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Climbing & mountaineering

K2 Base Camp with EVEREST GUIDE

Climbing & mountaineering
Climbing & mountaineering
Climbing & mountaineering
Expedition
Expedition
Expedition

Realise your true potential in what many think to be the most stunning mountain range on earth

Go places others wont. Pakistan is every bit as spectacular as Nepal but receives very few visitors in comparison

Feel more alive than ever exploring this fascinating land with a like minded bunch

Pakistan

22 days

20 (with multiple guides including European guide)

People

Hotel and wild camping

Moderate

LET YOUR

HASSLE FREE, fully guided

ADVENTURE BEGIN !

£ 180.00 GBP (Deposit)
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Overview
Reviews
What's Included
Recommended Kit List
Getting There
FAQ

ITINERARY

So you want a real adventure? Something a bit different? You've come to the right place! The worlds second highest mountain wont disappoint.

DAY 1 : Depart UK

We most likely meet our guide for our trek at the airport. Depart London Heathrow in the evening.

DAY 2 : Early arrival at Islamabad International Airport

We transfer to a centrally located hotel to relax and recover from our flight. There may be time for a short sightseeing excursion to Islamabad, or its twin city Rawalpindi, before dinner. It may be necessary for some, or all of, the group to visit the offices of the Ministry of Tourism to receive an official briefing about the expedition.

DAY 3 : Fly or drive to Skardu

Depending on flight permissions, today we will either fly to Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan, or start our journey to the Karakoram on the spectacular Karakoram Highway (KKH).

Weather permitting; we take the early morning flight to Skardu. The chances of flying are usually good (80% possibility) and the one-hour flight is nothing short of spectacular, with breathtaking views of the Rupal and Diamir faces of Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth highest mountain. If flying, we will spend the remainder of the day sightseeing in Skardu. The town is the main trekking and expedition hub in the Karakoram. We have the chance to visit its many bazaars known for their hand-woven woollen cloth and elaborate, colourful embroidered local gowns. Otherwise, it is possible to wander up the hill to the ancient Alexandria Fort overlooking the town. The awesome sight of the Indus sprawling across the wide alluvial plain beneath is an indication of the visual pleasures that lie in store throughout the trek.

If taking the Karakoram Highway, prepare for a simply astonishing two-day journey along what was once an ancient Silk Road and is now an international highway connecting Pakistan, as well as the entire Indian subcontinent, to China. Traversed for centuries by traders and travellers alike, the route will take us into a region rarely visited by modern expeditions, allowing us to peek into the everyday lives of these hardy mountain people. The Lower Hunza Valley is beautiful of course from a scenic perspective, but we will be able to appreciate more fully the astonishing engineering achievement of this highway cut deep into the mountains. This road is, for many, one of the treasured memories of their journey to the Karakoram.

(BLD)

(B = Breaky, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

DAY 4 : Sightseeing in Skardu or continuing the drive along the KKH

Skardu is a dusty fort town of bazaars, stores and ancient polo fields grazed by an eclectic variety of livestock. Originally settled by Tibetans, it is home to the Balti people, as well as the main stop before the mountains. With nods to its shamanist and Buddhist pasts, the town is of diverse origin, and is dotted with rustic hotels and second-hand shops for climbers, usually filling with trekkers and mountaineers during the summer. The Indus River flows past the town in a wide, flat valley and the stunning snow-topped peaks in the distance give a tantalising hint of the heights to come.

A free day in Skardu might also present us with a chance to take a jeep ride up to the beautiful Satpara Lake. A prominent rock inscription of the Lord Buddha on the drive to Satpara is a reminder of the important influence of Buddhism to this area before the arrival of Islam.

(BLD)

DAY 5 : Drive to Askole (3,048m) Drive 6-8 hrs

Leaving Skardu, we set out by jeep for approximately a 6 to 8-hour drive to Askole. Initially, friendly Balti farmers and waving school children are likely to enliven your journey through the colourful and fertile settlements of the Shigar Valley, but once we reach the confluence of the Braldu and Shigar valley the scenery changes from green and fertile to the desert landscape more typical of these mountains. Throughout the drive snow-capped 5000m peaks rise around us, with lush oasis visible where streams run down and cross the increasingly more rugged track. At times, landslides may make it necessary to walk short sections of the road. Askole is a single street of wooden houses flanked by vibrant fields of wheat and potatoes and dotted by apricot and mulberry orchards. This drive, like its big brother the KKH, reveals a hugely human aspect to the expedition and highlights the hospitality of the Balti people.

