also offers views of many other peaks, such as Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, Masherbrum, and Rakaposhi.
  • The trek takes about 22 days of trekking and requires a high level of fitness and experience. It is suitable for trekkers who want to experience the best of both regions and witness the contrast and beauty of the Karakoram and the Himalayas.
  • The trek starts from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and ends in Skardu, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan province. The trek involves a domestic flight from Islamabad to Skardu, a jeep ride from Skardu to Askole, the last village before the wilderness, and another domestic flight from Skardu to Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan region. The trek also involves a jeep ride from Gilgit to Raikot Bridge, the starting point of the Nanga Parbat trek, and another jeep ride from Tato, the ending point of the Nanga Parbat trek, back to Gilgit.
Map of Nanga Parbat K2 Base Camps Trek

Two epic treks in one go: Grand Karakoram Traverse Trek

Length: 28 days | Difficulty: Strenuous

This is the ultimate trek in the K2 region, which covers the entire length of the Baltoro Glacier, crosses three high-altitude passes, and visits the base camps of five 8000-meter peaks: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II, and Gasherbrum IV. It is also known as the “Snow Lake Trek” because it includes a visit to the Snow Lake, a vast glacial basin at the head of the Biafo and Hispar glaciers. The trek takes about 28 to 32 days round trip from Skardu, and is extremely demanding and adventurous. You will need to hire porters, guides, cooks, and a liaison officer, and camp at designated sites along the way. You will also need a special permit to cross the passes and enter the restricted areas. The best time to go is from mid-June to mid-July, when the weather and snow conditions are favorable.

Overview of an extended trek covering diverse terrains

  • The trek consists of five parts: the Nanga Parbat Base Camp Trek, the K2 Base Camp Trek, the K2 Broad Peak and GI & GII Base Camps Trek, the Masherbrum Base Camp Trek, and the Rakaposhi Base Camp Trek. Each part offers views of different peaks, glaciers, valleys, and cultures of the Karakoram Range.
  • The Nanga Parbat Base Camp Trek covers the western part of the Karakoram Range, and offers views of Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world and the westernmost of the 8000m peaks. The trek follows the Fairy Meadows and then to the base camp of Nanga Parbat, which offers stunning views of the mountain’s north face. The trek also passes through the Raikot Valley and the Astore Valley, which are scenic and fertile valleys that are inhabited by the friendly and hospitable people of the region. The trek takes about 4 days of trekking and involves a jeep ride from Gilgit to Raikot Bridge, and another jeep ride from Tato, the ending point of the trek, back to Gilgit.
  • The K2 Base Camp Trek covers the central part of the Karakoram Range, and offers views of K2, the world’s second highest mountain and the most difficult to climb. The trek follows the Baltoro Glacier to Concordia and then to the base camp of K2, which offers spectacular views of many peaks, such as Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, Masherbrum, and Chogolisa. The trek also passes through the Shigar Valley and the Braldu Valley, which are arid and rugged valleys that are inhabited by the nomadic and hardy people of the region. The trek takes about 14 days of trekking and involves a flight from Gilgit to Skardu, a jeep ride from Skardu to Askole, and a helicopter ride from Askole to Skardu.
  • The K2 Broad Peak and GI & GII Base Camps Trek is a variation of the K2 Base Camp Trek that also visits the base camps of Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I, and Gasherbrum II, which are located on the opposite side of the Godwin Austen Glacier from K2. The trek offers a closer look at four of the 8000m peaks that form the Karakoram Crown. The trek takes about 16 days of trekking and follows the same route as the K2 Base Camp Trek until Concordia, and then heads towards the Godwin Austen Glacier, which leads to the base camps of Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I, and Gasherbrum II. The trek then retraces its steps back to Concordia, and follows the same route as the K2 Base Camp Trek back to Askole.
  • The Masherbrum Base Camp Trek covers the eastern part of the Karakoram Range, and offers views of Masherbrum, the 22nd highest mountain in the world and one of the most beautiful and symmetrical peaks in the Karakoram. The trek follows the Hushe Valley and then to the base camp of Masherbrum, which offers stunning views of the mountain’s south face. The trek also passes through several villages, such as Hushe, Khaplu, and Machulo, where trekkers can interact with the locals and learn about their culture and lifestyle. The trek takes about 10 days of trekking and involves a jeep ride from Skardu to Hushe, and another jeep ride from Hushe to Skardu.
  • The Rakaposhi Base Camp Trek covers the northern part of the Karakoram Range, and offers views of Rakaposhi, the 27th highest mountain in the world and one of the most prominent and impressive peaks in the Karakoram. The trek follows the Minapin Valley and then to the base camp of Rakaposhi, which offers stunning views of the mountain’s north face. The trek also passes through the Nagar Valley and the Hunza Valley, which are scenic and fertile valleys that are inhabited by the friendly and hospitable people of the region. The trek takes about 6 days of trekking and involves a jeep ride from Gilgit to Minapin, and another jeep ride from Minapin to Gilgit.
  • The Grand Karakoram Traverse Trek is a long and epic trek that traverses the entire Karakoram Range from west to east, crossing several high passes and glaciers, and visiting the base camps of K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, Masherbrum, and Rakaposhi.
  • The trek is one of the most comprehensive and spectacular treks in the world, but also one of the most demanding and remote. It requires a high level of fitness and endurance, as well as a strong sense of adventure and exploration. It is suitable for trekkers who want to experience the ultimate challenge and beauty of the Karakoram, and who are willing to face the risks and hardships of the wilderness.
  • The trek starts from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and ends in Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan region. The trek involves several domestic flights, jeep rides, and helicopter rides to access the different parts of the Karakoram Range. The trek takes about 30 days of trekking and covers a distance of about 300 km.
Map of Grand Karakoram Traverse Trek

Add a climb : K2 Base Camp Gondogoro la & Khosar Gang (Kusre gunge) Gunge 6040 m Peak Expedition

Length: 25 days | Difficulty: Entry level mountaineering

This is a trekking and climbing expedition that combines the K2 Gondogoro La Trek with an ascent of Khosar Gang (6401 m), a beautiful and challenging peak in the Hushe Valley. Khosar Gang is also known as the “White Horn” due to its shape, and offers a mix of rock, ice, and snow climbing. The expedition takes about 25 to 28 days round trip from Skardu, and requires a high level of fitness, stamina, and technical skills. You will need to hire porters, guides, cooks, and a climbing leader, and camp at designated sites along the way. You will also need a special permit and a liaison officer to climb the peak. The best time to go is from mid-June to mid-July, when the weather and snow conditions are optimal.

Trek to K2 base camp before venturing to the next level – the summit of Kusre Peak (6040m)or Kusra Gunge (6040). It’s a perfect way to step into the world of high altitude mountaineering with an ascent on a classic Karakoram trekking peak. By acclimatizing during your trek to K2 Base Camp and Gondogoro la, this will maximize your chances of summit success on a challenging yet rewarding expedition.

The K2 Gondogoro La and Khosar Gang Climbing Expedition is an adventurous option for experienced climbers who want to summit a 6000m peak in the K2 region. Khosar Gang is a twin-peaked mountain that lies on the ridge between the Gondogoro and Vigne Glaciers. It offers a challenging and rewarding climb with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.

