OverviewReinhold Messner called K-2 the "Mountain of Mountains" after his ascent of K-2 in 1979. This pyramid of a mountain is right in the heart of the Karokoram Range and can be seen in its entirety from Concordia. It is at the head of the Godwin Austin Glacier which unites with a second glacier at Concordia to form the famous Baltoro Glacier. Four 8000m peaks sit within a radius of 13 miles from Concordia, making this the largest concentration of the highest peaks anywhere on earth.
K-2 is the second highest mountain in the world and is located on the border between China and Pakistan. It is said to be the ultimate climb, since many consider it to be much more technically challenging than Mount Everest. Many people try to climb K2, and many have died trying. As of June 2000,189 people have made the summit. The route through the Abruzzi Spur and up the Black Pyramid is said to be slightly easier climbing, more so than the North Ridge route. Eza adds the follwing information: The first climb to K2 was made by the Italian team led by Ardito Desio. The first climbers on top were Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli. Nevertheless, there were some earlier expeditions that made the first reconnaissances of the Abruzzi Spur: the Duke of Abruzzi in 1909 and the American teams led by C.Houston in 1939 and 1953.
jck adds: Many climbers consider K2 as the most difficult one of all 8000 meter peaks.
K2 has four ridges:
south-east:The Abruzzi Spur
south-west:to Negrotto Pass and Angel Peak
north-east:to Juncton Peak
north-west:to Savoia Pass
K2's north face towering over the Glacier K2 is one of the biggest walls on the world.The right side of the wall is enormous north pillar.Over the Godwin Austen Glacier rises beautiful east wall.In 2/3rd of the wall there's a big icy terrace called K2's Arm.West pillar divides west wall into two parts:one over the Negrotto Glacier and the main part over upper part of Savoia Glacier.On that part is big,over 1000 meters high,rocky part called "Barrel".On the south face there are two spurs: right one which reaches The Abruzzi Spur at the height of Arm and left which combines with south west pillar over the hanging glacier de Filippi.
If you are planning on climbing K-2 you will be part of an expedition and all preparations and logistics will be a part of the expedition. For this page, I am going to assume you are more interested in doing a trek to Concordia or K-2 Base camp.
Getting ThereEverything in Pakistan starts from the capitol of Islamabad. You will need to get trekking permits there. Then off to Skardu by plane if weather is good, or by the famous Karakoram highway ( the old silk route) if weather is bad. If you fly to Skardu you will also see the 9th highest mountain in the world- Nanga Parabat. If you go by land - it is a 2 day trip with a stopover usually near Gilgit ( the romantic area thought of as Shangri La and near Hunza- the people noted for living longer than any others in the world). Be prepared for delays here as this is a rather primitive area. This is one trip where I would feel more comfortable as part of a larger group, as stories of robbery abound all along this notorious highway.
Skardu is the gateway to the high peaks of northern Pakistan and will serve as a base of operations. From Skardu you will need to jeep as far as possible towards Askolie, the last village before reaching K-2. Beyond Askolie is complete wilderness and glaciers. From Askolie the normal route will take about 2-3 days to the Paiyu campsite (3666m) near the base of Paiyu Peak (6660m). The next day the trek is usually to Urdukas to cross Baltoro Glacier. Then next day trek to Gore, which is about an 8 hour trek. Then another 5 hour trek to Concordia. It is usually a 4-5 day trek to reach Concordia. Finally, trek to Broad Peak Base Camp and trek to K-2 Base Camp.
Red TapeYes, there is red tape. Lots of it. You will need to spend some time in Islamabad at the start of your trek to get your trekking permit. I would recommend being part of a group on this trek as weather and remoteness present conditions where support is crucial.
Mac9805b, who maintains Broad Peak , has provided these figures for Broad Peak and I would imagine they could be used as a guide for possible expenses on K-2: Climbing permits cost $9,000 for up to 7 climbers and are $1,500 for each additional member. In addition to the peak fee, you will need to put up a $6,000 rescue bond (refundable), and a $200 environmental fee. You will be required to travel with a Pakistani Army Liaison Officer, and will also be responsible for his fee, equipment, and expenses. A reasonable budget for a mid-size team is $10,000 per climber plus equipment. For trekking to Base Camp, a reasonable budget is $4,000 per trekker. All Permits must be secured by November of the previous year.
