In the heart of the Karakorams of Gilgit-Baltistan province in Pakistan lies an amphitheater of high mountains which truly has no parallel. The American climber and photographer Galen Rowell described it as the ‘Throne Room of the Mountain Gods’, and when you stand at the glacial junction known as Concordia and survey the phenomenal array of summits which include four of the world’s 8000 metre peaks, it is difficult to disagree with him.
Our route follows a stunning trail along the mighty Braldu river to the snout of the Baltoro Glacier. The spectacular rock walls of Trango Towers, Lobsang Spires and Uli Biaho stand like monolithic stone sentinels, guarding our route. As we progress up the moraines of the vast Baltoro Glacier, the Muztagh Tower (7273m) and Masherbrum (7821m) slowly reveal themselves and in the distance Gasherbrum IV stands tall, providing a taste of what is to come.
At last we reach Concordia (4650m) where we are surrounded by a plethora of peaks including four of the world’s 8000m peaks- K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II and Hidden Peak. And others no less spectacular including the mighty Chogolisa, Golden Throne, and Gasherbrum IV. From our camp at Concordia we can trek up the Godwin Austen Glacier to K2 Base Camp and visit some of the expedition teams attempting to climb this formidable peak. This trek is undoubtedly one of the Great Walks of the World- the Karakoram’s. Although this trek takes us into relatively remote and rough terrain, the walking days are not excessively demanding, and it is well within the capabilities of the regular hill walker wanting to experience wilderness trekking at its finest.
Gondogoro Pass is a 5585 meter high mountain pass in the Baltistan region of Pakistan 25 km south of the world’s second-highest peak, K2. It connects the Gondogoro Glacier on the southwest and the Vigne Glacier on the northeast. On the southwest side, the route down from the pass descends into the Hushe village which contains the uppermost settlements of the Ghanche District. Most climbers and trekkers approach from the northeast side. In 1986, a route was established that connects Concordia in the upper Baltoro Glacier to the Hushe Valley over the Gondogoro Pass. Since then, this challenging technical pass has attracted trekkers and climbers alike. This pass has one of the most overwhelming mountain panoramas anywhere in the world, with all of the Karakoram’s 8000m peaks close at hand. The Gondogoro La, though popular with trekkers, involves Class 4 climbing with crampons. The northeast side has up to 50-degree snow slopes with avalanche danger requiring fixed ropes. The southwest side is a longer, continuous 50-degree slope with rock-fall and avalanche danger that requires fixing as much as 300 meters of rope.
Day 01: Islamabad
Day 02: Islamabad – Chilas/Naran
Day 03: Drive to Skardu, 8 – 9 hours
Day 04: Skardu
Day 05: Drive to Askole – 96km, 6-7 hours
Day 06: Trek to Paiju via Bardumal, 3,450m/11,318ft – 7-8 hours.
Day 07: Rest and acclimatization day.
Day 08: Trek to Khoburtse, 3,990m/13,090ft – 5-6 hours.
Day 09: Trek to Urdukas, 4,052m/13,291ft – 3-4 hours.
Day 10: Trek to Goro II, 4,380m/14,370ft – 5-6 hours.
Day 11: Goro II to Concordia, 4,650m/15,255ft – 4-5 hours.
Day 12: Trek to Broad Peak Base Camp, 5,000m/16,405ft – 3-4 hours.
Day 13: Visit K2 Base Camp, 5,117m/16,785 ft, and Return to Broad Peak Base Camp – 3-4 hours.
Day 15: Trek to Ali Camp
Day 16: Trek to Khispang
Day 17: Trek to Shayecho
Day 18: Trek to Hushe valley
Day 19: Drive to Skardu
Day 20: Skardu – Besham
Day 21: Besham – Islamabad
Day 22: Rest day
Day 23: Fly to destination