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One of the world's greatest treks; unrivalled high mountain scenery and breathtaking views of K2
The group flight arrives in Islamabad very early in the morning and we transfer straight to our hotel where rooms will be waiting for you; the rest of the day is free to recover from your journey. Those not flying with the group from London will join us at the hotel in Islamabad during the day, clients not on the group flight are free to arrive on the previous day as hotel accommodation is provided. Later in the day, when everyone has arrived, we will have a group briefing. We may also have to visit the Ministry of Tourism for an official briefing.
This morning we travel to the airport and take the spectacular flight (weather permitting) across the mountains to Skardu (2500m). The rest of the day is free.
In the morning we will have a walk up to the remains of Skardu fort, which overlooks the town and has great views of the Indus Valley. We will then walk to a small village, which grows all its crops organically. The afternoon is free to explore. You may like to take jeeps to Satpara Lake or explore the bazaar.
We set off northwards by jeep up the Shigar valley to Dassu, which used to be the end of the road. The spectacular jeep road which mostly follows the raging Braldu River now extends to Askole, the last village on our route and where we leave the jeeps and start walking. It may sometimes be necessary to start walking before Askole depending on the conditions of the jeep road. The journey may take anywhere from six to twelve hours.
After organising all the equipment and supplies our porters load up for the journey ahead to Jhola. The valley opens out to reveal the Biafo Glacier which flows for more than fifty kilometres from the Hispar La pass to the Braldu. We have our first taste of moraine walking as we cross the snout of the glacier and descend to our lunch spot beside the river at Korofon. Our route takes us to the confluence of the Braldu and Dumordo Rivers, where the trail used to involve scrambling over a cliff and then crossing the river in a flying fox or box bridge (called a 'jola'). Nowadays there is a newer trail and we go upstream to cross the river by bridge. Once across we descend to the edge of the River Braldu and follow its banks to our camp at Jhola. Walk profile: Distance approx. 19km, Time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 3150m.
Today our route mainly follows the Braldu gorge along the river bank, moving up and down according to the level of erosion and water levels. We start to get views of the fantastic granite rock shapes of Trango Towers and Cathedral. Walking conditions can be very hot and dry, and care must be taken to prevent sunburn. As we approach camp several glacially fed rivulets flow down into the main valley and we may have to use our river crossing shoes depending on water levels. On a clear day we may be able to spot K2 in the far distance and the vast snout of the Baltoro glacier, the fourth longest in Pakistan, is also visible but it's hard to gather a sense of scale from here. The day ends with a climb away from the river to our camp at Paiju, set in a clump of trees – the last ones we will see for a while! Walk profile: Distance approx. 22km, Time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 3400m.
We spend the day at Paiju for rest and acclimatisation. The porters will spend the day baking their bread for the next week on the glacier. We will have an acclimatisation walk towards Paiju Peak base camp.
The walking gets a bit harder today but the scenery becomes even more spectacular and wild as we climb onto the snout of the Baltoro glacier, and cross over to the other side. The trail climbs up and down the glacial moraine and although there is a trail, care needs to be taken at all times. Stunning views are gradually emerging of granite peaks on the north side of the glacier - from Paiju, Ulli Biaho, and Trango Towers round to Grand Cathedral. It will take a few hours to cross the glacier to Liligo. From here we follow a rocky trail along the edge of the Baltoro for a while to Khobursay, a small campsite at the side of the glacier. Walk profile: Distance approx. 13km, Time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 3800m.
We cross two small side glaciers, and eventually we can see the Trango Towers soaring up on the north side of the valley. We stop for the night near the army camp at Urdukas, which is perched 100m above the glacier on terraces hewn out of the hillside by the Duke of Abruzzi for his expedition. Walk profile: Distance approx. 6km, Time: 4 to 5 hours, max. altitude: 4050m.
We strike out into the middle of the glacier and follow the medial moraine, getting our first views of Masherbrum (7,821m) to the south. The trail climbs up and down the rocky moraine and as we get higher we start to walk past the huge ice seracs which stick out of the glacier like ice cream cones. Tonight we spend our first night camping on the Baltoro glacier at Goro II, the junction of the Younghusband and Baltoro glaciers, where the night time temperature will drop quite dramatically. From camp we have superb views of Masherbrum and up the Younghusband Glacier to Muztagh Tower. Walk profile: Distance approx. 12km, Time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude 4300m.
