K2 Climbing Expedition

54 Days
Availability : 15 Jun - 8 Aug 2019
Max People : 28
Tour Details

The second highest mountain in the world and locally known as Chogoro. Lord Conway of Allington climbed up the great glaciers in 1892 but was content to look at K2 from a distance, describing ‘the majesty of K2’… almost too brilliant for the eye to rest upon in its mantle of sunlit white. The first real attempt was made in 1902 by a mixed party of English, Swiss and Austrian climbers, who were forced to turn back at 21,000 feet from the northeast spur. The Duke of Abruzzi organized an elaborate expedition in 1909 with the express purpose of conquering the great peak. The Duke, too. had to admit defeat.

Victory came at last in 1954. The Italian expedition, led by Ardito Desio, professor of geology at Milan University, was one of the largest and best-equipped in Himalayan history. Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli were among the summit team.

Dubbed the “Savage Mountain,” K2 in the Himalayas is Earths second-highest peak and arguably the hardest climb in the world. With an 8,611-meter (28,250-foot) summit, routes that are steeper and more difficult than those to the top of Everest, and surrounding weather that is significantly colder and less predictable than on Everest, reaching the top of K2 is the equivalent of winning the Olympic gold in mountaineering. It was first summited in 1954 by two Italians: Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni. Since then, there have been 189 summits (compared with approximately 1400 on Everest). Forty-nine climbers have died on K2, twenty-two while descending from the summit. In terms of the number of accidents that happen on the descent, it is the most deadly mountain in the world. The statistics for female climbers are particularly dramatic. Some even say K2 is “cursed” for women. Five women have reached the top, but of those 5, three died on the descent. (The other 2 have since died on other 8,000-meter peaks.) Situated in the middle of an isolated paradise, it is thought to be part of the fictional Shangri-La that James Hilton wrote about in Lost Horizon. This remoteness adds to the beauty, but it also increases the danger. If anything goes wrong on the mountain even at Base Camp it is almost impossible to be evacuated by helicopter. On the north side of the mountain, climbers are stranded for six weeks during the peak of the season, when the rivers in the Shaksgam Valley flood and cannot be crossed by the camels who accompany teams on the journey in. In spite of the dangers, the mountain continues to lure climbers to its slopes of dark gray rock. It is the ultimate fear and as such must be faced and overcome by climbers aiming for alpine excellence. In scaling Everest, you are a great climber to the world. Summit K2, and you are a true climber to climbers. K2 is the jealous king to Sagarmatha (Everest) the Mother Goddess. It is an unforgiving, handsome and mighty mountain. If the King’s crown is what you came for, be prepared to risk it all.

Departure & Return Location

Islamabad, Pakistan

Price Includes

  • Hotel Accommodation
  • Tour Guide
  • All Meals during the treak
  • Transportation from Islamabad to K2 Base camp and back
  • Sleeping tents, toilet and kitchen facility with crockery & fuel
  • Mess tents with tables/stools and related camping gear
  • Services of english speaking mountain guide, assistant guides, cooks, sirdar and low altitude porters.
  • 75 kg of personal baggage during the trek
  • Arranging Trekking Permit from Ministry of Tourism
  • Insurance of our field staff, porters/guides. Safety rope and basic necessary gear.

Price Excludes

  • International / domestic airfare and airport tax
  • Sleeping bags and personal nature clothing/equipment
  • Excess weight.
  • Insurance liability and other under force majeure conditions, medical aid, and helicopter rescue coverage etc.
  • Main meals and extras at hotels like drinks, laundry, phone calls.
  • Any other private expenses or services that aren't mentioned

Day 1Arrive Islamabad, Pakistan

A representative of Karakorum Adventures will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the Islamabad International Airport. This representative will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to the hotel in Islamabad. Discover the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi is an old British -era settlement and Islamabad is the capital city and administrative centre built some time after the partition of India in elevation in 1947. The cities are Located at about 1,500 feet in elevation in the hot and steamy plains of Pakistan’s upper Punjab. You may wish to explore Rawalpindi by wandering among its many and varied bazaars or visit the imposing Shah Faisal Mosque superbly situated at the foot of the Margalla Hills. This mosque is one of the largest in the world, with room for 15,000 worshippers inside and 85,000 in the courtyard. This day we will attend a trek briefing at the Alpine Club of Pakistan.

