Gasherbrum II Rapid Ascent™

32 Days in Karakoram Pakistan / (Skill level: Advanced)

Price per person

  • Next Available: Jun 24, 2023 - Jul 25, 2023
  • Upcoming: Jun 23, 2024 - Jul 24, 2024

About this trip

Climb Gasherbrum II in Rapid Ascent™  style - At 26,362', 8,034m, Gasherbrum II is the 13th tallest mountain in the world and is one of the fourteen 8,000 meter peaks. G2 is a great opportunity to climb an 8,000m peak in one of the of most beautiful and remote mountain ranges in the world. (We are currently retooling our itinerary for the 2023 season and will have updates asap). Reach out the office if you have any direct questions about our itinerary).


  • skill level


  • Duration

    32 Days

Alpenglow Expeditions Rapid Ascent™ climbs are an entirely new way to approach big-mountain expeditions. After 15 years of guiding expeditions all over the world, including more than a dozen 8,000-meter peak expeditions, we have refined and distilled the acclimatization and climbing process to maximize safety, health, success, and enjoyment.

The Perfect Karakoram 8,000m Peak

There are a few reason why Gasherbrum II is the perfect 8,000m peak to climb in the Karakoram Range. To start, the 8,034m, 26,362′ peak is considered the most tame of the 8,000m peaks that make their home in the Karakoram, being of reasonable difficulty with limited objective dangers. The second, is that it offers an incredible climbing experience in one of the most remote and rugged mountain ranges in the world in a short time-frame. Using our Rapid Ascent™ technique, we’ll be able to complete the full expedition in almost half the time that it would take a typical expedition. Our 32 Day Itinerary is built to maximize the chances of success while minimizing the time spent away from family and work.

Expedition Leader – Esteban “Topo” Mena

The Gasherbrum II Rapid Ascent Expedition is organized and led by IFMGA Guide, Esteban “Topo” Mena. Topo is an extremely talented high-altitude mountain guide, having made ten 8,000m summits. He has summited Everest four times, once without supplemental oxygen, and in 2019 he summited K2 alongside Alpenglow Expeditions Founder Adrian Ballinger and fellow Alpenglow guide Carla Perez. Topo has extensive experience organizing complicated logistics for high altitude teams, and has spent countless hours on the mountain rope-fixing with Sherpa, guiding members, and assisting and organizing rescues.

Alpenglow Expeditions offers a small team, low ratio, high-end approach to 8,000 meter peak guiding. We are also the leader in offering Rapid Ascent™ trips to 8,000 meter peaks, utilizing pre-acclimatization and more Sherpa and guide support than anyone else in the industry. This allows you to climb and summit Gasherbrum II quickly and safely.

The Alpenglow Difference

Rapid Ascent™ Strategy

First developed by Adrian Ballinger, Rapid Ascent™ is a unique approach to climbing big mountains across the world. This innovative program combines hypoxic training at home with precise logistics and small team sizes to reduce the overall time spent away from home, all while greatly increasing the chance of success on your international climbing expedition. By pre-acclimatizing for 6 weeks at home, we’re able to reduce the overall expedition time. It is due to this pre-acclimatization that we are able to move relatively quickly through the Karakoram to base camp with no ill effects.

1:3 maximum guide to climber ratio

All guides are IFMGA qualified or aspirants working towards finishing their certification. We guarantee our guides are the best in the business, drawing upon years spent guiding in the mountains to give you the best and safest experience possible.

3:2 Sherpa to climber ratio 

Having three Sherpa per every two climbers ensures we have the strength necessary to carry loads, set camps, and assist climbers. All of our Sherpa on Gasherbrum II have worked with us on many expeditions.

Expedition doctor on call 

Dr. Monica Piris, has been on fourteen 8,000-meter peak expeditions. She is in daily communication with our teams during the entirety of the expedition and is available for client consultation at any time.

Swiss weather forecasts

Having a quality forecast for Gasherbrum II maximizes both our safety and our summit success. These weather forecasts were originally developed for aircraft traveling at the altitudes that we climb at.

