K2 Base Camp Trek
Guide for Everything You Need to Know
One of the best hikes in the world is the K2 base camp trek in Pakistan. Trekkers follow a rocky path that winds up the Baltoro Glacier. On the way to the base of the world’s second-highest peak, they pass through skyscraping peaks, including seven of the 19 highest mountains on the planet. Here is all the information you need to hike to the K2 Base Camp.
Getting to know the Karakoram
One can find some of the wildest places on Earth in the beautiful Karakoram mountains of Pakistan. And while Nepal’s hiking trails are flooded with eager walkers, only a trickle of trekkers visit Pakistan.
K2 is the highest mountain in Karakoram. It is the second-highest mountain in the world at 8,611m (28,251ft), and a trip to its base camp at 5,150m (16,896ft) is one of the most exciting walks in the world. Everest may be taller and more well-known, but K2 is the most beautiful mountain in the world.
Why K2 Base Camp Trekking Now?
In 2018, Imran Khan, the new prime minister of Pakistan, said that tourism was one of his goals. In 2019, he introduced a new e-visa system and eased visa restrictions for more than 50 countries. Also, British Airways was the first European airline to start direct flights to Islamabad, which has the closest international airport to Karakoram. The world’s media paid more attention to Pakistan in 2019 when the British Royal family visited there.
The number of tourists has started to rise. From 2018 to 2019, the number of trekkers who signed up to go to the Central Karakoram National Park went up by 50%, but there are still only 1300 of them. More than 30,000 people make the trek to Everest Base Camp every year. So, trekkers in Pakistan can expect to find quiet and not crowded trails at any time of year.
Going on K2 Base Camp Trek
The K2 base camp trek (up and down) takes 14 days and begins in the village of Askole. Once you leave this green oasis, it does not take long for the mighty Karakoram to show you how beautiful it is. Sharp peaks and tall cliffs rise on either side of the valleys. By the end of the first day, trekkers set up camp below Bakhor Das. We also call it Mango Peak for its strangely shaped peak cone.
At the K2 base camp, there are not as many yellow tents and prayer flags as at the Everest base camp. Depending on the time of year and how many expeditions are going, hikers may find that they are the only ones at base camp. At the bottom of more than two miles of rock and ice, the second-highest mountain on Earth proudly stands as a reward for hard work for more than a week.
No matter which route you take, the K2 base camp trek through Pakistan’s mighty Karakoram to the foot of the world’s second-highest mountain is a classic high-altitude adventure.
The trip takes about 14 days, and climbers do not need any special gear, but they should be in good shape and have done at least one high-altitude climb before. Also, if you want to cross the Gondogoro La pass, you must know how to use a rope and an ice axe.
Camping for K2 Base Camp Trek
During the trek, camping is the only way to stay overnight. Tents are for two people. So, people traveling alone should expect to share. Campsites set up on a rock, ice, or both. So, bring a thick, warm camping mattress with you. You should also know that most campsites do not have bathrooms. Be ready to go in the wild and follow the leave no trace rules (digging holes and burning toilet paper).
Equipment You Need for K2 Base Camp Trekking
Porters often carry your personal belongings. But it depends on how much you pay for the service. The more expensive packages come with chairs, a dining table, a tent with a toilet, and a porter to carry everything. Clients bring some or all of their gear and give up some of the extras for cheaper tours.
Best Time for Trekking
The Karakoram is best for trekking in July and August, but the trekking season lasts from the middle of June to September. There is too much snow on passes and north-facing slopes outside of those dates. Therefore, any passes above 3,000m (9843ft) are closed. It does not come as a surprise that the weather in the Karakoram can change. Be ready for all kinds of weather, like wind, rain, snow, and temperatures that drop, especially at night.
The terrain is more challenging than Nepal’s well-worn trails. As the ice moves and crevasses open up, the Baltoro Glacier trails changes. So, you can expect to do some cross-country walking. Also, rivers rise too high or wash away footbridges. Therefore, be ready to get your feet wet.
K2 Base Camp Trekking Access
Foreigners must have a licensed guide and get a No Objection Certificate from the tourism office in Skardu to trek to the K2 base camp. The trek starts in Askole. Trekkers can leave extra bags at their guesthouse in Skardu. Most people who want to visit Pakistan need a visa. The official visa portal for Pakistan has more information.
Before you travel for K2 Base Camp Trekking, find out what’s on in the places you want to visit.