Islamabad – Chilas – Skardu – Askolie – Korofong – Bardumal – Paiyu – Rest – Khobrse – Urdukas – Goro – Concordia – Rest – Ali Camp – Hispang, Dalang Pa – Saitcho – Rest – Hushe – Skardu – Besham – Islamabad.
Season: Mid June – Sep.
Max. Altitude: 5685m.
Duration: 22 Days.
The view from the summit of this nearly 5585m. pass (Gondogoro La) is beyond description. In the opinion of many, it is simply the finest mountain panorama in the world. K-2, Broad Peak, the four Gasherbrums, Trinity Peak, (8000+ m) summits and a multitude of lesser pinnacles touch the heavens all around you. One must make an extra effort from Concordia to reach the spectacle. The trek to the top of the Gondogoro La includes some 600m of ice and snow slope climbs that require the use of an ice axe, crampons, harness, helmet, ropes, and carabiners.
The first leg of the trek takes us to Concordia (see the K-2 Trek description for this trip segment). Upon leaving Concordia we hike up to Ali Camp, situated at approximately 5666 m. above the Vigne Glacier. The fluted and icy-white slopes of Chogolisa tower in front of us, reminiscent of a wedding gown, which gives rise to Chogolisa’s other name: Bride’s Peak.
At 2:00 a.m. we leave Ali Camp for Gondogoro La. We trek in darkness across the Vigne Glacier, reaching the bottom of the pass by early dawn around 5:00 a.m. The morning light illuminates the immense snow walls that surround us. Ropes are fixed in place on the steepest slopes and we begin our ascent, cresting the Gondogoro La by 9:00 a.m. Slowly, the shark-like summit of mighty K-2 emerges above a nearby ridge, crowning the scene with its second-highest-mountain-on-the-planet glory. After a few spellbinding minutes on top of Gondogoro La, we make a steep descent into the glacier-ringed Gondogoro La Valley utilizing strategically-placed fixed ropes as aids. By midday we reach Hispang, a beautiful campsite at 4833 m. We rest by a glacial stream surrounded by swaths of colorful mountain flowers and gentle green slopes.
The next leg of our journey is three or four days of easy trekking down to Hushe Village. On the way we pass shining alpine lakes, shepherds in their meadows and ancient villages. Masherbrum (7750 m) shyly reveals her other side as we approach Hushe. Hushe is the eastern Baltistan counterpart to Askoli, and home to many of the best climbers and mountaineers in Pakistan. We meet our jeeps upon arrival, and travel above the Shyok River and past the town of Khaplu. Here, we get our last look at vistas unchanged since the time of Marco Polo. After crossing the famous confluence of the mighty Indus and Shyok Rivers, we continue through landscapes of overwhelming scenic intensity to the busy town of Skardu. Our passage out of the high mountains is now complete, and our return to Islamabad is either by road or air.
Gondogoro Pass is the highest (19,500 ft) mountain pass on the Gondogoro Glacier near Vigne Glacier. In 1986, a route was established that connects Concordia and the upper Baltoro Glacier to the Hushe Valley over the Gondogoro Pass(5940m). Since then, this challenging technical pass has attracted trekkers and climbers alike. This pass has one of the most overwhelming mountain panoramas anywhere in the world, with all of the Karakoram’s 8000m peaks close at hand. The Gondogoro La, although popular with trekkers, involves Class 4 climbing. The North side is a 50-degree snow slope with Avalanche danger requiring fixed ropes. The south side is a continuous 50-degree slope with rock-fall and avalanche danger that requires fixing as much as 300m of rope. Crossing this pass requires good judgement, commitment, top fitness, prior acclimatisation and basic mountaineering skills of all members. The pass is easier to cross earlier in the season and can be attempted as early as the last three or four days in June. Any earlier and you are likely to be the first party of the season to break the trail. By August, objective dangers from crevasses, avalanches and rock fall increase substantially as the snow cover begins to melt. It may be approached either from the Askole village all the way over Baltoro Glacier leading to Concordia and Ali Camp over Vigne Glacier or from Hushe valley through Charakusa valley over Masherbrum glacier leading to the foothills of Gondogoro and Laila Peaks.
Being the highest mountain pass of the world, the views from the top of pass are unforgettable, by the views of many famous climbers from around the world, it offers the best mountain scenery anywhere in the world. Apart from dozens more, one can see the following famous peaks from the pass K2(Choghori), Broad Peak, Masherbrum, Laila Peak, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II, Gasherbrum III, Gasherbrum IV