4 bottles of oxygen per climber

This allows us to use high-flow oxygen moving from C2 to C3 , sleeping at Camp 3, and our summit bid day. The use of supplemental oxygen maximizing safety and success. Our Sherpa also climb and sleep on oxygen, which means they have more strength to focus on you and your ascent.

High-quality food 

Imported and local foods of the highest quality, combined with a Western-trained cook staff; Alpenglow has the best food on the mountain, ensuring your strength and health throughout the expedition.

Unlimited WiFi internet in Base Camp 

We understand the modern need for technology, and this allows you to stay in touch with home and office via email, text message, and phone at no additional expense.

Route Description

The Karakoram is one of the most remote and stunning mountain ranges in the world, holding the highest concentration of 7,000m+ peaks on the planet. Our journey to the summit of Gasherbrum II 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 plan on trekking back out through the Karakoram, soaking in our last views of the mountains before heading home. If possible, we will be taking a helicopter from G2 base camp back to Skardu, but this will vary year to year depending on the Pakistani military’s regulations.


  • Fitness

    Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

  • Technical Experience

    Must be able to climb moderate rock, ice, and snow terrain, often with an alpine pack on your back. You should be comfortable with camp craft in high-altitude camps, and able to perform at a high level for multiple days in a row at altitude. Prior ascents of multiple 6000 - 7000 meter peaks is required.

  • Altitude Experience

    Climbers must have substantial climbing experience to join our G2 Expedition. Prior ascents of multiple 6000 - 7000 meter peaks is required. Climbers must be able to climb technical terrain with an alpine pack on their back. Climbers should also be comfortable with camp craft in high- altitude camps and be able to perform at a high level for multiple days in a row at altitude.

    • Day 1 — Arrive in Islamabad

      After arriving in Islamabad (1,770'), our team will meet you at the airport and transport you to our hotel. We’ll get some much needed rest and start to get over our jet lag.

    • Day 2 — Fly to Skardu

      Today we’ll leave Islamabad and take a spectacular hour-long flight to the city of Skardu (7,310') in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. Our flight will have us looking down upon breathtaking mountains like Nanga Parbat (8,124m) and Rakaposhi (7,788m).

      If the weather is not in our favor and prevents us from flying, we’ll take a luxury van down the Karakoram Highway. This two day journey follows the Indus River along what used to be an ancient Silk Road, and offers incredible views of a region not often explored by western expeditions.

    • Day 3 — Explore Skardu

      Skardu serves as the Capital of the Skardu region, and is a beautiful city with a rich history. The city has bustling bazaars and rustic stores to explore.

      If we are driving from Chilas, we’ll have another day of driving filled with beautiful views. We’ll pass by Nanga Parbat and Rakaposhi, and get a chance to see where the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Himalayan mountain ranges meet.

    • Day 4 — Drive to Askoli

      Heading out from Skardu in jeeps, we’ll drive 6-8 hours through the Shigar valley to the village of Askoli (9,800’). Arriving at the confluence of the Shigar and Braldu valleys, the landscape changes drastically from green farm lands to mountain desert. We’ll spend the night at the Aksoli campground alongside other trekkers and mountaineering expeditions and prepare for our first day of trekking the following morning.

    • Day 5 — Trek to Joula Camp

      The first day of trekking will see us following the Braldu Valley to where the Braldu and Dumordo Rivers meet. After trekking up the valley, we’ll cross the footbridge over the swift waters of the Dumordo River and arrive at Joula camp (10,500'). Today's trek will take 6-8 hours and cover 10 miles. It will be a great introduction to the dramatic landscape that is the Karakoram.

    • Day 6 — Trek to Paiju Camp

      We’ll start bright and early on the trail that winds along the Braldu River. As we trek, we’ll get glimpses of the Masherbrum range to the south. Made up of 7,000m (23,000’+) peaks, the Masherbrum range will give us our first real taste of the magnitude of the mountain range that we are traveling in. Arriving at the end of our trekking for the day and settling down beneath the granite spire of Paiju Peak (6,600m, 21,600’), we’ll get our first views of the mighty Baltoro Glacier. The day's trek will be 10 miles and should take us 6-8 hours. The next morning we will start trekking further up-valley along the Baltoro Glacier.

