2022 Dates: July 4 – 24, 2022
Group Size: 14-16 Price: $4000
Located in the far reaches of the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan on the border of India and China, the Central Karakoram National Park is home to the world’s second highest mountain: K2.
Experience the jaw dropping landscapes of the magical Karakoram range in Pakistan as we hike amongst some of the planet’s tallest peaks on an expedition-style trek of a lifetime.
|July 4th - 24th, 2022||$700||$4000|
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Arrive into Islamabad airport where you will be met by the EBT staff member (if you are arriving within 24 hours of the start of the tour); we’ll ferry you to the hotel where you can chill out and freshen up. We recommend arriving into Islamabad at least one day early so that you can settle in and be ready to go on the morning of day one. Note: accommodation pre-tour is not included.
After our team has assembled, we will have our first group introduction briefing and lunch.
Dinner will be at one of our favorite places in Islamabad. Our team will return to the hotel and retire early for a good nights sleep. We have a flight to catch in the morning!
The plan is for our whole group to catch an early morning flight to Skardu (50 minutes), the largest city in Baltistan. If the weather is clear, we can catch some truly epic views of Nanga Parbat and other massive peaks in the area. Once in Skardu guests will have free time throughout the day to rest and to explore the city and the bazaar. Today, we will finalize our trekking permits at the local government office and have dinner together as a group. Over dinner, you will be properly introduced to our good friend and lead Balti guide for the duration of the trek, Mr. Zahid.
Day 2 Alternative: Islamabad to Skardu by Road
Unfortunately, flights in Pakistan do not always run on time. If we are unable to take our flight on the morning of day two, it is possible that we will have to drive overland to Skardu from Islamabad (25-30 hours). This journey takes a lot of time as the road from Gilgit to Skardu is in an appalling state. EBT staff will evaluate what the best options are for the group and go from there. Flying is obviously the best case scenario!
To break up the drive, we would sleep in Chilas for the night before pushing on to Skardu the next day.
Today, the EBT team is busy food shopping and packing all of the group supplies. Guests have free time in the city during the morning and early afternoon. In the late afternoon (time permitting), we will visit the Kharpocho Fort as a group for those who want to come. We will have dinner again as a group before setting off in the morning.
*If the group is arriving overland from Islamabad, the entire schedule is bumped back a day, to allow for a day of rest in Skardu (that is why we schedule in buffer days!)
Today, out adventure begins in earnest! Our team will assemble early at the hotel and after breakfast, we will load up the 4×4 jeeps and begin the bumpy, dusty drive past Askole to Jhula camp – the gateway to Central Karakoram National Park. The journey from Skardu takes between 7 and 10 hours depending on road conditions. We will eat lunch en route.
As of 2021, the road into the national park has been extended – which means we can now start the trek from Jhula camp instead of Askole – which saves us a day of hot, dusty trekking on the road.
We will arrive at Jhula in the late afternoon and sleep at a permanent trekkers camp at Jhula.
It is also possible that we will need to spend an extra day in Skardu finalizing our permits if they are not ready the day before (again, this is why we schedule buffer days!).
Trail report: Early start with 7-9 hours of trekking. Mostly flat again, with small gains and descents. The day is hot, exposed to much sun, and dusty. Sunscreen and lots of water will be your greatest friend today! We may be treated by a rowdy Balti music session from the porters after dinner at camp.
Cold “showers” (a faucet basically) are available.
Trail report: 6-8 hours of hiking. After about about an hour of walking, we will enter onto the Baltoro Glacier. We will be hiking along the mighty Baltoro until we reach Concordia in several days time. The terrain is hilly, rocky, and uneven, with a few scattered bit of proper trail. Khoburtse camp can feel a bit cramped, but there is a beautiful waterfall nearby as well as fine opportunities for sunrise view points. Toilets are basic.
Trail report: Easy day, finishing after about 5 kilometers (2-4 hours). As we gain in altitude, we are mindful not to push ourselves to hard or sleep too high too fast.
Urdukas is a truly spectacular campsite, and one of our favorites along the whole trek. Excellent views of Trango Towers, Muztagh Tower, and Lobsang can be seen directly from camp.
Trail report: 5 – 8 hours of moderate difficulty up and down glacier terrain. Today we are starting to feel the altitude. Lunch stop at Goro 1. Temperatures can drop below zero at night at Goro 2. Basic toilets at the camp.
Spectacular views along the trail of Masherbrum, Gasherbrum IV, and the summit of Broad Peak can be seen from just outside your tent.
Trail report: Today we reach the “Throne Room of the Gods”, aka Concordia. 5-7 hours of pleasant trekking over glacier, with more ice present than previous days.