We’ll provide you overnight hotel stay with breakfast included.

Day 2Drive to Chillas.

A thin ribbon of asphalt strikes north from near Islamabad and leaves the modern capital and the dusty Punjab plains far behind. As it weaves through sparse green hills, the first wrinkles of mountain-building in this geological ‘collision zone’, this unassuming road gives a little hint as to what lies ahead. This is the high road to China, the Karakoram Highway (KKH), which was blasted and bulldozed through an intractable landscape of raging rivers, deep ravines and precipitous peaks in the 1960s and ’70s. It is a 1200 km marvel of engineering and a symbolic collaboration between Pakistan and China. It is also a magnet for adventure-seekers.

Along the KKH you will encounter ancient towns of Taxila, Hassanabdal, Abbottabad, Besham, Dassu. It’s a long drive (13 hours) so the journey will start early in the morning from Islamabad.

Overnight at hotel in Chilas. Full Board, all meals included.

Day 3Drive to Skardu

38km south of Gilgit, the road to Skardu (170km) leaves the KKH and crosses a bridge and a spit of rock into the upper Indus Valley. Ten minutes from the bridge is a perfect panorama of the entire Nanga Parbat massif, and shortly afterward there’s a brief view ahead to Rakaposhi south face. Fifteen minutes later the Indus is at its northernmost point. Another 15 minutes on (27km from the KKH) is the fuel stop of Sassi, a green island in a sea of crumbling rocks.

With its size, desolation and the nonstop foaming fury of the Indus, the gorge from here south is simply awesome. Where there are no bridges, people still cross by pulling themselves hand over hand in a sphincter-puckering contraption consisting of a platform hung from a pulley on a single cable, often hundreds of meters above the river. At the truck stop of Thangus, 53km from the KKH, look across the river for miners scraping out a living by burrowing into the mountain’s quartz veins for crystals.

Another 7km further on is a popular travelers’ stop at the basic Midway Hotel and, across the road, PTDC Astak, about 89km from Skardu. About 31/2 hours from the KKH (21/2 hours from Skardu) is the regional center Thowar. Across the river is Mendi, capital of the ancient Hindu kingdom. Below Basho, the canyon opens into the vast Skardu Valley, and an hour later you’re in Skardu bazaar.

In good weather, the 170 km trip takes six to seven hours, with at least two police checkpoints. In rainy weather (eg summer storms and winter drizzle) multiple slides may block it completely.

Overnight in Hotel. Full Board, all meals included.

Day 4Briefing In The Ministry Of Tourism.

The expedition upon arrival in Skardu should see the officer concerned in Tourism Division for arranging a meeting with the Liaison Officer and assistance on matters like insurance, purchase of rations and allied matters.

The rest of the day can spend sightseeing in Skardu.

Overnight in Hotel, Full Board, all Meals included.

Day 5Drive By Jeeps To Askole

We will travel by jeep with our crew and supplies along the Shigar and Braldu valleys to Askole. Village in Shigar have changed little in over five hundred years; farms with fields of barley, wheat, and vegetables surrounded by stone walls and stands of poplar, willow and apricot trees. The apricot is a very important crop in the north, having a multitude of uses to the Balti and Hunzakut people. Villagers greet us as we pass through on the rugged dirt and stone road that leads to Baltoro. As we approach, the landscapes become desert like and once within the sheer valley of the Braldu, it is necessary to cross the river several times by suspension bridges. At various points, the road may have collapsed due to erosion and we will transfer the gear across on foot to a vehicle on the other side. The journey may take anywhere from six to twelve hours, with patience, we will arrive at our first camp of the trek. In Askole the villagers grow their own cereals, vegetables, and fruit and own large herds of sheep, goats, and dozes.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included

