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TREKKING IN .

 

 

The Karakoram Grand Traverse covers Ghondogoro La, Concordia, K2 base camp, Baltoro Glacier, Biafo and Hispar Glaciers .It is is by far one of the most rewarding glacial traverses in the Karakoram. Outside the Polar Regions, this glacier system is the longest covering over 140 kilometers of Glacier. Biafo Glacier (37 miles long) and Hispar Glacier (38 miles long) meet at the 5151 m. Hispar Pass to form one of the longest glacial systems outside the Polar Regions.  This highway of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms: Hunza in the west with Shigar Baltistan in the east.

This trek requires a good degree of physical fitness, as the variable weather conditions make the crossing of pass quite challenging, but more rewarding too.

Highlights.

  • A spectacular trek up the Baltoro glacier, K2 BC, Trango Tower BC, Snow lake & Simgang and over the challenging Ghondogoro la pass and down the beautiful Nagar valley.
  • Views of K2, Broad Peak, Mashabrum, GI & II, Trango towers and Laila peak among many others!
  • Guided by highly experienced professionals with the help of the best supporting staff available in Baltistan, having undergone on the job training over many seasons with us. They are highly experienced at catering to the needs of our members, and do a tremendous amount to contribute to the overall success and satisfaction of our groups
  • Dream trip can be.......Itinerary can be customized... 
    Leaves any day you desire..... Shorten or lengthen trip, if you like. Swap hotels and activities, to meet your exact needs
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Grand Karakoram Traverse
Quick Fact
Starting Price $   See All Prices
Departure Dates June-September    See All Dates
Trip Length 34 Days
Activities mountaineering, cultural exploration, sightseeing
Difficulty Level Strenuous
Destinations Islamabad, Skardu,  Shigar, Khapulo Concordia, Ghondogoro La, K2 BC, Hunza, Hispar La, Snow Lake,
   

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Grand Karakoram Traverse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Itinerary

34 DAYS  ITINERARY (Day by Day)

DAY 01:   ARRIVAL ISLAMABAD          

Arrival Islamabad today. A member of the Vertical Explorers staff will meet you at the airport and escort you to the hotel. Today either you can relax or you can enjoy an exploratory walk in the old part of Rawalpindi; wander past the vegetable and spice markets, beautifully carved old houses and trucks, cows pestering the vegetable vendors, catch traditional craftsmen at work in silver and gold bazaars .You will then continue on the main street linking the Twin cities - Murree Road - before arriving at the gleaming new capital, Islamabad. You pass shining new buildings and thousands of park areas - a full 50 percent of the 350 square mile site is set aside for parks. You will then stop at the Shakar Parian to catch a bird's eye view of Islamabad. Our next stop will be Shah Faisal Mosque which is the landmark of Islamabad. This evening   you will enjoy a welcome dinner with other trekkers.

Meals provided: Welcome Dinner
Accommodation: Marriott Hotel, Crown Plaza, Civic Hotel, Regency Hotel

DAY 02:   SKARDU OR CHILAS

We rise early to be at the airport in time for our flight to Skardu. If the weather is good, we'll be treated to one of the finest views available in the world of aviation, as we thread our way up the largest congregation of mountains of Karakoram, Hindukush, Himalaya and Indus River gorges, third longest in Asia  and one of the deepest in the world. To our east is K2 (2nd highest in the world and Nanga Parbat (killer mountain) and countless peaks and glaciers. It is sometime possible to catch a glimpse of K2 in the distant before our dramatic landing at Skardu. On arrival we are met by our local staff with jeeps and make the short transfer to the hotel. Skardu is the administrative capital of Baltistan and gateway to the high peaks of Northern Pakistan. We have some time to explore the town and enjoy the hustle and bustle in peak season of tourists here. Sightseeing in Skardu and surrounding areas during the day. For those seeking a good overview of Skardu, or a place from which to photograph the sunset, Kharfocho Fort is an ideal spot. If the flight is unable to operate because of bad weather, we will resort to travel by road on Karakoram Highway (KKH) to Chilas. The drive is compensated by the beautiful scenery along the Karakoram highway and Indus gorges. The journey on the Karakoram Highway is most exciting and thrilling. It is a monument to the engineering feast and one of the most spectacular roads and the world’s highest metalled border crossing. It connects Pakistan and China stretching over a distance of 1300km between Islamabad and Kashgar, winding through three mountain ranges and following the ancient Silk route along the Indus Valley to the Chinese border at Khunjerab Pass. We pass through the historical town of Taxila, beautiful hill station of Abbottabad, quake affected lush green towns of Mansehra, Shinkiari and finally meet the great Indus on Thakot Bridge. From there onward the road snails along the bank of the Indus with contrasting landscape after every two kilometers. We pass through Besham, Dassu, Komila and Shatial to arrive at Chilas with many rocks carving and inscriptions along the way left by Chinese pilgrims and ancient travelers of 5th century A.D. Chilas was on the ancient caravan trail over the Babusar Pass into India. The drive through the Indus Gorge is guaranteed to knock your socks off! The view after crossing the Rai kot Bridge of Nanga Parbat is without any parallel. Standing at around 1,000 m. you see a mountain which rises to above 8,000 m! This is the largest land escarpment in the world. This is also where the three greatest mountain ranges meet; Himalaya, Hindukush and Karakoram.

