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K2 Base Camp Trek FAQ

Fitness Level

Strenuous: The K2 Base Camp Trek is a challenge even for experienced hikers. As a group, we spend 12 days trekking deep into one of the world’s wildest mountain ranges. Unlike in Nepal, there are no villages beyond Askole or Hushe. This an expedition style trek, meaning we carry all of our gear with us. We employ many local porters and mules to help us carry the supplies that will make the trek to K2 a comfortable and rewarding experience.

At altitude, every person’s body is different, but having a comfortable fitness level will only benefit you in the mountains. Ideally, our guests will have already spent some time at or above 4,000 meters. EBT will ensure that our group has proper time to acclimatize en route to higher elevations. Our trekking days will certainly not be “death marches” and all trekking days are of reasonable distance and intensity.

Who should apply?

The perfect candidate:

  • You want to visit the base of the world’s 2nd highest mountain.
  • You are comfortable in mountain environments.
  • You love being part of an adventure team.
  • You’re a keen hiker and maintain decent fitness.
  • You don’t need to be connected to the internet.
  • You’re a team player and understand that plans sometimes change.
  • You are keen to head on a real adventure.
  • You have experience trekking at altitude.
  • You are capable of trekking for 5-7 hours per day.
  • You do NOT have a fear of heights.
  • You are interested in getting to know one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the world.
  • You have done a fair bit of traveling before.
  • You have a basic understanding of cultural awareness.
  • You have a positive attitude and want to gain new amazing life experiences.

Why do I need to book a Tour? Can I do the K2 Base Camp Trek on my own?

Because the Central Karakoram National Park crosses some restricted military zones (within the park are natural boundaries with China and India), you must have a guide and obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC), which only tour companies can issue for this region.

Epic Backpacker Tours sorts out all of your permits well in advance of the trip. We check in with park police when we enter Central Karakoram National Park.

Trekkers without an organized guide will not be allowed into the park to attempt the trek.

What is the food like on the trek?

Food in Pakistan is pretty repetitive – there’s a lot of daal, chicken, and rice. We will try to mix this up where possible (especially in the cities) by taking you to some great restaurants.

Food whilst camping will be the best possible quality, but please have realistic expectations of what our camp cooks can deliver. There won’t be any lasagne and red wine (unless you bring the wine), but the food will be healthy and tasty.

Breakfast
: Typically includes an omelet/fried eggs, fried Pakistani bread (paratha), pancakes, jam, Nutella, honey, etc + green tea/French press coffee. 

Lunch: Every day, each member is issued a packed lunch. This keeps it easy while hiking as you can stop whenever you want to eat your lunch. A typical packed lunch includes a boiled egg + potato, a few chapatis (local flat bread), cheese, dried nuts/chocolate, and a few sweets. 

Dinner: The main event! We pride ourselves on hiring the same cooks every year because they know how to deliver our custom, top-notch food menu!

After our nightly soup course, dinner will be a mix of curry vegetables, rice, noodle dishes (like chow mein or pasta with red sauce, daal (lentils), meat (mutton or chicken), French fries, and, salad.

Dessert is something different every night, but for the first week of the trek, expect to have fresh mangoes and melon!

Note: Vegetarians/vegans/gluten/lactose-free can be accommodated as well! 

Note: In general, the food in Pakistan is SPICY (especially in Punjab). Again, we always try to accommodate dietary needs but keep in mind that options can be limited at times if you can’t do spicy food. There will ALWAYS be some decent vegetarian and non-spicy items, but you also need to have realistic expectations regarding Pakistani cuisine, which can be meat-heavy, and SPICY. Please let us know early on if you have any diet restrictions/preferences. If you are vegetarian/vegan, you might want to consider bringing some of your own food (for snacks/breakfast stuff), as it can be very difficult to cater to individuals in a big group, though we always do our best.

Will there be sweet, sweet WiFi on our trip?

Once we leave Islamabad, fast WiFi as we know it in the west is basically non-existent. Whilst there may be small amounts of phone coverage on the trip, you should view this adventure as a chance to unplug. In the mountains, there is zero phone signal so there is no point in buying a SIM card as it will only work in a few places. There is slow wifi in the hotels in Skardu, but it hardly works and there are often power outages.

What kind of guides will we have?

Epic Backpacker Tours founder, Chris Lininger leads the K2 Base Camp Trek along with a team of local Balti guides, cooks, and porters.

Check out our meet the team page here.

What is the accommodation like in Pakistan?

Prices are based on the sharing of rooms/tents and single (same sex) members of the group will typically be put together. We will be using nice guesthouses/hotels that offer very comfortable, but simple, facilities. Sometimes rooms might be without air-conditioning (although the rooms in Islamabad we will definitely have AC). In Skardu the rooms have fans.

Once we arrive in Askole to start the trek, our accommodation will be in tents until we return back to Skardu. The tents are high quality, waterproof, and comfortable.

If you’d like to have your own tent for the duration of the trek we can arrange it at cost. The single supplement cost for a single tent and a single hotel room is $500. 

If you would like your own hotel room in Skardu and Islamabad, the extra cost is $200.

Do the guides carry satellite phones?

Yes. Our guides are equipped with industry standard satellite phones for use during emergencies and for communication with our supply team. The guides also carry two way satellite messengers with GPS technology so that in case of emergency, we can give response teams are exact location.