    • Day 7 — Trek to Urdukas Camp

      Today will be a long but rewarding day of trekking. Working our way across the Baltoro Glacier, we’ll weave our way through the constantly changing glacial moraines to the south side of the glacier and continue along the side of the valley. As we trek, we’ll be met with incredible views of the Trango Towers (6,300m, 20,000’), Cathedral Towers (6,000m, 19,700’), and Uli Biaho Tower (6,100m, 21,600’).

      Continuing our way up-valley, we’ll gain nearly 2,500’ of elevation and trek more than 12 miles to reach Urdukas Camp (13,600'). Nestled on terraces that were carved out by the 1909 K2 Expedition led by the Duke of the Abruzzi, this unique campsite will leave us breathless with both beauty and effort.

    • Day 8 — Trek to Goro II Camp

      Making our way once again onto the spine of the Baltoro Glacier, we’ll climb and descend the many glacial moraines for 7-8 hours as we head for our camp for the evening, Goro II. Incredible views of Gasherbrum IV (7,900m, 26,001’) and Broad Peak (8,047m, 26,414') will beckon us towards the head of the glacier and the 8,000m peaks that rise above as we work towards camp. Arriving at Goro II (14,100'), we’ll make camp within the ice-field and prepare to head into the heart of Karakoram in the morning.

    • Day 9 — Trek to Concordia Camp

      Today we’ll be trekking into one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring mountain scenes to be found throughout the world. We’ll pass under Mitre Peak (6,000m, 19,200’) on our way to the famous Concordia camp (15,000') that rests at the convergence of the Baltoro and Godwin Austen Glaciers.

      The Karakoram holds the highest concentration of 7,000m+ peaks anywhere in the world, and Concordia serves as the ideal camp for exploring these peaks as glaciers leading from K2, The Gasherbrum, and Chogolisa all converge here. Concordia is thought of as one of the most amazing campsites in the world, and we’ll spend our evening soaking in these spectacular views.

    • Day 10 — Trek to G2 Base Camp

      Leaving Concordia and trekking along the eastern side of the Baltoro Glacier, we’ll spend the day hiking underneath the Gasherbrum group on our way to G2. Base camp rests at the convergence of the Baltoro and Abruzzi Glaciers, with excellent views of Baltoro Kangri (7,312m, 23,990'), G1 (8,080m, 26,300’), and G2 (8,034m, 26,300’). We’ll settle into G2 base camp (16,900') after trekking 7 miles over 7-8 hours and gaining nearly 1,900’.

    • Day 11-12 — Acclimatization/ Rest Days in BC

      Acclimatize and rest in G2 Base Camp.

    • Day 13 — Climb to Camp 1

      After the last two days of rest and acclimatization at Base Camp, we’ll start our acclimatization rotation by climbing through the Icefall formed by the Gasherbrum Glacier. We’ll start early in the morning when the ice is most stable and move quickly before the sun starts to warm the Glacier. While this Icefall is not nearly as large or as treacherous as the Khumbu Icefall on the south side of Mt. Everest, there will be some steep sections that will require fixed ropes. Having pre-acclimatized, we’ll climb 2,600’ feet in 5-6 hours and find C1 at the foot of the Southwest Ridge.

    • Day 14-15 — Acclimatize in C1

      Acclimatization and rest days in C1.

    • Day 16 — Climb to Camp 2

      Having spent three nights at C1, we’ll be ready to start our climb to C2. We’ll start up the steep snow and ice slope to the “Banana Ridge”. Following the fixed lines up and taking the path of least resistance, the route will alternate between the ridge and the snow face. While the route is not overly technical, it is steep, and we’ll gain altitude quickly as we move up the fixed lines. After 3-4 hours of climbing and gaining 1,600 vertical feet, we’ll arrive at C2. Placed on a sheltered ledge at 21,100’, (6,400m), C2 will be our home for the next two nights as we spend the next day acclimatizing.

