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Distance

55.32 mi

Elevation gain

8,766 ft

Technical difficulty

Difficult

Elevation loss

2,510 ft

Max elevation

16,209 ft

Trailrank

66 5

Min elevation

9,761 ft

Trail type

One Way

Coordinates

946

Uploaded

September 14, 2019
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16,209 ft
9,761 ft
55.32 mi

Viewed 438 times, downloaded 10 times

near Surungo, Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan)

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IMPORTANT NOTE: THE DIFFICULTY WITH WHICH I CATALOG MY ROUTES IS REFERRED TO MOUNTAINS USED TO WALK, WHO UNWIND WITH FACE ON ALL THE LAND, NOT FOR OCCASIONAL HIKERS. IF YOU HAVE LITTLE EXPERIENCE, ADD ONE MORE DEGREE TO THE DIFFICULTY OF MY ROUTES SO YOU WILL NOT GET SURPRISES

Long, hard, spectacular and demanding trek, in the heart of the Karakorum, north of Pakistan. Just getting to the beginning of the trek is already a spectacle and an adventure if you don't come by plane to Skardu. We need 3 days of road to get there (the last by jeep). We stayed overnight the night before starting in the village of Askole. We had very bad luck with the weather as we hardly had good weather and we did have several days of rain or snow. This heralded the worst, as it was, and we had to turn around at Ali Camp and retrace everything we had walked on the way out since the Gondogoro-La was impassable for porters, who are very poorly equipped. This adverse weather situation in summer is quite strange since the Himalayas act as a barrier that slows down the monsoon, unless it is very intense, in which case it reaches, as was our case, the Karakorum.
There are several campsites along the route. The former have latrines and water fountains. Starting from Paiju, we enter the Baltoro Glacier itself and walk on it at times and at other times on its side (on the southern slope). The camps are simpler but the landscape becomes more magnificent as we enter the heart of this great mountain range. The Masherbrum, the Trango Towers, the Cathedrals, the Gasherbrum IV, the Broad Peak and of course the K2 appear. We, even with quite adverse weather conditions, were able to enjoy this show.
We hire the services of Taranna, a company specialized in mountain trips. In turn they outsource the services of Hunza Guides Pakistan Tours. To say that Enrique, the guide who came from Spain with us, could not do better, all the time attentive and willing to help, apart from being a person with a very easy and very pleasant treatment to share the trip with him. The Hunza guides and the rest of the staff also very good in general lines. The criticism comes from the bad equipment that the porters wear and that limits and conditions you if the weather is bad because you cannot pass the Gondogoro-La. I know that this evil is suffered by all trekking companies here in Pakistan, but it is hard to pay so much money and then be so limited by this factor.
The trek itself is hard due to the rough terrain in many moments (some sections on the broken glacier especially), the cold nights in which you sleep on the ice (obviously inside a tent), the wading of some rivers, the crevices of the glaciers (they are not many or very big but there are hailas), the diarrhea, the days when the weather is bad and you see nothing but the stones and ice that you have a few meters away, not to mention the frustration of having to turn around and have to go back the way you came in half the time. But still it is very worth it (I don't want to think if it would have been good ...) for the grandeur of the landscape, it is indescribable, you have to be there to feel it and understand the dimensions of these mountains, rivers and almost infinite glaciers. The group of 15 people who were there was really good in every way.
We did two rest stages to better acclimatize. One at Paiju Camp and one at Concordia. We had to add another extra day at Ali Camp to see if the weather improved and we could pass the Gondogoro-La. Another interesting topic is the fording of the rivers (which are quite a few). The later it is done, the more water they carry and it costs more (in many cases we had to take off our shoes).
I describe the stages one by one below. It can be expanded by copying the statement of each one and searching in Wikiloc.