At times, the satellite phone is available for guests to use at the cost of $2/minute.

How does EBT accept payment?

EBT accepts deposit payments on our website through our booking platform (Stripe). Clients can pay using major credit/debit cards for the initial booking reservation.

After the initial booking, EBT collects the final balance payment through direct bank deposit.

Does EBT sort out my Pakistani Visa?

Yes and no. Applying for the visa is your responsibility. EBT provides you will ALL the supporting documentation you need to apply for a Pakistani tourist visa including a Letter of Invitation.

Recently, it has become quite easy to apply for your Pakistani visa using the new Evisa scheme. The whole process can take several weeks, but EBT has never had one of our clients be denied a visa in our seven year history. 

Where do I need to apply for my visa?

You will apply for your Evisa online on the NADRA Pakistan website. 

You can also usually get a visa in another country if you have a residency visa there. You will need a letter of invitation for your visa application and we will provide this, as well as tips on how to make the visa application as stress-free as possible, once your spot is confirmed.

Please note your LOIs – which you need for your visa applications – are included in the cost of this tour and will be sent out to you approximately three to four months before the start of the tour.

Please do not apply for your visa prior to receiving all of the necessary documents from us first! 

What sort of equipment do I need to come on this trip?

Check out the trip packing list here

The big important items are a good sleeping bag, rain gear, down jacket, sturdy hiking boots, water filter bottle, day backpack, sun protection, etc). You will need to bring your own climbing harness, crampons (or micro spikes), and helmet.

Tents and other group gear are provided.  

Do I need technical mountaineering skills or experience to come on this trip?

No you do not. Crossing the pass at Gondogoro La is the most serious aspect of this trek in terms of difficulty. Rock fall, ice, and poor route conditions are all assessed by our team prior to ascending/descending the pass.

You will be clipped into to a fixed rope from the top of the Gondogoro La for safety/security reasons. Crampons are very rarely needed for this section, but we believe it is always best to have them just in case.

Is insurance included in the tour?

No it is not. To travel on this tour, you must buy travel insurance. We will provide recommendations closer to the start of the trip. If you don’t buy travel insurance, you will not be allowed to come on the trek.

It is Mandatory for every trip participant to take out a travel membership with Global Rescue. This is because they are one of the few companies who organize helicopter evacuation in Pakistan in the case of an emergency. Note that this is NOT full medical travel insurance. Global Rescue also offers full medical travel insurance, but the important policy to take out is a Global Rescue Membership. If you don’t want to go with Global Rescue for medical travel insurance, that’s fine – but again, all members MUST have the Global Rescue Membership that covers helicopter evacuations. 

Will the trip run exactly as the itinerary is planned?

EBT staff does everything in their power to ensure things run smoothly. When it comes to flights, weather, road construction, etc, these factors are out of our control

However, it is important to remember that adventure travel is all about the journey, and so even the unexpected situations we may face should be treated as part of the overall experience. If we encounter issues we will get them sorted to the best of our ability.

We have factored in buffer days in case of delay so that we still have enough time to do the whole planned itinerary, even if we are unable to fly to Skardu due to poor weather conditions.

Where will I need to fly into to start the tour?

You need to arrive into Islamabad, Pakistan and be at the hotel/meeting spot by the morning of day 1. Ideally you will arrive a day early to rest and gear up for the start of our adventure. You will be picked up from the airport by a member of our team providing you arrive within 24 hours of midday on day 1. If you arrive outside of those days, you’ll need to sort your own transfer – advice will be provided.

Is pre-tour accommodation provided?

Your accommodation is NOT included for the days leading up to the start of the tour or the days after the tour has ended. Day 1 is the first day accommodation is included. If you need an affordable place to stay before or after the tour starts/ends, we can provide recommendations. It is possible to find a very nice hotel room in Islamabad for $40-50/night (less if you share the room with a fellow tour guest).

Do I need to sign a release waiver?

All tour participants will be required to sign an industry-standard waiver releasing Epic Backpacker Tours from any liability related to any aspect of the K2 Base Camp Trek.

Can anyone come on this trip?

*If you are over our 55 years old age limit but think you are up to the physical challenge of the K2 Base Camp Trek, please email us to book a call with our adventure consulting staff to see if you qualify for this adventure. 

Once you have secured your spot, we will arrange a call so that we can have a short trip debriefing and interview. The interview is a chance for your tour leader to get to know you better before the start of the tour. If we don’t think you’re quite right, we will refund 100% of your money.

This call is also part of our one on one pre-tour preparation. Other companies don’t do this – which is one more reason why we pride ourselves in going above and beyond for our clients before, during, and after the trip. 

The upper age limit is 55 and we ask that our guests be a minimum of 20 years old.

Potential guests looking to join us on this trek need to have prior experience trekking in the mountains, to have decent fitness as mentioned above, and a positive attitude to join an awesome group of people from around the world.

Have a question about the Epic Backpacker Tours K2 Base Camp Trek ?

Feel free to send us a message using our contact page!

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, sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions.

After his trek to K2 Base Camp and other adventures in the north of Pakistan, the love of the country and the local people resulted in his desire to share these feelings with world.

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 base camp trek guide

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. 

 

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

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.”

– Alicia Anne Bjerkseth