K2121-70S

K2 Concordia and Gondogoro La

Dates: 23rd July – 12th August 2017

This trek includes walking the entire length of the 62km Baltoro glacier leading into the most glaciated high mountain terrain on the planet. Seven of the world’s 25 highest peaks rise above the glacier. You’ll pass monumental rock walls on the lower section such as the Trango Towers and the Cathedrals. The Baltoro glacier ends at Concordia – a place where four glaciers collide under the shadow true giants. The trek to Concordia is a once in a lifetime experience and is glacier trekking at its best where you’ll reach the base camps of two of the world’s 8000 metre peaks – Broad Peak and K2, the world’s second highest peak.

 

Start point  – Islamabad
End point   – Islamabad
Maximum number of people: 10
Number of days: 21

 

Day 1 – Islamabad
Sunday 23rd July 2017
Arrival in Islamabad. Early arrivals will get a short city tour and all trekkers will have a meal together in the evening.
Overnight in Guest House.

Altitude: 635m

Days 2 and 3 – Islamabad – Chilas – Skardu
Monday 24th & Tuesday 25th July 2017
We will travel by road via the famous Karakoram Highway to Skardu via Chilas. The long drive is compensated by the beautiful scenery along the Indus gorge. It is a monument to engineering and one of the most spectacular roads in the world following an ancient Silk Road pilgrimage route. At Chilas we will break the journey and take time to see the many rock carvings and inscriptions along the way left by Chinese pilgrims and ancient travellers of 5th century A.D. Chilas was on the ancient caravan trail over the Babusar Pass into India. On the second day, the view of Nanga Parbat is unrivalled. This is the largest land escarpment in the world. This is also where the three greatest mountain ranges meet; the Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Karakoram.

Depending on time, our arrival in to Skardu may allow us to explore this small capital of Balistan, visit the K2 museum and learn more about the Balti whose language and culture is similar to Tibet.

Overnight in Panorama Hotel (Chilas)
Overnight in Snowland Palace (Skardu)

Altitude: 2340m
Time: 12-14 hours (driving)

Day 4 – Skardu to Askole
Wednesday 26th July 2017
We drive to the beginning of the trek at Askole. En-route we pass Shigar, a history-soaked medieval town. Then an exciting jeep journey takes us through the fields of the Shigar Valley before the road narrows to a mountain track leading to the trail head at Askole, the last inhabitable place on our way to the great glaciers. Askole is the highest village in the region, the stone & timber abodes contain dark & narrow stairwells linked by gloomy, unlit alleys.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3050m
Time: 5 hours (driving)

Day 5 –  Askole to Jula
Thursday 27th July 2017
Today we leave the last inhabited village Askole. For the remaining portion of our journey we rely on our porters who carry our food and equipment and sustain our expedition. After scrambling over a ridge we come across what legend says is an old polo field. Passing through a rock gap we cross the Biafo glacier. The Biafo Glacier is a huge river of ice 63km long which descends from the central peaks of the Karakoram and flows east into the Braldu Valley at a point about 10km east of Askole. After a two and a half hour trek and an uphill walk over a steep ridge along the Dumordo River we cross over to Jula via a wire rope bridge. We will camp beside a torrent facing the Bakhordas peak.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3190m
Time: 6-7 hours (walking)

Day 6 – Jula to Paiu
Friday 28th July 2017
We resume the trek along the Braldu River to a green oasis under the shadows of Paiu Peak (6611m), the last grove of trees before the trail moves onto the glacier. Paiu is a Balti dialect word that means salt. Since there are some rock salt deposits at the base of this peak, the locals believe that the snow on the summit of Paiu Peak is not snow but a huge deposit of salt which drips down to the base. From this camp we have the first views of the impressive Baltoro Glacier.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3450m
Time: 7-8 hours (walking)

Day 7  – Rest day at Paiu
Saturday 29th July 2017
After Paiu, we will be walking in glaciers for the next ten days so it is a good place to break the journey out. This helps with acclimatisation and allows any animals brought along for fresh meat to be slaughtered.

