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K2 Base Camp Trek

Trek to the Base of the World's 2nd Highest Mountain

DIFFICULTY: Strenuous

TOTAL TREK DISTANCE: 160 km

TOTAL TREKKING DAYS: 12-13 days

MAX ALTITUDE: 5650 meters

LODGING: mix of camping and hotels

GROUP SIZE: 14 people max

k2 base camp map
Map of K2 Base Camp Trek Route

Overview

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.  

 

 

Who This Trip is For

  • RAW NATURE: Central Karakoram National Park is home to some of the most dramatic mountain landscapes on earth.
  • EPIC TREKKING:  Challenge yourself in a world-class trekking environment.
  • COMFORT IN THE WILDERNESS: Make your way to K2 Base Camp in style. We provide quality, hearty meals, excellent group gear, and professional staff who go above and beyond to make sure everyone is having an awesome time.
  • CLIMBING HISTORY: The K2 region is steeped in alpine climbing lore. Learn about the fascinating history of mountaineering and climbing in the area.
  • OFF THE BEATEN PATH ADVENTURE: K2 isn’t Everest, which is exactly why we love it. Escape the circus of Everest Base Camp and come discover why Pakistan is the best adventure destination in the world.

Upcoming Dates

Dates

Places

Deposit

Full

July 4th - 24th (2022)CLOSED$700$4000
August 17th - September 6th (2022)Available$700$4000
June 20th - July 10th (2023)Available$700$4000
July 4th - 24th (2023)Available$700$4000
July 25th - August 15th (2023)Available$700$4000
August 1st - 21st (2023)Available$700$4000

REFUNDS RELATED TO COVID-19 :  Clients are entitled to have FULL TRIP BALANCE moved to a future trip (credit) OR request a FULL REFUND if we cancel the tour due to complications related to Covid-19

GENERAL REFUND POLICY :

  • Cancellation Less than 90 days until the start of the tour: NO REFUND – Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 
  • Cancellation with more than 90 days before the start of the tour: 50% of the trip balance payment (less the deposit amount). Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 
  • Cancellation with more than 160 days before the start of the tour: Full refund minus the trip deposit. Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 

 Read our full refund policy here 

Have a question or ready to book?

Whether you’re just curious about this trip or are ready to make a deposit, we’re here for you.

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    Your Trip Leaders

    Tour leader christopher Lininger

    Chris Lininger

    Since 2017, Chris has been to Pakistan 11 times. Every year he leads group trips to K2 Base Camp, the Hunza region, and is the director of Epic Backpacker Tours. Chris wanted to take the concept of an adventure holiday a step further by combining his passion for photography, trekking, and alpine environments into one-of-a-kind curated adventures for people who are as stoked on challenging high-altitude adventurers as he is – thus this trip was born!

    hiking in pakistan

    Ralph Cope

    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 areas, in search of everything from hidden valleys in the Karakoram to secret surf breaks along the Makran Coast.

    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.

    zahid

    Zahid Hussein

    Local legend Zahid Hussein has been on board with Epic Backpacker Tours for a few years now and his positive impact was felt immediately. His laugh is contagious and his outdoor skills, local knowledge, and guiding experience in Baltistan are second to none.

    Zahid is a truly fantastic human being who has made an enormous positive impact on his community as well as on the general trekking scene in Pakistan for the last 3 decades. Zahid guides multiple trips with Epic Backpacker Tours including Trekking Amongst Giants and the K2 Base Camp Trek. 

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Get up close views of K2, Masherbrum, Gasherbrum 4, Broad Peak, Trango Towers, Laila Peak, and many more massive peaks!
    • Experience an expedition-style trek.
    • Get to know Balti culture.
    • Visit K2 Base Camp and the Art Gilkey Memorial.
    • Sleep in comfortable tents under a blanket of stars.
    • Eat delicious Pakistani food.
    • Learn about the history of mountaineering in the K2 region
    • Explore magnificent glacial and alpine landscapes.
    • Cross a high-altitude mountain pass at Gondogoro La.
    • Trek with a fun international group of like-minded individuals.

