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11
Ke Classic
Ke Classic
Holidays

K2, Concordia and the Gondogoro La

Pakistan
11 reviews
Mountaineer
Guided Group
TOUGH TOUGH

Trekking holiday across the Gondogoro La in the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan

Trip Code: GLA
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

K2, Concordia and the Gondogoro La

Highlights
  • Views of K2, Broad Peak and the Gasherbrums from the Gondogoro La
  • Walking holiday to Concordia and the Baltoro Glacier
  • One of the world`s top 5 trekking adventures
  • Experience the picturesque Hushe Valley in Pakistan

At a Glance
  • Group Size 5 to 12
  • 14 days trekking
  • Max altitude - 5585 metres
  • Join In Islamabad

Accommodation & Meals
  • All meals included
  • 5 nights Hotel
  • 15 nights Camping
Overview

KE started out as the Karakoram Experience and ran our first ever holiday in Pakistan's Karakoram Mountains in 1984. Just a few years later (in 1992) we took the first ever group of trekkers across the Gondogoro La. Since then we have successfully crossed this spectacular pass over thirty times. This is an exceptional and ambitious trekking adventure, which starts out with a spectacular flight from Islamabad to the town of Skardu in Baltistan.


From here, we drive through a rugged landscape to Askole, the highest village in the area, and begin our trek at Korofon where the Biafo Glacier meets the Braldu River. With a KE Western leader and local guide and team, we trek on and beside the Baltoro Glacier, passing famous peaks such as the Trango and Cathedral groups, the Lobsang Spire and mighty Masherbrum, en route to Concordia. This is one of the most spectacular locations on the planet and we spend 2 nights here with the option to trek up the Godwin-Austen Glacier to Broad Peak Basecamp, close up beneath K2. We then continue on the Upper Baltoro Glacier towards Chogolisa and the 'golden throne' peak of Baltoro Kangri. After a sensational overnight at Ali Camp, in a truly wild location, we make the crossing of the  Gondogoro La (5585m) which requires ice axe and crampons. From the top we have sensational views, including no fewer than 4 eight-thousanders - K2 (8611m), Broad Peak (8051m), Gasherbrum 1 (8080m) and Gasherbrum 2 (8035m). This is one of the few places accessible to trekkers from which Hidden Peak (Gasherbrum 1) can be viewed clearly. Then, dropping down from the pass, we can enjoy a sensational walk-out through pleasant alpine valleys to the friendly Balti village of Hushe. If you are keen to visit K2 and have some experience of winter mountaineering, then this is the way to go. Truly, one of the finest high mountain experiences on Earth!

Is this holiday for you?

This great trekking holiday to Concordia and across the Gondogoro La to the Hushe Valley is one of the most ambitious of our worldwide trekking holidays, traversing a remote mountain pass and requiring basic mountaineering skills. As far as Concordia the trekking is relatively straightforward although rugged underfoot. During this stage although we spend a fair amount of time on the glacier, we ar …

This great trekking holiday to Concordia and across the Gondogoro La to the Hushe Valley is one of the most ambitious of our worldwide trekking holidays, traversing a remote mountain pass and requiring basic mountaineering skills. As far as Concordia the trekking is relatively straightforward although rugged underfoot. During this stage although we spend a fair amount of time on the glacier, we are never walking on ice and crampons are not required as the trail is almost entirely on the stones and rubble that have melted out from the glacier. We will travel as a self-supporting group with a Western guide and a local trek crew and this in itself can be a highly rewarding experience. We will usually walk for between 4 and 6 hours each day, which equates with around 6 to 8 miles. Above Concordia there will be times during the next 3 days, when the group will move roped together, particularly where the glacier is covered with snow. For the crossing of the Gondogoro La we will require full mountaineering gear of harness, helmet, ice axe and crampons and at various points where we negotiate steeper slopes we will make use of fixed lines to protect clients and the support crew. The simple techniques used will be taught by the trip leader prior to making the crossing. Previous technical mountaineering experience is not required, but previous high altitude trekking experience is a prerequisite for this trip and some previous experience of walking on snow slopes using crampons is highly desirable.

Why KE?

We are the leading UK operator of treks in Pakistan, working with the same local partner since 1984 and we were the first company to offer the Gondogoro La crossing.

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Itinerary

Your holiday starts at the hotel in Islamabad. Transfers from Islamabad Airport are provided. The majority of international flights arrive in the early morning and you may want to rest before lunch. The first group get-together will be at lunch, during which the tour leader will provide a pre-trip briefing. In the afternoon it may be necessary for the whole group to visit the offices of the Ministry of Tourism to receive an official briefing. If there is the opportunity to include a sightseeing tour today, either in the modern city of Islamabad or in nearby Rawalpindi, a city from the days of the British Raj, it will be optional and there will be a charge payable locally.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

L D

Weather permitting, we take the early morning 1-hour flight from Islamabad to Skardu, skirting breathtakingly past the Rupal and Diamir faces of Nanga Parbat. It is even possible to catch a fleeting glimpse of K2 and the other high peaks of the Baltoro in the distance before landing at Skardu. Here, we check in to the group hotel and can spend the afternoon relaxing. Sightseeing options include visiting the nearby Alexandria Fort or taking a jeep ride up to the beautiful Satpara Lake. A large rock carving of the Lord Buddha beside the track up to Satpara is a reminder that this part of Pakistan was Buddhist before the arrival of Islam.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Making a reasonably early start, we leave Skardu by jeep for the first stage of our approach to K2. The road is mostly surfaced as we pass through the relatively fertile Shigar Valley, but deteriorates after 3 hours or so as we turn eastwards to follow the Braldu River. The valley narrows as we negotiate the steep-sided 'Braldu Gorge', a section which 30 years ago occupied the first 2 days of the trek to Concordia. By mid afternoon we reach Askole (3000m), a single street of wood and mud-brick houses, backed by irrigated fields of corn and potatoes and groves of apricot trees. We camp outside the village.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Leaving Askole, the highest village in the valley, we have just a short drive through a wild landscape to the snout of the mighty Biafo Glacier. Here, we cross one of the outflows of the glacier on a 'jhola' (box and cable) bridge to reach the place known as Korofon. From Korofon we start our trek on a rough jeep track which continues as far as the junction with the tributary Panma River. We cross this tributary on a suspension bridge and set up our camp a little way beyond the bridge at the place known as Jhola Camp (3140m).

