K2 - the King of the Mountains!
Approach via the gigantic Baltoro Glacier
Trek past the famous Trango Towers
Base camp on the Godwin Austen Glacier
Following in the footsteps of Lacedelli and Compagnoni on the Abruzzi Spur
Quality bonus: 1 Nepali Sherpa per member
Up-to-date weather report from Switzerland
K2, the second highest mountain in the world, is considered the “King of all Mountains”. Its nimbus is unparalleled. The giant pyramid with its clear lines is the undisputed ruler of the bewildering glacial world of the entire Karakoram. Its rather unspectacular name goes back to the time when Indian land surveyors simply assigned the mountain with “Karakoram Number 2”, hence K2. However, back in the days it was also known as “Mount Godwin Austen” which is the name of the leader of the first survey of the region in 1861.
When Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli stepped on K2’s summit on 31 July 1954 at 6pm, Italy’s mountaineering history experienced an hour of glory.
Our expedition follows the Italian route via the Abruzzi Spur which is named after the legendary Duca degli Abruzzi. K2 is certainly the most fascinating, wildest and most demanding 8,000m peak in the world, and standing on its summit is the zenith of every mountaineer’s life.
Day 1: Departure to Pakistan
Scheduled flight to Islamabad.
Day 2: Islamabad
In the early morning, we arrive in Islamabad - the gateway to the majestic mountains of northern Pakistan. After we checked into our hotel, we wander around Rawalpindi or Islamabad and pay a visit to the Ministry of Tourism to deal with the necessary bureaucracies. Hotel accommodation.
Day 3: Islamabad – Skardu
The plan is to fly to Skardu today, however, things don’t always go to plan in Pakistan. The one-hour flight which offers a magnificent view of Nanga Parbat, the westernmost 8,000m peak, only operates in good weather. In case our flight gets cancelled, we will go by jeep via the spectacular and infamous Karakoram Highway. The road trip to Skardu is certainly adventurous and takes 1 ½ days. Hotel accommodation in Skardu.
Day 4: Skardu
It takes about a day to gather our porter team and divide our luggage into 25kg-loads. However, we will also spend some time to explore the beautiful surroundings and visit the nearby K2 museum. Remember, this is also the last night you will sleep in a proper bed for a while - so enjoy it!
Day 5: Skardu–Askole
We load our entire luggage onto jeeps. As far as road conditions allow, the adventurous and diverse drive to Askole (3,048m) takes between six and seven hours. Here we spend the first night in a tent.
Days 6 to 11: Askole–Jula–Paiju–Urdukas–Konkordia–K2 Base Camp
Today, our trek takes us through an arid and almost desert-like region. After having crossed a few rivers, we reach the well-established campsite of Korophan at 3,253m. The following day, we reach Paiju at 3,785m which is the last oasis of the wild and romantic glacial world of the Karakoram. Our porters need a rest day here to prepare the food for the following few days. The next day, we finally step onto the Baltoro Glacier and trek to our next camp at Urdukas from where we can enjoy a magnificent view of the famous Trango Towers. We then continue to Gore – a beautiful walk that takes us past the Muztag Tower. From now on, our campground only consists of the ice of the Baltoro. Once we reach Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austin glaciers, we are surrounded by imposing giants such as K2, Gasherbrum IV, Chogolisa and Broad Peak. The last day of our trek takes us to base camp via the Godwin-Austin Glacier in about five hours. Tent accommodation.
Days 12 to 43: Ascent of K2
We have 32 days to climb K2. This may seem a long time, however, due to the volatile weather which is typical for the Karakoram we have to have enough days at our disposal to be successful on the mountain. Additionally, 32 days give us plenty of opportunity to get acclimatised, which together with a smooth organisation of the expedition is the key to our success.
Before we can start climbing the mountain, our high-altitude porters and Sherpas will fix the whole route and set up and stock our four high camps. Ascending K2 via the Abruzzi Ridge is one of the most technically difficult “normal routes” on any 8,000m peak.
