Gondogoro Pass is a 5585 meter high mountain pass in the Baltistan region of Pakistan 25 km south of the world’s second-highest peak, K2. It connects the Gondogoro Glacier on the southwest and the Vigne Glacier on the northeast. On the southwest side, the route down from the pass descends into the Hushe village which contains the uppermost settlements of the Ghangche District. Most climbers and trekkers approach from the northeast side. In 1986, a route was established that connects Concordia in the upper Baltoro Glacier to the Hushe Valley over the Gondogoro Pass. Since then, this challenging technical pass has attracted trekkers and climbers alike. This pass has one of the most overwhelming mountain panoramas anywhere in the world, with all of the Karakoram’s 8000m peaks close at hand. The Gondogoro La, though popular with trekkers, involves Class 4 climbing with crampons. The northeast side has up to 50-degree snow slopes with avalanche danger requiring fixed ropes. The southwest side is a longer, continuous 50-degree slope with rock-fall and avalanche danger that requires fixing as much as 300 meters of rope.
When to visit
The pass is easier to cross earlier in the season and can be attempted as early as the mid in June; earlier and one is likely to be the first party of the season to break the trail. The pass may be approached either from the Askole village up the Baltoro Glacier valley to Concordia and then Ali Camp on Vigne Glacier northeast of the pass, or via the Hushe Valley (past the mouths of the Charakusa Glacier valley on the east and the Masherbrum glacier valley on the northwest, and passing just west of Laila Peak.
Even though the ascending and descending sides of the pass have fixed dynamic ropes, crossing this pass requires good judgement, top fitness, prior acclimatisation, and basic mountaineering skills. Highly skilled high altitude local climbers remain near the top of the pass during the climbing season to maintain the ropes and assist.
Numerous climbers regard this region as having some of the finest mountain scenery anywhere in the world. At Gondogoro Pass, one overlooks to the northeast what Galen Rowell termed the “Throne Room of the Mountain Gods.” Apart from dozens more, one can see the following famous peaks from the pass:
- Broad Peak
- Laila Peak
- Gasherbrum I
- Gasherbrum II
- Gasherbrum III
- Gasherbrum IV
- Trinity Peak
Attractions: This pass has one of the most overwhelming mountain panoramas anywhere in the world, with all of the Karakoram’s 8000m peaks close at hand. The Gondogoro La, although popular with trekkers, involves Class 4 climbing. The North side is a 50-degree snow slope with Avalanche danger requiring fixed ropes. The south side is a continuous 50-degree slope with rock-fall and avalanche danger that requires fixing as much as 300m of rope. Crossing this pass requires good judgement, commitment, top fitness, prior acclimatization and basic mountaineering skills of all members.
Accessibility: One can reach there by 8-10 days walking from Askole Shigar valley of Gilgit Baltistan, which is preceded by a jeep ride of 6-7 hours from Skardu Capital of Baltistan Region of Pakistan. An alternative access path is 3-4 days walk via Hushe valley.