K2 Base Camp
Walking to the Base Camp of K2 takes us into the heart of the Karakoram Range and is undoubtedly one of the Great Walks of the World.
Duration23 Days Door to Door
Activity Level Moderate
Elevation5400m | 17,700 ft.
The Baltoro Glacier K2 Base Camp trek is one of the world’s most classic and beautiful journeys that you can ever embark upon. This trek includes walking the entire length of the 62km Baltoro Glacier, leading into the most glaciated high mountain terrain on the planet.
The Baltoro Glacier K2 Base Camp trek is one of the world’s most classic and beautiful journeys that you can ever embark upon.
After arriving in Islamabad and spending a few nights there, we will travel to Skardu by air, if the weather permits. Alternatively, we will drive from Islamabad along the Karakoram Highway to Skardu via Chilas, where we will spend a night along the way. On our travels we will see the impressive Nanga Parbat (8126m), the world’s 9th highest mountain.
Skardu, the district head of Baltistan and the gateway to the great monoliths of Pakistan, is located amidst an impressive landscape of towering mountains, deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, creeping glaciers and quiet lakes. After sightseeing, visiting the bustling market and the 16th century Kharpocho Fort, we set off by jeep to Askole and the start of our exuberant trek with dozens of Balti porters on the trails to this incredible wilderness of ice, rock and sky.
The journey to Concordia, often referred to as the “ Throne Room of the Gods”, is not to be taken lightly. Along the way we will see the famous Trango Towers, Masherbrum, Mustagh Tower and Chogolisa. After finally arriving at the confluence of the Godwin-Austen and Upper Baltoro Glaciers, we will see K2 (8611m), the world’s second highest mountain and Broad Peak (8051m), the world’s 12th highest peak for the first time and the view is simply breathtaking.
This trek includes walking the entire length of the 62km Baltoro Glacier, leading into the most glaciated high mountain terrain on the planet. Ten of the world’s 30 highest peaks rise above the glacier. For most of its length, one is walking through uninhabited areas, where it is essential to be well prepared for any eventuality. The trail itself is constantly shifting, depending on the changing weather and the glacial action.
There are numerous streams and tributaries to be crossed, loose scree slopes to be negotiated, as well as other obstructions to be overcome and circumvented.
But for those who are willing to persevere, the rewards are immense.
Weather and acclimatization permitting, we may be able to spend a night at the Base Camp of K2, before making our way back to Askole over a period of four days, before returning to Skardu. We then make our way back to Islamabad and ultimately home, enriched by an unforgettable experience.
- Conservation/National Park fees and all Government taxes
- All trekking permits
- Four nights hotel accommodation in Islamabad and Skardu (twin beds sharing)
- All airport/hotel/airport transfers to and from Islamabad
- Domestic flights and airport taxes if flying from Islamabad to Skardu
- All ground transportation if driving by road from Islamabad to Skardu
- Two nights hotel accommodation in Chilas if driving (twin beds sharing)
- Two-man tents and sleeping mats while on the trek and in Base Camp
- All accommodation and meals whilst on the trek
- All hot drinks
- Qualified Western leader/facilitator
- Pakistani Head Guide and Assistant Guides
- Porters as required
- Insurance for all Balti staff
- Medical emergency oxygen with a mask set
- General first aid kit
- Procurement of Rescue Helicopter Bond to secure emergency rescue
- Satellite phone for emergency purposes.
- International airfare and departure taxes
- Visa costs
- Items of a personal nature – personal gear, telephone calls, laundry etc.
- Staff/guide gratuities
- Soft drinks and mineral water
- Personal porter
- Personal medical expenses, medical and evacuation insurance
- Any costs arising from flight cancellation/delays, political disturbance or natural disaster
Arrive Islamabad (700m)
Fly or drive to Chilas (1500m)
Transfer from Chilas to Skardu (1500m)
Skardu – Askhole (3048m)
Drive: 6 – 7 hours
Askhole – Korophone (3100m)
Trekking Time: 3 – 4 hours
Korophone – Jhula or Bardumal (3305m)
Trekking Time: 3 – 4 hours
Trekking Time: 6 – 7 hours
Trekking Time: 5 – 6 hours
Trekking Time: 4 – 5 hours
Goro II (4250m)
Trekking Time: 6 – 7 hours
Trekking Time: 5 – 6 hours
K2 Base Camp and back to Concordia
Trekking Time: 4 hours up and 2 hours down
Day 15 - 19
Trek back to Askhole
Askhole to Skardu by Jeep
Drive from Skardy to Gilgit
Drive from Gilgit to Islamabad
A variety of clothing is necessary for the trip. You will need clothing for around Islamabad and Skardu, trekking in the humidity and heat, and to protect you from the cooler temperatures in the mountains. This list is designed to help you choose the right gear for the demands for this trek and is the minimum requirement. These items are mandatory for survival in the mountains, so ensure you have everything on the list.
The emphasis on equipment necessary for mountain travel follows two simple tenets: Lightweight and Functional. The items you choose to take should be lightweight, dependable, and adaptable to a variety of extreme conditions. The quality of the equipment you choose has a lot to do with how warm, dry, and safe you will remain, so be critical of quality and the proper fit of clothing. Comfort lends itself to a more enjoyable experience!