Day 6Trek To Jhula

After the considerable organization of equipment, supplies and porter loads for the journey ahead, we commence trekking towards Jhula. The valley opens out to reveal the Biafo Glacier flowing for more than fifty kilometers from the Hispar La pass to the Braldu. We have our first taste of moraine walking as we cross the snout of the glacier and descend to our lunch spot beside the river at Korofon. We also experience the harsh, stark environment that forms the base of these great mountains. Our route takes us to the confluence of the Braldu and Dumordo Rivers where the infamous flying fox or ‘jola’ is located. It is still there, however, a footbridge has now been built making the passage much easier by every perspective. (Consider individual passage of 50 to 70 people with loads, compared with walking straight across a steel bridge!). In past years it was necessary to make a high traverse across a rocky face and descend steeply to the riverside of the Dummodo to gain the flying fox. There is now a safe and pleasant pathway above the river. It is this valley, fed by the Panmah Glacier, which was once a passage between Baltistan and Yarkand across the West Mustagh Pass (5370m) into China. Once across, we descend beside the river to the Braldu and then follow along its banks to our camp at Jhula.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals.

Day 7Trek To Paiyu

The trail here is comparatively easy, with occasionally exposed scrambles across the rock. The first good water is a thin waterfall after about two hours. There are several campsites called Bardumal along a two-kilometer stretch of sandy river beach scattered with thorn bushes and tamarisk. The altitude is about 3,200 meters. Mouse-hares or pika, charming little rabbits with mouse ears, scamper in the rocks. Just beyond Bardumal at Phurblok is the grave of a young porter who died in 1987, where the porters stop to pray. Nearby is a large cave, providing good shelter for porters in bad weather. Water is fetched from side streams.

Opposite Bardumal, the Ching Kang River offers a possible route to the Aling Glacier and Hushe. This route is for fully equipped mountaineers only.

The walk from Bardumal to Paiju is undulating, difficult at times, with the first views of dramatic mountains ahead. There is a rest stop by some tamarisk trees beside the stream flowing down from Paiyu Peak. The last hour involves an exposed cliff walk followed by a paddle along the river’s edge.

Paiyu (meaning ‘salt’ in Balti), at about 3,600 meters, was disgustingly polluted in 1990, but many expeditions still chose this camp for their rest day. Empty cans are scattered everywhere, and piles of excrement greet you in every direction. A spring gives rise to a now-polluted stream that runs steeply down through a grove of mature willow and poplar trees. Tent platforms are cut beneath the trees beside the stream. The best bet is to camp higher up, away from shade and water, on a flat shoulder with panoramic views up and down the valley. There are a couple of shepherds’ huts at Paiyu; some of the Askole herds winter here, as it is sheltered and there is less snow where than in the village. The porters use their rest day here to slaughter a goat, driven from Askole, and sing and dance through most of the night.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included.

Day 8Rest Day Paiyu

The day is reserved for trekker/Climber to get acclimatize to height. You can roam around the camp, maybe upto snout of Baltoro, or rest in your camp and read a book, it’s up to you.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included.

Day 9Trek To Urdukas

After 90 minutes, the path divides at the snout of the Baltoro Glacier. The left branch goes to the base camp of Trango Towers and the Sarpo Lago Pass, which was discovered by Ardito Desio in 1929 and crossed by Eric Shipton and Harold Tillman in 1937. The right branch drops down past some tamarisk trees before climbing up onto the glacier, where the Braldu River roars out of a black hole as from a sluice gate. The glacier stretches up the valley as far as the eye can see—a vast turbulent sea of rocks and gravel two kilometers wide and 62 kilometers long. The porters stop and chant a hymn before crossing the glacier: ‘Oh God, peace be upon the Holy Prophet and all his family’—repeated over and over.

