After Alpenglow Expeditions Founder Adrian Ballinger and fellow Alpenglow guides Carla Perez and Esteban “Topo” Mena completed their successful summit of K2 in the Karakoram mountain range of Pakistan in 2019, we knew we had to expand our program to explore this remote and wild region. After a year of dreaming and drawing up plans, we’re psyched to announce two new expeditions to the Karakoram: Enter Gasherbrum II Rapid Ascent™ and our K2 & G2 Base Camp Rapid Ascent™ Trek.
Situated in Northern Pakistan, the Karakoram boasts more 7,000m+ peaks than anywhere in the world. The Karakoram is home to four 8,000m peaks; K2, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum I & II, and is one of the most drastic and stunning mountain ranges in the world. It is the perfect setting for an epic adventure, and both the trips running to this storied region will be left with a deep sense of awe at the grandeur and magnitude of these towering mountains.
Our Rapid Ascent approach will allow us to maximize our chances of success while minimizing the time spent away from family and work. By pre-acclimatizing in hypoxic tents prior to the expeditions, we’ll be able to hit the ground running and move quickly through the Karakoram without wasting too much time acclimatizing in-country. This combined with our premium logistics (including a helicopter out of G2 base camp) provide for the adventure of a lifetime.
K2 & G2 Rapid Ascent Base Camp Trek
This trek will take us beneath giant peaks and across expansive glaciers to the base camps of the second tallest mountain in the world, the mighty K2, and the 13th, Gasherbrum II.
Upon arriving in Pakistan the adventure will start with a long but beautiful journey to reach the trailhead, and after a few days of traveling we will come to the small village of Askoli. From here, we will start our trek up the Braldu Valley moving further into the heart of the Karakoram with each passing day. After five days of trekking, we will find ourselves at Concordia Camp, widely thought to be one of the most beautiful campsites on the planet.
Nestled at the head of the Baltoro Glacier, Concordia Camp serves as a nucleus for all the base camps of the 8,000m peaks in the area. From here, we will first trek north to the base camps of Broad Peak and K2, spending the day basking in the glory of two of the tallest and most majestic mountains on planet Earth.
The following day we leave Concordia camp and head the base camp of G2. We’ll spend two days in G2 base camp exploring and taking in the view provided by the Gasherbrum group. We might even spot our G2 Rapid Ascent team climbing up on the mountain. After trekking over 60 miles in 9 days, a helicopter will arrive at G2 base camp to pick us up and take us on a beautiful 90 min flight back to the city of Skardu.
A short flight back to Islamabad will mark the end of our trip, and will leave thinking of the grand adventure we just had through one of the most beautiful mountain sceneries in the world.
Gasherbrum II Rapid Ascent.
Topping out at 8,034m, 26,362’, Gasherbrum II is the 13th tallest peak in the world. Our journey to it’s summit will start by traveling from Islamabad to the small village of Askoli, where we will begin our six day trek to G2 Base Camp. Trekking along the mighty Baltoro Glacier into the heart of the Karakoram, we’ll hike for several days until we reach the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin Austin Glaciers. This is where the magnitude of the Karakoram will set in, with spectacular views of Broad Peak and K2 to the north, and the Gasherbrum group laying straight ahead. From here we’ll make our way to the southeast end of the valley and to G2 Base Camp at 16,900’ (5,150m). Our pre-acclimatization will enable us to move quickly to base camp, preserving time and energy for the climb ahead.
After a few days of rest and acclimatization at base camp, we’ll make our way through the Icefall to the foot of G2 and C1 (19,500’, 5,950m). We’ll start our acclimatization rotation with two days of rest at C1 before following the fixed lines up the steep snow and ice slope of the Southwest Ridge to C2. Placed on a sheltered ledge at 21,100’ (6,450m), we’ll spend two nights acclimatizing at C2 before we’ll be ready to descend back to base camp over the next few days.
Having completed our acclimatization rotation up to C2, we’ll spend one day resting in base camp before we start back up the mountain and begin our summit push. The first day will see us back at C1 after having moved once more through the Icefall. The next morning we’ll work our way back up the “Banana Ridge” on the Southwest Ridge of Gasherbrum II to C2. From here on out we’ll be using supplemental oxygen, as we ascend the fixed lines to camp 3. Nestled on a shoulder beneath the summit pyramid at 23,100” (7,050m), C3 will be the highest camp that we’ll utilize on the climb. We’ll start our summit bid by passing the rarely used C4 and making the “Diagonal Traverse” beneath the summit pyramid. Once the traverse is completed we’ll make our way up a beautiful snow slope to the summit of Gasherbrum II at 8,035m, 26,361’.
After a short celebration atop the 13th tallest peak in the world we’ll start our descent, making our way all the way back down to C1 that same day. One last trip through the Icefall will mark the end of the climb as we return to base camp to celebrate our successful summit of Gasherbrum II. We will be taking a helicopter from G2 base camp back to Skardu, saving our tired legs from a six day trek out of the Karakoram.
There are many incredible mountain ranges throughout the world, and the Karakoram is certainly among the most impressive. We are so stoked to be bringing these expeditions to life, and are eagerly awaiting the adventures to be had in Pakistan.
Ready to Book?
Our reservation system is open and accepting bookings for Gasherbrum II Rapid Ascent and K2 & G2 Rapid Ascent Base Camp Trek, as well as our full menu of winter adventure and education. If you are still feeling uncertain, we’ve relaxed our cancelation policy to make booking worry-free. Book an expedition with us and if we can’t be open due to COVID-19, you’ll get a credit to use at a later date or a full refund.