The layering system outlined below is usually sufficient for most people, but if you tend to be colder, bring one extra medium layer such as a vest which would be ideal for extra warmth around camp. When making the final decision as to what goes into your pack, remember that it’s a fine art of taking just enough clothes and accessories to do the job, while not over-burdening yourself with items you probably will not use.
Cotton clothing must be avoided because it dries very slowly and is a poor insulator when wet. Instead, choose wool or synthetic fabrics that “wick” the sweat and moisture away from your skin to keep you much warmer.
- 1 Pair of good walking boots
- 1 Pair of running shoes/ sandals
- 4 Pairs of warm socks
- 4 Pairs of sock liners
- 1 Gortex jacket
- 1 Pair of Gortex longs
- 1 Warm down or synthetic jacket
- 2 Pairs of trekking longs
- 3 Trekking shirts/ T-shirts
- 1 Pair of thermal underwear
- 1 Pair of fleece trousers
- 1 Fleece sweater or jacket
- 3 Pairs of underwear
- 1 Pair of Polartec gloves
- 1 pair fleece windstopper gloves
- 1 pair waterproof shell gloves
- Head torch with fresh batteries
- 1 Fleece or wool hat
- 1 Beanie or balaclava
- 1 Sun hat or cap
- 1 Bandana, buff or scarf
- 1 Pair of sunglasses
- 1 Large duffel bag– preferably water repellent and with locks
- 1 Medium sized backpack (50 litres)
- 1 Sleeping bag rated to at least minus 15 degrees C
- 1 Sleeping bag inner, with stuff sack and Thermarest
- Rainproof cover for backpack
- Blow up cushion or small pillow
- 4 Large plastic bags and zip lock bags
- 2 Nalgene water bottles
- Water purification tablets or filter
- 1 Set of trekking/ski poles
- 1 Pocket knife/Leatherman
- Plenty of sunscreen and lip balm/gel
- Water purifying tablets
- Toilet paper – in case
- Personal first aid items –
- Camera gear and charges
- Personal snacks (only if you have a particular
- 1 pee bottle / funnel
- Clothes for travelling and a bag with lock
- Personal toiletries while on the trail
- Baby wipes
- Your passport & 2 passport photos
- Airline tickets and copies
- 1 pen and writing material
- A photocopy of the first 2 pages of your passport
- Travel and emergency evacuation documents
- Reading material
- Cash and/or credit card
Pakistan offers a visa-on-arrival for certain countries, tour group visas for others and tourist visas for others. Contact your nearest embassy or consulate of Pakistan for details.
The following vaccinations are suggested – chat to your local Travel Clinic for the latest information:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Tetanus-Diphtheria- Revaccination recommended every 10 years
- Polio – one-time booster recommended for adults
- Japanese encephalitis
This training information is intended as a guideline and should be used as such. If you are unsure about anything, please chat to us!
Most importantly, before you embark on any exercise program, please consult your doctor or exercise physiologist to make sure that you are ready for the increased workload.
A focused training program should begin 3 – 4 months before the trip, but working on your base fitness before that is important as it lays a good foundation for the harder work that will follow.
Climbing big mountains requires cardiovascular endurance (via aerobic training), strength endurance (through strength conditioning) and climbing-specific training (i.e. hiking with a pack).
Being in strong physical shape is one of the most important aspects for a successful trek into K2 Base Camp. You should be planning to progressively increase your aerobic training and speed of weekly training hikes to give you climbing-specific conditioning that cannot be matched by any other sort of training.
Suggested activities include running, cycling, mountain biking, swimming, walking on an inclined treadmill, doing stair stepping or stepmill training, trail running, walking up and down hills, or participating in step aerobic classes.
When first beginning a cardiovascular training program, begin with three workouts (i.e. Monday, Wednesday and Friday) of 30 minutes of sustained activity at a moderate intensity, and build up to 4-5 aerobic sessions of sustained effort for at least 45 – 60 minutes (taking Wednesday and Sunday as rest days, for example).
Be sure to include a 5-10 minute gentle warm-up before working at your target heart rate for the day. For most workouts, choose a level of exertion that allows you to connect a few words together in a phrase, but leaves you feeling comfortably tired at the end of the workout.
Remember to cool down with 5-10 minutes of appropriate stretching of the muscles you used most in your activity, including lower back, calves, hamstrings, hips and quadriceps.
Training with weights, backpacks and gym machines will help you build overall strength, particularly in the lower back, abdominals, upper back, shoulders and legs. Developing strength in your upper back and shoulders will help with carrying a pack and using trekking poles.
The calves, hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes are all involved in ascending and descending steep sections and scree slopes, which will be encountered on our trek into K2 Base Camp.
Before embarking on any weight training, please consult with a qualified gym instructor so that you are well briefed in terms of using the equipment. Most important in strength training is to be sure that you maintain proper form at all times in order to prevent injury or strain.
This involves hiking steep outdoor trails, going up and down stairs or training on an inclined treadmill. In the months leading up to the expedition, it is important to do some long walks in the mountains.
Remember: All of your training is geared towards giving you the strength and endurance to trek into K2 Base Camp, and enjoy every moment!
Physically, the trek is challenging but not overly arduous. The terrain can be rough at times – especially on the descent from Gondorogo La – but fixed ropes are available to help you. The route up the north side of the pass is entirely on snow and includes crossing a fairly flat glacier, so bear that in mind.