You walk across the boulder-strewn ice, up and down great grey slag heaps, climbing steadily for two to three hours on a long diagonal to the other side. Then you follow the southern edge of the glacier across sand and rock for 60 minutes to Liligo or Liliwa (both names are in use), the traditional campsite. From the glacier are spectacular views across to the white, vertically striated pyramid of Paiyu Peak (6,600 meters) and north up the glimmering Trango Glacier to the jagged granite needles and blocks of Trango Towers, one of which, Nameless Tower, soars to 6,239 meters.

From here onwards it takes another 90 minutes to Khoburse, a lovely walk on a donkey track built by the donkey handlers to carry goods up to supply the army camps at Goro One and Concordia. Khoburse campsite is the other side of the river flowing from the Liligo Glacier. The river is usually too deep to wade, and the easiest way across is to detour out onto the Baltoro Glacier. There we will find the nice campsite at about 4,000 meters, with shade under rocks, a small, clean stream and delicious waterfalls.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included.

Day 10Trek To Goro II

This is a lovely walk mostly along the crest of the lateral moraine, but with one river and a side glacier to cross. There are stunning views across the Baltoro to the serried teeth of Paiyu, Choricho, Uli Biaho, Trango Towers, Cathedral and Biale. Urdukas, one of the most magnificent campsites of the trek, is set at 4,200 metres, about 100 metres above the lateral moraine. The tent platforms here were cut in 1909 by the duke of Abruzzi, and there are natural rock shelters for the porters (urdwaa’kas means ‘a stone with cracks’). Covered in grass and flowers, it faces the panorama of the Baltoro Glacier flowing in front of a continuous wall of granite needles and towers that rise sheer to over 6,500 metres.

Like Paiyu, this site is over-used.

Urdukas was the highest point reached by Colonel Godwin-Austen in 1861. He climbed 600 metres above the camp and saw the gigantic silhouette of K2. The peak was first sighted in 1856 by T G Montgomerie, who noted a cluster of high peaks from a survey point 219 kilometres away and named them Kl, K2, K3, K4 and so on, with K standing for Karakoram. He recognised K2 as the highest and measured it to be 8,619 metres, only three metres more than its new (1988) official height of 8,616 metres, as measured by Professor Ardito Desio of Italy (though most sources still say 8,611 metres). The British usually used local names for mountains: Kl is Masherbrum, and K3, K4, K5 are the Gasherbrum Peaks. K2’s local name is Chogori (meaning ‘big peak’), and it is often known as Mount Godwin Austen (a name never recognised by the Survey of India), yet it is still commonly called K2.

In 1887, Francis Younghusband visited this part of the Baltoro Glacier, arriving from China across the Old (East) Mustagh Pass (5,422 metres), which was a trade route until it was blocked by ice in the middle of the nineteenth century. He walked down to Askole in three days wearing sheepskin slippers. He had no previous mountaineering experience; in fact, this was the first time he had seen a glacier.

From Urdukas on your walk on the glacier, all the way and may need to wear gaiters early or late in the season. The first hour is across difficult side crevasses; once out in the center, the way is smoother and the going easier, but you walk on stones all the way, with only a rare glimpse of white ice. Two to three hours from camp, you are opposite the Yerman Du Glacier, which flows down from the Masherbrum Pass (5,364 meters). This point is known as Goro One (old name Biango). We will camp here, it is worthwhile spending the night here for the clear morning views of Masherbrum, the snowy triangle to the south. At 7,821 meters, it -is the 24th-highest peak in the world, first climbed by the Americans in 1960.

For the next three to four hours to Goro Two, you walk east up the Baltoro Glacier, following the telephone wire from the army headquarters at Goro One straight towards Gasherbrum IV (the name derived from gashay, meaning ‘beautiful’). At 7,929 meters, this is the 17th-highest peak in the world, a sheer-sided pyramid with a flattened top. Over its right shoulder peeps the soaring point of Gasherbrum II (8,035 meters), ranked number 14. Goro Two Camp, at about 4;500 meters, is pitched on the rough, stones and ice in the center of the glacier, with water from glacial, melt. It is impossible to dig a toilet pit here, and it is all too easy to contaminate your drinking supply. The leader should designate a toilet area, west of camp and make sure the porters use it, too.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included

