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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Trip report for K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La in July 2019 led by Robert Anderson

Photo: Robert Anderson and group at Concordia (credit: Robert Anderson)

In July we organised our 11th trek to K2 Base Camp in Pakistan and out of these departures seven groups have successfully crossed the Gondogoro La high pass over to Hushe village.

Our leaders for our July 2019 K2 Base Camp treks were Robert Anderson (USA), Raheb (Pakistan) and Hameed (Pakistan). We had five people in our K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La group and five people in our K2 Base Camp & Concordia group. Like in previous years this group was an international mix with people coming from UK, USA, Norway, Canada and Ireland.

This Summer we organised in total three trekking groups in Pakistan: first one to K2 Base Camp & Concordia, second to K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La led by Robert and third to Snow Lake & Hispar La led by Jo Clark. All of these groups started on the same date arriving in Islamabad on July 20th and then flew up to Skardu from Islamabad together on July 21st.

Photo: crossing bridge after Askole village (credit: Robert Anderson)
Photo: walking on Baltoro glacier (credit: Robert Anderson)
Photo: Mount K2 (credit: Robert Anderson)
Robert Anderson writes about his experience leading K2 Base Camp treks below:

"We reached Broad Peak base Camp by noon on August 1st, and the team paused for lunch, K2 already towering high overhead, swirling with wispy clouds.

Over the past week we had ascended the 95 km from Askole to Concordia. On the third day we dropped onto the Baltoro Glacier, trading sandy trails and bright sunshine for the rocky path leading through the crevasses, over the ice cliffs and around the azure blue lakes. The ice popped and cracked, rocks tumbled into the fissures and rivers roared over the ice and underfoot to suddenly disappear into crevasses. We passed underneath the staggering heights of Uli Biaho and the Trango towers, sunsets framing their jagged summits every evening.

At K2 Base Camp, the climbing teams had already left and we were alone with the mountain, indescribably high and rising far above us. We took pictures, yet none close to capturing the sense of immensity, the towering and complex black rock and white ice slopes that rose so far into the sky.

Back at Concordia, 5 of us headed for the heights of the Gondogoro La at 5,600 meters, stepping over Snow Leopard tracks as we started up the ropes. The night had started pre-midnight with stars, but at the pass a blizzard raged and we dived down the other side, sliding down ice covered ropes and into the sunshine of the Hushe Valley.

We met back up with our Baltoro team at Skardu, traded stories from the heights and plotted new adventures together."

Photo: walking to Ali Camp before crossing Gondogoro La (credit: Robert Anderson)

Photo: leaving Ali Camp before crossing Gondogoro La (credit: Robert Anderson)
Photo: climbing up Gondogoro La (credit: Robert Anderson)
Photo: descending a snowy Gondogoro La (credit: Robert Anderson)

Photo: descending a snowy Gondogoro La (credit: Robert Anderson)
Well done to both groups for achieving their objectives with the Gondogoro La group successfully crossing this technical high pass 5,500m+ and for K2 Base Camp group for walking up to Gilkey memorial and to the Base Camp of the second highest mountain in the world. Both of our K2 Base Camp groups arrived safely back to Skardu on August 8th and then flew back together to Islamabad on August 9th.

Photo: relaxing in Khuspang camp after crossing Gondogoro La (credit: Robert Anderson)
Photo: Khuspang camp after crossing Gondogoro La (credit: Robert Anderson)
Jo Clark, the leader of our K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La group in 2018, made a good video of her trek and uploaded to our YouTube channel, link below:

We track all of our groups in the field with GPS check ins from Thuraya satellite phone and this year we have started using Google Maps in real time so friends and families can follow their progress - you can see the Google Maps for our 2019 K2 Base Camp treks.

You can view the all of our AITO reviews for K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La and K2 Base Camp & Concordia. I have copied below an AITO review received from one member of this group below:

"I can't say enough good things about The Mountain Company. Pre-booking information was plentiful, and any questions I had were immediately addressed. The pre-departure information was extremely useful - everything from gear selection to a fitness program, assistance in arranging visas, suggested airline routings... wow. I had several back and forth interactions about what gear to take and my inquiries were always answered promptly. 

Then there was the trip. Everything on the ground went smoothly from the time I was met after picking up my bags in Islamabad until I was dropped off again on departure. Our leader, Robert, was exceptional, extremely experienced, good natured with a positive outlook that helped in the difficult days. He was keyed into the needs of the individuals in the group and made the logistics trivial for us. The local operator was of high quality and the local guides friendly, funny, helpful and accommodating to us. Any issues with porters/muleteers or logistics were unseen by us. I am an experienced traveler and have used a half dozen tour operators over the years. This trip with TMC was the best of them, and I will be booking other trips with TMC in the future."

Thanks very much to Robert, Raheb and Hameed plus the rest of the hard working team in Pakistan for their help and making it possible for our trekkers to experience this beautiful trek to K2.

The Mountain Company is promoting both our K2 Base Camp & Concordia and K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La for July 2020. We are also planning to organise Snow Lake & Hispar La again in July 2020.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions on K2 Base Camp trek and if you would like to discuss your suitability or additional training required to join this trek in the future.

Roland Hunter

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