  • The expedition is one of the most demanding and thrilling expeditions in the K2 region, as it combines the K2 Gondogoro La Trek with the Khosar Gang Climbing Expedition. It requires technical skills and equipment, as well as a high level of fitness and endurance. It is only suitable for climbers who have prior experience of high altitude trekking and climbing, and who are willing to face the risks and challenges of the Karakoram.
  • The expedition starts from Skardu, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan province, and ends in Hushe, a small village in the Hushe Valley. The expedition involves a jeep ride from Skardu to Askole, the last village before the wilderness, and a flight from Skardu to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

Focus on climbing aspects, requirements, and challenges

  • The expedition follows the same route as the K2 Gondogoro La Trek until the Gondogoro La Pass, a high mountain pass that lies at 5585m above sea level. The pass offers stunning views of four 8000m peaks: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, as well as Laila Peak, a striking pyramid-shaped peak that rises to 6096m. The pass also connects the Baltoro Glacier with the Hushe Valley, a scenic and fertile valley that is inhabited by the friendly and hospitable Balti people. The pass requires technical skills and equipment, such as ropes, crampons, and ice axes, and the guidance of experienced guides and porters.
  • The expedition then diverges from the K2 Gondogoro La Trek and heads towards the Khosar Gang Base Camp, which is located at 5200m above sea level. Khosar Gang is a twin-peaked mountain that stands at 6401m and 6373m, respectively. It is also known as the White Dome, because of its snow-covered summit. It is one of the most prominent and attractive peaks in the K2 region, and one of the few 6000m peaks that can be climbed without a permit. It is also one of the most challenging and technical peaks in the region, requiring a steep and exposed climb on a mixed terrain of rock, ice, and snow.
  • The expedition attempts to summit Khosar Gang on the 18th day of the expedition, which is the most difficult and exciting day of the expedition. The summit requires a pre-dawn start and a long and arduous ascent on a narrow and sharp ridge. The summit also requires the use of ropes, crampons, ice axes, and snow stakes, and the guidance of experienced guides and porters. The summit offers panoramic views of the Karakoram Range, including K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, Laila Peak, Masherbrum, and Nangmah Valley. The summit also offers a sense of achievement and satisfaction for the climbers who have overcome the challenges and dangers of the Karakoram.
  • The expedition then descends from the summit to the Khosar Gang Base Camp, and follows the same route as the K2 Gondogoro La Trek back to Hushe. The expedition offers views of many other peaks along the way, such as K6, K7, and Nangmah Valley. The expedition ends in Hushe, where the climbers can celebrate their achievement and enjoy a farewell dinner with their guides and porters. The expedition then involves a jeep ride from Hushe to Skardu, and a flight from Skardu to Islamabad.
Map K2 Gondogoro La and Khosar Gang Climbing Expedition

Short on time: Express K2 Base Camp Trek

Length: 16 days | Difficulty: Strenuous

This is a shorter and faster version of the K2 Base Camp Trek, which is suitable for those who have limited time or want to avoid the long walk on the Baltoro Glacier. It involves taking a helicopter flight from Skardu to Concordia, and then trekking to the K2 Base Camp and back. The trek takes about 7 to 9 days round trip from Skardu, and is relatively easier and more comfortable than the regular K2 Base Camp Trek. However, it is also more expensive and dependent on the weather and availability of the helicopter. The best time to go is from June to September, when the weather is relatively stable and clear.

A shorter version for time-conscious adventurers

  • The trek follows the same route as the K2 Base Camp Trek, but with some modifications to shorten the duration and increase the speed. The trek covers a distance of about 140 km and reaches a maximum altitude of 5135m at the K2 Base Camp.
  • The trek starts with a jeep ride from Skardu to Askole, which takes about 6 hours and passes through the Shigar Valley and the Braldu Valley. The trek then begins from Askole, and follows the Braldu River to Jhula, where the first campsite is located. The trek covers about 22 km on the first day, and takes about 7 hours of walking.
  • The trek then continues from Jhula to Paiju, where the second campsite is located. The trek covers about 21 km on the second day, and takes about 6 hours of walking. The trek passes through several villages, such as Korofong, Bardumal, and Liligo, and offers views of the Trango Towers, a group of dramatic and vertical granite spires that rise to over 6000m. The trek also crosses several streams and bridges, and reaches the snout of the Baltoro Glacier, the world’s fifth longest non-polar glacier, which stretches for 63km and covers an area of 2197 sq km.
  • The trek then follows the Baltoro Glacier to Urdukas, where the third campsite is located. The trek covers about 15 km on the third day, and takes about 5 hours of walking. The trek offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, such as Masherbrum, the 22nd highest mountain in the world, which stands at 7821m, and the Muztagh Tower, a sharp and slender peak that rises to 7273m. The trek also passes through several moraines and crevasses, and reaches the Yermanandu Glacier, which joins the Baltoro Glacier from the south.
  • The trek then continues from Urdukas to Goro II, where the fourth campsite is located. The trek covers about 12 km on the fourth day, and takes about 4 hours of walking. The trek offers spectacular views of the Karakoram Range, such as Broad Peak, the 12th highest mountain in the world, which stands at 8047m, and Gasherbrum IV, the 17th highest mountain in the world, which stands at 7925m. The trek also passes through the Biango Glacier, which joins the Baltoro Glacier from the north.
  • The trek then follows the Baltoro Glacier to Concordia, the confluence of four glaciers: the Baltoro, the Godwin Austen, the Upper Baltoro, and the Vigne. Concordia is also known as the Throne Room of Mountain Gods, because it offers the best viewpoint of K2 and other majestic peaks, such as Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, Masherbrum, and Chogolisa. Concordia is one of the most remote and beautiful places on Earth, and a must-see for any trekker or climber. The trek covers about 10 km on the fifth day, and takes about 3 hours of walking.
  • The trek then diverges from the Baltoro Glacier and heads towards the Godwin Austen Glacier, which leads to the base camp of K2, the world’s second highest mountain and the most difficult to climb. K2 stands at 8611m above sea level, and is also known as the Savage Mountain, due to its extreme difficulty and high fatality rate. It is considered by many climbers to be the ultimate prize and the ultimate challenge in mountaineering. Only a few hundred people have ever reached its summit, and many have perished in the attempt. The trek covers about 10 km on the sixth day, and takes about 4 hours of walking. The trek offers views of K2 from different angles, as well as views of other peaks, such as Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, and Chogolisa.
  • The trek then retraces its steps back to Concordia, and follows the same route as the K2 Base Camp Trek back to Askole. The trek covers about 62 km on the last four days, and takes about 20 hours of walking. The trek offers views of many other peaks along the way, such as Uli Biaho, a group of granite towers that rise to over 6000m, and Cathedral, a group of rock pinnacles that resemble a Gothic cathedral. The trek also passes through several glaciers, rivers, valleys, and villages, and offers a glimpse of the culture and lifestyle of the people of the region. The trek ends in Askole, where the trekkers can celebrate their achievement and enjoy a farewell dinner with their guides and porters. The trek then involves a jeep ride from Askole to Skardu, and a flight from Skardu to Islamabad.
  • The Express K2 Base Camp Trek is a shorter and faster version of the K2 Base Camp Trek that skips some of the acclimatization and rest days, and covers more distance per day.
  • The trek is one of the most popular and classic treks in the K2 region, as it follows the Baltoro Glacier to Concordia and then to the base camp of K2, the world’s second highest mountain and the most difficult to climb. It also offers views of many other peaks, such as Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, Masherbrum, and Chogolisa.
  • The trek takes about 10 days of trekking and requires a high level of fitness and confidence. It is suitable for trekkers who have limited time or who are very fit and experienced. It involves long and strenuous days of walking, and can be challenging due to the altitude and weather conditions.
  • The trek starts from Skardu, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan province, and ends in Askole, the last village before the wilderness. The trek involves a jeep ride from Skardu to Askole, and a flight from Skardu to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
Map of Express K2 Base Camp Trek

Relaxed Pace:Leisurely paced K2 Base Camp Trek

Length: 28 days | Difficulty: Strenuous

This is a longer and slower version of the K2 Base Camp Trek, which is suitable for those who want to enjoy the scenery and acclimatize better. It involves taking more rest days and shorter walking hours, and visiting some side valleys and lakes along the way. The trek takes about 21 to 23 days round trip from Skardu, and is relatively more relaxed and enjoyable than the regular K2 Base Camp Trek. However, it is also more expensive and requires more stamina and endurance. The best time to go is from June to September, when the weather is relatively stable and clear.