Day 11Trek To K2 Base Camp

Excitement mounts on the last day. For the next three to four hours to Goro Two, you walk east up the Baltoro Glacier, following the telephone wire from the army headquarters at Goro One straight towards Gasherbrum IV (the name derived from gashay, meaning ‘beautiful’). At 7,929 meters, this is the 17th-highest peak in the world, a sheer-sided pyramid with a flattened top. Over its right shoulder peeps the soaring point of Gasherbrum II (8,035 meters), ranked number 14. Goro Two Camp, at about 4;500 meters, is pitched on the rough, stones and ice in the center of the glacier, with water from glacial, melt. The walking is slightly easier, and soon after Goro Two you get the famous view north to Mustagh Tower (7,284 meters), seen from here as a gigantic stone axe— apparently sheer-sided and unclimbable—at the head of Biango Glacier. It was first climbed from the west by the British in 1956, who made it to the top only five days ahead of the French, who were approaching from the east. Ahead up the Baltoro, you still see Gasherbrum IV, but Gasherbrum II has disappeared. On the southern side, overshadowing Concordia, is the cleft top of Mitre Peak (6,010 meters).

A domed army hut signals your arrival at Concordia, at about 4,700 meters. About ten minutes further on, K2 finally appears on the left, 12 kilometers away. It stands isolated from its neighbors, rising 3,600 meters straight from Godwin Austen Glacier. K2 was first climbed in 1954 by the Italians.

Concordia, the joining of five glaciers so named in 1892 by Martin Conway after the Place de la Concorde in Paris, is an immense sea of ice covered in stones. Glacial fingers reach up to clasp at the surrounding giants. In every direction the views are stunning. To the right of K2, the notched dome of Broad Peak (local name Falcon Congri) crests at 8,060 meters (old measurement 8,051 meters)—a first for Herman Buhl with Kurt Diemberger in 1957. Next is Gasherbrum IV, decorated with a vertical vein of rose-colored marble, conquered in 1958 by the Italians Walter Bonatti and Carlo Mauri. In the southeast, the shining, glaciated Baltoro Kangri, or Golden Throne, is a giant armchair soaring to 7,312 meters at the end of Abruzzi Glacier. The Swiss Andre Roch and Jimmy Belaieff made the first ascent of the southeast peak of Baltoro Kangri in 1934 and then skied down from about 7,000 meters, creating a world altitude record on skis (see Andre Roch, Karakoram-Himalaya, Sommets de 7000 meters).

To the right of Baltoro Kangri, the smooth white slopes of Kondus are topped by a perfect nipple. Nearer to camp, in the southwest, one of the slender twin peaks of the Mitre (6,025 meters) towers over the head. Due west is the view down the Baltoro Glacier to Paiyu Peak- On the north side of the Baltoro Glacier at Concordia is the sharp ice point of Crystal Peak (6,252 meters) glinting like cut glass beside Marble Peak, which occupies the Godwin Austen-Baltoro comer. Coming full circle you see the smooth white wedge of Angel Peak thrusting above the left shoulder of K2. Hidden from view are the 8,068-metre Hidden Peak (Gasherbrum I), which was first climbed by the Americans Andy Kaufman and Pete Schoening in 1958, the 8,035-metre Gasherbrum II, which was taken in 1956 by the Austrians, and the 7952 metre Gasherbrum III, which was conquered by the Polish women’s team led by Wanda Rutkiewicz in 1975. Within a radius of 15 kilometers are 41 peaks higher than 6,500 meters, many of them unnamed.

Martin Conway was, in 1892, the first person to explore Concordia. He made an attempt on Baltoro Kangri, reaching the top of a spur on the north side, which he called Pioneer Peak.

The first few kilometers from Concordia is across difficult crevasses and glacial rivers. You will save hours by hiring a porter who knows the way to lead you across the snow bridges. Follow a medial moraine north up the Godwin Austen Glacier, with magnificent views back to Chogolisa or Bride Peak (7,668 meters). This is the snowy tomb of Herman Buhl, who fell through a comice in 1957; the peak was finally conquered in 1975 by the Austrians. The Duke of Abruzzi had come to within 150 meters of the summit in 1909.

