Aptly described as ‘the throne room of the mountain Gods’, Concordia, the innermost sanctum of the Karakoram has possibly the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere in the world. Situated at the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin Austen and Vigne glaciers, ten of the worlds 30 highest peaks rise above the glacier, dominated by K2, the world’s second highest mountain; Gasherbrum 4, Broad Peak, Mitre Peak and Chogolisa form an astounding circle of mountain giants.
The trip starts in the capital city of Islamabad, we will visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Taxila and take a long but very scenic drive to Skardu, spending an overnight in Chilas we will visit the worlds second highest plateau of Dosai National Park. We will trek the 63 km long Baltoro glacier, along the lower Baltoro we will get a chance to see some of the largest rock towers in the world, Uli Biaho, Trango and Cathedral Peaks.; leading to Concordia. We camp walk to Broad Peak Base Camp, Gilkey Memorial and camp at K2 basecamp. Our trek continues to the Gondogoro-la crossing which will require ice axe and crampons. As we drop down from the pass, we can enjoy an easy walk-out through pleasant alpine valleys to the Balti village of Hushe.
Is this trip for you?
This is a challenging trek, we will spend a lot of time walking on rocks and scree which cover the Baltoro. The trip is completely self supported by our crew as there are no facilities on the glacier, which makes it very difficult to leave the trek should you find yourself struggling. The campsites of Goro I, Concordia and Ali camp are on the glacier however, we won’t be walking on ice, crossing Gondogoro-la is the only technical part of the trek. We will usually walk 6-8 hours a day at an easy pace with plenty of opportunity for rest.
This should not be your first multi-day, high altitude trek. You should be physically fit for the challenge (see our fitness guide). Your familiarization with the joys of multi-day camping will make this trip enjoyable.
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We recommend taking a flight arriving in the evening the day before your tours starts. This will give you some time to rest and recover from Jet lag. If you choose this option, we will provide a hotel for the night along with transfers from Islamabad International Airport. A dinner however, is not included for this night. If you have any questions about flights or would like help in making reservations, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
If you have any questions about flights or would like help in making reservations, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most flights arrive early morning to Islamabad. Our staff will meet all clients at the airport and you will be transferred to the hotel, where you can check into your room, have breakfast and catchup on sleep. The day is free to recover from your journey.
In the afternoon and will offer an optional hike to the Margalla hills surrounding the capital. This will be a gentle, short hike giving you an opportunity to stretch your legs, get some sun to help recover from jet lag and enjoy the beautiful view overlooking the city with some chai and samosas.
Later in the afternoon, the trek leaders will give a full trip briefing, this will also be an opportunity to review your gear and make any last minute purchases required for the trip. We will conclude our evening with a group dinner, this will be an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other, ask questions and enjoy a restful evening before our journey begins.
The Silk Route: Islamabad – Taxila – Naran
Trip Profile: distance approx. 260 km, time: 7 to 8 hours, ending. altitude: 2409m(7904ft).
We start after breakfast taking the scenic highway from Islamabad to Skardu. Our first stop is the UNESCO world heritage site of Taxila, located only 30km from Islamabad. The origins of Taxila as a city go back to 1000 BC and it was an important Buddhist Centre from 5th century BC to 6th Century AD. Taxila Museum is famous for its magnificent collection of Gandhara Art.
After a few hours on site, we will be back on the road taking the new Silk route. Our next stop is Naran, located in the foothills of the Himalayas. This beautiful location is now the center of local tourism and makes a nice rest stop on the way. We will stop for lunch and tea as we continue our journey to Naran where we will spend the night.
Naran to Astore Valley
Trip Profile: distance approx. 220 km, time: 6 to 7 hours, ending. altitude: 3507m(11505ft).
We start early today and head to Astore Valley. As we travel we leave the lush foot hills behind us and head to the arid high peaks. The green fertile meadows, lead to Alpine valleys and sights of Nanga Parbat Massif (the 9th highest peak in the world). Astore is still is small town and serves as the entry point to the high peaks region. We will go through the town to our hotel.