The leisurely paced K2 base camp trek is a relaxing adventure in the Karakoram, where trekkers can enjoy the beauty and culture of the region at their own pace, without compromising on the thrill and excitement of being in the presence of some of the highest and most magnificent mountains in the world.

Difficulty

The leisurely paced K2 base camp trek is designed for trekkers who want to enjoy the stunning scenery and culture of the Karakoram without rushing or pushing themselves too hard. The trek follows the same route as the standard K2 base camp trek, but with more rest days and shorter walking hours. The trek involves walking for 4 to 6 hours a day on average, over rough and rocky terrain, crossing several streams and bridges, and ascending and descending steep slopes. The trek also exposes trekkers to high altitude, cold weather, and glacier travel, which can pose risks of altitude sickness, frostbite, and crevasses. Therefore, trekkers need to be well-prepared, well-equipped, and well-acclimatized before attempting this trek.

Starting Point

The starting point of the leisurely paced K2 base camp trek is Skardu, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan province in northern Pakistan. Skardu is a scenic and historic town, situated at the confluence of the Indus and Shigar rivers, and surrounded by towering mountains. Skardu is also the gateway to the Karakoram range, and the base for many expeditions and treks in the region.

Skardu can be reached by air or by road from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The flight from Islamabad to Skardu takes about an hour and offers spectacular views of the mountains and valleys. However, the flight is subject to weather conditions and often gets cancelled or delayed. The road journey from Islamabad to Skardu takes about 24 hours and passes through the scenic Karakoram Highway, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful and dangerous roads in the world. The road journey also may involves crossing the Babusar Pass (4173m) or the Deosai Plateau (4114m), which are both stunning .

Description of the trekking route and prominent peaks

The trek follows the same route as the standard K2 base camp trek until Concordia, the confluence of four glaciers and the best viewpoint of K2 and other majestic peaks. The trek then diverges from the standard K2 base camp trek and heads towards the Godwin Austen Glacier, which leads to the base camps of Broad Peak.

The trek visits the base camp of Broad Peak on the 14th day of the trek, which is located at 4950m above sea level. Broad Peak is the 12th highest mountain in the world, and stands at 8047m. It is also known as Falchan Kangri, which means the Great Mountain in Balti. It is called Broad Peak because of its long and broad summit ridge, which spans for 1.5km. Broad Peak is considered to be one of the easier 8000m peaks to climb, but it still poses many challenges and dangers, such as crevasses, avalanches, and high winds.

The trek then retraces its steps back to Concordia, and follows the same route as the standard K2 base camp trek back to Askole. The trek offers views of many other peaks along the way, such as Masherbrum, the 22nd highest mountain in the world, which stands at 7821m. It is also known as K1, which means the King of Mountains in Balti. It is one of the most beautiful and symmetrical peaks in the Karakoram, with its distinctive south face, which rises for 3000m. It is also one of the most difficult and rarely climbed peaks in the world, due to its steepness, remoteness, and complexity. The trek also offers views of Chogolisa, the 36th highest mountain in the world, which stands at 7665m. It is also known as Bride Peak, because of its twin summits, which resemble a bride and a groom. It is one of the most striking and elegant peaks in the Karakoram, with its smooth and snowy slopes. It is also one of the most challenging and dangerous peaks in the world, due to its avalanche-prone slopes, high altitude, and unpredictable weather. The trek also offers views of the Trango Towers, a group of dramatic and vertical granite spires that rise to over 6000m. They are some of the most iconic and spectacular rock formations in the world, and attract many rock climbers and base jumpers. They are also some of the most difficult and technical climbs in the world, due to their sheer faces, cracks, and overhangs.

Map of Leisurely Paced K2 Base Camp Trek

Planning and Preparation

Altitude Considerations for K2 Treks

If you are planning to trek to the base camp of K2, the second highest mountain in the world, you need to be aware of the altitude considerations that can affect your health, safety, and enjoyment. Trekking to K2 base camp involves ascending to an elevation of about 5,400 meters (17,700 feet), which is higher than most other popular treks in the world. At such high altitudes, the air is thinner, colder, and drier, which can pose several challenges and risks for trekkers. Here are some of the important altitude considerations that you need to know and prepare for before embarking on your K2 trek.

Importance of Acclimatization

Acclimatization is the process of adapting your body to the low oxygen levels and atmospheric pressure at high altitudes. It is essential for preventing and reducing the symptoms of altitude sickness, which can range from mild discomforts such as headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue, to severe and life-threatening conditions such as high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). Altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of age, fitness, or experience, and can ruin your trek or even endanger your life.

To acclimatize properly, you need to follow some general guidelines, such as:

  • Ascend slowly and gradually, following the rule of thumb of not increasing your sleeping altitude by more than 300 to 500 meters per day.
  • Take rest days every few days, especially when crossing 3,000 meters or higher.
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids, at least 3 to 4 liters per day, to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and other substances that can dehydrate you or interfere with your breathing.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates and proteins, which can provide you with energy and help your body cope with the altitude.
  • Take preventive medication such as Diamox (acetazolamide) or ibuprofen, if prescribed by your doctor or recommended by your guide, to reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • Monitor your symptoms and oxygen saturation levels regularly, using a pulse oximeter or a self-assessment scorecard.
  • Descend immediately if you experience any severe or worsening symptoms of altitude sickness, such as difficulty breathing, coughing blood, confusion, loss of coordination, or loss of consciousness.

Health and Safety Tips

Besides acclimatizing properly, there are some other health and safety tips that you need to follow to ensure a successful and enjoyable trek to K2 base camp. Some of these tips are:

  • Choose a reputable and experienced trekking company or guide who can provide you with professional guidance, support, equipment, logistics, and emergency services.
  • Train adequately before the trek by doing regular cardio, strength, and endurance exercises that can improve your fitness and stamina. You should also do some hikes or walks at higher altitudes or with a backpack to simulate the conditions of the trek.
  • Pack the essential gear and equipment that can protect you from the cold, wind, sun, rain, snow, and other elements. You should also pack a personal hygiene kit, a first aid kit, a personal entertainment kit, and some snacks for the trek.
  • Obtain the necessary visa, permit, and insurance that can cover the activities, risks, and costs of the trek. You should also have a copy of your passport, medical history, insurance details, itinerary, and contact details with you at all times.
  • Follow the instructions and advice of your guide and respect the local culture and environment. You should also communicate with your guide and fellow trekkers regularly and honestly about your condition and concerns.

By following these altitude considerations for K2 treks, you can increase your chances of having a safe, fun, and memorable adventure in one of the most spectacular regions in the world.

Permits and Guided Treks for K2

If you are planning to trek to the base camp of the world’s second highest mountain, K2, you need to be aware of the necessary permits and regulations that apply to this region. You also need to consider the importance of hiring a professional guide or joining a reputable trekking company, to ensure your safety and compliance on the trail. Here are some of the key points that you need to know:

Trekking Permits and Regulations

Obtaining the necessary permits and complying with regulations is an important aspect of trekking to K2 Base Camp. The Pakistani government has set rules and regulations to ensure the safety, preservation of the environment, and sustainable tourism in the region1.

All trekkers planning to undertake the K2 Base Camp trek must obtain a trekking permit from the Ministry of Tourism in Islamabad or through a registered trekking agency. It is recommended to apply for the permit well in advance to avoid any last-minute complications1.

The trekking permit fee varies depending on the number of trekkers and the duration of the trek. The fee is usually around $50 USD per person for K2 region trek.

In addition to the trekking permit, you will also need to obtain a restricted area permit or a no objection certificate (NOC) from the local authorities in Skardu or Gilgit, where you will start your trek. This permit allows you to enter and travel in the restricted areas of the Karakoram region, such as Baltoro Glacier, Concordia, and K2 Base Camp1.

You will also need to pay an environmental fee of $ 150 USD per person, which goes towards the conservation and protection of the natural resources and wildlife in the region.