1st Stage Trek Baltoro. From Askole to Jhula Camp
First day of our trekking through the Baltoro Glacier, in the heart of the Karakorum, in Baltistan, north of Pakistan (bordering China to the north and the disputed area of Kachemira in India).
We previously spent the night in the village of Askole, which we had reached by jeep from Skardu, after a good day on the road in the rain. We sleep in an area equipped for camping on the outskirts of town, just before the entrance control to the area through which we are going to travel these next few days. The camp has bathrooms. It rained all night, which foreshadowed that we were going to have bad weather on our trek ..... and it would end up being that way.
We started walking a little later than established with the guides to wait for the rain to stop. The first kms of walking are along a wide path (suitable for ATVs as we would see on the way back), although sometimes we avoid it by taking alternative pedestrian paths. The road takes us to a point where they are working to continue it but they have found a good wall that has made it difficult for the workers, since it falls sharply over the Braldo river, without giving many alternatives of passage. Shortly after going up the path to save this wall, we cross a bridge under construction over one of the many tributaries of the river that we are going to find on the route. Then we continue on flat and easy terrain next to the bank of the main river. At one point we reached the terminal moraine of the impressive Biafo Glacier, which comes from our left. Here is a camp at the foot of said glacier (where we would spend the last night of our trek, when we turned around) in a wooded area next to one of the arms of the river that comes out of these ancient snows. The dimensions of everything you see around here are incredible and it is difficult to get an idea of how big everything is, the glaciers, the rivers and the mountains ... you have to be there to try to understand it. And walk it to give it its proper measure.
After eating at said Korophon camp, we continue the comfortable walk, always along the Braldo River, before turning left through the Dumordo River Valley, where after taking a good detour to cross a bridge, we will find the Jhula Camp. Just when we turn left to enter this valley and leave the much larger Braldo, a small clearing opens (the only one of the day) and I can see in the distance the Masherbrum or K1 massif (since it was the first peak of the high that the expedition that explored these mountains of the Karakorum for the first time found, then they would find K2, which is substantially higher). In Jhula Camp we will do our first trekking night. It has fountains and latrines. And breathtaking views of Bakhur Das ..... when the clouds and the full moon let us see it!

2nd stage Trek Baltoro. From Jhula Camp to Paiju Camp
Second stage of our trek in which we leave the Jhula Camp (Jhola), in the Dumordo river valley, to return to the main valley of the impressive and brave Braldu river. We have a beautiful day (unfortunately it will be an exception) with sun and a fairly pleasant temperature (for the heat that can be done during the day in this lower part of the trekking). Once we are in the main valley, we soon leave the also impressive Ching Kang valley to the right, which closes the massive Masherbrum massif to the southwest. Some clouds get in that obscure the heights of the Paiju peaks (which gives the name to our objective camp for the day) and the Urdukas peaks (at the foot of the Masherbrum to the north). In any case, the landscape is already great.
We saved several wading (facilitated with some stones) over rivers with very earthy waters, like those of all the rivers in the area. There are sections that we approach the main river (which cools the temperature) and others in which we gain some height to get a little away from it. Before arriving at the Paiju Camp we have to take off our shoes to wade a last torrent that goes down very rough at the time of the afternoon that it is (we will wade it back first thing in the morning with a much lower flow).
The views from the camp are impressive. In this camping area we will spend two nights to better acclimatize, something very important for the success of the trek.

3rd stage Trek Baltoro. From Paiju Camp to Khoburse.
A very closed and rainy day dawned on our third day of trekking. A shame because apart from the discomfort of walking underwater, the worst thing was missing the vision of the whole show that was unfolding (hidden between the clouds and the mist) before our eyes. We equipped ourselves well with everything we could to take the best of this inclement weather.
After walking for about an hour we finally accessed the black front of this immense glacier that gives its name to this route, the Baltoro, which comes from above the Concordia Camp, which we would still take a few days to reach. The dimensions of this monster (and everything that surrounds it) are difficult to imagine, you have to be there and walk it to understand our smallness in the face of such colossal dimensions. As soon as we climb (you have to gain a few meters to climb this glacier) we gain perspective on everything that we have around us and the day improves a little with the clouds rising a bit and stopping the rain. The transit through the glacier is a veritable labyrinth of ascents and descents, taking many turns in search of the easiest passage. This means that walking through the glacier is rather scarce, which on the other hand does not imply any use of material since the ice is mostly covered by dirt and stones that help better adherence with normal footwear, although you have to be careful in some section and with some wading of the rivers that cross the interior of this immense mass of ice or the jump in some small crevasse in the uppermost sections. After a good while walking on the glacier we got off it (through an area with some danger due to the unstable terrain and the almost continuous falling of stones from the top as the heat tightens) to now walk by its side on a much more comfortable path , before going back into the coldest one just before finally reaching the Khoburse Camp, just after passing the Liligo Glacier. This camping area is located next to the glacier and has impressive views of the Trango Towers and the Cathedral Peaks, but the closed weather did not allow us the afternoon that we arrived to barely enjoy them.