(BLD)

DAY 6 : Trek to Korofong (3,100m) 4 hrs, 10 kms

A gentle and beautiful start marks the start of this incredible trek. Leaving Askole village behind we initially walk along lanes and through fields where we’ll see friendly local Balti people going about their daily lives, but it doesn’t take long before the Karakoram begins to reveal itself; jagged peaks, stark snow-capped mountains and sheer cliff faces begin to dominate the landscape.  A suspension bridge crosses the Baltoro River rushing from the glacier’s snout and we make camp on the other side in a small oasis amongst the trees at Korofong.

(BLD)

DAY 7 : Trek to Bardumal (3,305m) 7-8 hrs, 21 kms

From Korofong we follow the path up a side valley and cross the river on a good bridge that replaces the old trolley system or “jhola” that was previously used by both locals and expeditions alike. From here we have views of Bakhor Das (5,809m), its impressive summit a rocky fist perched above its base, often referred to as K2 by local villagers. In the distance the needles of Paiju Peak are visible. We continue from Jhola until arriving at Bardumal campsite.

(BLD)

DAY 8 : Trek through Braldu Valley to Paiju Camp (3420m). 7-8 hrs, 21 kms

We make an early start today along a path that is sometimes loose and occasionally flooded in places. We may need to take off our boots to wade across – sandals come in handy! Our objective today is Paiju Camp; a green oasis nestled beneath the striking granite spire of Paiju Peak (6,611m). At our high point we have jaw-dropping views of the Baltoro Glacier and the granite peaks of the Trango and Cathedral groups, and on a clear day it is even possible to see K2. Much has been done by the local Balti community to remove rubbish and human waste from both the trail and the camps ahead, in order to restore this incredible landscape to its natural splendour.

(BLD)

DAY 9 : Rest day / Acclimatisation day at Paiju

Today will be a rest day to acclimatise, take in the scenery, enjoy a relaxed morning stroll through alpine flower meadows and help our Balti team prepare for the next stage of the expedition. A short acclimatisation walk in the late afternoon will reward us with different views of the remarkable granite spires of the Trango and Cathedral Tower group at sunset.

(BLD)

DAY 10 : Ascent of Baltoro Glacier and trek to Khoburtse (3,903m) 7 hrs, 15 kms

From our camp at Paiju we walk an hour to the snout of the Baltoro Glacier where an enormous amount of meltwater pours from deep within the ice. Here, we climb up a rocky path onto its icy back and the trail then undulates as we climb over the buckling moraine-strewn surface of this permanently flowing glacier. Gradually we work our way across the glacier to its south side until we reach a side valley, donning our sandals once again to wade the numerous meltwater streams until we reach camp at Horbose. Today brings more sensational views of the Cathedral Towers, the Trango Group and the striking granite tower of Uli Biaho. This is a great day of trekking, over challenging and mixed terrain.

(BLD)

DAY 11 : Trek to Urdukas (4,130m) 4 hrs, 6.5 kms

A shortish day, but quite a puff as we gain height on the moraine. One of today’s highlights will be viewing mountains that feature in both climbing and base- jumping legend. We pass within striking distance the Great Trango Tower, the Nameless Tower and across the valley the immense rock walls of Cathedral Peak and Lobsang Spire. Our camp, Urdukas, is perched a hundred metres above the glacier, on terraces originally hacked by the Duke of Abruzzi’s K2 expedition of 1909. 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 the situation and surrounding views.

(BLD)

DAY 12 : Re-ascend the Baltoro Glacier to Goro (4295m). 7-8 hrs, 12 kms

Taking the trail back onto the icy back of the Baltoro Glacier, we will pass the Yermanandu Glacier, flowing from Masherbrum, along with its immediate neighbour, Muztagh Tower – an imposing monolith of rock first climbed by the British team of Joe Brown and Ian McNaught-Davis in 1956. For many, however, today’s highlight is the enormous shining wall at the head of the glacier of the stunning Gasherbrum IV (7925m), which gradually begins to make its presence felt and lures us further into Concordia, the realm of the greatest mountains on earth.  We are quite high now and camping on one of the largest pieces of ice outside of the polar regions. Ledges have been levelled out on the glacier to make our campsite and we’ll notice the drop in temperature that the altitude and camping on the ice brings.

(BLD)

DAY 13 : Goro to the spectacular Concordia (4500m) 4-5 hrs, 12 kms

The final approach to Concordia brings us some of the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere in the world.  As our journey continues up the Baltoro Glacier there will be tantalising glimpses of the 8000m summits of Gasherbrum II (8035m) and the aptly named Broad Peak (8051m), which comes vividly into view above the ridge connecting the unique Marble and Crystal Peaks. Then, seemingly without warning, its peak towering almost 4000 metres from the valley floor, stands the mighty K2. Together, the giants of Concordia make other mountain ranges look puny in comparison and camping out, surrounded on all sides by the gigantic summits of Gasherbrum IV, Mitre Peak, Chogolisa, Crystal Peak, Marble Peak, Baltoro Kangri, Broad Peak and K2, is an experience that will stay forever etched in your memory.

