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Concordia and K2 Base camp Trek, Pakkistan

Concordia and K2 Base Camp Trek

K2 base camp trek, synonymous with Concordia Trek, Baltoro Glacier Trek, and Baltoro Concordia Trek, is one of the world’s famous mountain treks. It is part of the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. K2 base camp trek is the most envious trek for every trekker and is also known as “The Throne Room of Mountain Gods”.

The spectacular Karakoram mountains of Pakistan are home to some of the wildest landscapes on Earth and invite nature lovers to trek into the remotest areas of Karakoram. No doubt, it is a challenging and demanding trek that involves trekking and hiking along Baltoro (the 5th longest glacier at 63km) and Godwin Austin. We can visit the base camps of  K2, Broad Peak, G1, and G2 from Concordia. On this K2 base camp trek, we can see the famous Trango Towers, Cathedral Peaks, Ulibiaho Peak, Paiju peak, Muztagh Tower, Gasherbrum I-II, IV, Mashabrum, Broad Peak, and finally the giant K2.

Concordia and K2 Base camp Trek
Concordia and K2 Base camp Trek

Best Time to do K2 base camp trek

The traditional trekking season in Pakistan is June to September. On This trek, you can experience a wide range of temperature differences which largely depend on the altitude and time of the day. Just like, you face a lot of heat during the first two days although the nights become a bit colder.

Best way to do K2 Base camp trek

The first point in your thorough plan must be to choose the well-reputed and licensed trekking company that will arrange everything for your K2 Trek. It is just because, it involves multiday trekking into the remote areas of the Karakoram. Although I know a few persons who have planned and done it by themselves, even then it is recommended to do it with an experienced guide and porters. As there is too much work and preparations that need to be done before the actual trek. Moreover, you can get a good deal if you take your tour to/from Skardu. In this case, you have to reach Skardu by yourself. All foreigners must have a licensed guide with them and obtain a No Objection Certificate from the tourism office in Skardu.

How to get to Skardu

There are a certain number of ways to get to Skardu. Most probably, trekkers start their journey from Islamabad and reach Skardu by

By Air

It is the most convenient way to reach Skardu. Pakistan International Airlines operates a daily flight to Skardu from Islamabad. This only flight depends solely on weather conditions and is canceled/delayed as per ground situations. Your tour company can manage this too.

Public Car

The second best option is to go via public cars which are booked from Pir Wadhai, the main bus terminal in Islamabad. You will be charged as per person bases on this 17 hours journey. However, you can rent the whole car for yourself or your group up to 4 persons. There is no website to book it, however, I can provide you the recent contact number if you need it.

By Bus(Natco)

Alternatively, you can book/take your ticket from Natco Bus Service and it takes not less than 24 hours to reach Skardu. Some other Bus/Coaster companies operate from Pir Wadhai too and start the journey in the morning to either side.

by car

Finally, you can go via your vehicle too

How did we do our concordia and K2 Base camp trek

We started from Islamabad and reached Skardu on the 2nd day of our traveling. On the way, we spent our first night in Chilas. After reaching Skardu we spent a full day in Skardu to prepare for the trek. We met the operator and team, did lots of shopping for food and trek equipment. Also, took some stuff on rent. Here, I will mention the time frame from Skardu to Skardu. We spent our few nights in Concordia Motel Skardu that was a main hub of mountainers in Skardu.

View from our Hotel in Skardu
View from our Hotel in Skardu
A pre plan team Meeting with our Guides at Skardu
A pre-plan team Meeting with our Guides at Skardu

Skardu to Askole by Jeep

Day 1

Trek Day 0

It is a jeep trek and it takes around 6 to 8 hours to reach Askole. In our case, we had faced a huge landslide on the way. That’s why we experienced a steep rock climbing portion to cover that area. Our Jeep drove from Skardu to Askole through Shigar and Braldu Valleys. We started late from Skardu due to some last-minute arrangements, so reached Askole just after sunset. We had to change the Jeeps after covering the landslide area. This thing wasn’t communicated to us, so we had born an additional cost for this reason. Our Night stay was in a basic guest room in Askole. However, you can camp in a few designated places too. Here, our porter team got ready and the whole luggage was divided into weights of 25kg and distributed amongst porters.