Flight: 45 Minutes Drive: 10-12 hrs.

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: Chilas In Hotel

DAY 03:   SKARDU / CHILAS – SKARDU

This day may be needed to complete the KKH road journey from Chilas to Skardu. Alternatively, leaving Skardu today will enable us to enjoy an extra day of trekking.

 

Drive: 10-12 hrs. 

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: Masha Brum Hotel, Baltistan Continental

DAY 04:    SKARDU  - HUSHE

Today after breakfast drive alongside the Indus River to the beautiful valley of Khaplu, which lies at the banks of Shyok river. After a small break at Khapolu we continue our four hour journey through several small villages towards Hushe, highest village in the area at an altitude of 3000 meters.

 

Distance: 135 Km Drive: 07-08 hrs. Altitude: 3050 M

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp

DAY 05:  HUSHE – SAITCHO

Today we leave the last inhabited village Hushe. Porters are assembled to carry our luggage for the next section of the journey. For the remaining portion of our journey we rely on our porters who carry our food and equipment and sustain our grand trek.


After a short trek of about 4 hours, we will reach a beautiful campsite named Saitcho, located among shady trees on a sandy plain beside the river at the junction of the Charakusa and the Gondogooro valleys.  Before the camp there is a wonderful view of the impressive Charakusa Spire and from the camp we get excellent views of the peak of Nameka and the rock pillars of K7.

 

Walk: 06-07 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 3450 M 

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp

DAY 06:     SAICHO -- DALSANGPA

Resume trek from Saicho alongside the Gondogoro Glacier following a path on a wooded moraine crest which ascends to the summer pasture of Gondogoro Village. After lunch here we will scramble down onto the glacier and trek along the edge of the glacier for a short distance to bypass a steep rock section before finally scrambling up a rocky gully to reach our spectacular campsite at Dalsangpa, an amazing place having spectacular views of a range of snowy peaks including the spectacular summit of Mashabrum. Along with two small tranquil lakes.

 

Walk: 05-06 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 4150 M

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

DAY 07   DALSANGPA  - KHUSSPANG

Today morning we will drop back down onto the glacier walking on snow and icc, following the central section, for Gondogoro La base camp namely Khuspang. Crevasses on this section of the glacier are small and easy to see. This trek route has impressive views as we move along the glacier, most particularly the beautiful spire of the Laila peak and Ninchi peak. We will camp at Khuspang(4800m),a grassy field beside a small lake and towering spires.

 

Walk: 05-06 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 4800 M 

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

DAY 08:    KHUSSPANG - ACCLIMATIZATION   DAY

Today is a rest and acclimatization day learning some skills and safety procedures for ascending on the pass using fixed ropes and moving rope.

 

Walk: 05-06 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 4800 M 

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

DAY 09   KHUSSPANG – GONDOGORO LA –ALI CAMP

A long and tiring ascend early morning marks the toughest and most challenging days of the trek. The basic theme behind the early walk to reach the top of the Ghondogoro Pass 5700 meters is that in the morning snow will be soft and we will not get tired quickly as the sun is not strong, but as sun gets strong snow get soft. Snow going to be melt and bring water and stones, also the chance of ice falls or avalanches. Our guides will fix ropes to safeguard this ascent and descent on the other side for both the porters and clients.