As you approach K2, you look back to Concordia and see the zebra-striped glaciers sweeping around the comer and disappearing down the Baltoro. The striped effect is from the lateral moraines of side glaciers that, as they join the main ice flow, are squeezed into long, parallel ridges of ice bordered by lines of rock and gravel. The lateral moraines having become medial moraines, they sweep dramatically round at Concordia, accentuating the flow of the ice. The easiest walking is on the ice. Stop for lunch at Broad Peak Base Camp. Camp at about 5,000 meters.

The memorials to those killed on K2 are about 20 minutes north of K2 Base Camp, on the rock face above the junction of the Savoia and Godwin Austen glaciers. Walk to the foot of the rock, then scramble up about 30 vertical meters on a rocky path to the memorials, a collection of saucepan lids with the climbers’ names and dates hammered onto them. Return by scrambling down the other side of the ridge to the Savoia Glacier.

By 1990, 55 people had climbed K2, and 25 had died on the mountain. The worst year was 1986 when five separate expeditions were on K2 in early August. Sixteen climbers reached the summit, but 13 died (two British, two American, two French, three Polish, two Austrian, Italian and a Pakistani), most caught in a storm above 8,000 meters. The first memorial, placed in 1953, was for the American Art Gilkey. Suffering from phlebitis in his leg, Gilkey was being dragged down the mountain by Pete Schoening and others, who left him anchored to an ice ax on a steep slope while they prepared the route ahead. When Schoening went back to fetch Gilkey, he was gone, carried off by an avalanche.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included

Day 12-46Reserved for Climbing

The most common climbing route that climbers take to ascend K2 is the Abruzzi Spur or the Southeast Ridge. The ridge and route loom menacingly above Base Camp on the Godwin-Austen Glacier on the south side of the mountain. The Abruzzi Spur route climbs steep snow and ice slopes broken by rock ribs and a couple of cliff bands that are surmounted with technical climbing.

K2’s Most Popular Route: About three-quarters of all the climbers who ascend K2 do the Abruzzi Spur. Likewise, a majority of deaths occur along its well-traveled ridge. The route is named for Italian climber Prince Luigi Amedeo, the Duke of Abruzzi, who led an expedition to K2 in 1909 and made the first attempt on the ridge.

The Abruzzi Spur is Long: The route, beginning at the base of the ridge at 17,390 feet (5,300 meters) ascends 10,862 feet (3,311 meters) to K2’s summit at 28,253 feet (8,612 meters). The sheer length of the route, coupled with the severe weather conditions and objective dangers, make the Abruzzi Spur one of the most difficult and dangerous common routes on the world’s 8,000-meter peaks.

Major Topographic Features: Major topographical features on K2’s Abruzzi Spur route are The House Chimney, The Black Pyramid, The Shoulder, and The Bottleneck. Each offers its own set of technical difficulties and dangers. The Bottleneck, located below a 300-foot-high hanging ice cliff, is particularly dangerous since parts can break off at any time, either killing or stranding climbers above it as happened in the 2008 tragedy.

Base Camp and Advanced Base Camp: Climbers set up Base Camp on the Godwin-Austen Glacier below the great south wall of K2. Later, Advanced Base Camp is usually moved to the base of the Abruzzi Spur itself a mile farther up the glacier. The route is divided by camps, which are located at various points on the mountain.

The House Chimney and Camp 2: From Camp 1, continue up mixed terrain on snow and rock for 1,640 feet (500 meters) to Camp 2 at 21,980 feet (6,700 meters). The camp is usually set against a cliff on a shoulder. It can often be windy and cold here but it’s safe from avalanches. On this section is the famous House Chimney, a 100-foot rock wall split by a chimney and crack system that is rated 5.6 if free-climbed. Today the chimney is fixed with a spider web of old ropes, making it fairly easy to climb. The House Chimney is named for American climber Bill House, who first climbed it in 1938.