Shigar River and Blind Lake on the way to Askole
Shigar River and Blind Lake on the way to Askole
Our Jeeps at Askole Village
Our Jeeps at Askole Village

Askole to Jhola via Korofon, our first day on the trek

  • Day 02
  • Trek Day 01
  • Total trek distance:20km
  • Trek time: 8 Hours
  • Camp site Altitude: 3103m
  • Elevation Gain:400/500m
  • Stages Covered: Korofon, Jhola

We trekked around 20km on our first-day trek.  We started our trek from Askole at 6:45 and reached to Jhola campsite by 15:20. Jhola campsite is situated at an altitude of 3103m beneath the distinctive peak of Bakhor Das, affectionately referred to as Mango Peak. So the Altitude gain for the first day was just 400m which we had gained in 20 km of long and hot walk. On the way, we crossed a stream coming from Biafo. The valley is the gateway to the Biafo glacier that flows over fifty km from Hispar La to Braldu.

After then, we had our lunch at Korofon which is considered the first stage. So, in this way, we covered two stages on our first day. Indeed, it was the common practice among most of the tours then. Before reaching Jhola Campsite, the route took us to the confluence of rivers of Braldu and Domordo. From there we took a left side trek towards Latok and after crossing the bridge came back towards Braldu. 

Note. Nowadays, you can go to Jhola by Jeep. So, you can do this trek in less time than the past time practices.

Biafo River(left) and Braldu (Right) just after Askole
Biafo River(left) and Braldu (Right) just after Askole
Jhola Campsite, the first camping night on K2 Base camp trek
Jhola Campsite

Jhola to Paiju Via Burdumal

  • Day 3
  • Trek Day 02
  • Total trek distance:20km
  • Trek time:8 Hours
  • Paijo Camp site Altitude: 3418m
  • Elevation Gain: 550/350m
  • Stages covered: Burdumal, Paijo

Today we started our trek from Jhola at 6:30 and reached Paiju at 15:00. Today we followed the Braldu gorge, along the bank of the Braldu River. Our today’s trek went well till lunch break in the Burdomal campsite but the second session was very hot. So, we had to take a midway break under the trees to cool down a bit. Finally, we were able to see the remarkable granite spires of Trango Towers and Cathedral Peak. These peaks remained our companion for the next few days. Paijo was the last campsite where we can see trees.

Burdomal Campsite
Burdomal Campsite
A night at Paiju Campsite on the way to K2 Base camp trek
A night at Paiju Campsite

Rest day for acclimatization on the Trek

Day 04

In a typical K2 base camp trek, the third day is considered a rest day. So, after two day’s trek, you can well acclimatize in this way too. However, we had a slight change in our customized plan and decided to do the Trango Tower Base camp Trek. The weather was bad in the morning. We waited till 9 a.m. and then finally carried on with our plan of visiting Trango Towers. Since we were based in Paiju so, we did a day visit to Trango and came back to Paiju again. It was a long day and it took around 10 hours of trekking to complete this trek. As it was an optional trek so, I excluded this day from our routine itinerary and added its details just for information purposes.

Consequently, we availed the next day as our rest day at Paijo and took showers, washed clothes, and enjoyed the remaining day in camps. In addition, we also participated in rope training besides our campsite.

Trango Tower from Uli Biaho Base camp
Trango Tower from Uli Biaho Base camp
Trango Tower(Right), Uli Biaho(Left)
Trango Tower(Right), Uli Biaho(Left)

Paijo to Urdukus via Liligo and Khoburtse

  • Day 05
  • Trek Day 03
  • Total trek distance:21km (Khoburste 14.7km + urdukus 6.3km)
  • Trek time: 11Hours
  • Paijo Camp site Altitude: 4000m
  • Elevation Gain: 700/200m
  • Stages covered: Khoburste, Urdukas (previously Liligo was also taken as a stage but now it is excluded from the routine stage places)

This was the toughest day on this trek. We did Paiju to Urdukas in one go while it has become a trek of almost 2 days now. It was just due to a huge lake formation beside the midway campsite called Khoburtse. It took us 4 hours to climb on Baltoro glacier and cross over to the other side named Liligo. The trail had continuous up and down climbs on the glacial moraine. We took a tea break at Liligo. From Liligo, we followed a rocky trail that went along the right side edge of Baltoro. After then, we trekked for another 2.5 hours and reached Khoburtse.

