Fly to Pakistan capital city Islamabad via Bangkok. Upon arrival, transfer to a hotel in the city centre.
If the weather permits, shall fly to Skardu directly; on a clear day during the flight, view of Nanga Parbat (8124m) and K2 (8611m) towering above all other mountains. If poor weather, shall drive overland for 2 days on the Karakoram Highway to reach Skardu via an overnight stop in Chilas (1280m).
If arrived in Skardu (2450m) by flight, this is a rest day for acclimatization to prepare for the trek ahead. Otherwise, drive from Chilas to Skardu, the regional capital of Baltistan, lying at the edge of a plain at the confluence of Shyok, Indus, Shigar and Braldu rivers.
Today drive through Shigar and Braldu valleys to Askoli (3000m) by jeep, passing a few villages with farmland lined with apricot trees. When nearing Askoli, the road becomes more rugged, if in the event of landslide, rock fail, or damaged bridge, might have to change vehicles several times to reach Askoli, the starting point of the trek.
After briefing and organizing the necessary gears and supplies, the trek begins. Following the Braldu River, trek to the moraine at the edge of Biafo Glacier, the third longest glacier outside the polar regions. After lunch break, continue trekking to the confluence of Braldu and Dumordo rivers, upon crossing Dumordo river with a newly built steel bridge, reach the campsite at Jhula. For the first few days of the trek, hot and dry climate, beware of sunburn and dehydration.
The trail today is mainly along the riverside. Depending on the water levels of Braldu River, might have to go up and down the mountain side a few times. Glimpses of Masherbrum (K1) peak, Trango, and Uli Biaho group peaks in a distant. Overnight campsite at Payu, with the great Baltoro glacier nearby.
Today is an acclimatization day. Enjoy rest time or walkabouts nearby the campsite, take photos, wash clothes, or simply laze around to recharge your energy for more daunting trek ahead.
Soon after starting today’s trek, shall reach Baltoro glacier. Ice cliffs towering more than 60m above the turbulent waters at the origin of Braldu River. The trail runs along the north side of the glacier, occasionally walking on the glacier or crossing the river. Be prepared for a hard day of trekking but the reward is amazing view of Paiju Peak, Uli Biaho Group, Trango Group and Cathedral Group of peaks.
Today’s trek is relatively easier. The trail runs along the southern side of Baltoro glacier with two smaller feeding glaciers to cross before reaching Urdukas, where the grassy campsite is well located. View of the Great Trango (5844m) peak along the trail. During sunset on a fine day, mesmerising view of Broad Peak (8050m) and Gasherbrum IV (7930m) – two of the most prominent peaks of the region – bathing in golden rays.
Today need to cross the Baltoro glacier. Begin with hiking down to the glacier centre where the walk becomes easier, later the trail continues over rolling mounds of rock and scree to reach Goro I camp, where Yermanendi Glacier fed from the southern side. The trail then continues uphill for another 2 hours till Goro II camp, offering superb view of Crystal and Marble Peaks.
Leaving Goro II, the Biange Glacier from the north side provides superb view of Mustagh Tower (7284m), one of the most difficult mountains in the Karakoram to climb. The trail continues along the easy rolling slopes of moraine marked by cairns and then passes ice towers as we approach the colliding glaciers at Concordia, a perfect base to enjoy view of some of the world’s highest mountains, such as Mitre Peak (6030m), Baltoro Kangri (7312m), Gasherbrum Group, the Broad Peak (8050m), and K2 (8611m).
Acclimatize in Concordia. Depending on trekker’s stamina and body condition, may opt to hike to Broad Peak base camp or K2 base camp. Alternatively, could opt to rest at Concordia camp to prepare for more challenging task in coming days.
Today trek for 4 to 5 hours on the Vigne Glacier with superb views of Chogolisa and Mitre Peak. Overnight at Ali camp just below the famous Gondogoro La pass. Mountain guide shall give a detailed briefing about the pass crossing scheduled on the next day, and group members would have enough time to learn and practice some basic skill needed for the pass crossing.
A reserved day for contingency. The pass crossing depended on weather, snow, and ice conditions. Mountain guide would assess if safe crossing is feasible before the group push ahead for final crossing.
A very long day to ascent 930m and descent 1260m in altitude. Start trekking around 1am, depends on the weather and snow condition, all members would be roped as one unit during some part of the ascent. After 6 hours of steep and strenuous ascent, reached the Gondogoro La pass with stunning views of K2, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum peaks. The lovely peak Laila (6200m) rises over the Gondogoro glacier as the group descends. Crampons and fixed rope are required for the steep descent. Once the gradient eases, trek on a trail along Gondogoro glacier till Chuspang campsite for rest and stay.
Today continue trekking along the lateral moraine to descend to Shaieshcho, a picturesque campsite nestled amongst wildflowers by the river. Views up to the Charakusa valley towards K6 (7282m) and K7 (6934m). Tonight, an opportunity for song and dance as the porters are relaxed and happy with a successful crossing of the Gondogoro La pass.
Today is the final day of trekking. If all goes well may reach Hushe before noon. Hushe is nestled in the Hushe valley. If time permits, may have the option of a short climb to the top of a hillside on the edge of the village to gain unparalleled views of the mountain tops of the entire Baltoro.
Relax inside the jeep and enjoy the views along the way. The drive passes through a few villages before returning to Skardu again. A short visit to one of the villages to meet and mingle with the locals there.
Fly from Skardu to Islamabad if the weather permits, and transfer to hotel upon landing. Otherwise, shall drive back to Islamabad via Karakoram highway with overnight stay at Chilas.
Today is a buffer/ contingency day in case of flight cancellation. If the group has already reached Islamabad, may visit some iconic places in the city or go shopping. If taking the land route, shall continue the drive from Chilas to Islamabad, along the way, view of Nanga Parbat, 9th highest mountain in the world.
Day time, free and easy in Islamabad. Later, night flight back to Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok.
Arrive in Kuala Lumpur, challenging mission accomplished.
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Once a semiconductor engineer but quit to pursue his dreamed life of uninterrupted travel. He likes up-close contact with the locals during travel, as he appreciates true cultural exchange experiences. He has previously stayed and worked in France and Central Asia, hence knowing basic French and Russian. He loves the mountains and passionate about trekking, he has covered the major trails in Nepal, scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro, and spent half a year roaming in the mountains of Ladakh, carrying his own tent and supplies, entering some of the remotest areas alone, including Stok Kangri above 6000m.
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