If we arrive late after noon there will be an option to trek to Rama Lake. The trek is an out and back and takes around 2 hours including stops. This will be a good acclimatization hike to prepare your body for the long trek ahead.
Deosai National Park and Skardu
Trip Profile: distance approx. 152 km, time: 6 to 7 hours, ending. altitude: 2230m(7320ft).
We start early today and head to Deosai about 5 hours drive. Deosai National Park is a highaltitude alpine plateau, the average elevation is 4114m(13497ft) making it the second highest plateau in the world. The sudden elevation change might make you feel light headed. The Deosai is a rolling pasture land with remarkable biodiversity, we will stop at the beautiful Shausar lake and you will have an opportunity to walk in the area, after spending a couple of hours in the area we will drive to Skardu so we can sleep at a lower altitude.
This will be our final stop before the trek. Skardu is the launching point for most expeditions so it is possible to get any additional items that you may need for the days ahead.
Skardu to Askole
Trip Profile: distance approx. 130 km, time: 6 to 7 hours, ending. altitude: 3000m(9842ft).
We leave Skardu by jeep for the 7-hour drive to Askole, passing through the beautiful Shigar Valley. This high and steep-sided valley is prone to landslide and we may have to walk short sections of the road incase of a rock-fall. Given reasonable road conditions, we will spend our first night under canvas in this famous Balti village high above the thundering Braldu River. Askole is a single street of wooden houses, backed by irrigated fields of corn and potatoes and groves of apricot trees.
Askole to Johla
Walk profile: distance approx. 19km, time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 3150m(10334ft).
We leave Askole which will be the last settlement that we will encounter on our trek to Concordia. Its a gentle introduction to Karakoram, we reach the southern tip of the Biafo Glacier, which stretches for 63 kilometres up to Snow Lake, we cross the snout of the glacier and descend to our lunch spot beside the river at Korofon. Our route takes us to the confluence of the Braldu and Dumordo Rivers, where in the past, the trail used to involve scrambling over a cliff and then crossing the river in a ‘flying fox’ or box bridge (called ‘jhola’ translated as a swing). Nowadays there is a newer trail and we go upstream to cross the river by a suspension bridge. Once across we descend to the edge of the River Braldu and follow its banks to our camp at Jhola. The views are impressive with Bakhor Das (5,809m) and Paiju Peak’s needles in the distance.
Jhola to Paiju
Walk profile: distance approx. 22km, time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 3400m (11500ft).
Our route follows the Braldu River, the trail alternates between riverbed and the terraces above, as we get to higher ground we will find excellent views of the impressive Paiju Peak. At our high point today we have views ahead to the snout of the Baltoro Glacier and the granite peaks of the Trango Towers and Cathedral Peaks.
Payiu meaning ‘salt’ in the Balti language at about 3500m (approx 11,500ft) is a fixed campsite with toilets and running water, located close to the snout of the Baltoro glacier.
Paiju to Khuburtse
Walk profile: distance approx. 13km, time: 7 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 3800m (12468ft).
A walk of less than an hour brings us to the snout of the Baltoro Glacier, this is the beginning of our trek on Baltoro. At this point the ice of the glacier is completely covered by rubble and rocks and although we are following a trail the scree is loose and walking is slow and tedious.
As we progress, the scenery becomes rugged, wild and even more spectacular. Stunning views gradually emerge of granite peaks on the north side of the glacier. It takes a few hours to cross the glacier and it maybe required to cross a melt water stream as part of the crossing. From here we follow a rocky trail along the edge of Baltoro to Khuburtse where we have sensational views of the Grand Cathedral, the Trango Towers and the striking Uli Biaho tower and peak.
Khuburtse to Goro I
Walk profile: distance approx. 13km, time: 6 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 4223m(13855ft).