On the top of Ghondogoro La you will find the most spectacular view on earth. From here you can see the K2, Broad peak, G1, G2, Muztagh Tower, Chogolingsa. Our descend  is slightly trickier and we will need to move roped together as precaution against the crevasses which are found on the descent of an hour to the Vigne Glacier. After a three and half hour of trekking we will reach to Ali Camp, situated on a rocky site overlooking the long ridge running from Masherbrum to Chogolingsa.

 

Walk: 08-09 hrs, Grade : Strenuous, Altitude : 5558 M

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

DAY 10:   ALI CAMP  - CONCORDIA

Trekking to the campsite at Concordia, we trek onto the Vigne Glacier ,mostly walking on moraine. Concordia, a huge junction of Baltoro, Abruzzi & Godwin Austin Glaciers at 4000 meters. Within a short radius of 15 Kilometers, stand 41 peaks over 6500 meters including 04 peaks above 8000 M. The 360 degree view offers a panorama of peaks nowhere to be found on this planet.

 

Walk: 04-05 hrs, Grade: strenuous, Altitude: 4720 M.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

DAY 11:   CONCORDIA - FREE DAY

There is plenty of time to admire the scenery and find the best vantage points from which to take photographs of the surrounding peaks. Concordia, the confluence of five glaciers, offers unprecedented views of the Karakorum peaks. Within a radius of nine miles rise 41 peaks above 21,000 feet, almost half of them still unnamed and unclimbed. Some team members may wish to make the return journey to K2 Base Camp in a single day (10 hrs round trip). Others may choose to explore base camps or just sit and watch K2 all day long and sip tea; or go to  the other way towards the Gasherbrum peaks.The choice is yours! Overnight at Concordia.

 

Walk: 05-10 hrs, Grade: strenuous, Altitude: 4500 M.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

DAY 12:   CONCORDIA –  GORO

From Concordia we commence the descend down on the icy Baltoro Glacier, Traveling on the glacier all the time now, it is an all day walk over the boulder-strewn glacier to the campsite at Goro. Today we pass through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world; a huge junction of Baltoro, Abruzzi & Godwin Austin Glaciers at 4000 meters.

 

Walk: 05-06 hrs, Strenuous, Altitude: 4300 M   

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp

    DAY 13:    GORO  - KHOBURSEY

Today continuing down the Baltoro Glacier we trek across increasingly rough piles of glacial moraine where in places the path is quite indistinct. To make up for this we have the spectacular backdrop of Cathedral Peak and Lobsang Spires opposite of us. Our first campsite situated off glacier for many days is at Khoborssey, This camp has superb views across the Baltoro Glacier to the Trango peaks, having view of Paiu Peak, Chorichi, Uli Biaho, Trango Tower and so on.

 

Walk: 05-06 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 4000 M   

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp

DAY 14:  KHOBURSEY - PAIU

Today we resume trek with a gradual descend up to Paiu. We are now trekking off the glacier following fairly good paths. In some places they are cut spectacularly into the steep rock walls which rise above us. We regain the glacier for a short distance in order to cross the snout, and so reach the green grass campsite at Paiu, the last grove of trees before the trail moves onto the glacier, Paiu 6611 M.

 

Walk: 04-05 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 3480 M

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp

    DAY 15:   PAIU – JULA

Today we trek along the Braldu River skirting around the impressive Paiu Peak to Jula (wire rope bridge supported by a wooden basket). The water is often not good here so we may chose to walk off the main route for approximately 30 minutes to another campsite with clear water beside a torrent facing the Bakhordas peak.

 

Walk: 03-04 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 3150 M 

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp

DAY 16:   JULA  -  NAMLA

After breakfast at campsite we start our trek into an incredible wilderness of ice and rocks along the Biafo glacier by an easy route. The Biafo glacier is a huge river of ice, 63 Km long, which descends from the central Karakoram peaks and flows east, into the Braldo valley.

