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Trek to Concordia - a Patkistan adventure

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Trek to Concordia – a Pakistan Trekking Adventure

This Pakistan trekking adventure to K2 Base Camp and Concordia in the north of the country includes walking the entire length of the 62km Baltoro Glacier leading into the most glaciated high mountain terrain on the planet. Seven of the world’s 25 highest peaks rise above you.

The trek to Concordia is a once in a lifetime experience and is glacier trekking at it’s best. A chance to reach the base camps of two of the world’s 8000 metre peaks: Broad Peak and the world’s second highest peak – K2. The departure is guaranteed so all you need to do is get ready to leap outside your comfort zone for a truly unforgettable experience.

Trip highglights

  • Visit the base camps of K2 and Broad Peak
  • Trek the length of the Baltoro Glacier
  • Trek high in the Karakorum Mountain Range of Pakistan
  • View ancient rock carvings in Chilas – left by Chinese pilgrims in the 5th century A.D.
  • Stand at the point where three of the worlds greatest mountain ranges meet:  The Himalayas, the Hindu Kush, and the Karakoram
  • Camp under Pakistani skies
  • Visit Concordia, the confluence of five glaciers
  • Hike at altitudes of up to 5000m

This is your chance to be part of a small group lead by expert guides with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the region, for this very special Pakistan trekking adventure.


Day 1 – Islamabad
Arrival in Islamabad. Early arrivals will get a short city tour and all trekkers will have a meal together in the evening.

Days 2 and 3 – Islamabad – Chilas – Skardu
We will travel by road via the famous Karakoram Highway to Skardu via Chilas. The long drive is compensated by the beautiful scenery along Indus gorge. It is a monument to engineering and one of the most spectacular roads in the world following an ancient Silk Road pilgrimage route. At Chilas we will break the journey and take time to see the many rock carvings and inscriptions along the way left by Chinese pilgrims and ancient travellers of 5th century A.D. Chilas was on the ancient caravan trail over the Babusar Pass into India. On the second day, the view of Nanga Parbat is without parallel. Standing at an altitude of around 1,000m you see a mountain which rises to above 8,000m! This is the largest land escarpment in the world. This is also where the three greatest mountain ranges meet; Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Karakoram.

Altitude: 2340m

Day 4 – Rest day Skardu/prep day
We will have one day in Skardu to prepare for the trek in Skardu – the capital of Balitistan. Baltistan is home to the Balti people. The Balti are of Tibetan stock and their language, features and some of their architecture remind one of their ancient cousins across the mountains. The guests can explore this small town including a trip to the K2 museum.

Day 5 – Skardu – Askole
We drive to the beginning of the trek at Askole. En route we pass Shigar, a history-soaked medieval town. Then an exciting Jeep journey takes us through the fields of the Shigar valley before the road narrows to a mountain track leading to the trail head at Askole, the last inhabitable place on our way to the great glaciers. Askole is the highest village in the region, the stone & timber abodes contain dark & narrow stairwells linked by gloomy, unlit alleys.

Altitude: 3050m

Day 6 – Askole – Jula
Today we leave the last inhabited village Askole. For the remaining portion of our journey we rely on our porters who carry our food and equipment and sustain our expedition. After scrambling over a ridge we come across what legend says is an old polo field. Passing through a rock gap we cross the Biafo glacier. The Biafo Glacier is a huge river of ice 63 km long which descends from the central peaks of the Karakoram and flows east into the Braldu valley at a point about 10 km east of Askole. After two and a half hour trek and a long and uphill walk over a steep ridge along the Dumordo river we cross over to Jula crossing via a wire rope bridge. We will camp beside a torrent facing the Bakhordas peak.

6-7 hours walking

Altitude: 3190m

Day 7 – Jula – Paiu
We resume the trek along the Braldu River to a green oasis under the shadows of Paiu Peak, the last grove of trees before the trail moves onto the glacier, 6611 M. Paiu – is a Balti dialect word that means “SALT”. Since there are some rock salt deposits at the base of this peak, the locals believe that the snow on the summit of Paiu Peak is not snow but a huge deposit of salt which drips down to the base. From this camp we have the first views of the impressive Baltoro Glacier.

5-6 hrs walking

Altitude: 3380m

Day 8 – Rest day Paiu
After Paiu, we will be walking in glaciers for the next ten days so it is a good place to break the journey out. This helps with aclimitisation and allows any animals brought along for fresh meat to be slaughtered.

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

6-9 hrs walking

Altitude: 4130m

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

6-7 hrs walking

Altitude: 4250m

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

4-5 hrs walking

Altitude: 4600m

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

Altitude: 4600m

Day 13 – Concordia – Ali Camp

After an early breakfast, we traverse the upper Baltoro Glacier and its crevasses. It is also possible to walk on the Vigne glacier which is easier than walking on the stony path on the right side of the glacier but it depends on the snow condition. It’s a comparatively easy and gradual walk over snow and ice, Looking back gives an unusual view of the great Karakoram peaks: K2, Broad Peak and the Gasherbrums. The trail continues to ‘Ali Camp’ situated on a rocky site overlooking the long ridge running from Masherbrum to Chogolisa.