    Itinerary

    Arrive into Islamabad airport where you will be picked up by our driver (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, team briefing and welcome  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 night’s 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 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 (18-24 hours). This journey takes a lot of time as the road from Gilgit to Skardu is in an appalling state moat of the time. 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 Naran or 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 afternoon. There are many activities to do in around Skardu including visiting Kharpocho Fort, meandering through the local bazaar, and heading out to the surrounding desert.

    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, our 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!).

    • Trekking distance: 20km 
    • Altitude gain/loss:  283 m up
    • Camp: 3,383 m

    Early start with 5-7 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 to a rowdy Balti music session from the porters after dinner at camp.

    Cold “showers” (a faucet basically) are available.

    • Trekking distance: 14 km
    • Altitude gain/loss: 183 m up
    • Camp: 3,566 m

    6-8 hours of hiking. After 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 viewpoints. Toilets are basic.

    • Trekking distance: 6.75 km
    • Altitude gain/loss: 564 m up
    • Camp: 4,130 m

    Easy day, finishing after about 6.75 kilometers (2-4 hours). As we gain in altitude, we are mindful not to push ourselves too 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

    • Trekking distance: 12 km
    • Altitude gain/loss: 120 m up
    • Camp: 4,250 m

    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.

    • Trekking distance: 14 km
    • Altitude gain/loss: 350 m up
    • Camp: 4,600 m

    Today we reach the “Throne Room of the Gods”, aka Concordia. 5-7 hours of pleasant trekking over the glacier, with more ice present than on 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!

    • Trekking distance: 15 km
    • Altitude gain/loss: 400 m up
    • Camp: 5000 m

    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 the mighty K2.

    We sleep at K2 Base Camp tonight, enjoying the views of the mighty Savage Mountain.

    • Trekking distance: N/A
    • Altitude gain/loss: N/A
    • Camp: 5000 m

    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.

    • Trekking distance: 14 km
    • Altitude gain/loss: 400m down
    • Camp: 4600 m

    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 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.

    • Trekking distance: 15 km
    • Altitude gain/loss: 200 m up
    • Camp: 4800 m

    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.

    • Trekking distance: 20 km more or less
    • Altitude gain/loss: 800 m up and 900 m down
    • Camp: 4,700 m

    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 worn) and all guests will be clipped into the rope from their climbing harness. 

    Microspikes or crampons 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.

    • Trekking distance: 22 km
    • Altitude gain/loss: 1265 m down 
    • Camp: 3435 m

    6-8 hours of trekking. The first two hours are 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.

    • Trekking distance: 12 km
    • Altitude gain/loss: 387 m down 
    • Camp: N/A

    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!! 

    Today is a free day / rest day with no planned group activities.

    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.

    What People Have to Say

    FAQ

    Trip participants need to be in good shape and capable of trekking over mixed terrain for long distances (maximum 8 hours). On average our trekking days are 5 hours per day. 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.

    The total trek covers about 160 kilometers over the course of 12 days – with the highest max altitude on the trek being 5,584 meters. 

    No you do not. There is only one section of this trek where a harness is needed (crossing Gondogoro La). No ice tools are used and no technical climbing experience is required. 

    Breakfast: Typically includes an omelet/fried eggs, fried Pakistani bread (paratha) chai/coffee. 

    Lunch: Will include a mix of local bread, noodle soup, tinned fish, biscuits, crackers, cheese, and chai.

    Dinner: mix of vegetables, rice, noodle dishes, daal, meat (mutton or chicken), and other tasty dishes served up by our experienced cook.

    We carry a petrol generator, so that the team can charge batteries, phones, etc while on the trek. We have the generator with us the whole time except for the few days after we cross Gondogoro La (the mules can’t cross the pass). 

    Didn’t find the answer you working for? Try reading our extensive FAQ page first where we break down the tour in more detail. 

    Additional Resources

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