Altitude: 3450m

Day 8 – Paiu to Khoburche
Sunday 30th July 2017
As we make a short walk towards the glacier we’ll see towering ice cliffs looming over the source of the Braldu River, as well as porters for various climbing expeditions making their journeys across the expansive glacier. Once we’ve crossed over the glacier we’ll continue along a trail which runs across along the slopes of the Uli Biaho, Trango and Cathedral mountain groups. These three clusters of peaks form a distinct view of the Karakorum given their imposing, jagged and rocky spires.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3930m
Time: 7-8 hours (walking)

Day 9 – Paiu – Urdukas
Monday 31st July 2017
Today we resume the trek with a gradual climb up the Baltoro Glacier on the southern edge. After about two hours the path divides at the snout of Baltoro Glacier where the left branch goes to the base camp of Trango Tower. Continuing to the right, we climb up on to the glacier that stretches up the valley, 62km long and 2km wide.  We walk a further 2 hours steadily climbing on a long diagonal to the other side of the glacier before walking mostly along the crest of lateral moraine towards Urdukas. This camp has superb views across the Baltoro Glacier to the Trango peaks, as well as views of Paiu Peak, Chorichi, Uli Biaho and Trango Tower. It is our last ‘green grass’ camp-site.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 4130m
Time: 6-9 hours (walking)

Day 10 – Urdukas – Goro II
Tuesday 1st August 2017
A long walk on the icy Baltoro Glacier. The whole day is spent walking over the boulder-strewn glacier to the camp-site at Goro. We will traverse the Yermanandu Glacier which flows down from Masherbrum & joins the Baltoro. Masherbrum is visible on the right side of the glacier, and Mustagh Tower on the left. Gasherbrum IV and Broad Peak can be seen directly ahead, as they catch the evening sunlight.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 4380m
Time: 6-7 hours (walking)

Day 11 – Goro II – Concordia
Wednesday 2nd August 2017
Trekking to the camp-site at Concordia, we pass through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world; a huge junction of Baltoro, Abruzzi & Godwin Austin Glaciers at 4000 meters. Within a short radius of 15km stand 41 peaks over 6500 metres including 4 peaks above 8000 metres. The 360 degree view offers a panorama of grand peaks found nowhere else on this planet.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 4600m
Time: 4-5 hours (walking)

Day 12 – Concordia (free day)
Thursday 3rd August 2017
There is plenty of time to admire the scenery and find the best vantage points from which to take photographs of the surrounding peaks. Concordia, the confluence of five glaciers, offers unprecedented views of the Karakoram peaks. Almost half of the peaks are still unnamed and unclimbed. Some team members may wish to make the return journey to K2 Base Camp in a single day (10 hrs round trip). Others may choose to explore base camps or just sit and watch K2 all day long and sip tea. The choice is yours!

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 4600m

Day 13 – Concordia – Ali Camp
Friday 4th August 2017
After an early breakfast, we traverse the upper Baltoro Glacier and its crevasses. It is also possible to walk on the Vigne Glacier which is easier than walking on the stony path on the right side of the glacier but it depends on the snow condition. It’s a comparatively easy and gradual walk over snow and ice, looking back gives an unusual view of the great Karakorum peaks: K2, Broad Peak and the Gasherbrums. The trail continues to ‘Ali Camp’ situated on a rocky site overlooking the long ridge running from Masherbrum to Chogolisa.
We turn in early, as we have a midnight wake-up call for the departure over the Gondogoro La (conditions dependent).

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 5100m
Time: 6-7 hours (walking)

Day 14 – Contigency Day at Ali Camp
Saturday 5th August 2017
If weather, ice and snow conditions postpone our ascent of the Gondogoro La, we may be required to delay our crossing so have included a contingency day in Ali Camp as a buffer.

Overnight in tents.

Day 15 – Ali Camp – Gondogoro La – Khuspang
Sunday 6th August 2017

Today our trek starts as early as 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning to cross the Gondogoro La to reach Khuspang. The early walk is so that we can reach the top of the Gondogoro Pass (5700m) in the morning when the snow will be hard and we will not get tired quickly as the sun is not strong. As sun gets strong, the snow will get soft, melt and bring water and stones down the path. Also the chance of ice falls or avalanches increase in daylight.
Today is one of the toughest and most challenging days of the trek, and although it is a long and tiring day, we will be well-acclimatized to the altitude. Our guides will fix ropes to safeguard the ascent and descent for both the porters and clients. Depending upon the snow and trail condition it may be necessary to rope up for the crossing of the glacier before getting to the base camp of the pass. There are several sections with fixed ropes in place which can be used as a handrail. On the top to Gondogoro La you will find the most spectacular view on earth. From here you can see K2, Broad Peak, G1, G2, Muztagh Tower and towards Hushe side you will find Laila and Ninchi Peaks amongst others.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 5700m
Time: 8-9 hours (walking)

Important Note: The Gondogoro La crossing has not been possible due to Pakistan government restrictions since 2013. We are hopeful that this situation is resolved for the 2017 trip as the group will be accompanied by a Liaison Officer (L.O.). Still there is a possibility that we cannot cross as the L.O. has the final say. The crossing is also dependent on favourable weather and conditions on the trail to the pass. If it is not possible to safely ascend the pass the group will retrace steps back down the Baltoro glacier to Askole. If the prospects of safely crossing the pass are not good, the Untamed Borders guide will be obliged to make the decision to abort the crossing – and you must be prepared to accept it.