You will need to provide some documents and information, such as your passport, photos, itinerary, and trekking company or guide details, to obtain these permits. You will also need to carry these permits with you at all times during your trek, as you may be asked to show them at various checkpoints along the way1.

Importance of Guided Treks

Hiring a professional guide or joining a reputable trekking company is highly recommended for anyone who wants to trek to K2 Base Camp. This is not only for your safety and convenience, but also for your compliance with the permits and regulations1.

A professional guide or a trekking company will assist you with obtaining the necessary permits and paperwork, as well as arranging your transportation, accommodation, food, porters, equipment, and emergency services. They will also provide you with valuable information, advice, and support throughout your trek.

A professional guide or a trekking company will also ensure that you follow the rules and regulations of the region, such as respecting the local culture, customs, and religion, avoiding littering and pollution, and adhering to the designated trails and campsites. They will also help you cope with the challenges of high altitude, weather, terrain, and health.

A professional guide or a trekking company will also enhance your experience and enjoyment of the trek by sharing their knowledge and expertise on the history, geography, flora, fauna, and culture of the region. They will also introduce you to some of the most spectacular views and landmarks along the way, such as Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I & II, Masherbrum, Chogolisa, Mitre Peak, Trango Towers, Cathedral Peak, Paiju Peak, Uli Biaho Tower, Great Trango Tower etc.

A professional guide or a trekking company will also offer you a variety of options and packages to suit your preferences and budget. You can choose from different routes, durations, difficulty levels, seasons etc

When to do Baltoro K2 Base CampTrek


Baltoro K2 Trekking

The best time for the K2 base camp trek is from June to end September with July and August being the optimum months. Before then, trekking is still possible, but until mid-June, excessive snow remains on passes and north-facing slopes, keeping any passes higher than 3,000m closed.

Most passes, including the Gondogoro La, are closed by the end of September when heavy snow returns. The mountain rescue support team near Gondogoro La departs in late September.Baltoro K2 Trekking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best times to undertake each trek

 
TrekBest TimeDurationDifficultyAltitudeDeparture Dates
K2 Base Camp TrekJune – October20 daysStrenuous5,100 mView Dates
K2 Gondogoro La TrekJuly-Mid September20 daysChallenging5,650 mView Dates
K2 Broad Peak and GI & GII Base Camps TrekJune-September23-24 daysStrenuous5,100 mView Dates
K2 Base Camp and Nanga Parbat TrekJune-October22-24 daysStrenuous5,100 mView Dates
K2 Gondogoro La and Khosar Gang Climbing ExpeditionJune- September28-30 daysExtreme6,400 mView Dates
Grand Karakoram Traverse TrekJuly-August30-32 daysExtreme5,650 mView Dates
Express K2 Base Camp TrekJune-September15-16 daysModerate-Strenuous5,100 mView Dates
Leisurely Paced K2 Base Camp TrekJune-September22-28 daysModerate-Strenuous5,100 mView Dates

Details

Trip Information

Trip Information

Embarking on the K2 Base Camp trek requires physical readiness, altitude acclimatization, and adherence to permit regulations. With proper preparation and guided support, trekkers can navigate the challenging terrain and enjoy the breathtaking vistas along the legendary trek route.

Difficulty Level Assessment

Every expedition we offer is meticulously assessed for its physical and technical challenges, clearly indicated by icons prominently displayed at the top of each trip page. For further details, simply click on the it for additional descriptions. For a comprehensive overview of our grading system, please visit our Difficulty Ratings page.

Trek Difficulty

  1. Physical Endurance:
  • Trekking involves 6-7 hours of daily hiking over 14 days.
  • Prior physical conditioning for endurance is crucial.
  1. Altitude Challenge:
  • Oxygen levels decrease significantly, affecting exertion.
  • Adequate pre-trek training and gradual pace are essential.
  • Acute Mountain Sickness is a serious concern.

Altitude Overview

  • Starting altitude: Skardu (approx. 2200m)
  • Final altitude: K2 Base Camp (approx. 5,200m)
  • Altitude-related illnesses pose risks; gradual ascent recommended.

Trek Requirements

Guide & Permit:

  • Trekking with a government of Pakistan accredited licensed guide with a Pakistan based company is mandatory.
  • All trekkers require permits from Government of Pakistan through an accredited Pakistan based trek operator. 

Logistics

  1. Guide Support:
  • Guides manage logistics, directions, and campsite arrangements.
  • Essential for navigating challenging terrains and ensuring safety.
  1. Accommodation:
  • Hotels in Islamabad and Skardu provide comfortable stays.
  • Camping along the trail; camps at campsites and our supporting teams manages equipment.
  • Each night spent in scenic tent campsites, no lodges available.
  1. Food & Hydration:
  • Nutritious locally sourced fresh meals provided during trek; dietary restrictions accommodated.
  • Hydration crucial; ample water intake and electrolyte replenishment advised.
  1. Health & Safety:
  • Comprehensive medical kit carried by guides; basic first aid available.
  • Trekkers advised to carry personal medication and travel insurance.
  • Altitude sickness precautions, including ascent rate monitoring.
  1. Other Essentials:
  • Adequate clothing for varying temperatures; layering recommended.
  • High-quality trekking gear, including sturdy footwear and trekking poles.
  • Respect for local customs and environment; Leave No Trace principles.
 

DIFFICULTY

On this trip you will be visiting a remote and isolated region and committing to a long trekking program. You will be walking on difficult terrain on a gradual high altitude and this will place a huge strain on your body. As well as the rigors of the walking, spending an extended period of time sleeping in a tent for 14 nights will add to your fatigue. You will be trekking to altitudes up to 5200m. To participate in this trip it is essential that you have past experience of altitude and mountainous trekking. You must be in good physical shape with high levels of determination and an understanding that this trek will be demanding.  In the three to six months before departure you should undergo a training program with special emphasis on endurance training. If you have any questions about your suitability for this trip please do not hesitate to contact us.

FOOD & DRINK

During your trek this trip is full board and our cook will provide you with three fresh meals per day and snacks for while you are trekking. The food in Baltistan is mainly Pakistani in style with curries, flat breads, rice and lentils featuring highly on any menu. The food is fragrant and rich in flavours but not necessarily spicy! Breakfasts and dinners are provided at camp and your cook will provide you with a picnic lunch at lunch stop. 

Vegetarians and vegans are very well catered for here and there is a good understanding of dietary requirements. 

During the trip your supporting team will boil water at each camping spot and keep it in a fresh container for you to drink once it has cooled. This will be accessible each evening and morning for you to fill up water bottles or hydration bladders. You may wish to carry a water purification system such as a filter or tablets to treat water from natural springs or villages whilst trekking. There are plenty of places to refill your water bottles both in towns and in remote mountain areas, your guide will advise you when and where to refill.

ACCOMMODATION & CAMPING

In Cities: On most K2 Base Camp Treks, you will be traveling from Islamabad to Skardu first. Here you will typically stay in 2-3-4 star hotels or guest houses depending upon the chosen package.  Power cuts and internet outages are common in Gilgit Baltistan and you should be prepared for the possibility of this.

During the trek you will have a 3 man tent to share with one other person in your group. You will be provided with a foam camping mattress to sleep on and should bring your own sleeping bag with a comfort rating of -20 degrees centigrade. We will also provide a large dining tent with a table and chairs that is used for taking meals but also as a communal space to relax in the evenings. Hot water in a bowl can be provided by your support team so you can have a wash in the evenings.  The camp is setup and taken down each day by our local support team and porters teams are used to transport all the equipment along the trekking route.

On Trail:

During your trek, you will stay in campsites along the trails. The porters will take care of all the camping equipment. Comfortable members tent, mattresses, mess tent, kitchen tent, store tent, shower tent, toilet tent, table, chairs & kitchen utensils are coming along on your way to the K2 Base Camp.

