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K2 Base Camp Height: How to Manage the Altitude

k2 base camp height

One of the most frequently asked questions we get about this trip is what is the K2 Base Camp Height?

For people who have never been at altitude before, the thought of going up a glacier to a plant-less moonscape might sound intimidating. 

This article covers everything you need to know about the K2 height from base camp, what to expect in terms of altitude side effects, and how best to prepare for your journey to K2 Base Camp. 

K2 Base Camp Height: Quick Facts

k2 base camp height

How Does the K2 Base Camp Height Effect Your body?

The long journey from Concordia to K2 Base Camp trek will feel harder than your average 15 km trek does – mostly because of the altitude. 

K2 Base Camp is the highest point we sleep during the trek and your body is adapting to the low oxygen levels you are breathing. 

It is normal to feel out of breath if you move too quickly and lightheaded if you stand up too fast. 

The most common symptoms of being above 5000 meters are headaches, lack of appetite, and trouble sleeping. 

To mitigate these side effects, it is absolutely crucial that we follow our acclimatization program along the way to K2 Base Camp by never sleeping too high too fast. 

By the time we reach base camp, your body should already be acclimatized so experiencing extreme symptoms of altitude sickness are very rare. 

k2 base camp height
Getting close to Base Camp!

Things you Can Do to Manage Altitude Sickness Symptoms

There is simply no avoiding the fact that your body will feel different given the height at K2 Base Camp. 

Nobody feels 100% as they do at sealevel up here – including the professional mountaineers or Nepali Sherpa. 

Here are a few things you can do to manage the symptoms of mild altitude sickness:

k2 base camp height
Stay as hydrated as possible.

Should You take Diamox for the K2 Base Camp Trek?

This is a question we get asked a lot and to be honest with you there is no clear-cut answer. 

What is Diamox exactly? Diamox is a prescription medication that reduces the activity of a protein in your body called carbonic anhydrase. Blocking this protein can help reduce the build-up of certain fluids in the body as is commonly used as a preventative for altitude sickness. 

Everyone’s body is different and Diamox truly does affect everyone differently. What works for one person might not work for you and vice versa. 

Our recommendation is that if you have used Diamox before and had good results from it, then use it. 

I have used Diamox a couple of times as have our other guides and for me personally, I don’t like it as I get all kinds of weird side effects from it including severe numbness in my face and hands and nosebleeds. 

The best option when it comes to minimizing altitude sickness symptoms is to just acclimatize properly. When it comes to acclimatization, you just can’t cheat your way through without expecting to feel the effects. 

The main thing is that we want everyone on the trek to feel their best – however you need to acheive that is up to you. 

If you are on the fence about taking Diamox or not for the K2 Base Camp Trek, talk to your doctor and see what they recommend given your health, body type, and age. 

k2 base camp trek
To Diamox or not to Diamox...that is the question.

How Does the K2 Base Camp Height Effect Mountaineering Expeditions?

Ask anyone from a K2 climbing expedition how they feel after being at K2 Base  Camp for 2 months and the answer will almost certainly be: tired

When you spend months at or above 5000 meters, there is no getting around the fact that your body is compensating in all sorts of ways for the lack of available oxygen in the air. 

Most climbers drop a significant amount of weight, have trouble sleeping properly through the night, and generally feel weak after so much time at base camp. 

Of course, they are as acclimatized to the high altitude as is humanly possible – but even though many of them are top athletes, they still feel the effects of being up so high for an extended period of time. 

That said, I have been at base camp when big parties are happening so 5000 meters is not too high to indulge in a little beer and whiskey with your fellow climbers. Shout out to Seven Summit Treks for inviting us to a full-on dance party at your camp last year. 

k2 base camp trek
K2 Base Camp full of expeditions at the height of the season

Concordia K2 Base Camp Height Difference

The height difference between the famous campsite known as Concordia and K2 Base Camp is roughly 400 meters depending on where at base camp you set up shop. 

The altitude difference is not astronomical so you should have a good indicator of how you will feel at K2 Base Camp based on how your body reacts at Concordia. 

Usually, about 80% of our guests experience very mild altitude sickness symptoms like mild headaches and strange dreams. 

Again, because of our strict acclimatization itinerary, having a severe reaction to the altitude is very rare and if someone has a bad reaction it is usually an indicator of an underlying health condition and not just the altitude itself. 

Although altitude sickness should be taken seriously, perspective K2 Base Camp trekkers should not be overly worried. Most serious cases of altitude sickness occur above 7000 and 8000 meters. 