We turn in early, as we have a midnight wake-up call for the departure over the Gondogoro La.

6-7 hrs walking

Altitude: 5000m

Day 14 – Ali Camp – Gondogoro La – Khuspang

Today our trek starts as early as 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning to cross the Gondogoro la to reach Khuspang. The early walk is so that we can reach the top of the Gondogoro Pass 5700 meters in the morning when the snow will be hard and we will not get tired quickly as the sun is not strong. As sun gets strong, the snow will get soft, melt and bring water and stones down the path. Also the chance of ice falls or avalanches increase in daylight.

Today is one of the toughest and most challenging days of the trek, and although it is a long and tiring day, we will be well-acclimatized to the altitude. Our guides will fix ropes to safeguard this ascend and descend for both the porters and clients. Depending upon the snow and trail condition it may be necessary to rope up for the crossing of the glacier before getting to the base camp of pass. There are several sections with fixed ropes in place which can be used as a handrail. On the top to Gondogoro la you will find the most spectacular view on earth. From here you can see K2, Broad Peak, G1, G2, Muztagh Tower and towards Hushe side you will find Laila peak, Ninchi peak amongst others.

Important Note: The Gondogoro La crossing has not been possible due to Pakistan government restrictions since 2013. We are hopeful that this situation is resolved for the 2016 trip as the group will be accompanied by a Liaison Officer (L.O.). Still there is a possibility that we cannot cross as the L.O. has the final say. The crossing is also dependent on favourable weather and conditions on the trail to the pass. If it is not possible to safely ascend the pass the group will retrace steps back down the Baltoro glacier to Askole. If the prospects of safely crossing the pass are not good, the guide will be obliged to make the decision to abort the crossing – and you must be prepared to accept it.

7-8 hrs walking

Altitude: 5700m

Day 15 – Khuspang – Saicho

The first section of this days walk is on a glacier. We will pick our way across moving boulders and ice, finally crossing the glacier up to a place called Dalsangpa, meaning ‘field of flowers’, which lives up to its name. It is a beautiful campsite at about 4,150 metres, set between two lakes, with Masherbrum Mountain and the white glacier cascading down from Masherbrum Pass reflected in the still water.

Resuming the trek along the path, we keep ourselves on the left side of the lateral moraine, crossing several side streams. The next hour is an unpleasant scramble along the stony, sliding glacier edge, with huge boulders poised above, ready to fall. We continue our trek along the path goes down hill to the summer settlement called Saicho, a large shepherds settlement. This is a traditional camp among the forest of juniper, cedar and willow trees with giant bushes of wild roses and a good water supply.

7-8 hrs walking

Altitude: 3650m

Day 16 – Saicho – Hushe

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

4-5 hrs walking

Altitude: 3100m

Day 17 – Hushe – Skardu

A Jeep journey along narrow mountain roads passing small farming settlements leads first to Khapulo and then to Skardu.

Altitude: 2340m

Days 18-19 – Skardu – Islamabad

Early in the morning we plan to fly to Islamabad. With clear skies we will be able to board a plane and be back at our hotel in Islamabad in 45 minutes. The flight is one of the most scenic in the world with views across the Himalaya and Karakorum. If the weather is not so favourable and the flight doesn’t come, then we will have to drive the Karakoram Highway to Islamabad through the narrow gorge of the Indus River. The outcome is in the lap of the Gods, so we will be praying that they’re on our side!

Day 20 – Islamabad

Spare day. If we are in Islamabad there will be an opportunity to visit the national museum, the view point or the vast Faisal mosque.

Day 21 – Islamabad – Home

Tuesday 13th August 2016

Transfer to airport. Trip finishes.

More Details

Visas

We do not arrange Pakistan visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of letters of invitation to assist in your Pakistan visa application.

Food

We include all meals during the trip.

Accommodation

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

The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room or a tent.

Transport

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

Guides

On this trip you will be accompanied by an international guide from the tour operator. He will be an experienced guide who has trekked to Concordia many times before.

Security

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

Dates: 23rd July – 12th August 2017

Price: US$3,650 (excluding flights)

Start point – Islamabad

End point – Islamabad

Maximum number of people: 10

Number of days: 21

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • All Transport (including internal flights Skardu to Islamabad)
  • Guides
  • Porters
  • Permits

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?

  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • External Flights
  • Entrance fees
  • Drinks
  • Tips

Operator

“Specialists in trips to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, former Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus, this operator aims to add positive benefit to the areas visited by ensuring that whenever possible, the money goose directly to the people of the region. In their words “small scale tourism might not change the world but every path starts with a single step’.

The founders met as intrepid travel guides in the mountains of Afghanistan and bonded over a shared passion to enable other people to experience the beauty of of Pakistan and Afghanistan, lands that are often described as dangerous and inhospitable.

Working with small groups of maximum 12 people and using specialist local guides throughout, their aim is to provide authentic and original experiences for all guests. This small number allows for greater security, flexibility and access to local people and places. Each set itinerary trip is individually designed to coincide with local events or to visit the area at the best time of year.”

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