So here you are. You have been researching the K2 Base Camp Trek; your adventure fire is lit and you want to get out there yourself soon.
But with so many tour operators on offer… you are having trouble deciding which company to go with. We understand that this is a big decision as the choice will impact not only your bank account but your safety and all-around experience doing the K2 Base Camp Trek as well.
Like most things in life, in this vast wilderness landscape of tour operators, not all companies are created equal. This article breaks down why Epic Backpacker Tours is among the best in the business running the K2 Base Camp Trek and should leave you feeling confident that you shall be in good hands should you choose to take this epic journey with our professional team.
Let’s get into it…
1. We Prioritize Safety Above All Else
Our number one priority is making sure you are safe throughout this entire expedition to K2 Base Camp and back home. Full stop.
We have watched countless times as other trekking groups find themselves in rough situations with limited solutions because of the lack of preparedness by their guides. We vowed from day 1 that this would never be us.
Our guides always carry multiple communications devices in case of an emergency event so that we can contact outside help if need be. Much to our amazement, many other companies don’t do that – only because they can not be bothered to spend the extra money required to have a satellite phone subscription! To us, this is unacceptable and puts the whole group in danger.
In addition to carrying sat phones and two-way radios, we always carry a Garmin In-Reach. This satellite-based device has the capability to send messages to any email address or cell phone from anywhere in the world.
2. Epic Always Has Two Experienced Guides
When you have a group of 10 people, it is impossible for one guide to give the proper attention to ever team member.
This is why we always have two guides: 1 western guide, and 1 local guide.
Our guide staff has YEARS of experience operating in this region and have a passion for adventure well beyond leading these trips.
In addition to being avid long-distance trekkers, our guide staff have summited multiple 6000, 7000, and 8000-meter peaks including K2, Spantik, Island Peak, Mera Peak, Gashebrum 2 and many more.
The point is, our staff has plenty of hands-on experience in the big mountains and are well equipped to deal with the challenges and highs and lows the trip to K2 Base Camp often entails!
3. Our Chefs Work with a Custom Menu
As much as we love rice, daal, and chapati, we also know the importance of having a diverse menu catering to western tastes.
Food is a huge part of the K2 Base Camp Trek for obvious reasons. We are out on the trail for nearly 2 weeks and what we eat is the literal fuel for our journey. We have trained our chefs to prepare custom dishes that are packed with flavor, calories, and nutrition, while also serving up special treats like French fries, Pizza, fresh popcorn, and hand-rolled Samosas.
In case you have dietary preferences, our chefs are also happy to cater to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets.
Our food program can be summed up with this quick story:
Last year, we invited a French woman from another team to join our camp as she was having some sort of issues with her group. When breakfast was served, her jaw literally hit the floor. She could not believe that we were serving fresh mango, melon, omelets, naan, Nutella, jams, butter, granola, and a bunch of other stuff, all served with organic French press coffee. She told us that she was not getting any eggs or any fruit, just bland oatmeal every morning. We looked on as she scraped the Nutella jar clean of any trace of leftovers with a smile on her face.
4. Premium Tents, Solar Lighting, and Shower Facilities
There is no other way to say it: the Karakoram environment is harsh – but that does not mean it has to be uncomfortable.
When thinking about our camp set-ups, we incorporated our experience testing different tents and have settled on very roomy 4-season tents that can handle wind, snow, and all of the general abuse that comes with camping in the Karakoram. The tents have the capacity to house 2 large men plus their gear comfortably (thin mattresses are also provided; these are meant to go underneath your air mattress for added insulation and comfort).
When night falls, camp is illuminated by various lighting systems including solar string lights and dining area lights.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is but how do we shower out there for 2 weeks?
Upon request, we are able to provide hot bucket showers in a private shower tent. While nothing fancy, the hot bucket shower can go a long way in improving how one feels at the end of the way of trekking in the sun and dust.
Cold showers at the lower camps are also possible (when the temperatures are warm).