(BLD)

DAY 14 : Trek to K2 basecamp. K2 BC (5,100m): 9-11 hours, return, Broad Peak BC (4,800m): 5-6 hours, return

Reaching K2 basecamp will, for many, be the main focus of this expedition. To reach this majestic mountain, see it up close, catch a glimpse into the life of the climbers wanting to attain its summit and to visit the Gilkey memorial for climbers who have lost their lives attempting it, is a combination of both visual splendour and incredible emotion.

An early start will see us begin the journey into K2 basecamp, and our first objective is to reach the basecamp of K2’s gigantic neighbour, Broad Peak. Our path from camp, established by porters supplying both K2 and Broad Peak basecamps, will soon become more complex as we enter a maze of crevasses and meltwater rivers of the upper Baltoro Glacier. After a few hours of tricky walking we reach easier terrain and follow the medial moraine of the Godwin Austen Glacier to reach Broad Peak basecamp.

Reaching Broad Peak basecamp is a fantastic achievement in itself and rewards you with the immense views for which the Karakoram are famous. Looking back into Concordia the bulk of the 7,665m Chogolisa stands out for its perfect symmetry and further back Mitre Peak and the mountains we will have come to know so well stand like sentries along the Baltoro.

Beyond Broad Peak basecamp we again enter glaciated terrain as we negotiate the swells of the glacier and more glacial streams. Crampons are not needed as we are mostly walking on the many boulders carried by the ice and after a further 3 hours we reach ‘the strip’, the traditional basecamp area for attempts on the Abruzzi Ridge, the ‘normal’ route on K2. Basecamp is not the sea of yellow tents and prayer flags found at the foot of Everest. Currently there are no iconic signs; instead a modest rockpile marks the site. Depending on the time of the season and the number of expeditions, we may well find we are alone here. At the foot of over two vertical miles of rock and ice, the second highest mountain on Earth stands proudly as reward for over a week of toil.

(BLD)

DAY 15-19 : Return trek to Askole and drive to Skardu

Making the most of our last few days in the Karakoram we retrace our steps to Askole via Goro 1, Khoburtse, Paiju and Jhola. Trekking this route back allows us to savour the summits from a different perspective and, as we are fully acclimatised and trekking fit, we are able to start the day at a leisurely pace and explore small side valleys and sections of the glacier we might not have had the time to see on our ascent. We will plan to arrive in Askole by midday and will be met by the vehicles and make our way directly back to Skardu, around a 6 to 7-hour drive. Arriving in the Balti capital, we check into our hotel and enjoy modern facilities, a group meal in a local restaurant and a comfortable bed.

(BLD)

DAY 20 : Morning flight to Islamabad or return journey via the KKH in case of no flights

Today we will plan to fly from Skardu to Islamabad, and so the day will be spent either exploring Islamabad and its twin city Rawalpindi, or on the road enjoying the scenery of the return journey along the KKH if no flights are available.

We will check in to our hotel in the centre of Islamabad and celebrate our climb and ascent with a group meal in a local restaurant.

(BL)

DAY 21 : Depart

Today is a contingency day to allow for any delays due to weather – we will either spend the morning in Islamabad or finish up our scenic drive along the KKH no flights are available.

Possible night flight departing from Islamabad to your home country. Islamabad Airport transfers will be provided.

(BL)

DAY 22 : Arrive UK

Possible day flight to UK (previous night’s accommodation included) or arrive after overnight flight.

These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the trek and what you will experience.

REVIEWS

What Adventurers are Saying

I don't think any of us will ever be the same (good thing) and hopefully, lessons learnt will be long term and not swept under the carpet as our normal luxuries return. (no problem with luxuries, just with understanding and reality).

Guide Review 7, K2 Base Camp

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We all had our ups and downs but [our guide] showed amazing leadership, maturity and plain brilliance. He was without a doubt the best guide I have ever had, and his continuous enthusiasm and motivation is just second to none.

Guide Review 6, K2 Base Camp

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"What we all achieved is taking its time to filter through my being and as the days tick by I feel that I have been challenged more than I realised. My decision never to do something like this again has dissolved" "really am so glad I did the trip now and I really do feel I have had my life enriched...on so many levels. Everything."" an inspirational leader."