The Black Pyramid: The imposing Black Pyramid, a dark pyramid-shaped rock buttress, looms above Camp 2. This 1,200-foot-long section of the Abruzzi Spur offers the most technically demanding climbing on the entire route, with mixed rock and ice climbing on almost vertical cliffs that are usually covered with unstable snow slabs. The technical rock climbing is not as hard as The House Chimney but it’s steep and sustained nature makes it more serious and dangerous. Climbers usually fix ropes up the Black Pyramid to facilitate climbing it and rappelling down.

Camp 3: After climbing 1,650 feet (500 meters) from Camp 2, climbers usually situate Camp 3 at 24,100 feet (7,350 meters) above the Black Pyramid’s rock wall and below steep unstable snow slopes. The narrow valley between K2 and Broad Peak often acts as a wind funnel, channeling high winds through the gap and making the snow slopes from here to The Shoulder above avalanche prone. Climbers usually stash extra gear, including tents, sleeping bags, stoves, and food, on the Black Pyramid because they are sometimes forced to descend for supplies if Camp 3 is swept away by an avalanche.

Camp 4 and The Shoulder: From Camp 3, climbers quickly ascend steep snow slopes that range from 25 to 40 degrees for 1,150 feet (342 meters) to the beginning of The Shoulder at 25,225 feet (7,689 meters). This section is done without fixed ropes. The Shoulder is a broad, low-angle hump on the ridge that is covered by a thick layer of ice and snow. There is no exact place to erect Camp 4, the last established camp before the final summit push. Usually, placement is dictated by weather conditions. Many climbers place Camp 4 as high as possible, lessening the elevation gain on summit day. The camp is between 24,600 feet (7,500 meters) and 26,250 feet (8,000 meters).

Final Climbing Dangers

The summit, 12 to 24 hours away depending on weather and physical condition, is roughly 2,100 vertical feet (650 meters) above Camp 4 perched on The Shoulder. Most climbers leave Camp 4 between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.Now the prospective K2 climber faces his greatest and most dangerous alpine challenges. The climbing route up the Abruzzi Spur from here to the summit is fraught with perilous dangers that can kill him in an instant. These dangers include the extreme oxygen-depleted altitude, fickle and frigid weather including strong winds and bone-chilling temperatures, hard-packed snow and ice, and the danger of falling ice from a looming serac.

The Bottleneck: Next the K2 climber heads up steepening snow slopes to the infamous Bottleneck, a narrow 300-foot couloir of ice and snow as steep as 80 degrees at 26,900 feet (8,200 meters). Above overhangs the 300-foot-high (100 meters) ice cliffs of a hanging glacier clinging to the ridge just below the summit. The Bottleneck Has been the scene of many tragic deaths, including several in 2008 when the serac broke loose, raining huge chunks of ice on climbers and sweeping away fixed ropes, marooning climbers above the couloir. Climb challenging and steep ice up The Bottleneck with your crampon front points to a tricky and delicate traverse left on steep 55-degree snow and ice below the serac. A thin fixed rope is often left on the traverse and in The Bottleneck to allow climbers to safely ascend this section and to quickly descend out of danger.

To the Summit: After the long ice traverse below the serac, the route ascends 300 feet up steep wind-packed snow to the final summit ridge. This ice-enameled helmet is not a place to linger. Several climbers, including the great British alpinist Alison Hargreaves and five companions in 1995, were swept off this snow helmet by gale-force winds to icy oblivion. Now all that remains is a sharp snowy ridge that climbs 75 feet to the airy 28,253-foot (8,612-meter) summit of K2-the second highest point on the earth’s surface.

The Dangerous Descent: You’ve made it. Take a few photographs and smile for the camera on the summit but don’t linger. Daylight is burning and there is lots of difficult, scary, and dangerous climbing to do between the summit and Camp 4. Many accidents occur on the descent. The most startling statistic is that one in every seven climbers who reach K2’s summit dies on the descent. If you don’t use supplemental oxygen, it’s one in five. Just remember-the summit is optional but returning to Base Camp safe and sound is mandatory.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included.