    • Day 17 — Acclimatize in C2

      Acclimatization and rest day in C2

    • Day 18 — Descend to Base Camp

      With our bodies acclimatized to 21,000’, we’ll leave C2 early and begin our descent. We’ll follow fixed lines back down the Banana Ridge to C1 and then move once more through the Icefall to Base Camp to finish off our acclimatization rotation. Today’s trek back to Base Camp will take 6-7 hours and will see us descend 4,200’.

    • Day 19 — Rest Day in Base Camp

      Today will be a rest day in Base Camp, as we prepare for our summit bid.

    • Day 20 — Climb to C1

      After spending the previous day resting our bodies at base camp, we’ll start our summit bid by climbing through the Icefall to C1 once again. Getting an early start and moving quickly through familiar terrain, our third time passing through the Icefall will only take us 4-5 hours. We’ll arrive at C1 after climbing 2,600’.

    • Day 21 — Climb to C2

      In the morning we’ll ascend the Banana Ridge, working our way up the steep slope to C2 for the second time. After 1,600’ of elevation gain and 3-4 hours spent climbing, we’ll arrive at C2’s sheltered ledge. We’ll spend the evening resting and preparing to make our way to C3 and our new high point for the climb.

    • Day 22 — Climb to C3

      Leaving C2 in the morning, we’ll once again be exploring terrain that is new to our eyes. Our team will be utilizing supplemental oxygen from here on out, keeping us strong and sharp as we move higher up the mountain. The route from C2 to C3 follows fixed lines 2,000’ up a snow slope. The route is not as steep and exposed as the Banana Ridge between C1 and C2, but will take us about the same amount of time to complete.

      We’ll arrive at C3 after 3-4 hours of climbing. Sitting on a shoulder above the main snow slope beneath the summit pyramid at 23,100’, 7,050m, C3 will be our high camp for the climb. The rest of the day will be spent getting some much needed rest before our final push to the summit of Gasherbrum II the following day.

    • Day 23 — Summit G2 and Descend to C1

      Starting around midnight, the team will set out from C3 on our journey to the summit of the 13th tallest peak on the planet. The route from C3 continues up the snow slope for another 1,300’ to the rarely used Camp 4. From here we will make the “Diagonal Traverse” beneath the summit pyramid until we link up with the East Ridge at 25,400’. Once we’ve gained the East Ridge, we will make our way up the exposed but magnificent final snow slope to 8,034m, 26,362’ and the summit of Gasherbrum II.

      After climbing for 8-10 hours, we’ll be greeted with one of the most spectacular summit views to be found throughout the world, with an incredible vantage of the Gasherbrum Group and the Karakoram. Broad Peak (8,051m, 26,414’), and K2 (8,611m, 28,251’) will be looming in the distance to the north, and Gasherbrum I (8,080m, 26,509’) will rise behind us to the southeast. We’ll spend some time soaking in the hard earned view before beginning our descent.

      Leaving the summit, we’ll descend quickly as we retrace our steps all the way to C1. In total, we will have climbed over 3,100’ from C3 to the Summit and will have descended 6’700’ on our way back down to C1. Our full summit day should take between 14-16 hours.

    • Day 24 — Descend to Base Camp

      Today we’ll make our fourth and final pass through the Icefall back to base camp to begin our celebration and get some needed rest. It will take us 3-4 hours as we descend the remaining 2,600’ to base camp.

    • Day 25-27 — Extra Summit Days

      These extra days can be used in case the team, the weather, or other variables require additional time to make a summit push. We’ve seen early and late weather windows that are suitable for a summit push, these extra days gives us flexibility in the planning of our summit push

    • Day 28 — Celebrate in Base Camp

      After returning from our successful summit of Gasherbrum II, we’ll spend the day celebrating and resting in Base Camp.

    • Day 29 — Start Trek out/Fly to Skardu

      We’ll wake up and enjoy the sunrise over G2 one last time before packing up camp and either taking a beautiful 90 min helicopter flight through the valley back to Skardu, or starting our trek out of the Karakoram. After landing in Skardu we’ll spend the rest of the day celebrating and reminiscing on our successful ascent of Gasherbrum II

    • Day 30 — Fly to Islamabad

      Today we’ll wrap up our trip by flying from Skardu to Islamabad. We’ll say our goodbyes and prepare to head home from Pakistan.