Starting in January 2002, the government of Pakistan has reduced the climbing fees by 50%. It now costs $4,500 for 7 climbers and $750 for each additional one. The rescue bond and environmental fees are unchanged, as are the Liason Officer requirements.
Here is the latest info on fees courtesy of mac9805b, along with some of his comments:
I found the exact permit fees for K2, they are actually slightly higher than Broad Peak. The rescue bond and enviornmental fee are the same, though. You can update the estimates for a climbing expedition based upon this. The site that I used as a reference when I initially put the Broad Peak page together didn't mention that K2's were actually higher. Sorry about that.
Karrar Haidri adds in November 2008:
I am pleased to inform you that following incentives in
the form of reduction in royalty fees have been announced by the Ministry
of Tourism, Government of Pakistan vide Notification. 1(1)/2002-OP. dated
15th October 2008. In suppression of all previous notifications regarding
announcement of concessions for Mountaineering, Ministry of Tourism,
Government of Pakistan has decided to continue reduction in royalty fee
during the calendar Year 2009 as per details given below:
i. Zero royalty fee for peaks up to 6500-M.
ii. 10% royalty fee on mountains situated in Chitral,
Gilgit and Ghizer except on Spantik/Golden Peak.
iii. 05% royalty fee on all peaks during winter season
iv. 50% discount on royalty fee on all peaks except as
mentioned in (i) and (ii) above as per following beak-up:
Height of Mountain
50% Discounted Fee for the Year 2009(US$)
Full Team of 7 members
Each Additional Member
K-2 (8611 – M)
8001 – 8500 – M
7501 – 8000 – M
7001 – 7500 - M
6501 - 7000 - M
When To ClimbJune through September are prime times to make this trek. Allow at least 3 weeks to do the trek described here. But in remote places such as this its always a good idea to be flexible and allow several extra days for unforeseen situations.
SceneryThis has got to be one of the most beautiful mountain areas in the world. Not only are there high mountains, but also spectacular views of some of the best vertical needles in the world. The trek on the Baltoro Glacier provides awesome mountain scenery of Masherbrum (7750m),Uli Biaho Tower (6190m), Trango Towers (6300m) Grand Cathedral (5228m) and Mustagh Tower (7284). From Concordia you can see K-2 as well as Broad Peak (8044m), Gasherbrum Group, Golden Throne (7365m) and Chogolisa (7686m).
Some K-2 HistoryCourtesy of Marco979
In 1954, an Italian expedition came to Pakistan to try its luck on K2. It consisted of twelve climbers and four scientists and was led by veteran mountaineer, Professor Ardito Desio, who had come to these mountains with Italian expeditions before the World War II. Colonel M. Ataullah and Arshad Munir accompanied the expedition from Karakoram Club of Pakistan. Captain (later Lt. General) G.S. Butt was the liaison officer.
Poor weather hindered the progress of the party for a pretty long time. As soon as the weather cleared, the party made very good progress and set up camp II. It was at this camp that one of its members, Mario Puchoz, a 36-year old guide, died of pneumonia on the 21st June. It Is believed that he had contracted high altitude pulmonary edema (water on the lungs) which was not well known at the time and does not respond to antibiotics.
The party established six more camps on the south-east ridge. Camp IX was a bivouac. On the 31st of July, Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni started from the bivouac. They exhausted their oxygen supply 500 feet short of summit but could not resist the temptation to be the first to climb the mighty K2 peak. They, therefore, continued their assault and reached the summit at six in the evening. After staying for a while they started descending and reached Camp VIII round about eleven at night.
Courtesy of jck : In 1978 Americans Louis Riechartd and James Wickwire ascended new route on the north-east ridge.
In 1981 Eiho Ohtani and Nazir Sabir climbed the west pillar.In upper part they traversed to south pillar and reached the summit.
The first ascent from north side(by enourmous north pillar) was made in 1982 by Japanese expedition.