Guide Review 5, K2 Base Camp

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"They look after the welfare of the trekkers every step of the way from preperation to treking in country. The routes are often not the obvious crowded routes but ones with the best scenery" "and often taking an extra day to support acclimatization. Client welfare and getting the best out of the treks is clearly of the utmost importance"

Guide Review 4, K2 Base Camp

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We all know we made it to the top because of you. This was our dream which we invested a lot of time and money into and had 1 shot at. But you guys made it possible because you really cared.

Guide Review 3, K2 Base Camp

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Thank you so much for all your hard work and for going above and beyond which I surmise is not untypical of all you guys. You really are a great company.

Guide Review 2, K2 Base Camp

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"Thank you once again for the most amazing trip. I know it sounds really cliché but that mountain really changed a lot for me." "has given me a new belief not only in life but in myself too. And that’s a massive thing for me."

Guide Review 1, K2 Base Camp

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It was well organised, a great challenge and fun!

Pauline, K2 Base Camp

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WHAT'S INCLUDED

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • International and domestic airfares (where flights chosen)
  • High qualified and experienced European guide and local guides
  • All road transfers
  • All hotel accommodation as mentioned
  • All camp services (tents and meals etc)
  • Emergency and team mountaineering equipment
  • Trekking permits
  • Central Karakorum National Park fees
  • All accommodation based on two people sharing
  • All food whilst on trek and ‘meals’ when city based as described in the itinerary
  • 15% discount for Cotswold Outdoor
  • No extra cost payment plan available on request

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Drinks in restaurants
  • Personal gear for trekking and climbing
  • Tips for local guides
  • Visas where applicable
  • Trip insurance
  • Items of a personal nature: phone calls, laundry, room service, etc.
  • Unscheduled hotel nights
  • Lunch and dinner as indicated in the itinerary
  • Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early including any airline surcharges as a result of changing return airline tickets

RECOMMENDED KIT LIST

Recommended Kit List

  • Kit bag – one or two at least 120L duffel bag - for transporting your kit
  • Day pack - approx 70-80L capacity
  • Small kit bag to leave at the hotel
  • Waterproof rucksack cover
  • Dry stuffsacks
  • 2 padlocks to keep packs secure
  • Sleeping bag - 4 season
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Full-length sleeping mat
  • Warm headgear
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Buff/scarf
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock & lip salve
  • Base layer
  • Mid layer eg fleece
  • Down jacket
  • Waterproofs
  • gloves – liner gloves
  • Down/waterproof mitts
  • Trekking trousers - the ones that convert to shorts are ideal
  • Long johns/thermal leggings
  • Underwear
  • Sandals - for camp and wading through streams
  • 4 season walking boots
  • Trekking socks
  • Water bottle/bladder
  • Basic wash kit and travel towel
  • Alcohol gel
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper – In case you’re caught short
  • Dog poo bags or similar for disposal of toilet paper if you're caught short! Also useful for rubbish
  • Personal first aid kit/medication
  • Head torch
  • Passport
  • Copy of passport
  • Passport photos X 4
  • Visa – needs to be obtained for Pakistan at least a month before travel
  • Money
  • Travel insurance

Optional

  • Gilet
  • Trekking poles
  • Ear plugs
  • Pen knife
  • Hand and feet warmers
  • Snacks - you'll be well fed but bring any additional favourite snacks
  • Camera
  • Water purification tablets

GETTING THERE

International air fare included if this option selected. Domestic flights included plus all road transfers

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Price

I've found it cheaper elsewhere online, how come?

We are all about giving local ground crew work to allow them to support their families. And indeed this trip relies partly on local crew. It is however very beneficial to also have a European expert and highly experienced guide on some trips. And this is one of them. The leader of this trip is also a world class mountaineer and life long rock climber who you will be able to learn a bunch from. Scrimping on safety is just not something we do. Whilst visiting the region is safe things can go wrong in remote regions and that's when a highly experienced guide is worth their weight in gold. The leader of this trip has 30 years experience and the following qualifications - UIMLA, UIAA, Wilderness First Aid Instructor, Rock Climbing Instructor. He's also summited the 7 summits including Everest and just about everything else worth climbing.

Pakistan

Is it safe to travel in Pakistan?

The short answer to this question is yes. Pakistan has had its share of political troubles but in recent years the British Foreign Office relaxed its advice for travellers. The Balti people are some of the friendliest most hospitable mountain people in the world. Don’t expect to find the troubles of the past, gone are the famous Balti strikes and it is wonderfully clean both on the mountain and in the city

What security measures are in place to assure my safety?

We will not be travelling in any risky zones, so no measures are necessary for this expedition. Depending on availability of flights, we may travel through certain sections of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in which case we may require a police accompaniment, due to protocol rather than necessity.

How long do we stay in Islamabad?