Amazing views of Gasherbrum IV, Mitre Peak, Broad Peak, Marble Peak, and of course, K2 can be seen from camp!
Temperatures at Concordia drop well below freezing at night and snow/snowfall is possible here any time of the year. After a great dinner and solid rest, tomorrow we head to K2 Base Camp!
Trail report: Early (6 am) start to K2 Basecamp. Total trekking distance to Concordia is roughly 15 km. We will visit the Art Gilkey Memorial and then head to K2 Base Camp for tea and to chit chat with expedition teams hoping for a successful summit bid.
Today is a BIG trekking day, but the terrain is relatively easy. Most of the route follows the Godwin-Austen Glacier directly to the base of mighty K2.
We sleep at K2 Base Camp tonight, enjoying the views of the mighty Savage Mountain.
After our big hike to K2 Base Camp, we will spend the day relaxing at the camp – reading, drinking tea, eating, going on short explorations of the area – this is the agenda for this chill day.
K2 Base Camp is one of the most spectacular campsites in Pakistan and we want to take a full day to soak it in without any major trekking to do!
It is pretty common for the teams of Balti Porters to throw a bit of a high-altitude dance party of sorts – Balti Style.
Trail report: Today, we trek back down the Godwin-Austen Glacier to the famed Concordia campsite the way we came.
We aim to arrive back at camp by mid-afternoon.
The rest of the the day is spent resting and preparing for our trek to Ali Camp the following day.
If the weather is bad, it is possible that we will sleep an additional night at Concordia – giving us the best chance for the Gondogoro La crossing in a few days.
Trail report: 5-7 hours of trekking over glacier and pockets of deep snow, especially as we approach the upper end of the valley close to Ali Camp. Some of our porter team will be leaving us today with the pack mules, as the mules are unable to cross over Gondogoro La.
Ali Camp is set in an absolutely stunning location, though the camp is quite small and can be quite crowded if many teams are present. No established toilet facilities are present, which is something we are working to solve with the Central Karakoram National Park staff.
We will rest for the majority of the afternoon and early evening before setting off to cross the Gondogoro La around midnight. We will have dinner early so that guests can catch a few hours of rest before we begin the climb.
Trail report: 10-12 hours of trekking. Our group will set off in the dark by headlamp around midnight. From Ali Camp, it is 4-5 hours of steady climbing to gain the top of the Gondogoro La pass.
Once atop the La, we can enjoy stunning sunrise views of every major peak in the area. We will be praying for clear weather of course! The descent from Gondogoro La into the valley below is done with the assistance of a series of fixed ropes. Extreme care needs to be taken on the descent (helmets will be warn) and all guests will be clipped into the rope from their climbing harness.
Microspikes should be carried for the descent, but are rarely needed as the slop is a mix of rock and deep snow (not so much ice).
Trekking from the top of the pass to Kuisbang Camp takes about five hours. If the weather is clear, the group will be treated to incredible views from our camp of Laila Peak, located just down the valley.
Trail report: 6-8 hours of trekking. The first two hours is on glacier moraine, before the landscape changes into green, hilly, easy trail. There are a few small river crossings and several steep, exposed sections to be expected as well. The landscape here could not be more different from where we started near Askole. It is green, lush, and there is no dust!
A beautiful, well spaced campsite with multiple stream systems running through it awaits us at Saicho.
Trail report: 2-3 hours of trekking. We end the trek in the beautiful Balti village of Hushe. Here we will take a final cup of chai and say goodbye to our team of porters before making our way back to Skardu by jeep (6-7 hours depending on road conditions). We will have lunch en route to Skardu. Once we reach the hotel in Skardu, be prepared for one of the best showers of your life!
After completing the long trek, today the group takes a day to reflect, rest, do laundry, and eat!!
Rest Day in Skardu: contingency day in case of delays incurred during the trek due to weather.
Early Morning Flight to Islamabad from Skardu
We will have a chill day in Islamabad and an epic feast all together OR we will be driving the KKH en route to Islamabad if we have flight delays.
We booked in an extra day in Islamabad in case of travel complications getting back from Skardu. Since you have just completed the most epic hike of your life, we do not want to add any group stress by making the departure window tight.
Today will be a free day in the city with group breakfast and dinner included. After a final meal together, our epic journey of a lifetime has come to an end and the time has come to say goodbye.
We arrange for transfers to the airport for those who are flying out over the next 12 hours.
Check out of the hotel is around 11 am on Day 21. You can choose to stay on at the same hotel if you are not flying home right away, though any additional nights at the hotel are not covered by EBT.
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