From base camp, we follow the moraine on the heavily crevassed Godwin-Austen Glacier to reach the eastern end of the Abruzzi Spur, where we set up a deposit camp. From here, the state of the route heavily depends on the snow conditions. Via a wide snow ridge with a gradient of 40 degrees, we reach the left side of a small rock ledge which we follow all the way to Camp 1 at 6,000m. We only use this camp on our acclimatisation rotation as it can be exposed to the objective dangers, especially in warm weather. We continue through wide gullies and across snow and rock ridges to reach the famous “House Chimney”. The climb takes us up the narrow chimney for about 30 metres, which is the crux between Camp 1 and Camp 2. We continue for another 200m before we reach Camp 2 at 6,600m. In order to get from Camp 2 to Camp 3 at 7,350m, we have to negotiate the Black Pyramid. We start off on gentle snow slopes and continue across steep rocks, gullies, chimneys, short overhangs before we reach the ridge leading up to the Black Pyramid. Shortly afterwards, we reach the actual east ridge which takes us to Camp 3. From here, it is a long snow slog of about 30 degrees before we have to negotiate a steep section of 200m to get to Camp 4 at 7,950m. Now we are faced with the actual crux of the mountain. The route above Camp 4 leads to the ‘bottleneck’ and traverses underneath a big serac. Shortly afterwards, we reach the ‘significant rock’ which we climb up for about 100m before the terrain gets a bit easier. Our Sherpas will fix the crux with a rope to facilitate the ascent. The conditions on the mountain decide whether we will be successful or not, however, your huge effort will certainly be rewarded. The spectacular view from the second highest point in the world is simply overwhelming!
Days 44 to 46: Gondogoro La – Base Camp – Skardu
After having spent more than a month at base camp, we will leave our temporary home which will have become close to our hearts. We trek back via the Gondogoro La and will return to civilisation after three days of trekking. We will spend our last tent night in Saicho in the Hushe Valley. The following day, it is a short walk to Hushe from where we will take a jeep back to Skardu.
Days 47 to 48: Flight Skardu–Islamabad
What applies to the flight to Skardu also applies to the return flight. If the weather gods are with us, we will be able fly to Islamabad, otherwise we will go back by jeep. Hotel accommodation.
Day 49: Islamabad
Today we have a bit of time to visit the bazaars and do our last-minute shopping. We will have the obligatory expedition debriefing with the Ministry of Tourism before we go to the airport and board our planes bound for home.
Day 50: Arrival in Home Country
Soliid mountaineering experience is required for this expedition.
The Profilecheck is an integratal part of our expedition. Please read it thoroughly and assess your skills and physical condition. Due to the score required for this expedition, your score will indicate whether or not your skills, fitness and mountaineering experience are sufficient to join this expedition. Your registration is a testimony of your physical and technical abilities to participate in this expedition.
Please take note of the following points concerning the procedure of this expedition:
This expedition is demanding and exhausting. The high altitude alone entails several risks.
The members have to be able to move independently and confidently over mixed terrain (snow, ice, rock).
Camaraderie and tolerance are of great importance to us.
You have to be able to recognise your own limits on the mountain and be prepared to, if necessary, abandon the attempt and turn back. You join this expedition at your own responsibility.
The leader of the expedition is responsible for the management of the entire group, and personal support is not one of his/her responsibilities. Nevertheless, every member has to prepared to follow the decisions made by the expedition leader. The decisions are always made in the group’s interest.
Depending on the circumstances and conditions on the mountain, improvisations and changes to the itinerary might be necessary.
Kobler & Partner does not take any liability for accidents, damages or loss of equipment.
- Organisation of the entire expedition
- International flights, including taxes
- Domestic flights: Skardu–Islamabad-Skardu (only in good weather, otherwise land transfer)
- Check-in luggage (max. 30 kg, detailed information in the final documents)
- All transfers by bus and jeep
- Pre-expedition briefing at Bächli Bergsport in Bern including 10% voucher for gear purchase
- Permit fees
- Visas support
- Full board during the entire expedition
- Beverages during group meals, except for alcoholic beverages
- Number of hotel nights in double rooms (indicated in itinerary)
- 1 tent per member at base camp
- 1 tent per two members on approach trek
- Comfortable mess tent, toilet tent, shower tent
- Tents for high camps
- Foam pad at base camp
- Fixed ropes, climbing ropes, snow stakes, ice screws, etc.
- High altitude stove (gas) and cookware
- Communication (radio) at base camp (12 Volt)
- Radios: 1 radio (9 Volt) per member
- Satellite phone, excluding call charges
- Internet and e-mail access at base camp
- Weather forecast from Meteotest Bern
- Solar panels for light in the mess tent
- Solar power at Base Camp to charge electronical devices (limited use!)