      If we are not able to fly from Skardu, we’ll start our return journey driving along the Karakoram Highway.

    • Day 31 — Extra Day in Islamabad

      We’ve built-in an extra day in Islamabad in case we are not able to fly from Skardu to Islamabad and are taking this day to finish the drive along the Karakoram Highway.

    • Day 32 — Fly Home

      Today we’ll depart Islamabad for home.

      • Headwear and Eyewear

      • Hat

        Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim - the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding. Recommended: Alpenglow 5-Panel

      • Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Slouch Beanie

      • Balaclava

        We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours. Recommended: Patagonia Balaclava

      • Neck Gaiter (Buff)

        A multi purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy. Recommended: Alpenglow Expeditions Buff

      • Sunglasses

        Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies). Recommended: Julbo Shield

      • Goggles

        These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired. Recommended: Smith I/O MAG

      • Hands and Feet

      • Liner Gloves

        These gloves keep the inside of your mitts or other gloves from accumulating sweat on the inside and turning inside out when you take them off, as well as provide additional insulation. Recommended: Black Diamond Lightweight WoolTech Gloves

      • Lightweight Gloves

        All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

      • Midweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be your main glove for the trip until summit days, or when it gets especially cold. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Glove

      • Big Mountain Mittens

        These mittens should be warm and worn over either a liner glove or windstopper glove. Down mittens are not required. You should choose a pair that allows you to still operate locking carabiners. Recommended: Black Diamond Absolute Mitt

      • Liner Socks (optional)

        A super-thin wicking sock that repels moisture. Liner socks help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. The socks should be thin wool, nylon, or Capilene®. NO COTTON. Recommended: Ice Breaker Hike Liner Crew

      • Hiking Socks

        Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in- town. NO COTTON. Recommended: Patagonia Lightweight Merino Performance Crew Socks

      • Warm Socks

        A wool synthetic blend. Pure rag wool socks are not nearly as effective in wicking moisture or retaining their shape and reducing blisters. NO COTTON. Recommended: Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Crew Socks

      • Heated Socks

        These are optional, but highly recommended. Bring 2 sets of batteries. Hotronics boot heaters are another option instead of heated socks, but socks are preferred by our guides. Recommended: Sidas Sock Set V2 Uni S-1200

      • Hiking Shoes

        These light to mid-weight shoes are for every day use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow. Recommended: La Sportiva TX Guide

      • Base Camp Boots

        These snow boots are good for wearing around camp and should be comfortable when you slip into them after spending significant time in your mountain boots. Recommended: Sorel Caribou Boots

      • Mountaineering Boots (8,000m)

        Fully insulated, double boots with an integrated gaiter. These boots are essential for 8000 meter peaks. Recommended: La Sportiva Olympus Mons Cube

      • Mountaineering Boots (5,000m-6,000m)

        Should be warm single or double boots that have a stiff sole and accept a step-in crampon. The boots should be comfortable, have adequate wiggle room for your toes, and your heel should not lift more than 1/8th of an inch when walking. (If your feet run cold, we would recommend a double boot like the La Sportiva G2 Evo.) For our Introductory Climbing Schools, we have limited availability and sizes for free boot rentals. If you need rentals, please reach out to the office staff asap to ensure we have your size. Recommended: La Sportiva G5 Evo

      • Down Booties (optional)

        You’ll love having a warm, comfortable shoe to slip into when tent-bound. Recommended: Western Mountaineering Flash Down Booties

      • Upper Body Apparel

      • Lightweight Top

        Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

      • Long Sleeve Base Layer

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry® Merino Hybrid Baselayer 1/4-Zip

      • Warm Layer

        A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

      • Synthetic Top

        A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

      • Soft Shell Jacket

        While this item isn’t required, we know that those who don’t have one wish they did! More breathable than Gore-tex, these jackets block wind and light precipitation. A windshirt is an option for this layer. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Sandstone