And the came the tragic year 1986: 27 climbers reached the summit but 13 died.Wanda Rutkiewicz reached the top as the first woman.She climbed the normal route via Abruzzi Spur.Jerzy Kukuczka and Tadeusz Piotrowski,Polish climbers,members of international expedition which was leading by Karl Maria Herrligkoffer climbed the central part of south wall.Unfortunately Piotrowski died during descent.
Also in 1986 two Poles Wojciech Wroz,Przemyslaw Piasecki and Slovak Peter Bozik reached the top via south pillar which Reinhold Messner called "Magic line".
There was also two winter attempts,both made by Polish expeditions: in 1987/88 and in 2003 but they were unsuccesful due tobad weather.So the top is still unclimbed in winter.Krzysztof Wielicki,the fifth man who reached all 14 8000 meters peak and who was a member of both winter expeditions said that problably in 2005 or 2006 they will try again to reach the summit during the winter season.
Giving BackI have had the pleasure to meet two of the directors of this non profit organization and would encourage your support for their activities to help the people who live in remote regions of the world.
The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation- provides direction and financial support to community based humanitarian programs around the world. Currently the foundation is involved in establishing a climbing school for Sherpas as well as the Babu Chirri School Project to build schools in the Khumbu region where Babu was from. The organization is also active in promoting climbing safety and technique in Mongolia. There is very little over head in this operation, and a very high percentage of donations go directly to benefit the projects.
Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation
PO Box 6666
Bozeman, MT USA 59715
The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation
Itinerary Information From Local Tour OperatorsKarrar Haidri adds:
K-2 Concordia Ghondhgoro la, K-2 Base camp treks offers some of the most challenging, remotest and demanding trekking anywhere in the world. Trekking in this area is a wonderful experience for any one who enjoys the world most spectacular and diverse scenery of snow capped lofty mountains, lush valleys, chuckling streams and emerald green lakes, atypical wildlife like the Snow Leopard and the Ibex and colourful ancient culture and its friendly people leave an everlasting impression on the visitors.
K2 Ghondogoro La Trek
DAY 01 ARRIVAL RAWALPINDI
Arrival met and transfer to your hotel. After a short rest drive to Islamabad for trek briefing at Ministry of Tourism and obtain trekking permit. Overnight hotel.
DAY 02 RAWALPINDI/SKARDU
Flight to Skardu, If unable to fly, same day departure for Chilas via Silk Rout, sight seeing all along the rout with the company of Indus river the longest river of Pakistan It flows from Tibet northwest across the Indian-controlled portion of Jammu and Kashmir, passing between the western extremity of the Himalayas and the northern extremity of the Hindu Kush mountain range; it then courses generally south through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea.
Check in hotel. Overnight in Chilas.
DAY 03 CHILAS/SKARDU
Arrival in Skardu.
Total drive time from Islamabad to Skardu is 22-24 hours.
DAY 04 SKARDU
Free day for rest, shopping or sightseeing. while staff will make final arrangement for the trek.
Overnight at hotel. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included.
DAY 05 SKARDU -TO- ASKOLE
Embark jeeps for a full day ride on a winding jeep trail to Askole. The last inhabitance on our way to the Great Glaciers. Highest in the region, the stone & timber abodes contain dark & narrow stairwells riven by gloomy, unlit alleys cluster within the embrace of the fertile terraces. Overnight in tents.
Distance 96 km
Drive 07-08 hrs
Altitude 3050 m
DAY 06 ASKOLE -TO- KOROPHONE
Today we leave the last inhabited village. For the remaining portion of our journey we rely on our porters who carry our food and equipment's and sustain our expedition. After scrambling over a ridge we come across what legend says an old polo field. Passing through a rock gap we cross the Biafo glacier and camp beside its snout at korophone. The Biafo Glacier is a huge river of ice 63 Km long which descends from the central peaks of the Karakoram & flows East into the Braldu Valley at a point about 10 Kms east of Askole. Overnight in tents.
Walk : 03 - 04 hrs
Grade : Easy
Altitude : 3100 M
DAY 07 KOROPHONE -TO- JHULA
Trek to the Dumurdo river cross at Jhula., now a wooden bridge is made cross it & camp beside a torrent facing the Bakhordas.