We stay 3 nights in a safe, modern and centrally located hotel.

How do I communicate with my family and friends back home when in Pakistan?

While in the cities or on the main roads you will find there is mobile reception and you can use mobile networks. After that, your expedition leader will have a satellite phone and this will be the only source of communication.

Food and Drink

What will the food be like on the mountain?

Altitude can often affect your appetite, and so we aim for the food on the trek to stimulate your appetite and keep you going. The meals on the mountain are excellent – freshly cooked and nutritious, as well as varied. Local ingredients are used, and if you have any dietary requirements do let us know beforehand and the local team will do their best to cater to your needs.

The menu is designed to fill you with carbohydrate-loaded meals to give you plenty of energy for the trek, as well as being well-balanced. You’ll have tea and coffee, as well as drinking water, along with the meals and in camp.

You can expect the trek menu to consist of the following, or similar:

Breakfast:  Local breads (paratha), jams and honey, porridge and/or cooked eggs.

Lunch:  crackers, cheese, sardines, biscuits.

Afternoon tea: pakora, samosa, French fries.

Dinner: Soup, rice, daal, vegetables (potato, cabbage, peas, cauliflower, carrot, etc), chapatis and salad. Fresh meat, usually chicken, is generally only available towards the start and end of the trek and at other times tinned meat is used.

Dessert: custard, jelly and tinned fruit.

Snacks of sweets, chocolate bars and nuts will also be available, but you can of course bring any of your favourite snacks with you to top these up. Choose high-energy goodies to give you a boost on those longer days!

Can you cater for any allergies on the trek?

Absolutely, please inform the office of any allergies or intolerances and we will ensure that these are taken into account on the trek and the local teams have all of the information necessary.

Where does the drinking water come from?

Filtered, bottled water is provided in the towns on your first and last days. During the trek, drinking water is sourced from streams or springs, and this glacier water, though fresh, is additionally purified by boiling and by treating the water with purification chemicals.

How often is fresh water available for replenishing during the day?

Drinking water is available at the campsites and so before leaving each morning you’ll have the opportunity to refill your bottles and bladders. There are also opportunities to replenish at stops en route during walking days at suitable streams or glacier flows. Your expedition leader will, in consultation with the local guide, determine if the water you source will need treating or boiling.

Accommodation

Where do we stay in Islamabad?

We stay at safe, centrally-located hotels. Our choice of hotels offer comfortable rooms, classy on-site restaurants and quiet areas just a stones throw away from the bustle of Islamabad’s city centre and many of the cultural sites which feature on any visitor’s list of things to see. We’ll arrange visits, if climbers wish, to some of these cultural highlights when in town, as well as a visit to Rawalpindi, the twin city of Islamabad.

Is all of my accommodation included?

All accommodation is included in the price of the expedition as per the itinerary.

What if I arrive early or depart late? Is there a single room option for this expedition?

We are happy to make any arrangements scheduled outside of the trek dates: these may include personalised tours, extra hotel rooms, private airport pick-ups, early arrivals and late departures. We can also arrange private rooms. Please indicate your requirements on your application form or speak to the office beforehand and we will assist with the relevant arrangements and advise on any additional costs.

Will I have to share a tent on this expedition?

It will be necessary to share a tent with one of your team members at all stages of this expedition. The primary reason for this is that most altitude related symptoms manifest themselves at night (further information is included below under ‘Health and Safety), therefore having a tent buddy to keep an eye on you is hugely reassuring.

How does tent sharing work? And how big are the tents?

Tent share is organised according to gender and, where possible, age groups, but chat to us if you have any concerns. If you are climbing with a friend or partner then you will be able to share tents and if you’re a group we’ll ask you to make your own arrangements. If you have joined the team by yourself then it is likely you will be sharing a tent with your pre-assigned room buddy unless prior arrangements have been made. We use high quality, spacious 3-man tents throughout the expedition, and these will be shared between 2 people to provide extra space for your comfort.

Will the camp be freshly set up or will we be staying at existing camps at a set site on the way up?

All of the camping sites we use along the trek are designated spaces, set up by the CKNP (Central Karakoram National Park) team, to show stages for a day’s carrying for the porters. The sites are large so there is plenty of space if there does happens to be another group in camp at the same time as us.

Your local ground crew will be setting up your tents for you along the way. On some occasions they will love to see you give them some help to speed up this process, particularly in bad weather or in case of late arrival into camp.

Will my kit be safe in my tent?

Yes, your kit is safe in your tent but we do advise to bring locks for your kit bags when flying which can be used on your bags in your tents to be doubly sure.

Health and Safety

What is the risk in trekking to the altitude of K2 basecamp?