We took a long stop of 2 hours at Khoburste, with a little nap, and then resumed for another 4 to 5 hours trek till Urdukas. And remember, we can’t forget the last ascent of Urdukas to reach the campsite. Once we were on Baltoro Glacier the first 7,000m peaks Masherbrum and Muztagh Tower appeared. Not much later we saw the Gasherbrum Range, a massif of five peaks over 7,000m including two above 8,000m in our horizon. However, these four peaks i.e,  Uli Biaho, Paijo, Trango Towers, and The Cathedral remained our trek companion for the day long.

*Note. Nowadays, it is a routine practice to do this trek in two days

  • From Paijo to Khoburste (Altitude 3800m and 5~7 hour”s trek)
  • From Khoburste to Urdukas (Altitude 4000 4~5 hour’s trek)
Trango Towers from Urdukas Campsite
Trango Towers from Urdukas Campsite
Urdukas Campsite at night
Urdukas Campsite at night

Urdukus to Goro 2 via Goro 1

  • Day 06
  • Trek Day 04
  • Altitude: 4,285 m
  • Distance: 12.5 km
  • Elevation Gain: 300/100
  • Time: 6-7 hours
  • Stages covered: Goro 1, Goro 2

Today’s target was to reach Goro 2. A little tough start but overall an easy day of 6-7 hours and pretty straightforward after reaching Goro I. We took a midway break at Goro I and admire the beauty of Masherbrum Peak from there. There we had our lunch and then continued our trek for the day’s destination.

On this day, we walked in the middle of the glacier while the jaw-dropping view of Masherbrum(7821m) was on our right side. Again the trail had continuous up and down climbs on the glacial moraine and we were passing and seeing the seracs at far ends. This was our first-night camping on Baltoro Glacier at Goro 2. This is a campsite, where Masherbrum and Muztagh Tower were fully uncovered to make it a perfect camping site. It was the confluence of Baltoro Glacier and Younghusband Glacier. Remember, the temperature may drop dramatically after sunset.

Goro 2 Camp site, last campsite on the way to K2 Base camp trek
Goro 2 Campsite
Lunch Break at Goro 1 Campsite
Lunch Break at Goro 1 Campsite

goro 2 to concordia, The Final Campsite on K2 Base Camp Trek

  • Day 07
  • Trek Day 05
  • Altitude: 4,500 m
  • Distance: 12 km
  • Elevation Gain: 300/50
  • Time: 4-5 hours

It was another easy day and a straightforward walk from Goro 2 to Concordia. The weather was quite clear when we started our trek. On the way, more and more snowcapped peaks appeared from every side. Mitre Peak and Marble peak seemed like two giant bodyguards were standing tall at the gate of “The Throne Room of Mountain Gods”. Other peaks that can be seen include Broad Peak, Gasherbrum-IV, Chogoliza, Sia Kangri, and many others. We were very energetic to see the first glimpses of K2 but the weather had another drama on the Baltoro. So, when we reached Concordia after 4~5 hours then K2 had hidden itself under a heavy cloud blanket. So, we had to wait for another night to say Hello to K2.

A trail of scenes after Goro 2
A trail of scenes after Goro 2
Finally the K2 and Broad Peak
Finally the K2 and Broad Peak

Celebration day at Concordia

Day 08

Today was a celebration day for us due to two reasons. The first one was the 14th of August and for a Pakistani, it was a celebration day due to the independence of the country. Secondly, we were able to start the day with sunrise shots of clear K2 from the viewpoint area. It was also a rest day for us, so Later on the day, we spent the rest day in celebrations of Independence Day of Pakistan at different locations in Concordia. We also celebrated a unique Pizza party at 4500m, thanks to our Cook (Chacha Ali). Concordia is a place where trekkers pitch their tents at one of the finest campsites on the planet.