Walk : 03-04 hrs
Grade : Strenuous
Altitude : 3150 M
DAY 08 JHULA -TO- PAIJU
Resume trek along the Braldu River to a green Oasis under the shadows of Paiju Peak 6611 M. Paiju - is a Balti word which means "SALT". Since there are some rock salt deposits at the base of this peak, the locals believe that the snow on the summit of Paiju Peak is not snow but a huge deposit of salt which drips down to the base. From this camp we have the first view of the impressive Baltoro Glacier. Overnight in tents.
Walk : 05-06 hrs
Grade : Moderate
Altitude : 3480 M.
DAY 09 PAIJU - Rest Day
Rest & acclimatization day at Paiju. Overnight in tents.
DAY 10 PAIJU -TO- URDUKAS
Begin trek after an early breakfast. Traverse the junction of Paiju - Baltoro Glaciers through crevasses & lunch below Liligo, the traditional camp under the muddy cliffs with fine views of rock spires. Cross the Khuburse torrent early morning and ramble over two glacier moraines to reach the grassy slopes of Urdukas offering splendid views of the Trango, Uli Biaho & Bial Groups. Overnight in tents. All meals served by camp staff.
Walk : 06-07 hrs
Grade : Moderate
Altitude : 4130 M
DAY 11 URDUKAS -TO- GORO
A long walk on the icy Baltoro Glacier. Traverse the Yermanandu Glacier which flows down from Masherbrum & joins the Baltoro. Magnificent views of Muztagh, Mitre & Gasherbrum IV. Overnight in tents.
Walk : 06-07 hrs
Grade : Strenuous
Altitude : 4500 M.
DAY 12 GORO TO CONCORDIA
After an early breakfast, resume a long walk on the Baltoro Glacier to a point called Concordia - a huge junction of Baltoro, Abruzzi & Godwin Austin Glaciers at 4000 meters . Within a short radius of 15 Kilometers, stand 41 peaks over 6500 meters. including 04 peaks above 8000 M. The 360 view offers a panorama of peaks nowhere to be found on this Earth. Overnight in tents. All meals served by camp staff.
Walk : 05 - 06 hrs
Grade : strenuous
Altitude : 4720 M.
DAY 13 CONCORDIA REST DAY
Members are free to explore K2 base (A day trip 4 hrs up 3 hrs down) After an early breakfast, resume your walk to K2 Base Camp. Overnight in tents at Concordia.
Walk : 07 hrs
Grade : strenuous
Altitude : 4650 M.
DAY 14 CONCORDIA -TO- ALI CAMP
After an early breakfast leave the Concordia and we will cross several side glacier to reach our right path. After 2 hours we will reach Vigne glacier, it is also possible to walk on the Vigne glacier which is fairly easy then walking on the stony bath on the right side of the glacier but it depend on the snow condition.
Overnight in tents.
DAY 15 ALI CAMP -CROSS GONDOGORO PASS- KHUSPANG
A very early start as early as 2 or 3 O'clock in the morning to cross the Gondogoro la to reach Khuspang. The basic theme behind the early walk to reach the top of the Gondogoro Pass 5700 metres is that in the morning snow will be soft and you will not get tired quickly as the sun is not strong, but as sun get strong snow get soft, snow going to be melt and bring water and stones, also the chance of ice falls or avalanches. Overnight in tents. All meals served by camp staff.
Walk : 10 - 11 hrs
Grade : Strenuous
Altitude : 5700 M
DAY 16 KHUSPANG
Rest day at Khuspang.
DAY 17 KHUSPANG -TO- DALSANGPA
After a couple of minutes of easy walk we will comes onto the glacier. You pick your way across moving boulders and ice, finally crossing the glacier up to the camping site to reach Dalsangpa, meaning 'field of flowers', lives up to its name. It is a beautiful campsite at about 4,150 metres, set between two lakes, with Masherbrum Mountain and the white glacier cascading down from Masherbrum Pass reflected in the still water.
Walk : 05-06 hrs
Grade : Moderate
Altitude : 4150 M.