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

250 M

Descent

110 M

Time

4 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

We make an early start today for our first proper day of trekking. The trail takes us out of the tributary Panma Valley and turns east to follow the Braldu River once again. We continue on a good path, passing a couple of old camping places at Chowblok and Bardomal which are now rarely used as much of the level ground has been eroded by the shifting river. Beyond these old camping places the path runs for a while at the very edge of the river, before climbing to higher ground and allowing us excellent views of the impressive Paiju Peak. We have to negotiate a couple of streams today and depending on the melting of the glaciers above, we may have to ford these (sports sandals or old trainers useful). At our high point today we have views ahead to the snout of the Baltoro Glacier and the granite peaks of the Trango and Cathedral groups. On a clear day it is even possible to see K2, which is partially obscured by the shark's fin of the Lobsang Spire. After dropping down to the main Braldu River again, we reach the expedition staging camp at Paiju (3420m).

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

580 M

Descent

335 M

Time

7 hrs trekking

Distance

21 KM

Paiju is the traditional stopping point for all groups headed for Concordia, located at a widening of the Braldu Valley and within sight of the snout of the mighty Baltoro Glacier. This became a key staging point for climbing expeditions and trekking groups due to the presence of spring water and a sparse population of trees which were originally use for cooking fires. Today there are several levelled pitches for tents and the site is equipped with 'long-drop' toilets and wash basins - a 'bathroom' with one of the best views in the world! We spend a complete day at Paiju, which is good for our acclimatisation and is also a useful time for our porters to bake as much bread as they can for the trek before we climb up onto the glacier. For those with energy to spare there is the opportunity to hike up the hill above camp for extensive views of the granite towers of Trango and Cathedral peaks and potentially another glimpse of K2, still many miles distant. We spend a second night at Paiju.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Another early start today. From our camp at Paiju, a walk of approximately one hour brings us to the snout of the Baltoro Glacier. After viewing the outpouring of melt water from the ice we now climb up onto the back of this great beast. At this point the ice of the glacier is completely covered by rubble and rocks and although we are following a trail used by many expeditions, the going here can be quite tough. The trail undulates as we climb over the swells of the flowing glacier and it is fascinating to think that the stones underfoot could have come from the summit of Broad Peak, Gasherbrum or K2. Gradually we work our way across the glacier to its south side where we can use a path along lateral moraine. Heading roughly east we continue, sometimes on the moraine and sometimes down beside the glacier until we reach a side valley. At this point it may be possible to continue more or less directly by climbing up onto the glacier. Or, if the glacier is not easily accessible, we will turn off into the valley for approximately half an hour to reach a point where we can cross the meltwater stream (sandals or old trainers required). Finally reaching the camping place at Horbose (3795m) we have sensational views of the Cathedral Towers, the Trango Group and the striking rock tower of Uli Biaho. A great day of trekking over difficult and mixed terrain.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

640 M

Descent

220 M

Time

8 hrs trekking

Distance

15 KM

We have a shorter day today, mindful of the need to increase our sleeping altitude slowly. We continue eastwards beside the Baltoro Glacier either along the lateral moraine or sometimes on the glacier itself, passing the ship-like prow of Great Trango and the isolated pillar of the Nameless Tower, to our next camp at Urdukas (3900m). This campsite is perched a hundred metres above the glacier on terraces originally hacked out of the hillside by the Duke of Abruzzi's K2 expedition of 1909. It has truly sensational views of the Trango Towers and, directly opposite and almost a mile away across the valley, the vast rock walls of Cathedral Peak and Lobsang rise like ramparts above the glacier. This is a truly awesome place. We should reach here in time for a late lunch and the rest of the afternoon is free to tend to camp chores or just to soak up our fabulous situation.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

250 M

Descent

40 M

Time

3 - 4 hrs trekking

Distance

6 KM

Leaving Urdukas behind, we follow the moraine edge east until it is possible to climb up onto the broad back of the glacier. We now cross to the centre ground where the 'flow' is generally smoother and soon we come within sight of the spectacular Masherbrum (7821m) on our right hand side. Ascending and descending the mountains of rubble which are strewn over the ice, we also have glimpses ahead to the peaks which surround Concordia. Especially prominent is the stunning Gasherbrum IV (7925m) at the head of the glacier. There are good views back towards the Trango and Cathedral peaks as we approach our camp at the place known as Goro (4295m). We are quite high now and camping on one of the largest pieces of ice outside the polar regions so we will make sure to wrap up warmly for the cooler nights ahead.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

330 M

Descent

90 M

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

12 KM

The final approach day to Concordia takes us through what must arguably be the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere in the world! Our approach to Concordia continues along the heaving swells of the Baltoro Glacier as we pass Mustagh Tower (7284m), an imposing monolith of rock first climbed by Joe Brown and Ian McNaught-Davis in 1956. At the time this was considered one of the hardest climbs in the region. A French team competing for the summit by a different route reached the top just five days later, but then almost thirty years passed before the third ascent was made by Sandy Allan, Tony Brindle, Mal Duff and Jon Tinker, following Brown's original route. Ahead of us Gasherbrum IV (7925m) acts like a beacon drawing us on, whilst at some points on today's walk we can also see Gasherbrum ll (8035m) which peeks out to the right of Gasherbrum lV. As we make our way up the Baltoro, the aptly named Broad Peak (8051m) comes into view above the ridge connecting Marble Peak and Crystal Peak on our left. K2 keeps itself hidden until the very moment we reach Concordia when suddenly its full height is revealed in sweeping lines that climb almost 4000 metres from the valley floor to the summit - a sight that will never be forgotten. Concordia is a wide area where glaciers coming down from K2 meet those from the Gasherbrums and Chogolisa. It was given its name by Sir Martin Conway, explorer and alpinist who named the place after another famous glacial junction in the Swiss Bernese Oberland. It is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular places on the planet and here you can stand within 24 kilometres of no fewer than four eight-thousanders and ten of the world's thirty highest peaks! We make our camp at approximately 4500 metres on a moraine ridge surrounded on all side by jagged peaks including Gasherbrum IV, Mitre Peak, Chogolisa, Crystal Peak, Marble Peak, Baltoro Kangri, Broad Peak and K2.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

290 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

12 KM

We spend the day at Concordia which is great for our acclimatisation. One option today is to take a hike northwards on the Godwin-Austen Glacier towards K2 which is little more than 10 kilometres from our camp. However, the trail is ever-changing and can be quite hard-going, involving the negotiation of a maze of crevasses and meltwater rivers where a guide is essential. In practice we have found that Broad Peak Basecamp (3 hours from Concordia) makes the best objective for this out-and-back hike. Close up beneath both Broad Peak and K2, there are sensational view of K2 in one direction and we can also look back to Concordia which is spectacularly framed by Mitre Peak, Chogolisa and the Gasherbrums. If you don't fancy this 6-hour round trip, you can spend the day at camp and simply soak up the unique atmosphere of Concordia, the 'throne room of the mountain gods'.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Time