4th stage Trek Baltoro. From Khoburse to Urdukas.
Short stage between the two camps of Khoburse and Urdukas.
The route at no time goes inside the Baltoro Glacier but to the south of it through relatively comfortable terrain. We pass at the foot of three glacier tongues that descend from Pico Urdukas, which gives its name to the camp we are going to.
The location of this camp is spectacular, at the foot of the Baltoro Glacier and on a good lake that makes this one and with the Trango Towers and the Cathedral Peaks just in front.
The day in general is quite closed but without actually raining.
In the afternoon we take the opportunity to practice rappelling on the walls that are above the camping area.

5th stage Trek Baltoro. From Urdukas to Gore II
Fifth stage of our trek through the Baltoro Glacier from Urdukas Camp to Gore II. The whole day's journey will travel (unlike the previous stage) inside the glacier. This section becomes more alpine, a kind of giant penitents begin to appear and the ice is more evident than in previous days. There is also more abundance of lagoons on the ice of the glacier. The route of the day does not have great slopes and in general it is less up and down than the first stages when we begin to walk on the Baltoro. You have to do a little jump to wade a stretch of river on the ice. The day in general stays sunny and the views are simply impressive, having for example the great Masherbrum on our side in the early hours and then several of the Gasherbrums (especially the IV pyramid) and the Broad Peak presiding over the almost infinite glacier above the one we walk. At the last minute enough clouds come in and the day closes when we arrive at Camp Gore II, where we will spend a frigid night, since this camping area is directly on the ice mass, not on one side of it like other days.

6th stage of Trek Baltoro. From Gore II to Concordia.
Spectacular stage through the upper section of the Baltoro Glacier, from Camp Gore II to Concordia, in the heart of Karakorum. This last camp is a true crossroads (glaciers) between immense mountainous masses (however it has some of the highest peaks on earth around it).
Unfortunately we had another quite closed day in which it was snowing almost all day, which prevented us from enjoying the spectacular views we had. In any case, this upper section of the glacier becomes more attractive and interesting as we gain height.
We would do two nights to better acclimatize in Concordia. This day that we used to rest, in which we had sunny weather, we assumed that later the weather would worsen again and this last factor prevented us from passing through the Gondogoro-La (really those who could not pass due to lack of adequate equipment would be the porters) and we had to turn around to retrace all that we had walked on the way out.
We took advantage of the rest day to do a small excursion to explore this stretch of glacier, which is really spectacular and in the afternoon we did ice climbing practices.

7th stage Trek Baltoro. From Concordia to Ali Camp
Another very closed day dawns in which it snows practically the entire stage. This, apart from taking away much of the beauty of the day for not being able to just see the impressive peaks that surround us and making the temperature and comfort in general much more limited, makes us fear the worst with respect to the Gondogoro pass. -La, since they have warned us at the trek agency with which we go that if the pass is with recent snowfall and the porters cannot pass, neither can we and we will have to turn around.
It is a short stage in length and low in unevenness in which we walk all the time through the Vigne Glacier, which faces south from the Concordia Camp. The glacier is somewhat monotonous and has some crevasses (not very big) that you have to jump over. I particularly go quite regular since I feel the height and I am quite "drunk" and sleepy, but I am already done to these challenges and I am calm and dosing without haste. When we arrive at Ali Camp, we eat something and soon we go into the tents to try to sleep, since in theory we are going to get up well before 12 at night to pass the step. I hardly sleep as my head seems to explode.
Camping

Askole. Hacemos noche antes de iniciar el trek.

Waypoint

Peña donde se acaba actualmente la pista para jeeps.

Bridge

Puente en obras.

Camping

Korophon Camp. Al pie de la morrena del Glaciar Biafo.

Panorama

Dejamos Braldu. Nos metemos en Valle del Dumordo. Vistas del Macizo Masherbrum.

Bridge

Puente sobre Dumordo River

Camping

Jhula Camp. 1ª noche.

Fountain

Campamento Bardumal. Fuente.

River

Zona con varios vadeos de ríos que bajan por la izquierda.

River

Vadeo (descalzos)

Camping

Paiju Camp. 2ª y 3ª noche. Hacemos día de descanso para aclimatar.