      • Hard Shell Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

      • Down Parka (6-8,000 Meter Peaks)

        A puffy jacket with a hood that will keep you warm during the coldest of conditions. The higher the quality down, the better (800-fill is best). However, be sure the jacket is still lightweight. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Peak XV Down Jacket

      • Down Suit

        We HIGHLY recommend an 8000m insulated suit rather than separate top and bottom. Recommended:Eddie Bauer Peak XV Down Suit

      • Lower Body Apparel

      • Quick Dry Shorts

        Throw these on under other layers for when the sun begins to beat, or you have a sudden urge to jump in a glacial lake. Lightweight, durable and comfortable. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Short

      • Base Layer Bottoms

        Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: SmartwoolMen's Intraknit™ Merino 250 Thermal Bottom

      • Expedition-weight Bottoms

        Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. The mid-weight will be a base- layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Bring multiple changes of layers. Recommended:Eddie Bauer Heavyweight Grid Fleece Baselayer Pants

      • Soft Shell Pants

        You will spend most of your days in these pants. Choose Schoeller® or a soft-shell equivalent. Breathable + water-resistant. These pants should have an ankle zip so they will accommodate your mountain boot. Recommended:Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Alpine Pants

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended:Eddie Bauer BC Duraweave Alpine Pants

      • Insulated Pants

        Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers. This layer is required. Recommended: Black Diamond Stance Belay Pants

      • Expedition Equipment

      • Day Pack

        Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters). Recommended: Eddie Bauer Bacon 2.0 Pack

      • Climbing Pack: 50-60L

        Internal frame pack that is between 50 and 60 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Alpine Sisu 50L Pack or Black Diamond Mission 50 Pack

      • Hydration System (optional)

        Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube

      • Duffle Bags

        2 Duffle Bags - At least one bag should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big - between 90L and 120L. You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying. Two duffel bags are necessary to fit all your equipment for travel (we don't recommend checking your backpack, best is to put all gear and backpack into your duffle). Once in country, you can consolidate your gear into one duffel and your backpack. It's common to leave the second duffel with city clothes and other non-necessary items behind in a locked and secure location that your guide will arrange for you. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Maximus Duffel

      • Inflatable Sleeping Pad

        72 inch long inflatable pad required. Make sure you also purchase and bring a repair kit + bag for the sleeping pad. Recommended: NeoAir Xtherm

      • Sleeping Bag (-30°)

        Rated to -30º F to -40º F. Choose an 800+ Fill Premium Goose Down bag. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Many climbers also like a silk liner. Granite Gear Compression Sack is desired. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Kara Koram with Compression Sack

      • Headlamp

        L.E.D. headlamps are required. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp. Recommended:Black Diamond Revolt 350

      • Two 1L Nalgene Bottles

        Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles. Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth

      • Compressible 1-1.5L Bottle

        Wide mouth compressible 1-1.5 liter bottle. Recommended: Nalgene Flexible Cantene

      • Plastic Bowl, Mug and Spoon

        A lightweight and compact cookware setup. You'll want a plastic bowl, mug and spoon. Recommended Kit: MSR 2 Person Mess Kit

      • Lighters

        2 BIC Lighters

      • Coffee

        While Alpenglow provides hot drink options every morning, it can be nice to have your own on hand any time you need a boost. With hot water always readily available, having instant coffee packets can give you the energy you need after a long day in the mountains! Recommended: Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee

      • Technical Equipment

      • Helmet

        Easily adjustable lightweight helmet that fits with hat and Balaclava. Make sure this is a climbing-specific helmet. *Climbing helmets are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Petzl Meteor Helmet

      • Harness

        Must have belay loop, gear loops and adjustable leg loops so that you can layer up underneath it. Easy to pack, lightweight + comfortable. *Harnesses are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Petzl Altitude

      • Mountaineering Crampons

        Steel crampons with anti-balling plates are required (so that snow does not build-up in the base of your foot). Make sure that crampons have a heel bail. Crampons are available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampons

      • General Mountaineering Axe

        One non-technical climbing axe. The tool should be approx. 55cm- 65cm long and comfortable to hold. *Ice axes are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Petzl Summit

      • Locking Carabiner (2)

        Lightweight small carabiners are best. Recommended: Petzl Attache

      • Non-Locking Carabiner (2)

        Lightweight small carabiners are best, wire-gates are fine. Recommended: Petzl Spirit

      • Belay Device

        Light, easy to use + simple. Should have teeth/grooves for skinny ropes. Recommended: Petzl Reverso

      • Accessory Cord

        25’ of 6mm nylon accessory cord. This will be used to make prusiks and cordalettes. Recommended: Sterling Ropes

      • Ascender

        Should have large opening for gloved hands, and an easy thumb trigger. Recommended: Petzl Ascension

      • Avalanche Transceiver

        A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using. Recommended: Black Diamond Recon BT Avalanche Beacon

      • Miscellaneous Items

      • Miscellaneous Items

        • Passport (with visa, if necessary)
        • 2 luggage locks (TSA compliant)
        • Non-cotton underwear
        • Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace
        • Heavy duty garbage bags (at least 4)
        • Stuffsacks: assorted sizes, for organizing your clothes and gear
        • Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher)
        • Lip balm with SPF 15 (or higher)
        • Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Imodium, Personal Medications)
        • Toiletries
        • 3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels)
        • Hand Warmers
        • Face Mask
        • Hand Sanitizer
        • Knife
        • Steripen

    • What is your cancellation policy?

    • What sort if experience is needed for Gasherbrum II?

      In order to join our Gasherbrum II expedition, climbers must have experience on a 7,000 meter peak. Many climbers gain this experience by joining our expedition to Aconcagua. Climbers must have solid ice and snow climbing experience, including the use of an ice axe, crampons, and fixed rope systems.

    • Would you consider doing a custom expedition to Gasherbrum II?

      We always consider custom expeditions. Custom trips make up more than 50% of our groups. Contact us to begin the conversation.

    • What level of fitness is required?

      Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise fro many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

    • What is Rapid Ascent™?

      Rapid Ascent™ is a unique program developed by Alpenglow Expeditions that combines the relatively new application of hypoxic training with precise logistics and small team sizes to greatly increase the chances of success while reducing the overall time spent away from home on an international expedition. 

    • Do I really need to purchase trip and rescue insurance?

      We require trip and rescue insurance on all expeditions. Trip insurance covers issues that would cause you to cancel your trip in advance. Rescue insurance can help cover costs in the event that you decide to end your expedition early. We recommend Global Rescue for both types of insurance.

    • Are Covid vaccinations required?

      Our leadership has made the decision to require all participants to be vaccinated for international travel. This is a safety measure that we have made to not only protect our clients, but also to protect our guide team and the local people in which we interact with during our expeditions. We want to do our utmost to mitigate the risk of Covid disrupting our expeditions, and having our teams vaccinated has become an important part of our risk management system with international travel. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or issues regarding this decision, we’d be happy to hop on a call and discuss this further.

    • What all is included and excluded?

      The cost of your trip includes your land costs (excluding in-town meals). This includes: 

      • Double occupancy lodging while in Islamabad and Skardu. This only includes nights scheduled in the itinerary (3 total nights in Islamabad; 3 total nights in Skardu; 2 nights total allocated if we need to drive between Islamabad to Skardu)
      • Meals on the mountain
      • Group camping and climbing equipment
      • Base camp and advanced base camp infrastructure
      • Scheduled transportation while in the countries we are visiting
      • Certified guides
      • Covid testing arrangements for re-entry into home country (does not include cost of test)

      The cost of your trip does not include: 

      • Flights to/from Islamabad 
      • Airport taxes
      • Visas
      • In-town meals
      • Immunizations
      • Tips for guides or local staff
      • Travel, rescue, or any other type of insurance
      • Hospitalization or evacuation costs
      • Single supplement charges
      • Excess baggage charges
      • Alcohol
      • Antigen/PCR Covid test cost
      • Other personal expenses.