6 hrs trekking

We leave the main trekking trail behind us from today onwards, striking out on a far less travelled route which will take us along the Upper Baltoro, one of the glaciers coming down from Chogolisa that feed the huge glacial junction of Concordia. The time taken to cover this section of the walk and the manner in which we do it will depend on the snow conditions. If the glacier is clear of snow this will be a steady ascent of the valley mostly walking on the ice which will not be slippery. In fact the grit embedded in the ice makes this easy to walk on. There are crevasses to negotiate, the majority of which are neither deep nor wide and can easily be stepped over, and any larger ones can usually be avoided by a short detour. If however the Upper Baltoro is snow covered (fairly unusual from mid-June to August) it will be necessary for us and the porters to move together as a roped party since in this event any crevasses will not be visible and we may also need to put on our crampons. After 5 - 7 hours of trekking along the Upper Baltoro towards the enormous bulk of Chogolisa at the head of the valley, we eventually reach the confluence of this glacier with the West Vigne Glacier which sweeps down from the base of the Gondogoro La. Here on the moraine beside the junction we make our home for the night at the place known locally as 'Ali Camp' (4800m). It was named after a local from Hushe Village who was the first recorded person to cross the Gondogoro La when returning home from working as a high altitude porter on a Gasherbrum climbing expedition. We would normally reach Ali Camp around mid-day or the early afternoon and after settling in, your trip leader will organise a skills session to practice the simple techniques of using a jumar to safeguard moving on fixed lines.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

380 M

Descent

10 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

12 KM

Before first light we are roused from sleep and (reluctantly for some and eagerly for others) we climb out of warm sleeping bags and begin preparing for the climb ahead. After fuelling up in the dining tent with breakfast, we don crampons and harnesses and set off roped together onto the West Vigne Glacier. In the black, star-studded crisp night air we make our way slowly over the sparkling glacier illuminated in pools of light from our head torches. Dawn arrives and the waxing daylight slowly fills in the tremendous scenery through which we are trekking. Eventually we reach the foot of Gondogoro La near the head of this side valley and (depending on conditions and the nature of any trail which may already be in place) we may continue for a while roped together or we may be able to climb this section unroped. We will be climbing a glaciated slope which essentially means that it is flowing down the mountain and therefore the terrain will vary from season to season. Most years there will be one or two steeper sections and also possible bergschrunds to cross. At any such points our support team will have put in place fixed lines for protection. After approximately 3 hours of climbing from the West Vigne Glacier, with views opening up behind us, we reach the summit of the pass, an incredible and exhilarating feeling. The view from the top is breathtaking with 4 eight thousand metre peaks on view and close at hand, namely K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II. The top of the pass is a broad shoulder and on the far side the ground drops precipitously away and we find ourselves looking down into the Gondogoro Valley. Directly opposite are the faces of the Trinity peaks but all eyes will be drawn to the beautiful spire of Laila Peak (6096) and then further down, following the curve of the glacier, we can see the perfect cone of Masherbrum II. The descent is much steeper than our ascent route and here we will use fixed lines for the majority of the way down. The Hushe side is not glaciated although the top section will probably be snow covered so we will go down the lines wearing crampons. At some point the snow stops and we will remove our crampons before continuing on scree. Care needs to be taken here to avoid kicking down stones on our trekking companions. Eventually the angle of the slope eases and the fixed lines end. We continue down until reaching a trail which runs horizontally along the valley above the Trinity Glacier, eventually coming gently down to meet it. We now walk more easily on the stones of central moraine until we reach an ablation valley at the confluence of the Trinity and Gondogoro glaciers. After the harsh environment of the last several days this is quite a pleasant place with grass (sparse) and some rock pools in which are reflected the beautiful Laila Peak. After a long, hard but incredibly rewarding day, we make our camp here in the place known as Huisprung (4600m).

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

700 M

Descent

950 M

Time

9 - 12 hrs trekking/climbing

Distance

13 KM

Compared to yesterday's exertions, today will be a relatively easy trek as we follow the Gondogoro Glacier downstream. Except in conditions where snow is lying on the surface of glacier (unusual from mid-June to August), our crampons, harnesses and other mountaineering paraphernalia can be packed away as we no longer need these things. We have completely new vistas as we head towards the Hushe Valley, initially trekking down the central moraine of the Gondogoro Glacier. We may have small crevasses to step over or occasionally to detour around, but the going is generally easy. About half way down the glacier on today's walk we pass Laila Peak. This slender leaning spire was first climbed 'unofficially' by a British team including Simon Yates, Sean Smith and Mark Miller in 1987 via the west face which is the obvious ramp of snow leading to the top of the needle-like spire. The first official ascent wasn't made until nearly a decade later when an Italian team climbed the peak by a slightly different route. Apparently the climbers had not been aware of the earlier British ascent and the first they knew about it was when on reaching the summit, they discovered an old gas cartridge inscribed with 4 names. Moving beyond the slopes of Laila Peak, we gradually move to the edge of the glacier where we find a route off the ice and rubble into the ablation valley on its south side. The last hour of the day is spent following a reasonable trail down to our camping place known as Dalsan (4150m) where grass and wild rhubarb grow.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

100 M

Descent

550 M

Time

4 hrs trekking

Distance

6 KM

We continue our descent of the Gondogoro Valley starting off today by following the trail through this pleasant ablation valley where we have spent the night. Soon the valley comes to an abrupt end where a ridge forces its way down to the glacier and here there is a choice of trails either down a gulley and then along the 'gutter' between the glacier and the cliffs of conglomerate that line it, or along the top of the cliffs. The trek leader will decide which of these trails is best in consultation with the local guide. On the other side of this obstacle the ablation valley continues and the walking becomes easier. We pass through a widening of the valley known as Gondogoro Village (although there is no village - just a few temporary stone shelters for goat herders) and beyond here we have to cross a small stream before continuing along the crest of the lateral moraine. At this point we have returned to more benign altitudes where things grow and the trees actually become bigger than us as we continue the descent of the moraine to the valley bottom. We make our camp at Saitcho (3350m), a sandy area of sparse grasses beside the river at the junction of the Gondogoro and Charakusa valleys. This will be the first night in almost a week where we can breathe the oxygen-rich air below 4000 metres and sleep to the sounds of running water!