Waypoint

Subiendo a Morrena del Glaciar Baltoro

Waypoint

Glaciar Baltoro.

Risk

Salimos de Glaciar Baltoro. Zona expuesta de bajada.

Camping

Liligo Camp. Comemos allí.

Camping

Campamento Khoburse. 4ª noche.

Camping

Campamento Urdukas. 5ª noche.

River

Puente de hielo sobre río en Glaciar Baltoro.

Camping

Campamento Gore I. Comida.

Camping

Campamento Gore II. 6ª noche.

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Camping

Campamento Concordia. 7ª y 8ª noche.

The largest extension camp of all trekking by far.
River

Zona de ríos verdes sobre glaciar donde nos damos paseo el día de descanso en Concordia.

Risk

Paso sobre río. Zona algo delicada.

Risk

Grieta

Risk

Ladera helada en glaciar. Pasamos con precaución.

Waypoint

Glaciar Vigne.

Risk

Varias grietas junto a Ali Camp.

Camping

Ali Camp. Hacemos las dos últimas noches, antes de darnos la vuelta y regresar por el mismo camino.

Mountain pass

Gondogoro-La

Waypoint

K2

Summit

Broad Peak

Waypoint

Glaciar Godwin-Austen

Summit

Pico Gasherbrum IV.

Summit

Pico Gasherbrum I

Summit

Pico Gasherbrum II

Summit

Pico Gasherbrum III

Summit

Pico Masherbrum o K1

9 comments

  • Photo of ricakdo

    ricakdo Sep 17, 2019

    Holla, podes dar los contactos da agencia que utilizas-te para este trek?
    Gracias.

  • trinopm Sep 18, 2019

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Excelente descripción, detallada, precisa y con fantàsticas fotografias.
    Un viage inolvidable no solo por el increïble entorno. Los paisajes humanos que fuimos descubriendo a lo largo de esos dias fueron también geniales.

    Angel, moltes gràcies per aquesta guia fantàstica. Una abraçada.

  • Photo of lamorosangel

    lamorosangel Sep 18, 2019

    Buenas Ricakdo! El trek lo hicimos con Taranna, una agencia española que a su vez contrata los servicios de otra agencia pakistaní que se llama Hunza. Tienes información de las dos agencias en la red. Son bastante serias y eficientes, aunque al final todas pecan de lo mismo, ya que los porteadores los contratan en los pueblos de la zona y van muy mal equipados y muy al límite.
    De nada!

  • Photo of lamorosangel

    lamorosangel Sep 18, 2019

    Muchas gracias a tí Trino por el comentario y por la valoración! Efectivamente el viaje fue precioso, los paisajes difíciles de superar, aunque a veces nos costara disfrutarlos por la mala climatología, pero el grupo que compartimos esta experiencia también fue muy bueno y la verdad, que pese a la dureza de algunas situaciones (frío, trastornos intestinales y gástricos, frustración de no pasar el Gondogoro-La, etc) la verdad que estuvimos siempre con buen ánimo y buen "rollo".

  • Photo of ricakdo

    ricakdo Sep 18, 2019

    lamorosangel 18/set/2019
    Gracias pelo Feedback. Salut.

  • Photo of ricakdo

    ricakdo Sep 18, 2019

    ¿Me puede dar una idea de cuánto cobran las agencias para hacer esta track?
    Gracias.

  • Photo of lamorosangel

    lamorosangel Sep 19, 2019

    Te contesto mejor por privado, Ricardo!

  • Photo of dalxar

    dalxar Oct 11, 2019

    Enhorabuena por esa expedición. ¡ Impresionante todo aquello !
    Es una zona a donde yo no me atrevería a ir por lo del terrorismo islamista,
    pero parece que no habéis tenido ningún problema.

  • Photo of lamorosangel

    lamorosangel Oct 14, 2019

    Buenas dalxar! Gracias por los comentarios! En principio Pakistán aunque no es un país especialmente fácil y sus niveles de seguridad son más bajos que nuestros estándares, no es un país tan peligroso como nos lo pintan. Algún loco habrá (como en todas partes, porque aquí no estamos exentos) pero su gente en general es encantadora y no es normal que tengas problemas de terrorismo ni nada parecido. Así que anímate porque merece la pena. Eso sí, te recomiendo que contrates alguna agencia intermediaria que te ofrezca garantías. El miedo no es buen compañero de aventuras!

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