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Gasherbrum II (and GI) expedition

**This page is a historic page frozen in time - see Our treks for the current website**

June-July-August -- Pakistan -- normal route

Gasherbrum II is the 13th highest mountain on the planet and is attributed with an altitude of 8035m. This is primarily at G2 (Gasherbrum II) expedition but with the optional backup of G1. Note that G1 is STEEP (70+ degrees), you NEED to be a rock climber or have climbed steep mixed routes.

We offer the best balance of quality and value. We run safe expeditions with a good staff ratios, have radios that always work and have AC power and email-internet at BC; everything you would expect and more.

Itinerary

The itinerary is approximate only, depending on porters and conditions. For more insight into our Pakistan expeditions read the 2004 Broad Peak dispatches, the 2007 Gasherbrum dispatches and 2009 Gasherbrum dispatches.

Day 1 - arrive Islamabad

2 - Islamabad

3 - fly Skardu ~2600m

4 - free day in Skardu

5 - drive Askhole ~3000m

6-11 - trek to Concordia

12 - trek to Gasherbrum Base Camp 5170m

13-14 - stay Base Camp

15-43 (29 days) - climbing Gasherbrum II

We follow a cautious acclimatization schedule at base camp spending two nights before starting the climb of Gasherbrum II. The climbing begins with the route heading through the icefall. The route will be identified with bamboo maker wands and fixed rope will be in place on the steeper sections. As the icefall ends, we rope up for safety on the heavily crevassed cwm. The cwm is not steep but the intense heat makes it hard work so we make this climb in the early hours of the morning. The trip from base camp to camp one should take 7-8 hours but improves after further acclimatization.

Camp 1 (5950m) sits on the Gasherbrum Glacier at the foot of the Southwest Ridge. The route continues with climbers roped up on the glacier until reaching the start of the fixed ropes that are in place on the Southwest Ridge. Steep snow and ice slopes that weave between crevasses and small ice-cliffs will be climbed using the fixed ropes and the route will alternate between the ridge and the snow face. The climb from camp one to camp two is consistently steep and takes 3-4 hours.

Camp two sits on a sheltered ledge and the route continues on less steeper slopes than the climb from camp one to camp two. There will be fixed ropes in place from the foot of the Southwest Ridge all the way to the site of camp three. The climb from camp two to camp three takes 3-4 hours.

Camp three is located on a shoulder on the Southwest Ridge and below the summit pyramid. The route continues up the Southwest Ridge and depending on the weather conditions and the strength of our team we may place a camp four at 7,400m (24,280ft) if needed. The climb from camp three to camp four takes 2-4 hours.

Camp four (rarely used) is located immediately below the summit pyramid and on some previous expeditions we have used camp three as the high camp and not needed to establish a camp four.

Summit day will start early and the route continues with a long diagonal snow traverse below the summit pyramid and joins the East Ridge at 7,750m (24,280ft). The East Ridge is followed to the summit with the last steep 50m section having fixed ropes in place. The climb from camp three to the summit takes between 8-10 hours and the climb from camp four to the summit takes 6-8 hours with 4-6 hours for the descent to camp three.

44-45 - cleaning the mountain and packing

46-50 - trek out to Askhole / Hushe

51 - drive Skardu

52 - fly Islamabad

53-54 - rest Islamabad

(latest date) - day 55 - depart

Highlights

best balance between quality and value

good team environment

all-inclusive

2010 Dates

no expedition

Cost - US$11,950

GI extension $2000

extra hotel nights ~$60, depending on hotel

fly both ways extra charge US$100

Leader

TBA

Arrival hotel, Islamabad

Envoy Continental

111-East

Fazal-e-Haq Road

Blue Area, Islamabad

Tel:+ 92 51 227 3971

or

Hotel Pak Continental

G-8 Markaz Islamabad

Tel: +92 51 228 2832

Skardu hotel

Mashabrum Hotel

College Road

Skardu

Tel: +92 58 315 0396

Local office contact

Adventure Tours Pakistan

House 551, Street 53, G-9/1

Islamabad

Tel: +92-51-226 0820, 225 2759

Our service includes

airport transfers

5 nights 3 star hotel in Islamabad with breakfast

all group transportation by private vehicle

Climbing royalty and liaison officer

Islamabad-Skardu flight / bus

on expedition:

BC and mountain services

email, walkie talkies, all meals, all tents

large single tent at BC

charging for cameras etc

Our service excludes

insurance, Pakistan visa, meals in Rawalpindi

personal climbing equipment

emergency evacuation

international flights to Islamabad, equipment rental, soft drinks, laundry, tipping and other items of a personal nature

L-R: Gasherbrum II 8035m, Gasherbrum I 8068m and Gasherbrum III 7952m (#15) from the true summit of Broad Peak - Jamie

Security warning

 Islamabad, Skardu and while trekking is safe for tourists, yes, even Americans and Brits.