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Descent

800 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

12 KM

It is in the nature of journey such as this that there can be delays and it is important to build in some time to allow for this. If we have not experienced any delays or been required to use this contingency day at this point in our trek, this will be a well-earned rest day. Saitcho is a great place to relax in the sunshine, catch up on diaries or laundry, or for those with an insatiable trekking appetite, a walk up into the Charakusa Valley is well worth the effort. If this option is taken we will make a relatively early start and follow a huntsmen's trail up onto the lateral moraine of the Charakusa Glacier. This is snow leopard country and although you will be very lucky if you spot one of the animals, you are very likely to see its signs and the local guide will take delight in pointing these out. After crossing a side glacier over rubble and ice, we get back onto the lateral moraine until it is possible to step onto the main Charakusa Glacier. Just how far we can go today depends on what time we start, the nature of the glacier and the energy of the group but we should be able to go far enough for views of K6 and K7. This option will take around 6 - 8 hours.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Now that we are off the glacier and down below 4000 metres, the daytime temperatures can climb into the high thirties so it is well worth getting an early start to avoid the main heat of the day. This is a relatively easy day of about 3 to 4 hours, following the river draining the Gondogoro and Charakusa glaciers down to its confluence with those draining the Masherbrum and Ailling glaciers. Here the valley swings to the south and we begin to see various signs of habitation with walls and temporary house. Eventually we reach the extensive fields of Hushe and climb up to a small plateau on which the main village is sited. Hushe is quite large with a warren of alleys and buildings. Most traditional houses are built from rounded river stones and are 2 storeys hgh, with space for the animal downstairs and people upstairs. Hushe also has some more modern houses, a shop, a school, an hotel and a trekkers' campsite. We check into the campsite and the rest of the day is free to explore this fascinating village. A lot has changed here since KE first began trekking in the region in 1984. Then the people of Hushe had to drink the silt-laden river water, cook only on wood and dung fires and live their nights and winter evenings entirely by candlelight. At the end of the eighties KE helped to install a piped-in fresh water supply to the village which improved the health and the general living standard of the village and in 1992 (after fundraising from our clients and hands on help from some of our groups including school expeditions) KE helped to install a miniature hydro-electric plant at the village sufficient to supply lighting to every household and also to provide some heat and cooking to reduce dependency on firewood. Needless to say, KE groups always receive a warm welcome when they arrive in Hushe from the Gondogoro La.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Descent

300 M

Time

3 - 4 hrs trekking

Distance

7 KM

Just as when we began our trek, leaving the high valleys of the Karakoram necessitates an exciting road journey by jeep. The return is not as arduous as the approach and the scenery is superb as we make our way down the valley passing villages of intense agriculture on both sides. Eventually we reach a junction where the Hushe River meets the Shyock River which flows from Ladakh. We cross the Shyock on a suspension bridge to reach a paved road on the other side at the large village of Khaplu which was once a seat of local government with its own palace. When KE first trekked in this region, the only way to cross the river from Khaplu to Hushe was via a traditional raft know as a 'zak'. This was a roughly constructed wooden framework mounted on top of several inflated goatskins which would be launched into the river laden with passengers and goods whereupon the pilot would pole it across, hoping to land on the other side at a suitable point to disembark. By the late eighties technological innovation had seen the goatskins replaced by tractor tyre inner tubes but otherwise the 'zak' remained essentially the same until the suspension bridge was built at the beginning of the nineties. From Khaplu our journey becomes considerably smoother and much faster as we now drive on the tarmac road first following the Shyock to a confluence with the Indus, then along this major river back to Skardu. Arriving in the Balti capital, we check into our hotel and enjoy our first hot shower in over two weeks!

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Skardu airport is a 40 minute drive from the hotel along a good road lined with poplar trees. Boarding our plane we have an exciting flight out of the valley, once again passing by Nanga Parbat before turning south for Islamabad. Arriving in the capital after a period in the mountains is always a strange experience and it takes a little time to get used to the hustle and bustle and especially the traffic. Our private bus will be waiting at the airport to transfer us to the group hotel and once we have settled in it will be time to take lunch (unless we have experienced unusual flight delays). After lunch the rest of the day is free for independent sightseeing or to relax at the hotel. Your trip leader will advise you on the possibilities for sightseeing. Shopping for hand-woven wool rugs is one popular option. This evening we come together again for a celebratory meal at the hotel or in a local restaurant.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Skardu is a 'weather dependent' airport which means the planes will only fly here if the visibility allows line of sight to the runway by the pilot on the approach. Fortunately the weather is mostly clear in the Karakoram but local weather conditions can bring cloud and rain from time to time. If we cannot fly we will travel down to Islamabad by road along the spectacular Karakoram Highway. If we flew up to Skardu this will be an added bonus as it is a fantastic travel experience in its own right. The drive down the Indus River to Islamabad takes two days so this is an important contingency day to allow for this. If we have flown to Islamabad this will be a further day for sightseeing in the capital and your leader will advise the group on the options available for today.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Your holiday ends after breakfast. Transfers to Islamabad Airport are provided.

Meals

B
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The Route
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Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • An experienced professional KE Western climbing leader
  • Islamabad Airport transfers for international flights on Day 1 and Day 21
  • Internal flights and associated airport transfers
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as described
  • All meals
  • All permit fees
  • Once on trek a full service including food and all equipment (excluding personal equipment)

  • Travel insurance
  • Pakistan Visa
  • Tips for local guides and support staff
  • Guided Islamabad sightseeing
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • souvenirs etc
  • PLEASE NOTE: an airport departure tax of Rs500 is sometimes payable

Travel on the Karakoram Highway

We encourage you to read the up to date Travel Advice on the FCDO website. Currently, the FCDO warns against travel on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) between Mansehra and Chilas.

We generally manage to avoid travel on the KKH by flying from Islamabad to Skardu and from Skardu or Gilgit back to Islamabad. However, if a flight is cancelled we are obliged to make this journey by road and in this case we prioritise the route via the Babusar Pass which avoids the section of the KKH between Mansehra and Chilas. Rarely, when the Babusar Pass is closed, we may have no alternative but to drive through the section referred to in the FCDO advice. 

We have been taking groups to Pakistan for over 35 years and have never had any problems on this road. In actuality, the journey along the Karakoram Highway is spectacularly scenic and an epic experience which has been enjoyed by hundreds of KE clients.

The group will meet at the hotel in Islamabad.

Transfers are provided from/to Islamabad Airport for all clients arriving on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary and departing on the last day of the Land Only itinerary.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

Fully-inclusive of all meals throughout, from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 21.