Pizza Party at Concordia in the view of K2 Base Camp
Pizza Party at Concordia
Mitre Peak and a night at Concordia
Mitre Peak and a night at Concordia
Concordia Square
Concordia Square
Concordia after snow fall
Concordia After Snow Fall

Options for Trekkers at Concordia

Day 09

On following days, trekkers have a choice of how to trek to the K2 base camp from Concordia. They can make the exhausting round trip from Concordia in a day. However, the more popular option is to hike to Broad Peak base camp and stay for the night there. Then on the next day visit the K2 Base camp trek and come back to Concordia.

Other options are to Cross GGLA (Gondogoro La) and reached Hushe or Trek to G1, G2 Base camps. Although we tried the G1/G2 base camp first and had the option to cross GGLA too. But we partially succeeded in our trek plan. However, this is for the sake of information only, as these are the next options. So, here we will stick to our topic of K2 Base Camp Trek.

Near Shama Camp towards G1/G2 Base camp
Near Shama Camp towards G1/G2 Base camp
Drama of clouds on Baltoro. K2 Base camp into thick clouds
The drama of clouds on Baltoro

Return Leg from K2 Base camp Trek

Due to unexpected snowfall and other weather-related issues we decided to follow the same route for our return leg. However, when we reached back to Concordia from G1/G2 trek then the scene had totally changed. So, All the Concordia square had worn on white snow. By the way, on our return leg, we were on a superfast speed like

  • Concordia to Urdukus: Day 10
  • Urdukus to Paiju: Day 11
  • Paiju to Korofon: Day 12
  • Day 13: Korofon to Askole and then onward to Skardu

List of Personal Equipment you need for this Trek

  1. Backpack
  2. Sleeping bag & Sleeping mattress
  3. Head cover (scarf)
  4. Tights/Inner as a base layer
  5. Full sleeves t-shirts
  6. Water proof trouser and Jacket (Parka)
  7. Woolen socks
  8. Thermal upper
  9. Thermal trouser
  10. Gloves (water proof)
  11. Woolen cap
  12. Sun cap/hat
  13. Sun glasses (uv)
  14. Water bottle 1.5 ltr
  15. One or two trekking sticks.
  16. Head torch (high beam) and extra batteries for torch
  17. Sun block
  18. Lip salve
  19. Knife
  20. Trekking boots/ covered joggers
  21. Gaiters for GGLA
  22. Chappal
  23. Small towel
  24. Camera with extra cells/batteries
  25. Soap
  26. Tooth brush/paste

Is K2 Base Camp Trek safe?

K2 Base camp trek is quite safe, though the trek is strenuous and demanding not dangerous. Practically, you have to walk around 100km on either side and it will test your patience and capacity to walk, walk, and more walk. There is nothing technical on this trek but you have to be extra vigilant when you are in mountains and have close contact with nature.

A trail of cravices after Goro 2
A trail of crevices after Goro 2
The trail to GGLA from Concordia Trek
Can you spot the trekkers on the way to GGLA?

A few Practical tips for concordia and K2 Base camp trek

  • Walk slowly: there is plenty of time included in the itinerary so there is no need to rush, go at your own pace and enjoy the incredible views!
  • Drinks lots of water: it is easier for your body to acclimatize when hydrated so drink water and avoid coffee, tea and alcohol.
  • Trekekrs want to do this K2 base camp trek. They are advised to do at least a high altitude multiday trek before.

Hey, This is Rashid and I am here to share my Wide Angle Dreams with you, with the aim to provide you a Wide Angle to catch your bucket list dreams of travelling and trekking. If you love to travel but feel that you are bound in tough daily routines and find very little time to catch your travelling dreams, then you are at a right place.

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