It should be noted that everyone in our group has the option to stay at Concordia and rest if they are not feeling up to the additional trek to K2 Base Camp (though it should not be missed!)

Will Training and Fitness Make You Better Prepared for the Altitude?

Altitude is a funny thing in the sense that it does not matter really how fit or unfit you are – how your body will react at altitude is a roll of the dice that still confuses scientists to this day. 

Certainly, being fitter will mean that you will feel the physical effort of trekking to K2 Base Camp less than someone who is totally out of shape. 

But being a super athlete even does not guarantee that you will not feel the altitude. 

The best way to prepare for the K2 Base Camp Trek is just by hiking in the mountains as much as possible and trying to get to some higher altitudes in the weeks/months before the trip. For most people though, we don’t live in the Himalayas so getting the chance to regularly spend time at 4000 and 5000 meters before the trip is not practical or possible. 

This is another thing to not get too worked up over. Our acclimatization trek into base camp means that you will be slowly getting your body used to being at altitude well before we arrive at the base of K2. 

The point being, don’t let the K2 Base Camp height intimidate you! 

 

k2 base camp trek

How to Join Epic for a K2 Base Camp Trek?

Every summer – June – August – we run multiple K2 Base Camp Trek trips. 

Join our team of experienced local and western guides for the absolute adventure of your life. 

Check out our K2 Base Camp Trek trip page here for the next departure dates. 

If you have any questions about the K2 Base Camp Height or about altitude on this trek, drop us a comment below!

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Welcome to our Journal!

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Here at Epic Backpacker Tours, adventure is constantly on our minds. 

Our blog – or Journal as we like to call it – contains epic trip stories, photo diaries, and news about new tours. 

Thanks for checking it out! 

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The trip we're most stoked about

PAKISTAN
K2 BASE CAMP TREK

Next trip: June 20th – July 10th, 2023

Fairy Meadows

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Our Favorite Experiences

#1 Sunrise from Reflection Lake

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#2 Hiking to Nanga Parbat Base Camp

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#3 Playing cricket with the locals

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Trips Where We Visit Fairy Meadows

Our flagship Pakistani adventure tour.  Road trip with some  hiking and cultural immersion.

A trekking-style tour that features some very remote locations, inlcuding a K2 viewpoint.

Adventure Guide

João has born in the mountains of Madeira Islands in Portugal. Nature lover, writer, musician, guide, for him, a day without contact with outdoor vibes is a nightmare.

With a degree in Cultural Studies in Portugal and a Master of Arts in Global Cultures and Creativity in the U.K.

João found out what really matters in life can be found on the trails, and in the contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Guiding, crazy trekking missions, and sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions. 

After trekking to K2 Base Camp and exploring all over Northern Pakistan, he fell in love with the country and the local people. His experiences resulted in his desire to share these feelings with the world.

João is one of the most experienced guides at Epic and his skillset and positive mindset in the mountains is second to none

When not in Pakistan, João is  guiding and exploring in the Madeira Islands trails –  discovering some of the hidden treasures on his Portuguese Island.

João I can not thank you enough for the off the beaten paths and views you keep giving. Definitely one of the most challenging and amazing hikes we did 1200m meters all the way up to Fanal forest and circling back to the hidden village. Wow!

– Jeffery 

travel hunza valley

Adventure Guide

Sohail is the newest addition to the Epic Backpacker Tours team and we are beyond stoked to have him on board. As a veteran of the Karakoram and a native of Karimabad in Hunza, there is not much Sohail can’t do in the mountains. 

Besides having the ability to speak more languages than we can count, Sohail has explored every corner of Gilgit Baltistan and logs more trekking miles 

in a year than most people will do in a lifetime. As of the summer of 2022, Sohail has summited Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, and K2 – three of Pakistan’s five 8000-meter peaks. Sohail guides several trips including our annual bespoke expeditions but specializes in Hunza Valley tours.

Chris and Sohail, and the team at Epic are FANTASTIC! Highly recommend anyone to do a tour with ‘Epic’. They have the perfect balance of fun, excitement and wild adventures, tied in with being super professional and ensuring your safety/health in a foreign environment. Don’t waste a moment and book a tour with these guys as the value for money is UNREAL!

– Borgan

iran travel tour

Adventure Guide

Pedro’s been traveling all around the globe since 2009. His keen interests in documentary photography, rural life, and local people from different ethnic groups have been the focus of many of his professional projects.