Our final approach day, and our goal is in sight - Concordia! We continue up the rocky moraine as more and more of the big peaks come into view, culminating in the appearance of K2 just before we reach our campsite at Concordia. The views all around are tremendous: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum, Mitre Peak, Chogolisa and Sia Kangri are all prominent, as well as dozens of smaller peaks. Walk profile: Distance approx. 11km, Time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 4600m.
Today there is the opportunity to walk up the Godwin-Austen glacier to K2 Base camp. This is a very long but a spectacular day. We will leave early morning, crossing the glaciers onto the faint trail heading towards K2 (there is a faint rocky trail all the way to K2 Base Camp). As we follow the glacier towards K2 the mountain seems to grow bigger and bigger. Broad Peak rears up to our right and after about 3 hours we pass Broad Peak Base Camp (there is the option to turn back here). Those continuing to K2 Base Camp carry on with K2 towering above us as we get closer and closer. Just before Base Camp, amongst the boulder and ice strewn landscape is the Art Gilky Memorial (an American geologist and mountaineer). A short scramble brings us to the place where those whose lives K2 claimed are remembered. Plaques and engraved tin plates are attached to a small rocky outcrop at the foot of this great mountain. We hope to reach the Base Camp around lunchtime so we can eat our packed lunch with great views directly above us of K2 and we may see some climbing expeditions. After lunch we retrace our steps back to Concordia. Walk profile: Distance approx. 24km, Time: 10 to 12 hours, max. altitude: 5100m.
Unfortunately we have to leave this magnificent place with some of the best mountain views on earth. However, we have an easy start today as we retrace our steps down the glacier. Today is a fairly easy walk back down to Goro I. Walk profile: Distance approx. 17km, Time: 6 to 7 hours, max. altitude: 4600m.
We follow the same trail down through the glacier to Goro 1 and on down to the spectacular campsite at Urdukas with great views across to Trango Towers before reaching Khobursay. Although we are retracing our steps down the glacier the views are completely different seen on the way back. Walk profile: Distance approx. 12km, Time: 6 to 7 hours, max. altitude 4150m.
We continue our walk down the side of the glacier through Liligo, from where we cross the glacier for one more time before stepping off the moraine onto more stable ground. We head back down to the trees and the relative comforts of Paiju campsite. Walk profile: Distance approx. 13km, Time: 6 to 7 hours, max. altitude: 3800m.
The walking now becomes a bit easier now as we follow the same trail as on the way up down the Braldu gorge. There may be a couple of river crossings today. We stop tonight at the campsite at Jhola. Walk profile: Distance approx. 22km, Time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 3400m.
We start the day with a walk up the side river to the bridge. After crossing the bridge we head back to the main valley and continue following the river all day through Korofon and back finally to the village of Askole. Walk profile: Distance approx. 19km, Time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 3150m.
We pick up our jeeps for the long but spectacular day’s drive back to Skardu and the luxury of a hot shower.
We take the early morning flight to Islamabad and the rest of the day is free to relax and unwind after the trek.
A free day in Islamabad or an extra day to fly to Islamabad if the flight is cancelled for any reason on the previous day.
Very early this morning we depart Islamabad for the flight to London arriving in the early evening. Those not flying with us to London will leave the hotel after breakfast.
13 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
Previous altitude experience necessary
Altitude maximum 4724m (5200m K2 base camp - optional), average 3650m
Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and appropriate local staff. Min age 18 yrs
6 nights en suite hotels and 14 nights full-service camping
All breakfasts, 17 lunches and 17 dinners included. All food is provided throughout apart from lunches and dinners in Islamabad, we suggest you allow around £50 for these meals.Food on trek is simple but wholesome. Breakfasts will consist of porridge and cereal, eggs and chapatti or toast. Lunches are a picnic usually with tinned meat, fish, cheese and crackers or chapattis. Dinner is 3 courses, soup, main course which is rice or pasta based and dessert. If you have any special dietary requirements we recommend you take along some of your own snacks or food. Pakistan is a meat eating country and does not cater as well as India for vegetarians, vegans or gluten free diets.
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