It is not recommended to drink untreated water from the taps. If you are on a trekking or cycling holiday, water is supplied to fill up your individual bottles. This will be boiled, filtered or provided in large jerry cans or 5 litre bottles. Additionally you should take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water when in towns or where water is not supplied. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

On trek, the food is a mixture of local and Western, dishes using ingredients mostly purchased in Pakistan and cooked by our highly trained trek cooks. Breakfasts consist of cereal, muesli or porridge, eggs, bread or chapatti, tea and coffee. Lunches are a picnic from a choice of canned fish, tinned meats, cheese, pickles, pate, and crackers or chapattis, sometimes accompanied by hot soup and noodles, and finished off with tea or coffee. Dinner taken in a group ‘mess’ tent, is a three course meal. We do routinely cater for vegetarians but you must inform us if you wish your diet to be exclusively vegetarian.

During this trip the group will spend 3 nights in Islamabad at a good standard hotel. The group will also have a night in a tourist standard hotel in Skardu before and after the trekking. Accommodation at each of these hotels is twin-sharing with en-suite facilities. Whilst on trek there will be a total of 15 nights camping in 2-person tents. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to hire a single tent while on trek for an additional cost. Please note single tent hire does not include single rooms in hotels. For the 5 hotel nights, single rooms are available for a supplementary cost. Additional hotel nights in Islamabad are also available. For hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

Skardu Flights

Skardu is a weather-dependent airport. Since the valley is completely surrounded by high mountains, planes can only land here in good visibility and this means flights to and from Skardu are never guaranteed. The planes do fly more often than not, but cancellations can and do occur and in these circumstances we will travel by road. If we did not do this groups would risk being stranded in Islamabad and you should beware of companies that say they will only fly to Skardu as this may mean you have no possibility of trekking. See our 'Important Note' about travel on the Karakoram Highway for more details.

The group will be led by an experienced KE Western leader. During the trek the group will be accompanied by a full support crew, including a local guide, cook and kitchen crew, as well as porters to carry all equipment and personal trek bags.

This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4000 metres you should consult one of our trekking experts before embarking on this holiday. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies. www.keadventure.com/page/altitude.html

Approximately £200 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) changed into local currency should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses, including porter and trek crew tips. You will also pay directly for guided sightseeing in in Islamabad if this works out for your group and you choose to take part in the tour. The cost of this will be approximately 50 US dollars for a half-day tour. Note that money for tips should be changed into local currency (denominations of 500 rupees or smaller only) before you leave Islamabad. It is not necessary to purchase local currency (Pakistan rupees) before your trip. Money can be changed at a reasonable rate at the airport or at authorised money changers. Since you will be changing the majority of your spending money into local currency soon after your arrival, we recommend that you take it in cash, taking care that all notes are new, clean and in good condition. US dollars, Sterling and Euros can readily be exchanged at the airport. US dollars will give you more flexibility to exchange in smaller towns or in an emergency. Credit cards can be used to purchase many goods in Islamabad or Skardu and are particularly useful for more expensive items such as carpets. Withdrawing cash from an ATM machine may prove to be impossible anywhere on this trip. 

It is usual to tip the members of your trek crew, including your local guide, if you are happy with the services provided. We estimate that £80 - £100 (in local currency equivalent) will cover this aspect of your trip expenditure. Towards the end of the trek, the trip leader will help the group to determine an appropriate level of tipping for each crew member, and this is most usually done as a group ‘thank-you’ with ceremony on the final day of trekking.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage, which should be a soft and sturdy duffel bag and a daypack. Your baggage on trek will be carried by porters. The packed weight of your bag whilst trekking including your sleeping bag and camping mattress should be no more than 12.5 kgs. (27 pounds). You should note that this allowance which is governed by maximum porter loads, is slightly less than allowances for treks in India and Nepal and is quite strictly adhered to. It is possible to leave items not required on trek at the group hotel in Islamabad and also in Skardu. Note this allowance does not include your mountaineering equipment which will be collected from you in Skardu and carried separately in communal bags.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

All British passport holders are required to obtain a visa for entry into Pakistan. Download our Pakistan Visa Information document for full details of how to apply.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any vaccinations or other medical preparation prior to your holiday. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella), along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis is discretionary for this trip. Malaria exists in the area around Islamabad. However, incidences of urban transmission of malaria are extremely low. In Skardu or Gilgit and in the mountains there is no malaria risk. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hrs through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Travellers who intend to visit Pakistan for 4 weeks or more should note that proof of Polio vaccination will be required on exiting the country. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. For this trip you need to be aerobically fit and also comfortable with walking up to 10 hours on some days. We suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Regular hiking in hill country is the best training but running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing cardio vascular fitness and stamina. Before departure, we recommend that you undertake a number of long walks in hilly country.

From mid June to August, we can expect to encounter temperatures as high as 30°C at Skardu and 25°C at Hushe and Askole. In June and early July there will be a good covering of snow on the slopes leading to and from the Gondoro la and we may also encounter snow on the upper part of the Baltoro. Above 4000 metres snow can fall at any time of the year. At any time of the season the night-time temperature above 4000 metres are likely to drop to freezing or below and at our highest camps may reach minus 10 or 15°C. The weather is generally good throughout the summer season, with clear skies and little rain or snow. However, weather in mountainous areas is difficult to predict, and short-lived storms can occur at any time of the year.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • Trekking in Pakistan. Isobel Shaw.

  • Karakoram Highway. King.

  • Top Treks of the World. Steve Razzetti.

  • In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods. Galen Rowell.

  • K2 Triumph and Tragedy. Jim Curran.

TerraQuest: Karakoram. 1 : 175,000
Available from Stanfords - stanfords.co.uk - £14.99

This is the best map for all of KE's current Karakoram treks. Covers the central part of the Karakoram Range on a waterproof and tear-resistant, double-sided map, with coverage extending from Gilgit and the Karakoram Highway to the peaks of K2 and Gasherbrum. The map is presented in a special format, handy for conveniently viewing just small sections of it at one time.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking including your sleeping bag and mattress should be no more than 12.5 kgs. This limit which is set by the porters is strictly enforced and bags will be weighed prior to setting off on trek. Anything not required on the trek can be left at the group hotel in Islamabad. Please note that your mountaineering equipment will be packed into additional, communal kitbags at the start of the trekking and this equipment will not be part of your personal 12.5 kgs weight limit.

When selecting clothing for this holiday, please be culturally sensitive. Tight fitting or revealing clothing is not appropriate. Shorts and tee shirts can be worn but only once we are above the last temporary habitations of the valley.