We continue eastwards beside the Baltoro Glacier either along the lateral moraine or on the glacier itself, we cross two small side glaciers, and eventually we can see the Trango Towers and the isolated pillar of the Nameless Tower as we reach Urdukas (3900m) for lunch. After this we walk on to the center of glacier; walking is smoother but you are still walking on stones. Another 2-3 hours of walking brings us to our campsite at Goro I. The campsite is opposite the Yermanendu glacier which flows down from Masherbrum pass. Here we will spend our first night on the glacier.
Goro I to Concordia
Walk profile: distance approx. 15km, time: 6 to 8 hours, max. altitude: 4550m(14927ft).
We wake up to views of Masherbrum (7821m), the 24th highest peak in the world. It takes 3-4 hours to get to Goro II (4330m) where we will have lunch. The final approach to Concordia takes us through incredible mountain scenery, as one after another the big peaks come into view.
We pass Mustagh Tower (7284m), an imposing monolith of rock Ahead of us Gasherbrum IV (7925m, 17th) acts like a beacon drawing us on, to right we get peeks of Gasherbrum ll (8035m, 14th highest peak). 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 meters from the valley floor to the summit. We make our camp at on a moraine ridge surrounded on all side by jagged peaks.
Concordia rest day
Concordia, the joining of five glaciers (so named in 1892 after Place de la Concorde in Paris), is an immense sea of ice covered in stone. In every direction, the views here are stunning, K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum, Mitre Peak, Chogolisa and Sia Kangri are all prominent, along with dozens of smaller peaks.
In preparation for Gondogoro-la crossing, we will organize a skills session on the simple techniques of roped travel and moving on fixed lines.
Concordia to K2 Basecamp
K2 Basecamp profile: distance approx. 8km, time: 4 to 6 hours, max. altitude: 5135m(16847ft).
The first few kilometers after leaving Concordia are covered with crevasses and meltwater rivers, after which reach easy terrain and follow the medial moraine of the Godwin Austen Glacier. It will take us approximately 3 hours to reach Broad Peak base camp. Here we have an excellent view of K2 in one direction and in the other you look back at Concordia framed with Mitre Peak and the bulk of Chogolisa, also known as Bride Peak.
After lunch we will continue to K2 basecamp. It will take another 2-3 hours to reach the Gilkey memorial. We will have dinner and camp here for the night.
Please note that most other operators organize K2 Base Camp trek with their highest camp at Concordia and this means a very long walk from Concordia to K2 Base Camp and back to Concordia in one day.
K2 basecamp to Concordia
K2 Basecamp profile: distance approx. 8km, time: 4 to 6 hours, max. altitude: 5135m(16847ft).
Today we take a mostly downhill walk back to Concordia and rest in preparation for the Gondogoro-la crossing. The trip leader will give a briefing about what to expect on the crossing and we will revisit our skills.
Concordia to Ali Camp
Walk profile: distance approx. 12km, time: 5 to 7 hours, max. altitude: 4930m(16174ft).
From Concordia we trek along upper Baltoro towards Chogolisa at the head of the valley, 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).
The trip leader will give a briefing about what to expect on the crossing and we will revisit our skills.
Ali Camp to Khuspang via Gondogoro-la Pass
Walk profile: distance approx. 8km, time: 8 to 9 hours, max. altitude: 5585m(18,323ft).
To avoid risk of rock falls on the decent on the Hushe side, we start very early (around 1am). After an early breakfast, we will wear crampons and harnesses and set off roped together onto the West Vigne Glacier towards the foot of the Gondogoro-la pass. After 3-4 hours of steep and strenuous ascent (assisted by fixed ropes) we gain the top to be rewarded with stunning views of K2, Broad Peak and the Gasherbrums.
The descent is much steeper than our ascent route and here we will use fixed lines for the majority of the way down. We descend 3-4 hrs to Khuspang camp (4600m). Khuspang is named for the turquoise (xhu) flowers which blanket this grassy place in summer.
