Coordinates 946

Uploaded September 14, 2019

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16,209 f
9,761 f
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14
28
55.32 mi

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near Surungo, Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan)

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Long, hard, spectacular and demanding trek, in the heart of the Karakorum, north of Pakistan. Just getting to the beginning of the trekking is already a spectacle and an adventure if you don't come by plane to Skardu. We need 3 days of road to arrive (the last by jeep). We did night the night before starting in the village of Askole. We had very bad luck with the weather since we had hardly any good weather and yes several days of rain or snow. This foreshadowed the worst, as it was, and we had to turn around in Ali Camp and retrace everything we had gone as the Gondogoro-La was impassable for the porters, who are very poorly equipped. This adverse weather situation in summer is quite strange since the Himalayas acts as a barrier that stops the monsoon, unless it is very intense, in which case it reaches, as was our case, the Karakorum.
There are several camps along the way. The former have latrines and water sources. From Paiju, we enter the Baltoro Glacier itself and sometimes we walk on it and sometimes on its side (along the southern slope). The camps are simpler but the landscape gets bigger 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, could 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 well in general. The criticism comes from the bad equipment that the porters carry and that limits you and conditions you if the weather is bad because you cannot pass the Gondogoro-La. I already know that all the trekking companies suffer 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 because of the rough terrain at many times (some stretches on the broken glacier especially), the cold nights when you sleep on the ice (obviously inside a tent), the wading of some rivers, the cracks of the glaciers (they are not many or very large but there are haila), diarrhea, the days in which the weather is bad and you see nothing but the stones and the ice that you have a few meters away, not to mention the Frustration of having to turn around and have to go back where you've come in half the time. But it is still very worthwhile (I do not want to think if I had done good ...) for the grandeur of the landscape, it is indescribable, you have to be there to be able to feel it and understand the dimensions of these almost infinite mountains, rivers and glaciers. The group of 15 people who were going the truth that was very good in every way.
We did two stages of rest to acclimatize better. One in Paiju Camp and one in Concordia. We had to add another extra day at Ali Camp to see if the weather improved and we could spend the Gondogoro-La. Another topic that is interesting is the wading of the rivers (which are a few). The later it becomes more water they carry and it costs more (in many cases we had to barefoot).
I describe below the stages one by one. It can be extended if the statement of each one is copied and searched 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 with China to the north and the area in dispute of Kachemira in India).
We spent the night previously in the village of Askole, which we had arrived by jeep from Skardu, after a good day en route in the rain. We sleep in an area set up for camping on the outskirts of the village, just before the entrance control to the area through which we will travel these next days. The camp has bathrooms. It was raining all night, which foreshadowed that we were going to have bad weather in our trekking ..... and so it would end up being.
We started walking a little later than established with the guides to wait for it to stop raining. The first kms of walking are along a wide path (suitable for SUVs as we would see on the way back), although sometimes we avoid taking alternative footpaths. 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 to the peak on the Braldo River, without giving many alternatives for passage. Shortly after climbing the path to save this wall, we cross a bridge under construction on 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 main river side. At one point we arrive at the terminal moraine of the impressive Biafo Glacier, which comes from our left. Here is a camp at the foot of the 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 millenary snows. The dimensions of everything you see here are incredible and it is hard to get an idea of how big everything is, glaciers, rivers and mountains .... you have to be there to try to understand it. And walk it to give it its fair measure.
After eating in said Korophon camp, we continue the comfortable march always by the Braldo river, before turning left to the Dumordo River Valley, where after making a good detour to cross a bridge, is Jhula Camp. Just when we turn left to enter the 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 massif of the Masherbrum or K1 (since it was the first peak high that found the expedition that explored these mountains of the Karakorum for the first time, then they would find the K2, which is substantially higher). In Jhula Camp we will do our first night of trek. It has fountains and latrines. And stunning views of the 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 valley of the Dumordo River, to return to the main valley of the impressive and brave Braldu River. We have a beautiful day (it will be an exception unfortunately) with sun and a fairly pleasant temperature (for the heat it can make for the day in this low part of the trekking). Once we are in the main valley, we soon leave to the right the also impressive valley of the Ching Kang, which closes in the southwest the massive massif of the Masherbrum. Some clouds that cover the heights of the Paiju peaks (which gives name to our target camp of the day) and the Urdukas peaks (at the foot of the Masherbrum in the north) get into it. In any case, the landscape is already great.
We saved several wading (provided with some stones) over rivers of very earthy waters, like those of all the rivers in the area. There are sections that we approach the main river (which refreshes the temperature) and others in which we gain some height to get away from it. Before arriving at Paiju Camp we have to take off our shoes to wander a last torrent that goes down very roughly because of the afternoon time it is (we will again wade it back in the early morning with a much scarcer flow).
The views from the camp are impressive.In this camping area we will do two nights to acclimatize better, something very important for the success of the trek.