The very nature of climbing over 5,000m is risky. Although there are risks associated with climbing any mountain, whether it is Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc or Aconcagua, the risks on a 6,000m peak are considerably greater, primarily due to extreme altitude and weather conditions. Physical, mental and technical preparation will go a long way towards a safe ascent. Furthermore, our Western guide and Balti support crew are trained in the use of medical oxygen, Gamow bags and specialised wilderness first aid – and they carry the necessary equipment and medicine throughout. We also carry satellite phones and radios to ensure proper communications with the outside world and between camps. In fact, we are often the first port of call when other teams have an emergency on the mountain!

What happens to toilet waste on the mountains?

CKNP (Central Karakoram National Park) is responsible for sanitation of campsites, plus they collect a fee from all groups to keep the area clean.

What happens if there is a problem on the mountain?

All our leaders are in communication with each other by phone and radio. (VHS and/or Motorola.) In the majority of cases of emergency rescue the problems can be attributed to slow acclimatisation or altitude and, if so, the solution is immediate descent to lower altitudes. Our Pakistan crew is very experienced in dealing with any problems that may arise and our leaders have the highest standard of wilderness first aid qualifications and can handle emergencies to the highest level of competency.

What medical/emergency equipment do you bring on this expedition?

All our Guides, Expedition Leaders and High-Altitude Porters have attained the highest qualifications and training available in their respective countries to not only deal with emergencies but also to maintain a healthy expedition from day one. For this expedition we will be bringing comprehensively supplied medical kits, emergency oxygen and Gamow bags as well as state of the art communication equipment. On the mountain our Expedition Leaders carry sufficient medical equipment to deal with localised first aid scenarios and at basecamp we have sufficient supplies to deal with longer lasting medical problems such as antibiotics to treat infections.

Am I likely to suffer from altitude sickness on this expedition? Part 1

The likelihood of getting altitude related problems are dramatically reduced on this expedition due to our carefully designed acclimatisation strategy. We have years of experience in dealing with altitude and its related problems and have devised an ascent strategy which caters for a broad spectrum of individual altitude adaptation.

Still, it is important to understand there are different types of altitude sickness and that, at times, altitude related problems can happen and we must be able to recognise the symptoms if they occur.

The most common of these is high altitude sickness (AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness).

If you have a mild case, you may experience symptoms including:

  • dizziness
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • insomnia
  • nausea / vomiting
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • swelling of the hands, feet, and face
  • rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath with physical exertion.

This sounds quite dramatic but generally this is just the process your body naturally goes through to adjust to the higher altitudes and the reduced partial pressure of the atmosphere. For some people the acclimatisation process takes a little longer than others. For our guides this is all part and parcel of ascending to these altitudes.

Am I likely to suffer from altitude sickness on this expedition? Part 2

Symptoms of severe altitude sickness may include:

  • coughing
  • chest congestion
  • pale complexion and skin discoloration
  • inability to walk or lack of balance
  • social withdrawal

Our leaders assess each client’s personal situation carefully. By carefully observation throughout the course of the day our leaders are able to quickly determine the probable cause of discomfort. Apart from a gain in altitude, further factors which contribute to the development of AMS symptoms are an insufficient intake of water or ascending too quickly. Our leaders understand the compounding effects of dehydration brought on by excessive vomiting and loss of appetite and how to best allow a client to recover from exhaustion.

AMS might sound frightening, but our leaders are fully trained (and highly experienced) in helping to relieve your personal symptoms and provide advice on how to best proceed.

What can I do to help prevent AMS?

To help avoid AMS, following the below rules can be simple but effective:

  • pay attention to the advice given to you by your Expedition Leader
  • drink lots of water
  • walk slowly
  • stay warm
  • eat well

We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the various affects that altitude can cause. During your pre-climb briefing we will describe altitude sickness to you in detail, and advise you how to cope with it.

The most important thing is not to fear it, but to respect it and to know how to deal with it and, more importantly, tell your leaders how you feel.

Is there a risk of getting HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) on the mountain?

The severe forms of altitude sickness, HACE and HAPE, are extremely unlikely to occur on this expedition. However, our Leaders and Guide team are fully trained in recognition of the onset of these problems and will deal with them at the first sign of their development.

What vaccinations do I need?

None are currently required for entry to Pakistan, but the following vaccinations are recommended for travel to the country:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio

This list is not absolute and it is important you should see your GP or local travel clinic for the latest recommendations and to ensure you are up to date on necessary vaccinations. A health certificate regarding COVID-19 may be required.

What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?

