Part I – K2 Base Camp Trek ( Skardu – Askole – Concordia)
Almost one week long Askole-Concordia trek to K2 Base Camp has the status of being one of the most spectacular in the world.
In the words of Fosco Maraini beyond Askole, the last human habitat, one enters into “The Greatest Museum of Shapes and Forms”.
- Payu is almost 34 km from Askole and takes couple of days to reach after passing by Korofan and Jola.
- Beyond Payu, alled as the gate keeper , highest peaks of the Karakoram start coming in sight and trek moves along 64 km long Boltoro Glacier, one of the biggest outside the polar region.
- Liligo is 10 kilometers from Payu
- Urdokas is further 10 km ahead
- Goro is 12 km ahead of Urdukas
- Concordia – It takes 4 to 5 hours from Goro to reach Concordia.
Part II- Concordia
The name Concordia is of Latin origin, meaning ‘harmony with the heart’ and was first used by a British mountaineer for a place where two or more glaciers meet. Famously called as the “The Mountaineer’s Paradise”, Concordia is at the end of weeklong Askole – Baltoro trail that leads to K2 Base camp. Concordia is an amphitheater of mountains and a major crossroads where two glaciers and several trekking routes meet. It is the confluence of 65km long Baltoro Glacier and the Godwin-Austen Glacier.
- From Concordia, on all side, within a distance of 24 kilometers, rise up ten of worlds thirty highest mountains hence honoring the site with the largest concentration of the highest peaks on earth.
- Concordia offers short treks to base camps of four 8000ers pak peaks all lying within a radius of 21km.
- K2 (5–6 hours) in North ,
- Broad Peak (2–3 hours)
- Gasherbrum I&II (7–8 hours) in east all lying within a radius of 21km.
Part III – GONDOGORO LA / PASS (5615m)
View of Hushe valley from Godogoro Pass
Gondogoro Pass – Located 25 km south of K2, the 5615m high Gondogoro pass connects Concordia to the Hushe Valley. It also 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 Ghangche District.
Gondogoro Pass (or La as it is in the local language) is a very impressive pass. Many teams choose to walk out this way because of the outstanding views from the pass summit. PakPeak Masherbrum (7821m) is very close and to NW one see the whole Gasherbrum group, PakPeak Chogolisa (7665m) and PakPeak Baltoro Kangri (7800m). To the north PakPeak K2 and Broad Peak are visible. In the south the extraordinary PakPeak Laila can be seen.
- From Concordia to Ali Camp (One Day)
From Concordia it’s a long day’s walk to Ali Camp. First you walk past PakPeak Mitre and head up the next valley/glacier on your right hand side. Watch out for rock falls when entering the valley.When approaching Ali Camp, watch out for crevasses. Ali Camp has a 100 Rs./night fee. Ridiculous prices for “nature preservation” (there’s loads of garbage all over the place), “guiding services” (I never saw any guides when I walked over the pass) and “security” (some bad plastic ropes, attached in extremely bad way is to be seen close to the summit of Gondogoroa Pass) has to be paid. For 1-3 persons it’s 2500 Rps. For 4-8 persons it’s 4500 Rps. The pass is privately owned.
- From Ali Camp To Gondogoro La (3-4 Hours)
It could take 5-7 hours to reach the pass from Ali Camp. For an acclimatized mountaineer, this is about 3-4 hours. It can be very windy on top of the pass, as it is a lot of elevation drop on the SW side. It’s quite steep on this side (40-45 degrees). There are glaciers in the middle of the glacier further down.
- From Gondogoro La to Xhuspang/Shispang (Camp Site)
The path gets really good before the little camp site of Xhuspang / Shispang , where you also can get very basic meals.
- From Xhuspang/Shispang to Shaishcho (Camp Site)
The glacier gets more difficult to travel after the camp and when you have passed the first rocky part and entered the main valley, stay to the left all the time. Doing so makes you avoid all the large crevasses and the left hand side is also the side you leave the valley on. When at the bottom of the first valley, take a left and enter some very nice meadows with yaks. Excellent views of sharp peaks. Some tricky, slide sections have to be passed. The walk gets easier again when heading down the lower part of the Gondogoro glacier towards Shaishcho. In this little settlement you can eat and pitch your tent under nice-smelling wild roses.
It’s a very easy 3 hour walk to Hushe.
The Hushe – Skardu road is of awful condition for the first couple of hours. From close to Khaplu the road is asphalt all the way into Askole. Count on few hours from Hushe to Skardu.
Well come back after completing the great Loop.