5. Epic Pays our Staff Well Above the Average Wage
Without our local staff, the K2 Base Camp Trek is simply not possible. From our porter teams and cooks to our local guides and drivers; each one of these individuals plays a crucial role that allows us to do what we do.
One of the founding principles of Epic is to provide a living wage to the people who make our trips possible. We charge more than budget operators do for this trip so that we can pay our people a fair wage.
Local budget operators (a quick Google search will tell you who these companies are) pay their staff a shockingly low rate. Their lead guides might only make $20 USD a day or less. And the porters – they often receive the lowest possible payment that they will accept.
The costs to run the K2 Base Camp Trek are quite high given all that is involved, so if a company is charging you under $2000 USD to join their trip, we can guarantee you that they are paying their staff almost nothing.
We do understand that our trip price is higher than some travelers’ budgets – but it should be understood that if you do decide to go with a budget tour operator, the local labor force will be financially exploited – this is just a sad truth of the tourism game in Pakistan.
Beyond the comforts and better food we offer our clients, the fact that we pay our staff a fair wage for the services they provide should be reason enough to choose Epic Backpacker Tours for the K2 Base Camp Trek.
6. The Epic Style
What is the Epic Style?
Cultivated and ever-evolving, the Epic style can be defined like this: come as a client, leave as life-long friends.
These sorts of expeditions attract a certain kind of person and without fail, our K2 Base Camp Trek trips attract some truly exceptional humans from all over the world.
On average, our expeditions have 7-8 different nationalities per trip, which means we never get the “all-American” or “all-German” group. We love the diversity and it is part of the reason why our groups end up being so unique.
There is a reason why we have many clients coming back to do new trips with us year after year.
7. Our K2 Base Camp Trek Itinerary is Long to Ensure Proper Acclimatization
As a wise man once said, you are nothing without acclimatization.
Operating at high altitudes requires many things, but perhaps the two most important factors are time and acclimatization.
Our K2 Base Camp Trek Itinerary is 21 days for a reason. We take it slow on the trail, ensuring that each member’s body has the chance to properly acclimatize to an environment with lower oxygen levels.
We believe that having any fewer days for trekking or rest is not advisable and would be to invite symptoms of altitude sickness.
8. Epic Staff is Trained for Wilderness First Aid Scenarios
While our staff are not doctors, they are trained in wilderness first aid procedures.
If you are seriously injured or ill along the K2 Base Camp Trek, our staff can render emergency medical treatment until the member is able to receive proper care in a hospital if need be.
The guides carry an extensive first aid kit and they are able to treat superficial wounds like cuts and scrapes, minor sprains or burns, as well as a variety of gastronomic ailments.
9. One-on-One Pre-Tour Phone Calls
Epic is one of the few trekking-focused companies that take the time to have multiple one-on-one video conferences with our clients.
We believe that to ensure the best experience for our clients, we prepare each client as much as possible before our boots even hit the ground.
On these calls we can devlop personalized training plans (especially if you are on the older side), go over the packing list and any gear-related questions, provide answers for questions about safety and security in Pakistan, book accommodation for you pre/post tour, and much more,
This is the Epic difference; we are there for you before, during, and after your trip because we truly want to make this adventure one that you walk away from with your “trekking” mind blown and “adventure” heart full.
10. Check Out our Reviews
Wrap Up: Why You Should Choose Epic for the K2 Base Camp Trek
This list of what sets Epic Backpacker Tours apart from the rest of the tour operator pack goes on, but we shall end it here.
By now, you should have a good idea of what we stand for as a company and what level of service you should expect from us versus other operators.
The K2 Base Camp Trek is one hell of a journey and we want to be the ones who are with you every step of the way as you make your way to the world’s second-highest mountain and back home.
If you are keen to join us for the K2 Base Camp Trek – either this year or next – please email us to book a call with one of our adventure staff so we can start our custom planning and preparation for your trek with us.