On this legendary trek, you will spend most of your nights in a tent. There is hardly any infrastructure on the route to K2 Base Camp and that makes this trek an adventure for the intrepid trekker.

Each night you will camp at an incredibly scenic campsite with views of 7000m and 8000m peaks visible. On the K2 Base Camp Trek you won’t find any teahouses, lodge other comfortable places to stay.

Camping arrangements

During the trek to K2 and back trekking groups stop off at a series of seasonal camps, set apart at intervals with reasonable elevation gains. All accommodation along the K2 Base Camp Trek is in tents, which the porters carry, set up, and break down daily.

Campsites

Depending on the time of year, a group will have to share the campsite with two or three other groups. This means that including guests, guides, porters, cooks, and pack animals a campsite could host more than 150 people at any one time.

Camps environment

Camps take on a sort of festival atmosphere. People mingle about, sipping steaming cups of chai. Sometimes the porter teams join forces for a rowdy night of singing and dancing. If you don’t mind being around people in the middle of a remote mountain range, then you will love the camaraderie.

At the lower elevations, these fixed camps have individual toilet “cubicles”, and always have a source of running water. At the higher camps, the cooking teams forage for the clearest glacier water they can find.

Toilet

The toilet situation is something a lot of our guests want to know about! On the trek itself, toilets at the campsites will be very basic with a hole in the ground covered by a small toilet tent for privacy and on route this will be a case of finding somewhere hidden, off the path and going wild. We can guarantee it will be the most scenic toilet break you’ve ever had!

TRANSPORT

Our airport transfers will be a well maintained local car. A member of our team will greet you at the airport and travel in the car with you.

All our group transfers between locations will be taken in a privatised vehicle.

GUIDE & SUPPORTING TEAM

For the full duration of your trip you will be accompanied by an experienced English speaking guide. During the trek, your guide will be assisted by our local support team which will include an assistant guide, driver, cook and porters.

HOW TO GET THERE?

You will need to arrive at Islamabad International Airport, Airport code (code ISB) on day 1 of your itinerary. If you would prefer to arrive a few days earlier, we would be happy to book additional hotel accommodation for you on request.

In order to reach Skardu, it is necessary to fly first to Islamabad and then take a domestic flight up to skardu or travel on KKH to Skardu.

 There are multiple routes for travelers from Europe, East Asia, Austraila and the USA to reach Pakistan, particularly for those embarking on the K2 trek. The primary gateway is Islamabad International Airport. Numerous airlines operate flights to Islamabad via the Middle East, with Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Turkish Airline, Batik, Thai and Emirates being prominent options. These carriers offer daily flights with layovers at their respective hubs. However, it’s essential to scrutinize layover durations, as some can be considerably lengthy. Qatar Airways typically offers the shortest layovers, particularly at Doha. Those coming from China can fly to Kashgar and enter Pakistan by road via Khunjerab pass to Pakistan and from India via only Wagha border between Lahore and Amritsar.

In summary, travelers have several flight options to reach Islamabad from Europe and the USA, with layovers in the Middle East or via Bankok. Careful consideration of layover durations and airline reputations can contribute to a smoother travel experience, particularly for those embarking on the K2 trek in Pakistan.

Domestic flights from Islamabad to Skardu depart in the mornings and take roughly 1 hour. Remember that if you book your international and domestic flight separately, you will need to collect your luggage and check in again for your domestic flight. Be sure to allow enough time for this in between flights! There are only two domestic airlines providing flights to Skardu PiA and Air blue Most flights depart between 6am and 11am daily.

On arrival at the airport, once you have collected your luggage, please look out for a member of our local team in the arrivals area. They will then travel with you via a car to our hotel. 

The Closest Airport to Concordia & K2 Base Camp

The closest airport to Concordia & K2 Base Camp is the airport in Skardu. This airport is a domestic airport. During summer season there are few direct flights from Lahore, Karachi, Sialkot twice or thrice a week.

But there is a daily flight from Islamabad whole year but subject to weather.

Almost all routes to Skardu require a layover in Islamabad, and often due to flight times, an overnight. Also flying in and out of this airport can be hair-raising, due to its geographical location high in the mountains.

Flights can only  depart  during the day when visibility is clear and the weather is favorable, so flight delays and cancellations are common.

Fly to Islamabad

Flights to Islamabad International Airport in Islamabad operate regularly from many around the world and it is easy to find direct flights. If you are coming from outside of Pakistan, you are definitely stopping in Islamabad before heading to Skardu. You  will need to go through Immigration and Customs and will need to retrieve your luggage even if your flight to Skardu is  immediately afterwards.

If your flight lands in Islamabad after 9 AM , you will need to spend the evening in Islamabad. We recommend heading to the Islamabad city which takes about 35 minutes by taxi as there is no hotel close to airport.

From Islamabad to Skardu

From Islamabad, nonstop flights from Islamabad to Skardu Airport cost anywhere from $100 to $200 and run every day of the week. The flight is only 50 minutes long. We do recommend booking few weeks before departure as there is a high demand  and low supply. They seem to cancel flights less often and have more options if you need to move your flight.

Another way to get to Skardu from Islamabad is by the road.

Hop on a bus from Rawalpindi Pirwadah Bus station to Skardu, There are many buses leaving to Skardu each day on KKH.

Cross Border (Khunjerab Pass) From China

Crossing Khunjerab Pass from Tashkurgan, China to Pakistan (From April to November –

Monday -Friday  except Holidays)

To do this crossing from China, you have to have your visa for Pakistan  in advance by online or through the embassy consulate in your country. https://vepakistan.com/pakistan-visa-information/ you cannot get a Visa in Tashkurgan or Kashgar for Pakistan.

Also, there is no stop to purchase food/snacks/drinks along the way (Tashkurgan to Sost); so ensure that you take enough snacks /food/drink with you to last you this 4+hr drive You can to take a local bus to make this crossing. You can take a private car, higher in prices to bus but smoother  and quicker. The bus that goes from China to Pakistan is run by the Xinjiang Province Govt; whereas the bus from Pakistan to China is run by NATCO, a Pakistani govt service. The bus tickets cannot be bought in advance. You can only purchase them on the day of travel. The purchase of the  bus ticket and the start of the bus route for this border crossing bus is NOT at the bus stop in Tashkurgan town. Instead, go to the  Customs/ Immigration building on the outskirts of Tashkurgan (towards Pakistan, about 2km outside Tashkurgan downtown); and buy the tickets (RMB 225 each, cash) at the small building at the far end of the parking lot of the Customs/Immigration building. The Bus is supposed to leave at 11:30AM Beijing time (9:30AM Uyghur time). However, the departure time can be late as all travelers have to clear through Chinese Customs and Immigration.. you need to keep your luggage with you, as the bus is not allowed to be loaded until it is cleared by Chinese Customs.

Note, There is a bathroom on the edge of the parking lot of the Customs building. Once you are through Customs/Immigration formalities, you cannot go anywhere unescorted (since you have officially left China). So bathroom visit here once you have cleared Customs/Immigration has to be escorted to the bathroom at edge of the parking lot. No other restrooms are provided.

Once you board the bus and leave, there is one Chinese soldier will join the bus and escort it all the way to the Khunjerab Pass Police border post. Along the way, there are multiple Chinese police posts where your passport /visa will be checked. There are NO bathroom facilities on the way; jungle bathrooms are your only choice.

At the border, the bus simply crosses over into Pakistan without stopping on the Chinese side, crosses over from right hand drive to left hand drive, and stops on the Pakistani side for a jungle bathroom break, and to take pictures.

In Pakistan, the Pakistan Customs/Immigration is in Sost, which is another 60+kms away. Along the way, you have  to cross a Khunjerab National Park; for which foreigners are required to pay US$ 40 each (cash only, US$’s only). Pakistani and Chinese nationals don’t pay anything. So make sure you have the cash on hand.

