WALKING & TREKKING IN PAKISTAN
Trekking Holidays in Pakistan
Trekking in Pakistan is in the country’s northern areas of Baltistan and Hunza. Pakistan treks explore the Karakoram mountain range that borders China and India. The Karakoram has the greatest concentration of the world’s big peaks. Four are over 8000m in altitude and these are K2, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum 1 & 2.
The Mountain Company has been operating trekking holidays in Pakistan since 2006. In 2004 our Managing Director, Roland Hunter, organised an expedition to Broad Peak (8,051m). Over the years we have organised eleven successful treks to K2 Base Camp of which, Roland, has led six of them. For client feedback on our walking holidays in Pakistan take a look at our AITO Traveller Reviews for K2 Base Camp. With this track record we are known as one of the best trekking companies in Pakistan. Find out more about Our Operations.
What are the best trekking routes in Pakistan?
K2 Base Camp is one of the world’s great treks. It has breathtaking scenery unsurpassed anywhere else in the high mountains. K2 Base Camp & Concordia trek is a high altitude walk where you ascend and descend the Baltoro glacier. K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La trek requires mountaineering skills to cross this technical high pass at 5,560m.For a rarely trekked alternative to K2 Base Camp take a look at our Snow Lake & Hispar La trek. The famous explorer Eric Shipton described this area as ’the last blank on the map’. Snow Lake is a high altitude glacial basin over 16km wide at the head of the Biafo and Hispar glaciers. This is the greatest concentration of glacial ice outside Antartica.
For Summer 2022 we are launching a new trek in Pakistan called Nanga Parbat Circuit. This is a high altitude trekking trail around Nanga Parbat where we see the Rupal, Diamir, and Rakhiot faces. We cross three high passes: Mazeno La at 5,400m, Karu Sagar pass at 4,900m and Khutsu pass at 4,840m. Mazeno La is a technical high pass whereas the other two do not need mountaineering skills to cross.
How does K2 Base Camp trek compare with K2 & Gondogoro La?
Both treks follow the Baltoro glacier to K2 Base Camp. The difference between these itineraries is that the K2 & Gondogoro La trip crosses the high pass after Concordia. Mountaineering experience is required for a safe crossing. We send an international leader with this group. Whereas the K2 Base Camp & Concordia group will walk back down the Baltoro glacier with a local guide. Both groups will meet after their treks in Skardu and then travel back together to Islamabad.
How does Snow Lake compare with K2 Base Camp trek?
K2 Base Camp & Concordia is a more popular trek with a larger number of other groups. Whereas Snow Lake & Hispar La is more remote and has a far fewer number of other trekkers. The scenery is impressive on both of these treks. K2 Base Camp trek has higher mountains including views of four 8,000m summits. Snow Lake trek has views of Kanjut Sar (7,760m), Distaghil Sar (7,885 m) and Makrong Chhish (6,607m). There is the Latok group (Latok I: 7,145m, Latok II: 7,108 m, Latok III: 6,949m, Latok IV: 6,456m) and Baintha Brakk/The Ogre (7,285m).
K2 Base Camp is an out and back trek going up and down the Baltoro. Whereas Snow Lake is a traverse from Baltistan into Hunza valley. K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La is also a traverse as the trail finishes at Hushe village in the valley to the east of Skardu.
How does trekking in Pakistan compare with trekking in Nepal?
The trekking places in Pakistan Karakoram have less infrastructure than Nepal as you are away from villages after the first day. The trails in Pakistan are more rugged with long sections of rocky moraine on the surface of glaciers. Whereas for the major treks in Nepal most of the trails are well maintained often on stone paths constructed by local villagers. Several rivers in Pakistan do not have bridges so we cross these by foot. Over the Summer in the Karakoram, it can be very hot over the first few days with temperatures up to 40 Celsius.
For these reasons K2 Base Camp in Pakistan is a far more challenging trek than Everest Base Camp in Nepal. K2 Base Camp is not an ideal goal for a first-time trek at high altitude. It is better to do Everest Base Camp before coming to Pakistan. For a detailed description of the differences take a look at our Blog titled "Everest Base Camp in Nepal versus K2 Base Camp in Pakistan".
When is the best time to go hiking in Pakistan?
What to wear for walking in Pakistan?
Is mountain trekking in Pakistan safe?
The security situation is a common concern from people thinking about a trek in Pakistan. There is no simple answer as it depends on your level of acceptable risk. You should research the current political and security situation. You should read government travel advisories to Pakistan. Take a look at the UK's Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
At The Mountain Company we organise our treks in to minimise the security risk by the following:
- We have organised treks in Pakistan since 2006. Over this period has developed a good understanding of this country. We have also built up good connections and relationships within the country.
- We are in touch with the British High Commission in Islamabad. We get their updates on the security situation and hear their latest travel advice.
- We take the flight to/ from Skardu and Islamabad. Only if this is cancelled then we drive Karakoram Highway.
- We bring a satellite phone on our treks in Pakistan to ensure we have communications.
- In Islamabad we avoid using international chain hotels that have been a target in the past.
- We brief our groups to be sensitive to the culture and to dress in a conservative manner.
How do we travel from Islamabad to Skardu?
We take the flight to Skardu using Pakistan International Airways (PIA) on Day 2 of the itinerary. You should be aware that this flight is sometimes delayed and cancelled. Recently the Skardu flight has been more reliable due to operational improvements by PIA. In practice our last group to drive KKH was back in 2011. If the flight to Skardu is cancelled then we will drive the Karakoram Highway (KKH). The bus journey takes two days with one night spent at Chilas or Besham along the way.
For our itineraries in Pakistan we include one extra day in Islamabad at the end of the trip in case we have to drive back on KKH from Skardu. You need to have an element of flexibility when travelling in Pakistan. We are likely to make day to day changes along the way based on various factors. It is important that everyone in the group accepts this level of uncertainty.
TRIP STYLE FOR TREKKING IN PAKISTAN
All of our treks in Pakistan are Camping style. This is a fully supported trek where our cooks will cater for all of your meals. We provide group equipment including personal tents, mess tents, kitchen tent and toilet tent.View Camping trips in Pakistan