If a trekker needs to leave early for whichever reason, medical or personal, the Expedition Leader and guide team will deal with the matter with utmost competency and discretion. Further arrangements will be made with the assistance of our teams in Islamabad and Europe to arrange every detail of the journey back off the mountain. Additional costs (transport, hotels, flights etc.) might be incurred by the climber but our team will be able to assist in every detail of your departure.

Is there a minimum age for this trip?

Yes, all our trips are for people of 18 years of age and older.

Kit

What will I need to bring?

We'll send all this upon booking

The Trek

Why choose us for this expedition?

One of many reasons to choose us lies in the experience and competence of the team joining the expedition and managing the expedition on the mountain with you. Your Expedition Leaders are professionals and want to ensure that you get the best possible chance of reaching basecamp. Plus, you will have continual support right from the word go from a seamless, professional and hugely dedicated office crew, which means that you can concentrate on the climb without distraction and loss of time. Our entire team work hard to make sure that you reach the objective.

When comparing expedition companies, it is important to look beyond the price and consider the inclusions. We offer a K2 and Concordia expedition package which contains many more than the expected inclusions and there are no hidden costs. We don’t compromise on the quality of our service by skimping on added luxuries which enhance the expedition experience.

As standard, we provide experienced and qualified western guides, a dedicated world-class Balti team, seamless logistical management both in country and prior to departure, small group sizes, modern climbing equipment and safe client to guide ratios.  Beyond this, it is the host of additional inclusions and services, such as our unique individualised ascent strategy, which makes this expedition truly a life-changing experience.

notice that some itineraries include an additional few day to ascend the Gondogoro La on the return to Skardu, why not this one?

For a majority of trekkers the reason for joining this trek is to reach the basecamp of K2 and camp in Concordia. Our most experienced trek leader working for us in the Karakoram has trekked the Gondogoro La version of the K2 basecamp trek over a dozen times and, on his advice and that of the local Balti team, we decided not to include the Gondogoro La extension for the following reasons.

  • The Gondogoro La extension adds an additional 4 days to the itinerary and is therefore more costly and time consuming. Keeping the itinerary in a relaxed 3-week (return) trek makes getting time off work easier and more affordable.
  • There is no guarantee that you can ascend the Gondogoro La. Snow conditions, the weather and technical difficulty might all make crossing the pass impossible. At times, there is only around a 50% chance that a crossing can happen.
  • Our Concordia/K2 basecamp trek has no scheduled contingency day. Apart from one necessary acclimatisation/organisation day at the very pleasant camp at Paiju on day 9, we do not need to add time consuming (and costly) contingency days to accommodate for the possibility of bad, weather or dangerous conditions on the pass.
  • There is a high possibility of missing your international flight if you cannot cross the Gondogoro La. Using up a contingency day at Ali’s camp to allow for conditions to become good enough to cross the pass, and then finding it is still not possible, does not give you enough time to return to Skardu/Islamabad to catch your international flight unless yet another contingency day is built into the itinerary.
  • We minimise unnecessary injury to our Balti porters and trekkers.
  • No need to buy or bring specialised mountaineering equipment such as crampons and ice-axes.
  • Reduced risk of altitude problems and injury occurring in a remote location.

Who is the guiding team composed of?

The expedition leader assigned to join you on our high-altitude expeditions have a world class background in leading expeditions of this nature. , who is leading this expedition, has lead expeditions to four of the 8,000m peaks: Mount Everest in 2007 (North Col), 2015, 2016 and 2019; Manaslu in 2013, Cho Oyu in 2016 (two summits in 24 hours) and 2018 and Lhotse in 2016.

He has also been an Expedition Leader on 5 unsupported, technically difficult 7,000m peaks and has guided more than seventy expeditions to 6,000m peaks. The key word here is guided. Leading an expedition of this calibre demands a thorough familiarity not only with the mountain’s unique complexities but also a complete understanding of a client’s individual requirements. With almost 30 years’ experience in this leadership role, it is safe to say that he has what it takes to confidently deal with the demands this career entails.

How fit do I need to be for this expedition?

To trek to K2 Basecamp, it helps to be as fit as possible. Hopefully by the time you book you will have a good understanding of your level of fitness and how you cope with altitude. This expedition will be physically demanding. Please check our fitness chart and recommended training regime.

The Weather

What is the best time of year to climb in the Karakoram?

The best weather is found during the period June to August when it is usually quite fair, dry and stable. Daytime temperatures are pleasantly warm in the valleys (20-30°C) but cool to very cold (especially with wind chill) high on the mountain. Night-time temperatures are cold (possibly as low as -25°C) and you should make sure you have a very warm sleeping bag. A good down jacket and good quality mitts are highly recommended.

How cold can it get?