Day 16 – Khuspang – Saicho
Monday 7th August 2017
The first section of this day’s walk is on a glacier. We will pick our way across moving boulders and ice, finally crossing the glacier up to a place called Dalsangpa, meaning ‘field of flowers’, which lives up to its name. It is a beautiful campsite at about 4,150 metres, set between two lakes, with Masherbrum mountain and the white glacier cascading down from Masherbrum Pass reflected in the still water.
Resuming the trek along the path, we keep ourselves on the left side of the lateral moraine, crossing several side streams. The next hour is an unpleasant scramble along the stony, sliding glacier edge, with huge boulders poised above, ready to fall. We continue our trek along the path as it goes downhill to the summer settlement called Saicho, a large shepherd’s community. This is a traditional camp among the forest of juniper, cedar and willow trees with giant bushes of wild roses and a good water supply.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3650m
Time: 7-8 hours (walking)

Day 17 – Saicho – Hushe
Tuesday 8th August 2017
The early morning walk towards Hushe river is on an easy path. Upon arrival, we camp near the fields in Hushe, with the huge peak of Masherbrum dominating the view to the north. At an altitude of over 3000 metres Hushe is the highest village in the area and is the first habitation we will see in nearly two weeks.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3100m
Time: 4-5 hours (walking)

Day 18 – Hushe – Skardu
Wednesday 9th August 2017
A jeep journey along narrow mountain roads passing small farming settlements leads first to Khapulo and then to Skardu.

Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 2450m
Time: 5-6 hours (driving)

Day 19 – Skardu – Islamabad
Thursday 10th August 2017
Early in the morning we plan to fly to Islamabad. With clear skies we will be able to board a plane and be back at our hotel in Islamabad in 45 minutes. The flight is one of the most scenic in the world with views across the Himalaya and Karakorum. If the weather is not so favourable and the flight doesn’t come, then we will have to drive the Karakoram Highway to Islamabad via Chilas through the narrow gorge of the Indus River. The outcome is in the lap of the Gods, so we will be praying that they’re on our side! If we are able to fly down, there will be an optional excursion to the great frontier city of Peshawar. This excursion is not included in the trip price but if any member of the group wish to make this journey a private vehicle and driver can be hired locally for a very modest sum. Back in Islamabad we enjoy a final evening meal usually taken at one of the traditional food streets.

Overnight in Guest House.

 Altitude: 1280m
Time: 45 mins (flight) or 8-10 hours (driving)

Day 20 – Islamabad
Friday 11th August 2017
Spare day. If we are in Islamabad there will be an opportunity to visit the national museum, the local view point or the vast Faisal mosque.

Overnight in Guest House.

Day 21 – Islamabad – Home
Saturday 12th August 2017
Transfer to airport and fly home.

The trip includes:
All accommodation
All trekking meals
All transport (including internal flights Skardu – Islamabad – Skardu)
Guides
Porters
Permits
Liaison Officer

The trip does not include:
Visas
Insurance
External Flights
Entrance fees
Drinks
Tips
Personal glacier crossing equipment (harness, crampons and ice axe)

Cost – US$3650
To reserve a place on this trip we need a deposit of US$400

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Pakistan. We can suggest routes and operators.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

Visas:
You will require a Pakistan visa for this trip. We will provide visa support and advice on how best to obtain this visa. If you are based in the UK or Australia then we can recommend using The Visa Machine as a visa agent.
Visit the Untamed Borders page at their website – untamedborders.thevisamachine.com.

Food:
We includes all meals during the trek and breakfast during your time in cities (Islamabad, Chilas and Skardu).

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards in Islamabad cannot be compared to a camping in the shadow of K2. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room or a tent.

Transport:
When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. Most of the roads on this trip are paved although the state of the surface can vary. Your comfort and enjoyment of the journey is the first priority.

Guides:
On this trip you will be accompanied by an international guide from Untamed Borders. He will be an experienced guide who has trekked to Concordia many times before.

Security:
Baltistan, in the far North of Pakistan is a very safe area far removed from the problems that afflict other areas of the country. However, our client’s safety is our primary concern. We must state that the tour leader has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route we have chosen passes through areas which we consider to be stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.

Contact us for further information at info@untamedborders.com