You must bring the following items:

  • Sleeping bag (comfort rated -15°C)
  • Thermarest or similar sleeping mat
  • Daypack 30 to 40 litres
  • Hiking boots (see notes)
  • Mountaineering boots (see ‘Mountaineering equipment’ below)
  • Trainers or sandals for river crossings and camp use
  • Spare laces
  • Trekking trousers
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousersUnderwear
  • Thermal baselayer - leggings
  • Thermal baselayer shirts (2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve)
  • Shirts or T-shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm jacket (down)
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Thermal gloves
  • Warmer and waterproof gloves or mittens
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 litre (x2) (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Trekking poles
  • Headtorch and spare batteries
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small towel
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters, blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets.

The following items are optional:

  • Microspikes (Kahtoola) or similar footwear traction (see notes)
  • Gaiters
  • Insect repellant – (DEET)
  • Scarf or buff
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Pee bottle
  • Travel clothes
  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • 2x small padlocks (one for left luggage and one for trek bag)
  • Camera
  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

 

Mountaineering Equipment

  • Insulated and rigid mountaineering boots which can be securely fitted with crampons. (B2 grade minimum).
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Climbing harness
  • Karabiners (2 x screwgate)
  • Sling (120cm)
  • Prussik loops X 2 (4m of 6mm cord makes 2)
  • Climbing helmet
  • Jumar (ascender) - we provide locally

Notes:

The rugged underfoot conditions on and off the glaciers are really hard on boots and it is important that you take walking boots that are in good condition and not nearing the end of their shelf-life.

Kahtoola Microspikes or similar footwear traction can provide extra security when walking on sections of dry glacier.

Equipment hire

It is currently not possible to hire equipment for this holiday.

Needle Sports (specialist mountaineering equipment shop)

Needle Sports is the English Lake District's foremost specialist climbing shop supplying mountaineering, rock, ice, alpine and expedition equipment worldwide. Internationally recognised as among the very best of the UK's top technical climbing gear retailers. They have a good range of equipment appropriate for this trip and offer knowledgeable advice both on their website and in store. View >>http://www.needlesports.com/

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 from 11 reviews

An outstanding, memorable trip, despite an unusual amount of bad luck. ★★★★★

Firstly, let’s deal with the bad luck, none of which were due to KE or the local trekking company. They’re simply a result of the ‘adventure’ in KE Adventure Travel – i.e. trips such as this will always be at the whim of events. Most significantly, both inbound and outbound local flights from Islamabad to / from Skardu were cancelled at short notice, resulting in 16-18 hour bus journeys. These were mostly on the Karokoram Highway – a road of many bends and poor surfaces, but definite ly not one conducive to a restful trip. Recent flight records showed that 15-20 % of flights do not take place, so we were indeed unlucky. These delays used up some contingency time. Outbound we did the trip overnight, and the return with an overnight stop in a poor hotel. Both were less than ideal, but were organised efficiently. Further to this, most of the trekkers had a fair degree of illnesses – either coughs / throat infections or gastro-intestinal problems. We were also unfortunate in that we had some rain at Concordia that would have been fresh snow on the Gondogora La pass, meaning this was unwise to attempt on the following days. This did tie in with a period of illness so returning back from Concordia was very disappointing, but the only sensible option. Having declared the bad luck, it’s worth reflecting on the positives. I found the jeep rides exhilarating, and a great experience, but note they take a day each way. The Karakoram is a truly breath-taking place. Innumerable 5/6000m peaks are passed on the approach to Concordia where you are surrounded by the magnificent 7000m and awe inspiring 8000m peaks. Any of these peaks without exception would be a stunning destination on its own merits anywhere else in the world. Fine weather is rewarded with incredible scenery. Poor weather shows how brutal, harsh and equally impressive the landscape can be. Then there are the sunsets, sunrises, dark sky views of the milky way and much more. The trip is not for the faint hearted. The heat at lower altitudes can be intense, the moraine was hard work together with the altitude. Sanitation is less than ideal, due to local custom and constraints in some of the more popular camping sites. As mentioned by other trekkers, non-pack animals make a one-way trip – so chickens, goats and the odd bullock are led up the trail and then slaughtered discretely. Even as a non-meat eater, this did not concern me, but be prepared for the realities of different cultures. Our trek leader, Tom, was knowledgeable and a calm head. The support crew from porters to caterers were excellent, with good quality food on offer. Because of the reversal down from Concordia, supplies were a little constrained ( as some were the ‘wrong’ side of the pass ), but the local agent readjusted the logistics well. In summary, a highly recommended trip, exceptionally rewarding and utterly unmatched. Just imagine what I’d be writing if I’d had good luck.
By Charles from Ashbourne | 08 August 2022

K2, G2, GIV etc etc ...Breathtaking mountain scenery ★★★★★

Excellent trip. Good briefing docs/ info from KE prior to departure. Very well led and efficiently managed by a high quality leader and local guide. Great experience overall.

By Richard from Dubai | 30 July 2019

A spectacular trek for true mountain lovers. ★★★★★

This trek had been on my 'to do' list for a few years and having finally got round to completing it, I would have no hesitation in recommending it to others. Disregard any impression you may have of Pakistan from the Western media and go and see for yourselves what a beautiful, diverse and friendly place it is. Trust me, they want people to come. The trek is rightly billed as a classic and KE's well paced itinerary allowed for full appreciation of the scenery with plenty of time to soak up the m ountains and experience some lovely campsites that other groups missed out on. KE's local agent also provided a crew that produced ridiculously good food given the limited resources they had to create it. I would advise potential trekkers not to underestimate the Gondogoro La. In the right conditions it's technically straightforward but considering the modest altitude it's steep, hard work with the descent and a decent distance to camp from the bottom. Be prepared but don't be put off, the trek is achievable for all fit and experienced trekkers.
By Jonathan from COBHAM | 28 July 2019

The trek to the Concordia was one of a special kind ★★★★

The trek was very well organized and well thought out, especially with regard to the contingency days - which we all had to make use of due to the weather conditions. A crossing of the Gondogoro La was not possible due to the heavy snowfalls and avalanche danger. I think that didn't spoil the trip - the breathtaking Concordia compensated for everything (very good view on the K2, Broad Peak and G4). - Many thanks again to Mohammed Khan and Andy Chapman.