3rd stage Trek Baltoro. From Paiju Camp to Khoburse.
It was a very closed day with rain on our third day of trekking. A shame because apart from the discomfort of walking underwater, the worst thing was to lose sight of the whole show that was unfolding (hidden between clouds and fog) before our eyes. We equip ourselves well with everything we could to take the best possible weather.
After walking something like an hour finally we access the black front of this immense glacier that gives name to this route, the Baltoro, which comes from above the Concordia Camp, which would still take a few days to arrive. The dimensions of this monster (and everything it has around) are difficult to imagine, you have to be there and walk to understand our smallness before such colossal dimensions. As soon as you climb (you have to gain a few meters to climb east glacier) we gain perspective on everything we have around and the day improves a bit by raising the clouds a little and stop raining. The transit through the glacier is a real maze of ups and downs going around many times in search of the easiest step. This means that walking on the glacier, 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 we must 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 crack in the uppermost sections. After a long time walking on the glacier we get off it (through an area with some danger due to the unstable terrain and the almost continuous fall of stones from the top as the heat squeezes) to walk now on its side along a much more comfortable path , before reentering us again in the iciest just before finally arriving at Khoburse Camp, just past the Liligo Glacier. This camping area is located next to the glacier and has stunning views of the Trango Towers and the Cathedral Peaks, but the closed weather did not allow us the afternoon we arrived just to enjoy such.

4th stage Trek Baltoro. From Khoburse to Urdukas.
Short stage between the two camps of Khoburse and Urdukas.
The route never 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 Urdukas Peak, 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 it and with the Trango Towers and the Cathedral Peaks just in front.
The day in general is quite closed but without raining.
In the afternoon we take the opportunity to practice abseiling on the walls that are above the camping area.

5th stage Trek Baltoro. From Urdukas to Gore II
Fifth stage of our trek through Baltoro Glacier from Urdukas Camp to Gore II. The entire tour of the day will travel (unlike the previous stage) through the interior of 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 started walking on the Baltoro. You have to make some small jump to wade some stretch of river over the ice. The day generally stays sunny and the views are simply breathtaking, having for example the first Masherbrum at our side and then several of the Gasherbrums (especially the pyramid of the IV) and the Broad Peak presiding over the almost infinite glacier over The one we walked A lot of clouds enter at the last minute and the day closes when we arrive at Camp Gore II, where we will spend a freezing 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 Concord.
Spectacular stage along the high stretch of Baltoro Glacier, from Camp Gore II to Concordia, in the heart of the Karakorum. This last camp is a true crossroads (glaciers) between immense mountainous moles (however it has around it some of the highest peaks on earth).
Unfortunately we had another fairly 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 stretch of the glacier becomes more attractive and interesting as we gain height.
We would do two nights to acclimatize better in Concordia. This day we used to rest, in which we had a sunny weather, we assumed that then the weather would worsen again and this last factor prevented us from passing through the Gondogoro-La (really those who could not go through lack of adequate equipment would be the porters) and we had to turn around to retrace all that we had walked to the first leg.
We took the rest day to make a small excursion to travel 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
Dawn another very closed day in which it snows practically the entire stage. This, apart from taking away much of the beauty of the day because we can barely see the impressive peaks that surround us and make the temperature and comfort in general much more limited, makes us fear the worst regarding the Gondogoro pass -The, since we have been notified in the trek agency with which we go that if the passage is with recent snow fall and the porters cannot pass, neither can we and we will have to turn around.
It is a short stage in length and scarce in unevenness in which we travel all the time through the Vigne Glacier, which faces south from Camp Concordia. The glacier is somewhat monotonous and has some cracks (not very large) that you have to jump. I am particularly regular since I feel the height and I am quite "drunk" and sleepy, but I am already done to these lides and I am calmly and dosing without haste. When we arrive at Ali Camp, we eat something and soon we get into the tents to try to sleep, since in theory we will get up well before 12 at night to pass the pass. I don't sleep almost since 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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