DAY 18 DALSANGPA -TO- SHAICHO
Resume trek along the path, Keep yourself on the left side of the lateral moraine, crossing several side streams. The next hour is an unpleasant scramble along the stony, sliding glacier edge, with huge boulders poised above, ready to fall.
Continue your trek along the path goes down hill to the summer settlement called Shaicho, a large shepherds settlement with its won mosque, now here you can find a hotel and mountaineering equipment shop. This is the traditional camp among the forest of juniper, cedar and willow trees with giant bushes of wild roses and a good water supply. After a short break continue your walk along the Hushey river on a easy path. Upon arrival camp near the fields in Hushey village. Overnight in tents.
Walk : 06 - 07 hrs,
Grade : Easy
DAY 19 SHAICHO -TO- HUSHEY
An easy day will bring you to Hushey village. Evening free. Overnight in tents.
DAY 20 HUSHEY -TO- SKARDU
AM : Embark jeeps for a full day ride on a winding jeep trail to Skardu. Upon arrival transfer to hotel.
DAY 21 SKARDU - RAWALPINIDI
Early in the morning fly to Islamabad, if unable to fly same day drive to Gilgit. Overnight in hotel.
DAY 22 RAWALPINDI
Upon arrival transfer to your hotel in Rawalpindi. Evening sightseeing.
If unable to fly on day 25th. this day will be use to transfer from Gilgit to Islamabad by road.
DAY 23 RAWALPINDI
De-briefing at Ministry of Tourism Islamabad. Evening transfer to airport for your onward destination.
From Skardu most of the expedition trek to K2 base camp via Baltoro. Very few expedition takes the Gondogoro La 5800m to reach K2 Base camp. All though most of the expedition use Gondogoro la for their way back to Skardu.
After arriving in Skardu you take a jeep 8 hours to Hushe village. From Hushe the trekking path will bring you to Khuspang in 3 days via traditional camps of Siacho, Gondogoro Broq, Dalsangpa. Another three days will bring you to K2 base camp via Gondogoro pass, Ali Camp, Concordia.
Women of K-2Karrar Haidri adds:
Only 8 womens have ever summited on K2.
1 Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz
2 French climber Liliane Barrard
3 British climber Julie Tullis,
4 French alpinist Chantal Mauduit
5 British climber and mother Alison Hargreaves
6 Edurne Pasaban from Spain.
7 Nives Meroi from Italy.
Nives had attempted K2 twice (1994 and 2003 through the north side). She typically travels light, without oxygen or high-altitude porters.
8 Japanese first female K2 Climber Yuka Komatsu,reached the summit on August 1 2006.
Only 8 womens have ever summited on K2.
In 1986 Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz became the first women ever to reach the top of K2 and was followed to the summit that same year by French climber Liliane Barrard and British climber Julie Tullis, both of whom died on their descent. Then in 1992, the summer that Wanda Rutkiewicz perished on Kangchenjunga, French alpinist Chantal Mauduit summitted K2, and survived, only to die six years later on another 8000 meter peak.In 1995 British climber and mother Alison Hargreaves reached the top but was killed shortly after starting her descent.
Last year Edurne Pasaban from Spain has summited K2 on 26 July 2004 at 16.30. Edurne.Edurne Pasabán (30) was born in Tolosa (Basque Country, Spain). She has also climbed more 8000+ peaks than any other living female. She has bagged Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, GI, GII and K2 Nanga Parbat in just a few years.
Nives Meroi and husband Romano Benet K2 26th July 2006 at 10-30 am local time. The two climbers left on their summit push at 2:00 am that morning.
Nives has thus bagged her 8th 8000er. The couple has also achieved the first summits on K2 since 2004.
Nives Meroi was born in Bergamo in September, 1961. She has previously summited Nanga Parbat, Cho Oyu, GII, GI, Broad Peak, Lhotse, Dhaulagiri, and now K2. She also has reached Shisha Pangma’s Central Summit. Nives had attempted K2 twice (1994 and 2003through the north side) and Everest in 1999. She typically travels light, without oxygen or high-altitude porters.