 

Walk: 06-07 hrs, Grade: moderate, Altitude: 3390 M 

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp

     DAY 17:    NAMLA - MANGO

Today our trek follows a series of moraine ridges which run along the centre of the glacier. We trek along 3 or 4 hours until we reach a point where the glacier becomes contorted, at which point the route finding becomes quite tricky as we work our way off the glacier and up to another pleasant meadow in a green ablation valley named Mango, giving us a fantastic views down the valley and where yak herders from Askole live in summer.

 

Walk: 05-06 hrs, Grade: Strenuous, Altitude: 3626 M   

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

DAY 18:   MANGO  - BAINTHA

We continue along the glacier on a somehow more difficult trail by working our way through a maze of jumbled boulders to reach the central moraines which provide an easier route along the centre of the glacier. Hispar pass can be viewed while walking on trail. We will establish our campsite in a grassy area dotted with bushes, very near the junction of Biafo and Baintha glaciers. May be lucky enough to spot mountain ibex at nearby crags.

Walk: 05-06 hrs, Grade: Strenuous, Altitude: 4020 M   

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

     DAY 19:     BAINTHA – FREE DAY

     Rest day for acclimatization and contingency preparations.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

DAY 20:     BAINTHA - NAPINA

Today walk through a crevassed iced field, by roping up to safe-guard against hidden crevasses towards the junction of Biafo and Simgang glaciers to Napina, a grassy campsite in an ablation valley with fresh water and wild flowers.

 

Walk: 04 -05 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 4400 M 

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

     DAY 21:    NAPINA – SIMGANG

This is a steady walk on snow covered ice to the Simgang Base camp, closer to Hispar La. Today we get incredible views on our way, most impressive is the Sosbun Brak and Snow Lake, marking out the intersection of Biafo and Hispar glacier. The name snow lake was given in 1892 by W Martin Conway the first foreign visitors. This huge basin of snow and ice (about 9.5 Km) circled with snow-capped granite peaks, offers a breathtaking panorama.

 

Walk: 04 -05 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 4780 M 

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

      DAY 22  SIMGANG (SNOW LAKE) FREE DAY

Rest day to explore the snow lake and acclimatization. Snow Lake, a vast basin of ice at 16,000 feet ringed by saw tooth peaks that explorer Martin Conway described as "beyond all comparison the finest view of mountains it has ever been my lot to behold, nor do I believe the world can hold a finer." From here treks lead to Shimshal valley as well.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

    DAY 23: SIMGANG – HISPAR-LA

Today we have an early start, climbing steadily towards the vast pass plateau. Today we will use our crampons and ice axe and need to travel roped together to negotiate the central section of the Hispar Glacier, where several giant crevasses exists. Then a fairly gentle climb to the crest of the pass rewards us with one of the most incredible views at campsites with stunning views straight down the Hispar Glacier to the mountains of the Nagar region. Great expanse of the Sim Gang basin and the mighty peak of the Ogre are the mesmerizing views on Shigar side.

Walk: 05 -07 hrs, Grade: Strenuous, Altitude: 5151 M                                                    

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

      DAY 24:     HISPAR-LA – KHANI-BASA

Today descending to Khanibasa again requires to be roped up from the crest of the pass. After about one hour or two the glacier flattens out and soon we leave the snow and can un-rope. The trail carries on through scree and moraines, flanked with iced-falls to reach our campsite Khani Basa, situated in an ablation valley by the Khani Basa glacier.

 

Walk: 05 -06 hrs, Grade: Strenuous, Altitude: 4580                                                                              

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

      DAY 25:     KHANI-BASA - JUTMAL

Today we cross the Khani Basa glacier and get superb views of smooth white dome Kanjut Sar at 7760 m. There are some awkward moraines to cross, and several small streams which are best crossed as early in the morning as possible before the glacial waters begin to flow. Our campsite is at Jutmal, on a flat sheltered field in the ablation valley with running water, with bushes and wild flowers in surrounding
.

 

Walk: 05 -06 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 4200 M                                                                               

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

      DAY 26:     JUTMAL - PUMARI

We cross some ice walls and crevasses along the way to Yutmaru glacier, a tributary of Hispar glacie having views of Kanjut Sar, Pumari Chish and Kunjang Chish after some walk from Yutmaru glacier. Beyond Yutmaru path follows a series of pleasant meadows with streams flowing through them. Water is needed to be filled in bottles as there is no water along the trail.
 