In Sost you need get clear through Pakistani Customs and Immigration. Foreigners have a separate line, and takes much longer than Pakistanis and Chinese nationals. Make sure your Passport+ Visa are totally in order as they check everything very carefully. We can arranged your pick up from here for the rest of trip in Pakistan.

If you want to travel your own,  you can take a mini bus/van during the day time to Hunza Aliabad, (approximately takes 2 hours travel time) and from there another bus onward to Gilgit ((approximately takes 3 hours travel time)).

From Gilgit you can catch a van to reach Skardu during day time only which takes 5+ hours.

Cross Border From India

Cross Wahga Border to Lahore and travel Islamabad by Bus:-

Take a taxi, rickshaw from Amritsar to Wahga Border. The ride takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach Wahga Indian side. Cross the border by foot. (open from 10 am to 5 pm daily) Walk across the Border, After immigration at Pakistan side Take a bus or Rickshaw on to Lahore city which takes around 1 hour. From Lahore there are many buses leave for Islamabad after every 30 minutes. There is also train service from Lahore to Islamabad. From Islamabad you can fly to Skardu or take a bus to reach Skardu.

PRE-TREK BRIEFING

It is a requirement of joining any of our treks that you attend a pre-trek briefing the evening before the trek begins. This gives our guides the opportunity to speak to you about your adventure, and sort out any last-minute queries or concerns.

LUGGAGE

During the trek your luggage along with all the group equipment will be carried by porters. You should bring two bags with you, a large 80-100 litre duffel bag and a smaller 30-50 litre daypack. Your duffel bag will be carried by the porters each day and made available for you at camp each afternoon. Your daypack will stay with you at all times and should be used to carry spare clothing, water etc.  At all other times your luggage will be transported by vehicle.

Please do not bring a rigid suitcase which is not suitable for carrying by the porters. A flexible duffel bag or backpack is best. Your main luggage must not exceed 13kg.

Wifi – Internet Connection!

There is internet connection in Skardu and at few spots on the trail and sometime at  Concordia. The sim card and data costs about $10-20 and works intermittently, could be used for messaging and searching.

In order to pick up a signal though, you will need SCOM SIM card, (a local cellular company) which you can easily buy in Skardu – by purchasing from their office.

Electricity: 

At few campsites there are generators, for light, charge cameras, phones, headlamps, power banks, and even drone batteries, but you will need to check if it is available. It is also advisable to take a small solar panel, to charge phone and power bank each day.

BUDGET & CHANGE

In Pakistan, the currency used is the Pakistani Rupee (PKR). It’s important to note that the Pakistani Rupee is a closed currency, so you won’t be able to obtain it before your arrival. Therefore, it’s advisable to travel with US Dollars,Euro, Yuan, Pound Sterlingare any other major currency as they are widely accepted. Ensure that any US bills you carry are new (less than 10 years old), crisp,(no stamped, no writing on it) and untorn, as damaged bills may not be accepted.

If you require local currency, ATMs and banks are available, or you can exchange money at hotels in Islamabad. However, for the trek itself, it’s recommended to carry local currency and you may get a more favorable exchange rate in Islamabad.

For emergency funds, inform your credit or debit card issuer about your travel plans to avoid any issues with card usage abroad.

Souvenirs in Islamabad are generally affordable.

TIPS

We understand that tipping customs vary across different countries, but in the context of Pakistan, tipping is prevalent. If you’re embarking on a trek in Pakistan with us, we adhere to the standard practice of tipping as recommended by the Trekking Agencies Association.

The decision on how much to tip should reflect the level of service provided by our team throughout your trek. Tipping is discretionary, and if you feel dissatisfied with the service, you are not obligated to tip. Tipping can be done in either US dollars or Pakistani Rupees. Please note that US bills should be new (less than 10 years old), crisp, and untorn.

As a guideline, we suggest budgeting $125-$175 per trekker for your tip contribution to guides and porters. It’s essential to remember that any tips for our porters should be carried with you during the trek.

Please note that the figures provided below are approximate and are intended solely as a guideline.

  • Guide: Approximately $5 per person per day
  • Drivers, Chef and assistants: Around $3 per person per day
  • Porters/Mule drivers: Roughly $2 per person per day

 

Formalities & Health

Embarking on the remarkable journey to the K2 Base Camp in Pakistan requires meticulous attention to formalities and health considerations to ensure a safe and fulfilling adventure. From passport and visa requirements to essential health precautions, thorough preparation is imperative.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the vital aspects of formalities and health that every trekker must address before venturing into the rugged terrain of the Hindukush, Karakoram and Himalayan Mountains o Pakistan. Covering essential topics such as obtaining trekking visa and permits, securing comprehensive insurance, and understanding altitude sickness, our guide aims to provide trekkers with the necessary knowledge for a successful expedition. Join us as we navigate the critical preparations needed for an unforgettable and safe trek to the legendary base Camps and regions.

 

PASSPORT

Ensure that your passport remains valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned arrival date in Pakistan. We advise making a photocopy of your passport and storing it separately from the original; this precaution can be invaluable in case of loss during your travels. It’s imperative to carry your passport with you during the trek, as it is essential for internal flights and may be required for identification purposes.

VISA

you will need to apply for to obtain a Pakistani visa before you embark on your K2 Base Camp adventure. Now online e-visa system makes the application process easier.

Trekking and mountaineering Visa for K2 base Camp trek

The Pakistani Government has introduced a new visa scheme for trekking and mountaineering in the Karakoram. Under the new scheme – all parties planning on going to K2 BC or entering central Karakoram National Park can now apply for the mandatory Trekking and Mountaineering Visa instead of the regular tourist visa.  We can help you with all of the information you need to apply. This will make things easier when it comes to getting all of the final permitting done just before the trek since the visa is specifically for trekking and mountaineering activities.

If you’re JUST planning on coming to Pakistan to trek or summit a mountain, this is the best option. However, if you want to trek to K2 and also explore other parts of Pakistan independently, you can also get your permits arranged with us while traveling on  this visa. This trekking and mountaineering visa takes almost 4-5 weeks time, from the time you submit your documents to the time you have a visa approval notice. Whereas for normal tourist visa time is about 3 – 10 days. (Without this Trekking and Mountaineering Visa,  one an not get trekking permit to restricted zones like K2 base camp).

Letter of Invitation (LOI)

Foreigners will need to obtain a Letter of Invitation (LOI) before they can apply for a visa. You will be able to get the LOI from us (being a licensed tour operator), along with, company registration documents and any other documents you may need.

TREKKING PERMIT

Permit for K2 Base Camp Trek

Permits: You need a trekking permit to trek there. Once you get a trekking /mountaineering visa, your permit application is submitted byus in Pakistan. It isn’t possible to hike independently and you must book with a registered tour operator and go with a registered guide.

Final NOC from Skardu

You also need a Final No Objection Certificate (NOC) to go ahead from Skardu, which we  sort out for you.

To get the NOC we need following

    • visa,
    • passport with immigration stamps,
    • passport size pictures

and this NOC is obtained in Skardu at the tourism office and will allow entry into the Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP). You need a permit to enter because the park lies in a restricted military area bordering China and India. To enter the National Park, you will need to fill out a visitor registration form and pay an entry fee of about $150 per person (you can check the fees here).

VACCINATIONS

Below we have set out what is the general guidance for travel to Pakistan. We strongly advise you to consult with your own GP or travel clinic near you before traveling. They will have the most up to date and medically accurate information relevant to you, and should be relied upon over these recommendations.

Strongly Advised Vaccinations

– Hepatitis A: This can be spread via contaminated food and water.
– Tetanus: Tetanus is often present in the soil, and can contaminate open wounds easily. Tetanus vaccine should be used every ten years if traveling.
– Typhoid: Typhoid can also be spread via contaminated food and water, and poor hygiene.
– Diphtheria: This potentially fatal disease is spread mainly via spit, but occasionally through contact with cuts on the skin.
– Yellow Fever: This can be contracted by being bitten by a contaminated mosquito. This vaccination is not essential if you are arriving directly in Pakistan. You do need it though if you plan to arrive through any country that is subject to yellow fever. Simply stopping over at an airport in an affected country should not require vaccination, but leaving the airport even briefly would make it necessary.