By Andreas from Berlin | 02 July 2019

Recommend! ★★★★

This was a beautiful trip. I recommend it. We had some bad weather so we couldn't make it over the pass and had to double back, but obviously this is not KE's fault and everyone was mentioning how rare it was to have so much snow. Good: Guides were excellent and the itinerary was outstanding. This is truly a beautiful place. The crew was outstanding and helpful. Things to be aware of (neither good nor bad) 1. There are very limited places to stop and camp. Therefore if the camping spots are some what crowded as there is really no other place to be. Any expedition for K2 or Broad Peak really has to be up that valley. For some, this was an added bonus as they got to have conversations with people that were trying to summit K2 they found it interesting. For others, it was a little loud and busy at the campsites. For me, it was sort of irrelevant and didn't add or detract. Again, nothing can really be done about it either way as the spots are very limited. 2. They brought "fresh meat" with them (chickens, goats) that were slaughtered along the way for food. This was not a problem for me as I am not a vegetarian and on other trips the crew bought live animals along the way for food. For some, this was disturbing. Neither good nor bad, but something to be prepared for as you might be hiking with your dinner... Why not "5 stars" 1. The "fly in" hotel in Islamabad was not good at all. We ended up not staying there it was so poor we got (and paid for) rooms somewhere else. I certainly did not expect the four seasons, but we have done many (about a dozen) trips like this with many companies (including previously with KE) and it was the worst first and last night hotel we have ever seen. The hotel in Skardu is about what you would expect, but there are much nicer and reasonably priced options in Islamabad. Additionally, before we went, we asked KE for an additional night and airport pick up a day early, and they wanted to charge us well over double what it cost to stay at a gorgeous hotel with wonderful restaurants a workout facility and a pool. After the trek, most of the people came to our hotel. 2. The food was poor. It was certainly acceptable and edible, but it was literally the same thing every day for 15 days, and almost all carbs. In treks, you don't expect a fine dining experience, but in our experience on many of these treks including some in the Himalayas, as well as Andes and other places it was probably the worst we have had.
By Joseph from Mosier | 01 July 2019

KE Adventure reply

Thank you for your review. We are pleased that you enjoyed the trek to Concordia, undoubtedly one of the most sensational locations on the planet! We are sorry you did not like the hotel in Islamabad. The majority of KE clients and leaders, as well as the two members of our Keswick office staff staying here at the same time as your group, like this hotel. We know it cannot compare to the five-star international hotel you chose to stay in, but if we were to accommodate the group there, this would inflate the price of the holiday out of all proportion to the added benefit.


Traveller Reviews
4.8 out of 5 from 11 reviews

An outstanding, memorable trip, despite an unusual amount of bad luck.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Firstly, let’s deal with the bad luck, none of which were due to KE or the local trekking company. They’re simply a result of the ‘adventure’ in KE Adventure Travel – i.e. trips such as this will always be at the whim of events. Most significantly, both inbound and outbound local flights from Islamabad to / from Skardu were cancelled at short notice, resulting in 16-18 hour bus journeys. These were mostly on the Karokoram Highway – a road of many bends and poor surfaces, but definite ly not one conducive to a restful trip. Recent flight records showed that 15-20 % of flights do not take place, so we were indeed unlucky. These delays used up some contingency time. Outbound we did the trip overnight, and the return with an overnight stop in a poor hotel. Both were less than ideal, but were organised efficiently. Further to this, most of the trekkers had a fair degree of illnesses – either coughs / throat infections or gastro-intestinal problems. We were also unfortunate in that we had some rain at Concordia that would have been fresh snow on the Gondogora La pass, meaning this was unwise to attempt on the following days. This did tie in with a period of illness so returning back from Concordia was very disappointing, but the only sensible option. Having declared the bad luck, it’s worth reflecting on the positives. I found the jeep rides exhilarating, and a great experience, but note they take a day each way. The Karakoram is a truly breath-taking place. Innumerable 5/6000m peaks are passed on the approach to Concordia where you are surrounded by the magnificent 7000m and awe inspiring 8000m peaks. Any of these peaks without exception would be a stunning destination on its own merits anywhere else in the world. Fine weather is rewarded with incredible scenery. Poor weather shows how brutal, harsh and equally impressive the landscape can be. Then there are the sunsets, sunrises, dark sky views of the milky way and much more. The trip is not for the faint hearted. The heat at lower altitudes can be intense, the moraine was hard work together with the altitude. Sanitation is less than ideal, due to local custom and constraints in some of the more popular camping sites. As mentioned by other trekkers, non-pack animals make a one-way trip – so chickens, goats and the odd bullock are led up the trail and then slaughtered discretely. Even as a non-meat eater, this did not concern me, but be prepared for the realities of different cultures. Our trek leader, Tom, was knowledgeable and a calm head. The support crew from porters to caterers were excellent, with good quality food on offer. Because of the reversal down from Concordia, supplies were a little constrained ( as some were the ‘wrong’ side of the pass ), but the local agent readjusted the logistics well. In summary, a highly recommended trip, exceptionally rewarding and utterly unmatched. Just imagine what I’d be writing if I’d had good luck.
By Charles from Ashbourne | 08 August 2022

K2, G2, GIV etc etc ...Breathtaking mountain scenery
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Excellent trip. Good briefing docs/ info from KE prior to departure. Very well led and efficiently managed by a high quality leader and local guide. Great experience overall.

By Richard from Dubai | 30 July 2019

A spectacular trek for true mountain lovers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This trek had been on my 'to do' list for a few years and having finally got round to completing it, I would have no hesitation in recommending it to others. Disregard any impression you may have of Pakistan from the Western media and go and see for yourselves what a beautiful, diverse and friendly place it is. Trust me, they want people to come. The trek is rightly billed as a classic and KE's well paced itinerary allowed for full appreciation of the scenery with plenty of time to soak up the m ountains and experience some lovely campsites that other groups missed out on. KE's local agent also provided a crew that produced ridiculously good food given the limited resources they had to create it. I would advise potential trekkers not to underestimate the Gondogoro La. In the right conditions it's technically straightforward but considering the modest altitude it's steep, hard work with the descent and a decent distance to camp from the bottom. Be prepared but don't be put off, the trek is achievable for all fit and experienced trekkers.
By Jonathan from COBHAM | 28 July 2019

The trek to the Concordia was one of a special kind
★ ★ ★ ★

The trek was very well organized and well thought out, especially with regard to the contingency days - which we all had to make use of due to the weather conditions. A crossing of the Gondogoro La was not possible due to the heavy snowfalls and avalanche danger. I think that didn't spoil the trip - the breathtaking Concordia compensated for everything (very good view on the K2, Broad Peak and G4). - Many thanks again to Mohammed Khan and Andy Chapman.