Japanese first female K2 Climber Yuka Komatsu (23), and Tatsuya Aoki (21),reached the summit on August 1, at 4:50 pm, local time. Yuka has become the first Japanese lady climber to summit K2, and Tatsuya is now the youngest K2 summiteer ever.
No woman has ever scaled all 14, 8000ers.
Pet Peave- Leave No TraceIn America, as in many other countries, I imagine, there is a philosophy of leave no trace. In other words, leave the place you hike the way you found it. It bothers me when the same people who will leave no trace in their own backyard do not do the same when they are a guest in another country because it just might be too difficult. Please take heed to the following post by Karrar Haidri and do your part to make mountain regions better, not worse, then how you found them.
From Karrar Haidri:
Visiting mountaineering expeditions and trekking parties accompanied
by large number of local porters on the Baltoro glacier, especially
during previous and current year has resulted in large accumulation
of waste in the various camping areas on the glacier. The returning
visitors to the area are reporting increased deposits of garbage and
human body waste lying on these glacier camps, which besides
seriously damaging the local ecology, are becoming a hazard to the
visitors health. As the climbing and trekking season is nearly ending
there is an urgent need to undertake clean up operation to clean and
carry back the garbage out of the area before the onset of fresh snow
which may shroud the pollutants. It may be mentioned that 62 KM long
Baltoro glacier is the jewel of Karakoram situated about 120 KM
Northeast of Skardu which houses four peaks rising above 8000 metres
including K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrums and many other high and
challenging peaks. The area is frequented by large number of
mountaineers and trekkers each year and during the current year over
50 mountaineering expeditions and about 2400 trekkers have visited
the Baltoro glacier till date.
In view of the urgency of the situation Alpine Club of Pakistan is
launching Baltoro Clean Up Expedition 2005 to Baltoro glacier
commencing from 10 Sep 05. The expedition which is expected to last
till first week of Oct 05 will undertake clean up of camps on the
Baltoro glacier including main Base camps of K2, Broad Peak and
Gasherbrums. The team employing local porters will collect all
burnable and non burnable garbage to include packing tins, cartons,
polythene bags, food stuff etc and carry it out of the area for its
correct disposal below Askole – the last village enroute to Baltoro
The expedition is being led by Mr MH Muzzaffar Faizi ACP Executive
Council member whereas its other members include Mr Wazir Jaffar
Shigri - ACP Representative at Skardu and Nisar Hussain.
The expedition is being financed by ACP from its own financial
resources, whereas Ministry of Tourism has promised to contribute
towards funding of this clean up effort – an important matter
affecting mountain tourism in the Northern Areas.
It is to be mentioned here that similar cleaning expeditions have
been organized by the Alpine Club and other NGOs in the past.
For more detail visit
K-2 One of Nature's Natural Wonders
I received this message from a fellow SP'er who is interested in nature photography and wanted to have people recommend K-2 as one of natures natural wonders. What do you say? Hit the link to recommend/vote for K-2.
Hi Kilimanjaro. I'm Robert from Italy.
Sorry my bad English.
K2 is your page. Can you insert this link K-2 Nature's 7 Natural Wonders in main page of K2?
It's a amazing mountain and must wins the possibility to enter in new
seven natural wonder.
- mountain guide service
Ivano ghirardini organise light expéditions in Pakistan to climb virgin peaks or open new routes
- treks, tours , expeditions
- Baltoro trek trip report
The trip report is relevant to the Getting there section. It relates on what to expect on the Baltoro glacier.
- climbing and trekking services for K2 area
This company with long experience in climbing services in Xinjiang can organize various packages for climbing and trekking in K2 area from the China side.
- Askole Treks & Tours
Adventure Tour Operating company in Pakistan. Specialized in Mountaineering Expeditions, Rock Climbing, Trekking Trips and Adventure Tours in Pakistan.
We are organizing fixed departure for K2 8611m for 2006 season and also supporting trek to K2 Base camp via the normal route or over the Gondogoro Pass.
We are confident in our abilities to provide our outstanding services in the heartland of greatest assembly of mountains that stand on this earth.
This is a good page for anyone wanting more climbing info for K2.
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