Malaria

In Pakistan, the risk of malaria is not prevalent in higher altitude regions like Skardu or most Himalaya Karkoram treks we organize. However, travelers should be aware of the risk of malaria in areas below 1,500m, particularly in regions like Islamabad, Naran, Chilas, Rawalpindi, it’s essential to take anti-malarial medication and follow preventive measures such as wearing long-sleeved clothing and using DEET-based mosquito repellent to avoid mosquito bites, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.

INSURANCE

Trekking at high altitude does have dangers. You should ensure that you have good insurance to cover these risks.

It is a condition of booking with VE  that you have medical and accident insurance. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your trip in Pakistan. Please verify that all activities, excursions, and destinations outlined in your itinerary are covered by your travel insurance policy. Additionally, ensure your insurance includes provisions for cancellation, medical expenses, and appropriate altitude coverage.

For treks in regions such as the Karakoram and Himalayas, we recommend coverage up to altitudes of 5600m. If you plan to ascend peaks like Khosar Gang or Pastore Peak, ensure your insurance covers trekking up to 6500m.

Helicopter Evacuation Coverage

Your insurance must cover helicopter evacuation if it becomes necessary. It should also cover the costs of getting home should you miss your scheduled flight due to accident, injury, illness or simple bad luck.

Make sure you get a plan that covers any medical emergencies, repatriation and emergency helicopter rescue

You should have a minimum coverage of $200,000 and ensure that the policy covers and high altitude trekking up to 5,600 meters because helicopter rescue operations do not happen in Pakistan very often and thus, they are very expensive. it costs around 20 thousand USD to be evacuated from Baltoro Karakorum.

You should make sure the tour operator you book with has arrangements of  the heli-deposit to Askari Aviation in Islamabad for the timely helicopter evacuation of trekkers. (Vertical Explorers do have)

How to Choose Travel Insurance for this Trek

We suggest to go with a plan that will cover you for damage to your personal effects and offers compensation for emergency helicopter rescues (just in case). Read the fine print and confirm that you are covered for adventure sports like trekking at altitude.

Some companies won’t cover you if an accident occurs over a certain altitude. Since the maximum altitude gained on the K2 trek is around 5,600 m, you’ll need to be covered up to that elevation.

We recommend the global supplier of travel insurance,  World Nomads who specialise in covering digital nomads and backpackers.

During the pre-trek briefing, please provide a copy of your insurance policy to your guide, who will collect your insurance details. We also advise keeping a copy of your policy summary, including the policy number and emergency contact information for your insurer, in your daypack at all times. This ensures accessibility should we need to contact your insurer on your behalf during your trek.

HEALTH

The Altitude

In the context of trekking to Baltoro and Bifo region of Karakoram in Pakistan, altitude poses a significant factor that requires careful management. Our trekking itinerary has been meticulously designed to allow for adequate acclimatization. Rest days have been strategically incorporated at appropriate elevations, providing ample time for our bodies to adjust to the thin air. Moreover, our team carries a comprehensive supply of medication to address most altitude-related issues.

While our experience has shown that maintaining hydration, observing rest days at significant elevations, and maintaining a good level of base fitness can mitigate potential problems, it’s important to acknowledge that everyone will experience the effects of high altitude to some degree. For those unfamiliar with altitude, pre-trip concerns may arise. However, rest assured that our guides are extensively trained to assist you through the acclimatization process.

Expect to encounter mild symptoms such as headaches, akin to the sensation of wearing tight sunglasses for an extended period. These ‘pressure’ headaches can typically be alleviated by over-the-counter medications like Panadol, Ibuprofen, or by simple remedies like drinking more water, resting, and practicing pressure breathing techniques. It’s crucial to prioritize relaxation, whether it’s through reading, taking short naps, or leisurely activities, to facilitate your body’s adjustment.

Upon reaching new altitudes, one may experience sensations akin to a mild hangover. It’s imperative to adopt a slow and steady pace, refraining from attempting to match the pace of locals.

As part of our acclimatization program, we incorporate ‘active’ rest days. These involve gentle walks to slightly higher elevations, following the principle of ‘climbing high, sleeping low,’ which significantly aids in acclimatization.

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness, also called Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), hypobaropathy and soroche, is an illness caused by exposure to the low air pressure, especially low partial pressure of oxygen, which many trekkers experience at high altitudes.

AMS is caused by exerting yourself at high altitudes, especially if you have not been properly acclimatised. It is most common at altitudes above 2400 metres. Over 6000m above sea level, the air pressure (and the amount of oxygen it contains) is less than half that at sea level, and has been said to be comparable to working with only one lung.

AMS can be serious, especially as it can be debilitating, and it generally occurs far from places where medical treatment can be easily administered.

Not everyone suffers from AMS, of course, and it is very difficult to predict who is or is not vulnerable to it. Generally speaking, a fit person is less vulnerable than an unfit person, because their cardiovascular system can operate at low pressures longer without as much strain. Even so, anyone can be vulnerable at altitudes above 3500 metres, no matter their fitness level, if they have not spent some time getting used to the low atmospheric pressures first.

Avoiding Altitude Sickness

1. Walk high, sleep low. It is best to gradually climb higher each day, then descend lower to sleep. This lets you gradually become accustomed to lower pressures, and then recover somewhat overnight.

2. Slow and steady. You need to keep your respiration rate low enough to maintain a normal conversation. If you are panting or breathing hard, you must slow down. Overworking your heart and lungs substantially increases your chance of becoming ill.

3. Drink much more water than you think you need. Proper hydration helps acclimatisation dramatically. You need to drink at least three litres each day. As dehydration presents many of the same symptoms as altitude sickness, your chances of being allowed to continue are best if you stay hydrated.

  1. Diamox. The general consensus of the research is that Diamox is helpful in avoiding AMS. We recommend you google Diamox and its effects yourself. It is a prescription drug, and you should consult with your doctor before taking it.

it should be taken before trekking, not after symptoms develop.

Note: you can not find Diamox in Pakistan, so need to bring it.

Preventing dehydration

Even if you avoid diarrhoea, you can easily become dehydrated at high altitudes. The lower air pressure forces you to breathe more quickly and deeply, and you lose a lot of water through your lungs. You will also be exerting yourself, and sweating.

The upshot is, as you might expect, that you will have to drink more water. You need to drink at least 3 litres of fluids every day while trekking. Even when you don’t feel thirsty you have to drink this amount as a minimum – preferably more.

Stay on the look-out for signs of dehydration in yourself and your fellow trekkers. The most common symptoms include thirst, dry lips, nose or mouth, headache and feeling fatigued or lethargic. If you think you may be dehydrated, there are two ways to tell:

The color of your urine. Clear or light straw-colored urine means you are probably not dehydrated. Yellow or orange wee means you have not been drinking enough, and you need to up your fluid intake quickly.

Pinch or press firmly on an area of exposed skin. If it does not spring back instantly, or stays pale and bloodless for more than a second or two, you are probably dehydrated.

Avoiding diarrhea

Make sure that your hygiene is as good as possible to avoid picking up a stomach upset. Needless to say, a bout of diarrhea can make a two week-long strenuous trek unpleasant or even impossible.

On the trek itself, we make sure that your food is pure and uncontaminated. You will need to carry a water purification filter or tablets to ensure all water that you drink is safe.

Make sure you follow these simple rules at all times:

If you are not absolutely certain water is pure, do not drink it.

Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet, and before eating or handling food of any kind.

Do not eat raw vegetables or salads. Cooked, preferably boiled veggies only.

Avoid any cold drinks, and ice of any kind.