Since 2012, he has developed his passion for travel and awesome shared experiences into a full-time adventure photography tour leader position.

Pedro has found himself continuously going back to the Middle East, with his likely favorite destination being Iran. Pedro will be leading his 11th tour in Iran with EBT this coming spring 2020

When Pedro’s not traveling the world with Epic Backpacker Tours, you’ll find him based in the western south of Portugal planning he’s next adventure missions, logistics and working out his photos in local exhibitions.

 I loved the combination of hiking, camping around breathtaking scenery mixed with the cultural aspects. The guide (Pedro) is knowledgeable and work very hard to make the trip as memorable as possible. All in all an epic adventure with some extremely epic individuals! Go for it, you won’t regret it!

– Saisun

Touring Iran with EBT in May 2022 was way above our expectation: itineraries well planned and carefully executed, perfect mix of sights and trekking, delicious food, nice accommodation, great guides and wonderful fellow travellers. Trekking can be handled by anyone physically fit. Highly recommended for those who want to experience the real Iran.

– Sumera

Diane Bouvet

Adventure Admin / Marketing

After fleeing from the corporate fashion world in Paris towards the start of 2020, Diane has been working as a web developer and graphic designer remotely from various bases across the globe

She brings all of her incredible design and organizational power to Epic Backpacker Tours and is responsible for many of the beautiful behind-the-scenes design elements. 

Diane has been to Iran and to Pakistan twice including all over Gilgit Baltistan and KPK.

k2 gondogoro la trek

Head of Operations | Guide

A veteran of Pakistan travel, Ralph is an experienced guide, photographer and writer who specializes in documenting remote locations. 

Not one to simply go where everyone else does, he insists on exploring new and lesser-known areas.

Together with Epic Backpacker Tours, he shows people parts of Pakistan that most other operators don’t even know about. He is particularly fond of the village of Barah, which he believes will become just as famous as Hunza one day.

Just got back from EBT’s Trekking Amongst Giants 15 day tour. The experience was first class. Ralph, our head guide, ensured that the entire trip ran smoothly and relatively on time (a bonus for anyone travelling in Pakistan). We had so many unforgettable days on the tour and the trekking was well-planned, safe but also a rewarding challenge. 

– Calvin


Traveling to a non-tourist destination can be a little intimidating but EBT takes all of the worry and trepidation away. From the pre-trip call to meeting the wonderful staff in person you can tell that you are dealing with a company that has a passion for what they do each and every day. Ralph, Zahid, and Khan were supportive, kind, and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone on the trip was getting what they wanted out of the experience.

– Katrina 

adventure tours pakistan

Founder | Adventure Guide | Director

For the last eleven years, Chris has been seeking out every shade of adventure in various parts of the globe and had visited more than 65 countries along the way. 

Since 2011, Chris has logged more than 6300 trail miles across five continents and climbed multiple 6000 + 7000 meter peaks in Pakistan and Nepal.

In 2017, a distant dream and a deep passion for the mountains and people of Pakistan led Chris to found Epic Backpacker Tours at a time when foreign adventure tourism in Pakistan was almost nonexistent. Since then, Chris has guided more than 15 expeditions to various parts of Northern Pakistan.

Chris believes in using photography and powerful adventure experiences to dismantle negative stereotypes regarding what mainstream media considers “dangerous” countries while facilitating unique and meaningful memories in the mountains for countless people from around the globe. 

Long-distance hiking, learning languages, meaningful conversations, all things Turkish food, mountaineering, and making tasty coffee above 6,000 meters rank among his favorite things in life. 

For him, an ideal start to the day begins with a steaming cup of good coffee, the beam of a headlamp, alpine boots, and a camera in hand.

When he is not leading or planning tours, Chris works as a writer and photographer on his blog Off the Atlas – an adventure travel blog all about Pakistan. 

Read this interview our staff did with Chris to learn more about him!

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Will De Villers

Pakistan is a magical country! Had 3 of the best weeks of my life thanks to Epic Backpacking Tours with owner, and one of our awesome guides, Chris. From detailed itinerary, preparation with an equipment list, and visa assistance. To amazing food, great porters, helpful guides, and great accommodations. Epic really hit home run after home run. […]

Their desire for adventure and amazing trip is just as high as yours. Bring a good pound of coffee for the trip. French press coffee every morning and no average tin coffee, plus you’ll be in your guides good books.

– Clark Tyler

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