Day 47Trek to Ali Camp

The first two hours of the trek are difficult as we leave Concordia and traverse the Baltoro Glacier and its crevasses. One of the Vigne Glacier. It’s a comparatively easy and gradual walk over snow and ice, Mighty Chogolisa (25,110 ft.) stand s guard in the south. Overnight at Ali Camp (16,600 ft.), a combination of small rocky platforms between the cliff face and crevasse. We turn in early, as we have a midnight wake-up call for the departure over the Gondogoro La.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included

Day 48Cross Gondogoro La

We leave camp at about 1:00 a.m.to climb the Gondogoro La (5600m). For the first two hours, we walk on the lateral moraine to avoid crevasses. As we get closer to the pass we shift on snow until the base of the pass. The final ascent involves a steep walk on snow and, depending on conditions, the use of fixed ropes as well as crampons and ice ax. The views from the top of the pass are unparalleled, with K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I to IV, Masherbrum, and many other mountains appearing at our level. The descent on the Hushe side is steeper, requiring good balance on the rocks. Camp at Khuispan (4700m.), a lush green meadow with wildflowers covering all around the Campsite.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included

Day 49Trek to Saicho

As we leave Khuispan, we make a long traverse of the Gondogoro Glacier, first encountering small crevasses, then hiking over the soft ice of the Glacier to get to Dalsampa on the other side. The last half hour is a pleasant stroll through wildflowers, with Commanding views of the Gondogoro Glacier, Yermanadu Kangri (7160m) Masherbrum South (7810 m), and the Masherbrum La. As we continue, we gradually leave the icy landscapes and descend to the meadow and pastureland at Saistcho (3400m.). Although we’ve left the icy wilds, we still have tremendous views of the mountains, including Defokhar (6540 m.). Continuing along the lateral moraine we descend to Saicho, a picturesque campsite nestled amongst tamarisks, wild roses and junipers set beside the river. There are views up to the Charakusa Valley towards K7 (6934 m). Tonight there is the chance for song and dance as the porters are relaxed and happy with a successful crossing of the Gondogoro La behind them.

Overnight in tents. Full Board, all meals included

Day 50Trek to Hushe and Drive to Skardu

Trek to Hushe (3150m) 4-5 hrs Descend to the Gondogoro River, enjoying spectacular views of K6 (23,881 ft.), K7 (22,744 ft.) and Link Sar (23,094 ft.),. We continue to descend, passing through small summer settlements en route to the green irrigated fields at Hushe. By jeep to Skardu. Meet with jeeps and drive to Skardu, passing through many picturesque villages perched on vertical rocks. This part of Baltistan appears greener and more prosperous than on our drive to Askole. Overnight at Concordia Motel/Mashabrum Hotel, Skardu.

Overnight in Hotel. Full Board, all meals included

Day 51De-briefing in Skardu

We will visit tourism ministry for de-briefing. Rest of the day is for free.

Overnight in Hotel. Full Board, all meals included.

Day 52Fly to Islamabad or Drive to Chilas

In the morning you will be shifted to the airport to catch a flight heading to Islamabad. The flight between Islamabad and Skardu is subject to weather and can be cancelled during bad weather in the valleys. In that case we will travel by Karakorum Highway to Chilas.

PIA flies Boeing 737s to Skardu daily (weather permitting), with views right across the Karakoram. The Islamabad to Skardu flight lasts one hour and is filled with exciting views of Nanga Parbat and Lesser Himalayas.

Overnight in Hotel. Breakfast only (Full Board, all meals included in chilas)

Day 53Free day in Islamabad or drive to Islamabad

The day is reserved as a cushion as in case of cancellation we have to travels by road which takes two days. Farewell dinner in the evening.

Overnight in Hotel. Breakfast Only.

Day 54Departure

After two months of hardcore adventure and after a successful attempt at the summit inshAllah (God willingly) we will wish you good health and safe from Islamabad International Airport.

Departure Dates

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