By Andreas from Berlin | 02 July 2019

Recommend!
★ ★ ★ ★
This was a beautiful trip. I recommend it. We had some bad weather so we couldn't make it over the pass and had to double back, but obviously this is not KE's fault and everyone was mentioning how rare it was to have so much snow. Good: Guides were excellent and the itinerary was outstanding. This is truly a beautiful place. The crew was outstanding and helpful. Things to be aware of (neither good nor bad) 1. There are very limited places to stop and camp. Therefore if the camping spots are some what crowded as there is really no other place to be. Any expedition for K2 or Broad Peak really has to be up that valley. For some, this was an added bonus as they got to have conversations with people that were trying to summit K2 they found it interesting. For others, it was a little loud and busy at the campsites. For me, it was sort of irrelevant and didn't add or detract. Again, nothing can really be done about it either way as the spots are very limited. 2. They brought "fresh meat" with them (chickens, goats) that were slaughtered along the way for food. This was not a problem for me as I am not a vegetarian and on other trips the crew bought live animals along the way for food. For some, this was disturbing. Neither good nor bad, but something to be prepared for as you might be hiking with your dinner... Why not "5 stars" 1. The "fly in" hotel in Islamabad was not good at all. We ended up not staying there it was so poor we got (and paid for) rooms somewhere else. I certainly did not expect the four seasons, but we have done many (about a dozen) trips like this with many companies (including previously with KE) and it was the worst first and last night hotel we have ever seen. The hotel in Skardu is about what you would expect, but there are much nicer and reasonably priced options in Islamabad. Additionally, before we went, we asked KE for an additional night and airport pick up a day early, and they wanted to charge us well over double what it cost to stay at a gorgeous hotel with wonderful restaurants a workout facility and a pool. After the trek, most of the people came to our hotel. 2. The food was poor. It was certainly acceptable and edible, but it was literally the same thing every day for 15 days, and almost all carbs. In treks, you don't expect a fine dining experience, but in our experience on many of these treks including some in the Himalayas, as well as Andes and other places it was probably the worst we have had.
By Joseph from Mosier | 01 July 2019

KE Adventure reply

Thank you for your review. We are pleased that you enjoyed the trek to Concordia, undoubtedly one of the most sensational locations on the planet! We are sorry you did not like the hotel in Islamabad. The majority of KE clients and leaders, as well as the two members of our Keswick office staff staying here at the same time as your group, like this hotel. We know it cannot compare to the five-star international hotel you chose to stay in, but if we were to accommodate the group there, this would inflate the price of the holiday out of all proportion to the added benefit.


A superb adventure in a stunning mountain area
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I have wanted to go to the Karakorum for many years having seen photos of K2 and Concordia. It did not disappoint. It's wild, rugged and remote with some of the most spectacular mountains on earth. A complete contrast to areas such as Everest and Annapurna. No villages; no greenery; rugged terrain; wild and untamed as big mountains should be. KE organisation as always was excellent. Great local crew, brand new tents, and a great guide in Tom Richardson. Only disappointment was not crossing the p ass because of snow, but somehow it didn't seem to matter!
By Bryan from Kendal | 22 July 2017

Stunning surroundings unrivalled anywhere else in the world.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Excellent holiday. Unfortunately unable to cross the pass due to snow. Local crew were excellent. Food and tents were superb. Stunning campsites especially at Concordia. Hopefully will return soon to Pakistan. Inshallah.

By Phillip from Croft | 04 July 2017

Fantastic mountain scenery and challenging walking - what more could you want!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a stunning trek, highly recommended for lovers of big mountains. I've been to the Indian and Nepalese Himalayas and the scenery in the Karakoram surpassed them all. There was plenty of adventure from start to finish, kicking off with a drive up the infamous Karakoram Highway complete with armed escorts and landslides! Highlights are many – the views from Concordia are epic and well worth all the effort to get there. The 360 degree panorama taking in K2, Broad Peak and the Gasherbrums i s breath taking. The night time ascent of the Gondogoro La with its 40-50 degree slopes at 5500m is certainly not for the faint hearted (or unfit!). Competence with ice axe and crampons on steep snow slopes is essential as being stuck behind someone who is not up to the job is not much fun for other members of the group. The trek was well organised from start to finish. The local guides, camp staff and porters were all incredibly professional and efficient; the food was amazing and the tents modern and spacious. The tour leader, Tom Richardson, was top class and a pleasure to be with in the hills.
By Adventure from NOTTINGHAM | 21 August 2016

Incredible journey to the most beautiful mountains in the world
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The scenery in the Karakorams is simply awe-inspiring. There was a real sense of good feeling among our team; partly due to the incredible shared experience of being in such a magical place, but also largely owing to the wonderful treatment we received from our Pakistani hosts and from Tom's (our group leader) sense of humour. Tom's knowledge of the region is tremendous and he had stories of funny misadventures in nearly every mountain we passed. And there were a lot of mountains! KE were bril liant at helping us all rearrange our flights (there was a coup in Turkey the day before most of us were due to fly out to Pakistan on Turkish Airlines). On the journey to Skardu, we had to find accommodation at the last minute in Gilgit (due to a delay as a result of a landslide on the KKH). KE, Tom and Baltistan Tours made sure we all had accommodation and I was very glad at that point that I was not trying to travel independently. The food throughout the trip was really superb. In the most trying conditions (on glaciers, in the middle of the night, after days without fresh supplies), the kitchen boys managed to produce heaps of delicious food. This trip in Pakistan was the best holiday i have been on. The company was great and everything was organised so well. I would highly recommend this trip. The scenery really blew me away and I got so much more out of the trip by going with KE than I believe I could have done by going with another company given that the Karakorams is KE's specialist region. I will be back next year!
By Chloe from HASLEMERE | 16 August 2016

A fantastic trekking holiday
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This holiday is packed with fascinating things to see. The days spent travelling and sightseeing give you a flavour of Pakistani life, but nothing beats the mountain views you get from walking in the Karakoram. The crew and staff are excellent and look after you extremely well. Most days average about 6-7 hours walking, and the tough day crossing the Gondogoro La was offset by a few easy days walking after it. Highly recommended for any keen hiker!

By Emilie from Andover | 08 August 2016

Great guide and people
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I had a great trek with Ade, fellow trekkers and all the porter staff. My great disappointment was when Baltistan Tours produced an inflated invoice in US Dollars!!!! from the original agreed price of R40,000 and charged me $725 (R76,125) for my journey to K2 Base Camp.

By Donald from GLASGOW | 19 July 2016

KE Adventure reply

Thank you for your review. We were sorry to hear that you were not able to continue with the group over the Gondogoro La from Concordia. It is good that you enjoyed your trek with Ade and that he was able to arrange for you to visit K2 Base camp. With regard to the price for your extra trek down the Baltoro to Askole and vehicle transfer from there to Skardu, we will investigate the discrepancy between the estimated price given to you by your leader and the actual cost and will contact you directly about this.


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