Note: the crossing of the Gondogoro La is dependent on good weather and conditions on the approach to the pass. We have accounted for a contingency day, however, if it is not possible to safely ascend the pass the group will walk back down the Baltoro glacier to Askole.
We believe our trip maximizes the groups changes of cross the pass due to the following reasons:
✴ The group should be well acclimatized due to the gradual ascent on the trek in addition we have two nights at Concordia and one night at K2 Base Camp, which help in with acclimatization
✴ A short hiking day before leaving Concordia should give everyone a chance to rest
✴ We have planned for a contingency day in case of delays or bad weather
✴ We obtain custom weather forecasts for K2 region sent via text to the satellite phone which allows us to adjust our schedule if required
Khuspang to Saicho
Walk profile: distance approx. 17km, time: 8 to 9 hours, max. altitude: 3400m(11,155ft).
After a couple of minutes of easy walking we get onto the glacier where we pick our way across the moraine and ice, finally crossing the glacier. There is a spectacular view of Masherbrum and the glacier cascading down from Masherbrum Pass.
At this point we have reached the more benign altitude where things grow and instead of rock and ice we have grass. It is a beautiful walk to Shaicho as we pass yak pastures and see the first trees since Paiju. Saicho is a picturesque campsite nestled amongst tamarisks, wild roses and junipers set beside the river. There are views up to the Charakusa Valley towards K7 (6934m).
Saicho to Hushe and Khaplu
Walk profile: distance approx. 7km, time: 3 to 4 hours, max. altitude: 3050m(10,006ft).
Today is our final day of trekking; 3-4 hours of easy descent bring us to the village of Hushe. Nestled in the Hushe Valley the village is the gateway for many expeditions traveling to Masherbrum, K7 and the Charakusa and Nangma valleys. For those interested we may have the option of a short climb to the top of a hillside on the edge of the village to gain unparalleled views of the mountain tops of the entire Baltoro.
We drive through the Hushe Valley with villages and agricultural lands on both sides and return to Skardu.
Khaplu – Recovery day
This is a day to rest and recover from the long trek. For those interested, we will have the option to go for shopping.
Note: In case we have to wait for the crossing on Gondogoro-la, day 17 and 18 can be used as contingency days.
Flight to Islamabad
We will hopefully take the early morning flight to Islamabad, if unable to fly we will drive the Silk Road back to Islamabad.
Our private bus will be waiting at the airport to transfer us to the hotel and once we have settled in it will be time to take lunch. After lunch the rest of the day is free for independent sightseeing, shopping or to relax at the hotel.
This evening we come together again for a celebratory meal at a local restaurant.
If we are in Islamabad, this will be an additional day for sightseeing and our trip leader will arrange a group tour to see some of the local sights. We will have a group dinner with some entertainment.
This is an important contingency day; incase of flight cancellation we will be arriving in Islamabad this afternoon so you should not be planning to fly out on this day.
Fly out – end of trip
Transfer to Islamabad Airport is provided.
✓All guiding services
We maintain a 4:1 client/guide ratio, with at least two guides per trip; as well as a team of local porters.
Quality hotels in Islamabad and Skardu and full service camping in other places, including Chilas where we have chosen to camp so we can provide quality service since good lodging is not available.
Full service camping includes tents and sleeping mattress.
✓All meals with the exception of dinner on last day.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rest assured you’ll be well fed and well hydrated.
Trekking, trekking permits and included sightseeing, shopping trips etc.
✓All domestic transport
Domestic flights and airport transfers and all transport required for the itinerary.
✓Climbing helmets, ice axe and crampons for Gondogoro-la crossing.
✓12.5kgs(27pounds) porterage of personal gear on trek.
What’s not Included
– Dinner if you arrive the day before start of tour
– Travel insurance
– International flights
– Airport departure tax
– Miscellaneous expenses