The coldest night time temperature might get as low as -25°C with windchill. You will not be climbing in these low temperatures but remain inside your sleeping bag inside your tent.

Travel

What is the best air route to Pakistan?

Detailed flight information will be sent to you upon registration. The guiding company is ATOL bonded and ensure the most direct route with a reputable airline. They carefully consider weight restrictions imposed by various airlines for mountain expeditions.

On some occasions, trekkers prefer to take responsibility for their own flights. If this is the case than we are more than willing to assist you with every detail of the journey to Pakistan. Please let us know when booking if you wish to make your own travel arrangements to and from Islamabad or if you wish to travel on different dates.

Where do I meet my Balti guides?

Your guide will meet you at the airport on your arrival.

What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?

Anyone who leaves the trip earlier will have to bear any costs incurred thereafter, however any travel and accommodation requirements will be arranged by the office team.

Training

Tips on how a climber can maximise their chances of success

Insurance

Do I need special travel insurance for the trek?

You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the expedition. We cannot take you on the mountain without proof of insurance.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip.  To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however this can be arranged at a later date. We will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.

Finance

When is the money due for this expedition? What kind of payment do you accept?

Generally, deposits are due when you book as we need in turn to book the international flights and permits well in advance. The full balance should be paid four months prior to departure. However, having said that, our aim is to get you to the top of this mountain and we understand that personal financial situations can vary. Please contact our friendly office crew to discuss a suitable payment plan should you find raising the funds to be difficult. We'l do everything we can to help find a way to mkae this work for you.

How much do we tip our local crew?

Our local crew work extremely hard to ensure that your expedition runs well. While tipping is not compulsory, once someone sees the hard work the crew provides, tipping will seem the least one can do to say thank you. Tipping recommendations are provided with our joining notes but as a general rule we suggest around $200 -$250 per client for the entire local crew to be shared amongst them. Tipping the Leader is entirely at your discretion.

Am I correct in thinking we only need to take US Dollars with us?

The local currency is the Pakistani rupee but the rates to the dollar can be unstable and, in the past, have fluctuated widely. American dollars are readily recognised and are easily converted to the local currency. Upon arrival there will always be a bureau de change at the airport and generally these provide a better rate of exchange than your hotel. For most situations when buying gifts or small goods such as drinks or snacks the use of small denomination US dollars is not a problem, but getting change for a $20USD bill when buying a $1 USD can of drink may be a challenge. Larger bills are good for tipping your local crew at the end of the expedition and a sufficient amount should be carried with you. Your 360 leader will advise you in the pre-expedition brief as to what is the correct amount to take on the trip with you.

What additional spending money will we need?

The amount of money you will need depends on how many presents you wish to buy or if you want to purchase soft drinks or snacks on the trek or in town. As a basic rule of thumb, US $100-$200 should be more than adequate for any expedition spending.

Pakistan is a relatively cheap place and, when indulging in the local custom of haggling, goods can be bought for excellent value for money. Your 360 leader will be happy to point out the relative bargains, suitable prices and where to get the best value for money. The only other cash you’ll need to consider taking with you on this expedition is the local crew tips.

Communications and Electronics

Can I contact the other trekkers joining the expedition? How about the leader?

You can always call our offices and one of our guides will contact you to discuss any aspects of the expedition. Generally, about 1 month before your trip departure we mail a list of other team members to you. We will also set up a group chat on social media for the group to ‘meet’ before the expedition.

What is phone coverage like?

Reliable phone coverage only exists in towns and on the KKH. Beyond that, we rely on satellite phones which will be available for your use, but will have a charge attached to them.

Who is your point of contact? How can my family follow my progress?

Your Leader will be sending regular updates to the office to allow your family and friends to track your progress on social media. The best place to reach a loved one is through our main office. We try to organise a daily satellite call with the Leader on the mountain to allow communication between the outside world and to keep our team updated with important developments occurring at home)

FOOD & ACCOMMODATION

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What is the accomodation like?

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K2 Base Camp with EVEREST GUIDE

A once in a lifetime climb in one of the most spectacular places on earth with a world-class Everest Guide

location

Pakistan

length:

22 days

ANNUAL leave needed:

14 days off work

fitness:

Moderate

I don't think any of us will ever be the same (good thing) and hopefully, lessons learnt will be long term and not swept under the carpet as our normal luxuries return. (no problem with luxuries, just with understanding and reality).

Guide Review 7, K2 Base Camp

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Start:

London Heathrow Airport (with flights), Islamad (without flights)

meals included:

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# of people PER TRIP: 

20 (with multiple guides including European guide)

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accomodation: 

Hotel and wild camping

PRICE (from)

3,444.00

DEPOSIT

£ 180.00 GBP (Deposit)

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