- 1 rescue sledge
- Oxygen on the mountain: 4 bottles of oxygen per member, including mask and regulator
- Medical oxygen for emergencies
- Large medical kit with pulseoximetre at base camp
- Medical kit at the high camps
- Medical kit for the summit bid
- Porter to and from base camp
- Kitchen: 1 chef, 3 kitchen boys at base camp
- 1 Nepali Sherpa per member, including insurance, permit, food, salary, oxygen and good equipment provided by Kobler & Partner
- Costs for obligatory liaison officer
- Certified and experienced mountain guide
- Personal porter for high camps (if required, please let us know in advance)
- Alcoholic drinks
- Individual drinks
- Visa fee for Pakistan
- Personal medication
- Individual performance based tips
- Additional costs that may arise due to changes being made to the planned travel itinerary
High-altitude Sherpas from Nepal
As Nepali Sherpas are stronger and more experienced mountaineers than their Pakistani peers, every member will be accompanied by a personal Sherpa. Our Sherpas usually arrive well acclimatised in Pakistan as they will have just come back from an Everest expedition. Just like on Everest, the Sherpas carry our gear and oxygen bottles to the high camps and look after the individual members on the mountain.
With more than 100 successful ascents, Kobler & Partner has extensive experience in using bottled oxygen on Mt. Everest, and we would like to share this knowledge with you. Oxygen equipment including three oxygen bottles, mask and regulator for members as well as oxygen equipment for the personal Sherpas are included in the expedition price. The use of bottled oxygen significantly reduces the risk of frostbite, loss of concentration as well as poor performance and increases your chances of reaching the summit in good time. If required, we can supply you with additional oxygen bottles at extra cost.
The best time to climb an 8,000m peak in the Karakoram is between mid-June and mid-August. The weather is likely to be more stable in the late summer as this is the tail-end of the rainy season, the Monsoon. However, a dose of good luck is always needed in the Karakoram.
Hotel and tent accommodation are indicated in the itinerary. Additional hotel stays that are not indicated in the itinerary are not included in the expedition price.
The expedition price includes international flights. Scheduled flights from Switzerland usually depart in the morning, however, the airlines’ flight times are subject to change. We are also happy to check other points of departure for you.
If your point of departure results in additional charge we will inform you in due time. For train times to Swiss airports, please check the timetable of the Swiss Railways. SBB Fahrplan
Kobler & Partner will organise the visas for Swiss nationals and bill them separately. Members from other countries have to apply for their visas themselves. All necessary documents will be supplied to you in due time. Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your intended return date.
Gearlist Expedition K2
- 2 duffle bags, 110l (water-proof, available from K&P at a
discount for members)
- Down jacket or down suit for expeditions
- Primaloft jacket or light down jacket
- Goretex Jacket
- Softshell Jacket
- Midlayer (fleece sweater or jacket)
- Trekking pants, light and long
- Softshell pants for mountaineering
- Goretex pants
- Expedition down pants or down suit
Baselayers / T-shirts
- Long-sleeved thermal top
- Thermal tights
- Insolated shell gloves
- Expedition down mittens
- Liner gloves, thin, silk or fleece
- Camp boots (non-technical winter boots or trainers)
- Trekking boots
- High-altitude all in-one boots for 8000m
- Trekking Socks
- Heavyweight socks, thick and warm
- -30°C down sleeping bag for base camp (available for rent from K&P)
- -40°C down sleeping bag for high camps
- Insulated inflatable sleeping pad
- Down booties (nice to have!)
- Pillow case (stuffed with your down jacket, it makes a nice
Headgear, face and eye protection
- Glacier goggles (with nose guard, if possible)
- Ski goggles, high UV-protection (also protects from the wind)
- Baseball cap
- Beanie, warm
- Balaclava or face mask (wind-stopper or neoprene)
- Sunscreen, SPF 50
- Lipscreen, SPF 50
- Backpack approximately 60 l
- Raincover for backpack
- Climbing harness, light
- Ice axe, light
- Walking poles
- Crampons with anti-balling plates (customised to fit expedition boots)
- 2 Carabiners (light, wiregate)
- 3 HMS carabiners (light, screwgate)
- Ascender (Jumar)
- Belay device (figure 8 recommended)
- Cord, 5m, 7 mm (for the Jumar system)
- Cord, 5m, 5 mm
- Sling 120 cm / Dyneema
- 1 Ice screw (19 cm)
- Compression bags for down equipment
- Food utensils, light, for high camps (bowl including cutlery)
- Water bottle with large opening (Nalgene)
- Pee bottle / Plastic bags
- Headlamp (including spare batteries) and a small spare headlamp
- Pocket knife or multi-tool/Leatherman
- Hand and toe warmers
- Departure letter from K&P (contains the final information)
- Cash for personal use and tips
- Credit card (MasterCard or Visa)
- Passport copy
- 2 Passport photographs
- Small personal first-aid kit (personal medication / compeed)
- Writing utensils
- Toiletry bag
- Microfibre travel towel
- Hand sanitizer (50 ml)
- Ear plugs
- Tissues, wet wipes
- Photographic equipment
Your K&P mountain guide will provide well-stocked medical kits for base and high camps, radios, GPS, travel books and maps.
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