Water from sealed bottles is generally fine, as are fizzy drinks, wine and beer. Hot tea and coffee are good, as they have just been boiled.

If you do get diarrhea, the most important thing you can do is to stay hydrated. The best thing to drink is a rehydration solution like Dioralyte.

Read more about dehydration below.

Over the counter medicines like Immodium (or anything containing loperamide) are only for short term, mild diarrhoea. Some doctors recommend taking a single, 500mg dose of Ciprofxin, or any ciprofloxacin antibiotic in an emergency situation. This is a prescription medicine, and you should discuss it with your doctor before your trip.

Malaria

In Pakistan, the risk of malaria is not prevalent in higher altitude regions like Skardu or most Karkoram treks we organize. However, travelers should be aware of the risk of malaria in areas below 1,500m, particularly in regions like Islamabad, Naran, Chilas, Rawalpindi, it’s essential to take anti-malarial medication and follow preventive measures such as wearing long-sleeved clothing and using DEET-based mosquito repellent to avoid mosquito bites, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.

Sunburn and UV Protection

While a high altitude trek is hardly a day at the seaside, you will be vulnerable to sunburn if not properly protected. The thin atmosphere at high altitudes blocks much less UV radiation, even on cloudy days.

The three most important things you can do to avoid sunburn are:

  • Apply SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to your face, nose and ears at least 30 minutes before going out into the sun, and reapply regularly. High SPF lip balm is also a must.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat that shades your face, nose and ears.
  • Wear UV-protective sunglasses, category 2-4.

At higher altitudes the sun’s rays are intensified and even on a cloudy day they can penetrate through and still burn you. And do not forget that the sun is at its strongest between 10:00-14:00 hours each day.

Eating well

Many trekkers experience loss of appetite at high altitudes. This is a real problem, as you will be burning an extra 2000 or more calories a day, and not replacing them can cause real problems.

Just like staying hydrated, you have to eat heartily even if you are not hungry. Meals heavy in carbohydrates are best, because they are easier to digest at high altitudes and provide long-term energy.

It is important to keep plenty of small snacks with you, as you will have to keep your energy levels high. Take a favourite treat to make it easier to eat when you do not feel hungry, but avoid anything with honey or syrup, or anything chewy as they are likely to freeze tooth-crackingly solid above 5000 metres. Chocolate, nuts and seeds, biscuits, savoury snacks and boiled sweets are generally better choices.

Body temperature

Every mountain environment has its own climate, and Karakoram has several different weather zones at different heights. Conditions change quickly, and you will be moving between zones as well. A hot and dry day can be followed immediately by snow or rain. Wearing a layered outfit is generally the wisest way to make sure you stay healthy and reasonably comfortable in all conditions.

Above all, make sure to wear warm, wind-and water-proof, breathable clothing on your trek. Get high quality gear too, as this is definitely the real thing. Storms, high winds and freezing temperatures must be expected, and poor quality equipment will fail.

PREPARING FOR YOUR TREK

In anticipation of your trekking adventure in Pakistan, it is essential to undertake adequate preparation to ensure a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. While the trekking routes in Pakistan offer scenic beauty and relatively accessible paths, it is imperative to engage in physical training beforehand.

The trekking trails in Pakistan, including those leading to iconic destinations such as K2 Base Camp, demand endurance and stamina. Expect to hike for approximately 6-7 hours daily over hilly terrain, with occasional ascents of up to 600 meters in elevation. The total trekking distance spans around 144 kilometers, with an elevation gain exceeding 3000 meters.

To adequately prepare for the trek, incorporate a structured training regimen into your routine. This should involve regular hill walking sessions, complemented by activities such as swimming, light jogging or cycling, and strength training exercises at the gym. Strengthening your physical fitness will enhance your ability to tackle the challenges encountered along the trekking route.

For comprehensive assistance with fitness training customized for trekking adventures, we suggest exploring our trek fitness program and visiting our Fitness Training Plans page. By dedicating resources to thorough preparation, you can enhance your enjoyment and increase your chances of success during your trekking expedition in Pakistan.

Equipment & Clothing

Preparing for your trek in Pakistan requires careful consideration of the equipment and clothing you’ll need to ensure a comfortable and safe journey. While we recommend using personal gear for its familiarity and reliability, we understand that rental options are available for those who need them. Planning ahead and packing wisely are crucial steps to maximizing your trekking experience.

In this section, we provide detailed guidance on both the equipment supplied by Vertical Explorers and the clothing essentials you’ll need to bring along. Additionally, we offer recommendations on other accessories and gear you may require for your trek. Whether you opt for personal gear or choose to rent, our goal is to support you in making the most of your adventure while prioritizing your comfort and enjoyment.

Ensuring the right gear for your trek is essential for a comfortable and safe journey. While personal gear is recommended for familiarity, rental options are available for those in need. Plan ahead and pack wisely to make the most of your trekking experience in Pakistan. We encourage using your own gear for optimal comfort and enjoyment during the trek.

While we understand the cost constraints, having personal gear ensures familiarity and reliability

Equipment supplied by  Vertical Explorers

  • 3 man tent per two people
  • Foam sleeping mattress
  • Communal dining tent 
  • Table, chairs and cutlery

 

CLOTHING TO BRING

  • Warm beanie style hat – knitted or fleece
  • Neck gaiter or scarf. It can get dusty in Baltistan and the air very cold. A scarf or balaclava comes in useful for keeping dust out and can double as a warm layer for your neck / face!
  • Sun hat – preferably wide-brimmed for protection
  • Sunglasses – high UV protection
  • Headlamp (plus extra batteries)
  •  
UPPER BODY
  • Thermal or fleece base layer (x2)
  • Long sleeve shirt/tshirt – light or medium weight, moisture wicking (x3)
  • Short sleeved shirt/tshirt – lightweight, moisture wicking (x2)
  • Fleece or soft shell jacket (x2)
  • Insulated jacket – down or primaloft
  • Lightweight water/windproof hard shell outer jacket
  • Gloves – lightweight, fleece or quick drying fabric
LEGS
  • Leggings – thermal or fleece base layer (x1)
  • Trekking trousers – light or medium weight (x2) – convertible trousers work well
  • Waterproof hard shell trousers – ski pants work fine (x1)
  • Gaiters
FEET
  • Trekking boots – mid weight with good ankle support
  • Training shoe or similar – to wear around the campsites
  • Mid-weight trekking socks (x5 pairs)
  • Breathable, high-wicking liner socks (x3 pairs)
  • Thermal trekking socks for upper reaches of your trek (x2 pair)

OTHER ACCESSORIES  

  •           Sunscreen and lip balm – high SPF

·        Toiletries, including toilet paper, wet wipes and hand sanitiser

·        Camera and spare batteries

·        Plug adapter, for charging devices in hotels

·        Personal medication and first aid kit

·        Personal snacks and energy bars – dried fruit and nuts are a good option

·        Isotonic drink powder / energy drink powder to mix in with your water

·        Microfibre towel for wiping hands and face each day

·        Pee bottle, useful for late night toilet needs

EQUIPMENT TO BRING

TREKKING GEAR

·        Small Rucksack or Daypack (30-40 litres) to carry water and personal items

·        Waterproof duffle bag (approx 80-100 litres)

·        Sleeping bag (4 season or -20 Deg C) and compression sack

·        Trekking poles

·        Water bottle or hydration bag – must be able to carry 1.5-2L of water

GEAR RENTAL

We recommend that wherever possible you use your own gear for your trek as this is the best way to ensure your comfort and enjoyment. The quality of rental gear is variable and it is your responsibility to check carefully the condition of any item you rent. We accept no responsibility for the quality of equipment hired. An indication of the likely rental costs is below.

  • Hiking Boots = 3 -4$ per day per pair
  • Crampons = 2-3 $ per day per set
  • Four Season Sleeping Bag: $2-5 per day
  • Down Jacket: $2-3 per day
  • Trekking Poles: $1 per day

 

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