 

Walk: 05 -06 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 4100 M                                                                               

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

      DAY 27:     PUMARI – DACHIGAN

Today after breakfast trek begins by crossing an awkward moraine, before we reach the confluence of the Hispar and Pumari Chish Glaciers. We cross the glacier on moraines and follow a steep path on the west side of the glacier, finally reaching our campsite at Dachigan.
 

Walk: 04-05 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 3800 M                                                                               

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

      DAY 28:     DACHIGAN – HISPAR VILLAGE

This is an easy day of walking through pastures crossing a number of streams, whose water swell considerably once the afternoon snow melt has flowed into them. We cross the Kiang Glacier and have a steep climb to join the path which leads through the pastures of Daltanas and Falolingkish. Crossing several deserted dwellings we reach at Hispar Village, highest village of Nagar valley with blossoming orchards and terraced fields
 

 

Walk: 05-06 hrs, Grade: Moderate, Altitude: 3250 M                                                                               

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

      DAY 29:     HISPAR VILLAGE – HURU

Resume trek after breakfast and cross some small dwellings to reach Huru.

 

Walk: 05-06 hrs, Grade: easy, Altitude: 2800 M                                                                               

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

      DAY 30:     HURU – KARIMABAD

After breakfast descend in jeep along a bumpy road for about 2 hours until we reach the Karakoram Highway (KKH). We then turn north and drive along this great road for a while until we come to the town of Karimabad on Karakoram
Highway. Towering over the green and fertile oasis of the Hunza valley are the ice ridges and peaks of one of the giants of Karakoram, Rakaposhi (7788m). In the evening we will watch sun set panorama at Duikar.
 

 

                                                                               

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mobile Camp 

      DAY 31:     HUNZA – FREE DAY

After breakfast full day tour of Hunza including Baltit Fort & Hoper. Karimabad is the delightful old capital of the Hunza Kingdom. From Karimabad, with its souvenir shop, post office and tea shop, you can obtain a magnificent view of the valley laid out below you and of the peaks behind. The Aliabad / Karimabad area is sprinkled with wild flowers and blossoming fruit orchards. We will spend half our day in these two towns enjoying the greenery and delighting in the sound of babbling brooks. We also visit Altit, Baltit and Ganish village. Baltit fort was the old palace of the Mirs of Hunza and was inhabited until 1960. It is about 400 years old. Baltit is a curious rambling old place, four storey high, sturdily built of stones, sun - dried mud and timber. Baltit is built on a cliff edge behind it is a ravine and then the Ultar glacier glinting in the sunshine. The architecture here reflects a Tibetan influence. The view from the top of the fort is well worth the climb.
 

                                                                              

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation:  Eagle’s Nest Hotel
 

      DAY 32:     HUNZA -BEHSHAM

After breakfast drive to Riakot on Karakoram Highway as it carves a swathe through the meeting points of world three largest congregation of mountains at Shigarpa before Juglot, is an adventure in itself. Then further drive to Besham                                                                              

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: Besham Continental, PTDC Motel

      DAY 33:     BESHAM - ISLAMABAD

Today travel on the Karakoram Highway to Islamabad through captivating and enthralling landscape. In places, sheer, snowcapped mountains ascending from deep valleys while elsewhere lush green meadows are carpeted by colorful wild flowers and dazzling blossoms. Terraced villages dot this monumental terrain, supporting by traditional farming methods and lifestyles that have changed little over the centuries.
 

 

Walk: 05 -06 hrs, Grade: Strenuous, Altitude: 4580                                                                              

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: Regency Hotel

      DAY 34:     ISLAMABAD -FREE DAY - DEPARTURE

De-briefing at the ministry of tourism. Private departure to Islamabad International Airport for your departure flight.

                                                                                

Meals provided: Breakfast
Accommodation: None 

   End of Services

 

2012 Group Departure Dates from Islamabad: 

June 2 – July 6,                         June 15 – July 19       

July  4-  August 7,                      July 15 – August  18 

August 1 – September 3,           August 12 – September 15   

September 1 – October  4   

Day Trips

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