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Trekking to the base camp of K2 - the lord of the harshest mountain in the world - Karakoram / from Turkic - Black rocks/. While unknown to the general public, Karakoram is perhaps the most impressive mountain. It is located north of the most northwest parts of the Himalayas and is 500 km long and 350 km wide. Karakoram is the most ice-bound area on Earth outside the polar circles! Almost 50% of its territory is covered by glaciers (by comparison, in the Himalayas it is less than 20%). The highest peak K2 is 8611 m - ranking second in the world! The Siachen Glacier is the world's second longest (76 km), whereas three of the world's six longest glaciers are located in Karakoram (the others are in Pamir and Chilean Patagonia). More than 60 peaks are over 7000 m above sea level, some of them still pristine; this list features four of the 14 eight-thousanders - K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum 1 and 2! The local name of K2 is Chogori (derived from Balti word for the high mountain), and the etiology of K2 is quite interesting and familiar to a narrow circle of mountaineers and travellers. When mapping the mountain, the peaks were labeled with temporary names in the order of their numbering and the letter K (from Karakoram) in front. K2 was second on the list, and when it was later found to be the second highest in the world, the short code K2 was a perfect name for this giant. Other peaks such as K1, K3, K4 and K5 were renamed and known today, respectively, as Masherbrum, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum 2 and 1. An Italian expedition was the first to successfully scale the peak in 1954 amid notorious events, but you will hear about it there.
K2 is located more than 10 days away from the last settlement, making it one of the most isolated areas in the world! This summit is a symbol of inaccessibility in the alpine circles - its lethal reputation gives a peculiar halo and inspires awe even among the greatest climbers. What do you need for this adventure? A good sleeping bag, a nice camera and an adventurous spirit! Our programme in Pakistan includes not only a trek to the K2 base camp, but also a different trail for our way back - through the stunning Gondogoro La pass, which is also our highest point along the trek (5670 m). The view from Gondogoro La is one of the most mesmerising and striking on earth. Of course, we will experience to the full Pakistani lifestyle and culture; here is our programme in more detail:
Flight Sofia - Islamabad. We check in at a hotel and have a meeting with the Alpine Club of Pakistan at the Ministry of Tourism! Our local team consists of experienced mountaineers who have worked with some of the world's greatest climbers for the past over 40 years! If there is time, we will visit the old town of Rawalpindi, the centre of Islamabad and the Taxila Museum.
After breakfast, we start a 12-hour drive to Chilas on the amazing Karakoram Highway. We cross the Indus Valley and we will have a unique view of the world's three highest mountains - the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush!!! Lunch at a restaurant on the way (included in the price). Arrival in Chilas and overnight stay at a hotel.
We spend another 12 hours along the Karakoram Highway to Skardu. On the way, we can see Nanga Parbat, the northwest Himalayan eight-thousander, and one of the world's most difficult peaks, rich in heroic and tragic history. Lunch at a restaurant on the way (included in the price). Skardu /2350 m/ is the main hiking and climbing centre of Pakistan. This is the gateway to the remarkable peaks and glaciers of Karakoram. Overnight stay at a hotel.
We have a jeep drive to Askoli /3050 m/. We get there in 5 hours to enjoy the wilderness and the steep slopes of Karakoram. This is the last settlement on the way to Concordia and K2, and our first camping night. The party starts here!
The trek starts without much difficulty to Jhola /3300 m/; it will take us 6 hours with the breaks. Our first glacier is Biafo Glacier, one of the longest in the world and second in the Karakoram after Siachen. We will camp near the place where the Pangah River flows into the Baltoro River.
Trek to Paiyu /3400 m/ - 6 hours. Our last day in the green belt. In the Balti language, paiyu means 'salt'. Views of some of the most emblematic Karakoram peaks Trango and Uli Biafo are opening up. Our emotions are overflowing and adrenaline keeps us awake until late at night.
Time to rest, acclimatisation day at the Paiyu camp. We are happy to see Mount Paiyu towering above us. We are amazed at the owe-inspiring Baltoro glacier, near the camp.
Trekking from Paiyu to Koburtse /3600 m/. The etymology of Koburtse is associated with the meaning of the words Ko and Burtze, respectively, "taste" and "firewood". It's up to you to make sense of that.
Trekking from Koburtse to Urdukas /4130 m/. Urdukas means "a stone broken into two pieces". We are already treated with stunning views of 7-thousanders, and we get ready for our encounter with an 8-thousander on the following day.
Trekking from Urdukas to Goro II (4250 m). Goro means crushed rock. Our cameras are ready for take-off because we already see Broad Peak / 8047m/, Gasterbrum 4, Masherbrum and Muztagh Tower! A head-spinning day. We start acclimatising because we will go even higher up in the mountain
Trekking from Goro II to Concordia (4600 m). Concordia is one of the most memorable places in the world - Godwin Austen and Baltoro glaciers merge here and this crossroads reveals the most breathtaking views of the mountain!!! There are 50 peaks of over 6000 m around us and this view will be etched in our memory forever. The Abruzzi and Savoy glaciers are nearby, too. Now we understand why Karakoram is the outworldly wild place it is.
Trekking to K2 Base Camp /5400 m/ and back to Concordia! We will never forget this trek until our dying day. One of the climaxes in our journey to Pakistan and Karakoram! Above us, we see the 3500 m south face of K2 with the Abruzzi Spur - the classic route to the peak! Another highlight in this picture is Broad Peak /8047m/!
Trek to Ali Camp /5000 m/.
We cross the Gondogoro La (the Gondogoro pass) and descend to Kuspang (4700 m). The trek is not easy because we have to put up with the glacier, stones, and the whims of the weather. We start before sunrise to use the hardened snow, which is much easier to walk on and safer from avalanches and stonefalls. This is the second climax in our trek !!!
Kuspang - Shaycho /3500 m/. Another tough trek where we cross a glacier. We will be amazed at the beauty of Laila Peak and Masherbrum! Now it is easier to sleep as we go down to under 4000 m.
Last day of the trekking programme. Today we reach the first settlement on this side of the mountain - the village of Hushe. Located at 3000 m, it will bring us to back to greenery, water and the beauties at this altitude! Last camp near the village.
Jeep drive back to Skardu (7hrs). Overnight stay at a hotel.
Skardu - Chilas by bus (12 hrs). Lunch at a restaurant on the way (included in the price). Overnight stay at a hotel.
Chilas - Islamabad (12 hrs) and sightseeing in the city. Lunch at a restaurant on the way (included in the price). We bid goodbye to our porters. Overnight stay at a hotel.
Flight Islamabad - Sofia.
Depending on the local team and the conditions (transport, accommodation, porters, weather, etc.), the tour operator may change some days of the programme! Further details, upon booking.о
Prices: EUR 3099
The price covers:
The price does not cover:
Booking and payment:
• mountain boots – at least 3-season
• backpack (women: 40-50 l, men 60-75 l) and sleeping bag (-10 degrees)
• thermal underwear
• fleece and sweater
• trekking poles
• cabin and hotel clothes - a lot of pairs
• socks – a lot of pairs
• warm clothes (thick jacket)
• headlamp (with extra batteries)
• water bottle or vacuum flask
• outdoor knife
• UV-protection sunglasses
• swimming suit, towel
• other – personal stuff; a camera is not a bad idea :)
• ID documents – valid international passport