Esteban “Topo” Mena

Topo’s formal name is Esteban Mena, but he goes by his nickname. Esteban Topo Mena is 28 years old and began his guiding career at 19, when he climbed Aconcagua’s South Face and became the youngest person to accomplish this difficult climb. Topo began guiding in Ecuador and Peru. In 2012, Topo summited Manaslu and in 2013, he summited Everest – both without using supplementary oxygen. Topo again summited Everest in 2016 while supporting his wonderful partner Carla as she successfully summited without supplemental oxygen. In 2018 Topo summited both Cho Oyu and Everest with clients in under 30 days. An incredible achievement that only the best guides in the word could attempt. He also has climbed challenging new routes in Kyrgyzstan and China and one of his climbs (Kyzyl Asker) has been nominated for the Piolet d’Or (as part of an Ecuadorian team).

Guide Certifications
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Adrian Ballinger

Adrian Ballinger is one of the USA’s premier high-altitude mountain guides, and the only American guide to have both AMGA/IFMGA guide’s certification (one of roughly 150 in the USA) and more than a fifteen summits of 8,000 meter peaks (17 total, including 8 summits of Mt. Everest, 1 without supplemental oxygen, as well as an ascent of K2 without supplemental oxygen). As founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian has been guiding full-time for over twenty years and has led over 130 international climbing expeditions on 6 continents.

In 2011 he, along with 2 Sherpa partners, became the first people to summit three 8,000 meter peaks in only 3 weeks (Everest twice and Lhotse once). He is also the first person to ski Manaslu (the 8th tallest mountain in the world) from its summit, and the first American to successfully ski two 8,000-meter peaks. These personal successes are combined with Adrian’s passion for guiding and teaching others. Adrian has successfully led more than 100 clients to the summits of Everest, Lhotse (the 4th tallest mountain in world), Cho Oyu (6th tallest) and Manaslu (8th tallest).

Whether on skis, in rock shoes, or mountain boots, Adrian thrives on sharing the big mountains with friends and clients, and helping them to build their skills and experience to be successful on the world’s most beautiful mountains. In the coming seasons, Adrian plans on continuing to enjoy big-mountain skiing, climbing, and guiding in the Himalaya, South America, Europe, and of course closer to home in Squaw Valley, CA. Adrian is a sponsored athlete for Eddie Bauer, La Sportiva, Blizzard, Tecnica, Hiball Energy, and Favre Leuba.

Learn more about Adrian at adrianballinger.com

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Logan Talbott

co-owner / chief guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan spends time in the office helping the team with the day-to-day operations of the business. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Carla Perez

Carla has been on the pursuit of her climbing dreams for most of her life, she started climbing as a teenager and her love to the mountains took her to the french Alps, where she studied geology and got a masters degree on geochemistry. In 2007 she decided to become a full time climber, which also put her the path of becoming a mountain guide. Carla has trained with and is pursuing UIAGM/IFMGA certification with the ASEGUIM (the Ecuadorian mountain guides association).

Carla has made multiple successful summits of Everest, including an ascent without the use of supplemental oxygen in 2016. She was the sixth women in history to accomplish this feat and the first Latin American woman to do so. She was also the first woman from the Americas to summit K2 without supplemental oxygen in 2019, and was the first woman to summit Everest and K2 in the same year..

In 2008 she did a biking trip from Ecuador to Argentina and had the opportunity to understand and learn more about her home: the Andes.

Today she splits her time between speaking about her climbing experiences all around the world, chasing new missions with her parter “Topo” and guiding big mountains.

Guide Certifications

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    Gasherbrum II Rapid Ascent™

Gasherbrum II Rapid Ascent™

Climb Gasherbrum II in Rapid Ascent™  style - At 26,362', 8,034m, Gasherbrum II is the 13th tallest mountain in the world and is one of the fourteen 8,000 meter peaks. G2 is a great opportunity to climb an 8,000m peak in one of the of most beautiful and remote mountain ranges in the world. (We are currently retooling our itinerary for the 2023 season and will have updates asap). Reach out the office if you have any direct questions about our itinerary).