Warning

We have run many successful and safe expeditions however you must understand this is as real as it gets. We try our best with safety and gear within the limits of the expedition budget but this is 8000m and anything can happen. Even with good gear, good everything, the risk of death is small BUT REAL. There is UNAVOIDABLE avalanche, serac and crevasse danger. If you haven't climbed to 8000m before you will find the mountain bigger and scarier than you ever imagined.

We try our best and we are very responsible, caring people HOWEVER we are not liable for anything, full stop.

Detailed itinerary

The itinerary is approximate only, depending on porters and conditions.

Day 1 - arrive Islamabad

We meet you at the airport; look for a sign with your name on it.

2 - in Islamabad

We stay in Islamabad for some sightseeing and to finish the expedition paperwork, and meet the government-assigned liaison officer.

3 - fly Skardu ~2600m

We fly to Skardu, the flight situation has improved and so we really hope to fly and will wait a day to ensure we have a better chance. Fingers crossed!

4 - free day in Skardu

If we are still in Islamabad then we will have to consider driving up, and the whole program will be one day behind.

5 - drive Askhole ~3000m

We take old Landcruiser jeeps to the end of the road and camp.

7 - trek to Jhola camp ~3200m

The morning is spent sorting out loads while we can explore around the end of the Biafo glacier, a tortured sea of ice and rocks two kilometers wide at this point. It takes around two hours to cross the glacier on a established trail, walking most of the time on moraine stone and occasionally on ice. Once across the glacier it is twenty minutes to Jhola Camp, close to Korofan.

8 - trek to Paiju camp ~3600m

Gasherbrum 4 greets us near Paiju. From here are occasional scrambles across the rock. Three hours walk brings us to the point where waters from the Paiju Peak divide into four rushing streams, that we jump over and wade thru, or pay a bridge fee. In the east dominating the horizon are the towering summits of Gasherbrum 4, Cathedral Towers and Broad Peak. After negotiating scree and sand walk along the river we arrive at Paiju, a campsite situated in a grove of willow and popular trees with a fresh water stream running through it.

9 - Urdukas ~4200m

An hour out of camp we climb onto the snout of the Baltoro glacier, a vast, turbulent sea of rocks and ice more than two miles wide and nearly forty miles long. The first stretch winds around dodging gray crevasses and cross to the eastern side, dropping off into the ablation valley. The view is magnificent: the range of Cathedral and Trango towers, rising to 6000m+, on our left. The managed camp offers great panoramas.

10 - Goro II ~4500m

We head back onto the glacier that has its own surprises for us, small streams of water rushing over clear blue ice, and mushroom like huge ice towers rising from the glacier. As we proceed Gasherbrum 2 peeps from the right shoulder of Gasherbrum 4 in the east. As we camp on thin layer of moraine stones on glacial ice, the night could be cold.

11 - Concordia ~4700m

Initially we trek on the medial moraine of the glacier to the incredible junction of Concordia. As we make our approach, Gasherbrum IV stands guard in the east. On our left we have magnificent views of Muztagh Tower on the border between Pakistan and China. Excitement mounts and paces quicken as we arrive at Concordia, lured by the classic views of K2 (8611m), the second highest mountain of the world. Concordia, the meeting place of five glaciers is named after "Place de la Concorde" in Paris. Within an radius of 15kms are 41 peaks above 6,500 metres, almost half of them still virgin and unnamed.

12 - trek to Gasherbrum Base Camp

13-14 - stay Base Camp

We spend several days acclimatizing and preparing our gear for load carrying. Feeling fit? We start carrying loads higher with an initial day trip or two.

15-43 (29 days) - climbing Gasherbrum II

The expedition leader in discussion with the team members and high altitude porters manages the day to day running of the expedition. There are several different methods to ready for yourself for the summit bid, we will discuss them in detail in base camp.

The basic plan is to take several trips up to around 7000m on the mountain. Logistically, it takes some sound preparation and organization to ensure all the camps are set up with the appropriate supplies. Then we need a window of good weather for the summit attempt and often this is a waiting game.

On the mountain the views of other Karakoram peaks is breath-taking.

Once we have summitted we clear the mountain of our gear and rubbish and head out. We are likely to summit prior to Day 47 but have quite a bit of time to wait out for suitable conditions.

See Mike Farris' 2006 climb diary for a photo of the route.

44-45 - cleaning the mountain and packing

It takes several days to clear all the camps, and bring all our rubbish down and pack everything ready for the porters.

46-50 - trek out to Askhole / Hushe

We trek out over 4-5 days, the route depends on snow conditions. We may return to Askhole, we may cross the Gondogoro La to Hushe.

51 - drive Skardu

52 - fly Islamabad

We fly and have two days that we can wait if needed.

53,54 - Islamabad

(latest date) - Day 55 - depart

Basically our expedition lasts as long as it takes to summit. We should be back to Islamabad by this time and so plan your departure around this time. Ensure you understand your options to change your flight prior to buying it. It is strongly recommended that you have a ticket that allows a date change. The usual cost seems to be $75 or perhaps $100, and note that US domestic flight sections often have a no change rule.

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