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Gasherbrum 2

(G2 & optional Broad Peak summit)

  • Where?

    Pakistan

  • Altitude

    8,035m

  • Duration

    47 days

  • Weather

  • Physical

    P7

  • Technical

    T5

  • P7 - You will be pushed physically to the limit and then beyond. Long and arduous preparation is required before this expedition. Expect to be carrying pack weights up to 25kg. Be prepared for very long, sustained days with hours well into double figures on a regular basis. Discomfort to achieve your goal is to be expected.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • T5 - Competent Alpine climbing ability. Should be comfortable on Scottish Winter III ground or Alpine AD. Complete understanding and confidence in use of  your technical kit will be required.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • Overview

  • Date & Prices

  • Pics & Vids

  • Itinerary

  • Kit List

  • FAQs

Overview

This adventurous expedition in the Karakoram aims to attempt Gasherbrum 2 (8,035m), the world’s 13th highest mountain.

The colossal pyramid of G2 lies at the head of the Baltoro Glacier, amongst well-known mountains such as K2, Gasherbrum 4 and Hidden Peak. First climbed in 1956, the ‘shining mountain’ is generally considered the easiest of Pakistan’s Karakoram 8,000m peaks.

G2’s basecamp lies at the junction of the spectacular South Gasherbrum and Abruzzi glaciers, and we rate the trek here along the Baltoro glacier as one of the most incredible experiences in the Karakoram. From our basecamp on Gasherbrum Glacier, we climb G2 via its straightforward south west ridge.

This expedition combines the elements of exceptional trekking, generous local hospitality, a fascinating insight into Balti culture and rewarding high altitude mountaineering in the incredible Karakoram mountains.

While the main aim of this expedition is Gasherbrum 2, as an optional extension to extend your time in the Karakoram we are offering the possibility of including an attempt on Broad Peak (8,051m) after the summit of G2 has been reached. Since we will have achieved optimal acclimatisation on G2, the summit of BP should be reached in a much shorter time. The challenge of 8,000m is never to be taken lightly, but every year expeditions visit the Karakoram with double 8,000m summits in mind, most notably acclimatising on BP before moving to K2.

Find out more
Gasherbrum 2, (G2 & optional Broad Peak summit) Gasherbrum 2, (G2 & optional Broad Peak summit)

Date & Prices

For private trips or bespoke itineraries inc. different dates, please contact the 360 office on 0207 1834 360.

A monthly payment plan is possible, please contact the office to chat through the options.

For private trips or bespoke itineraries inc. different dates, please contact the 360 office on 0207 1834 360.
A monthly payment plan is possible, please contact the office to chat through the options.

Departure & Return

Duration

Price (excl. flight)

Price (incl. flight UK-UK)

Start: 20 June 2021
End: 04 August 2021

Price without flights:  $17,800

Broad Peak Ext: $12,400 - please check the Broad Peak itinerary for further details.

20 June 2021

04 August 2021

46 days

$17,800

N/A

Broad Peak Ext: $12,400 - please check the Broad Peak itinerary for further details.

Included

The Team:

  • Climbing support: Sherpas/HAP based on 1:3 guide to climber ratio
  • Based on our team of 4 climbers: 2 elite Nepalese Sherpa and Rolfe Oostra
  • Based on the collective team: 4 elite Nepalese Sherpa, 2 western guides (Rolfe and Andreas) and High-Altitude porters
    • ** please see our FAQs regarding the collective team which we believe offers you the absolute best chance for a successful summit.
  • Basecamp Manager & team
  • Liaison officer
  • Trekking porters and the high-altitude porters (HAP), along with their insurance, accommodation, food, climbing fees and equipment

 

Transport/ Transfers:

  • Domestic flights: Skardu – Islamabad – Skardu (subject to weather, otherwise transfer by road)

 

Accommodation:

  • Great hotel accommodation (double rooms) in Islamabad, Skardu (and Chilas if needed)

 

Additional:

  • Summit fees
  • Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) garbage fees and environmental bond
  • Helicopter rescue bond

 

Equipment:

  • Gear transport to and from Basecamp (mules or porters)
  • All camping and kitchen equipment needed for the trek up Baltoro
  • Entire base camp equipment (comfortable mess tent, toilet tent, shower tent, personal tent)
  • 1 BC tent per team member
  • 1 tent per 2 climbers during the approach and at the high camps
  • Thick comfortable foam sleeping pad at base camp
  • Fixed ropes, climbing ropes, snow stakes, ice screws, etc.
  • High altitude stove (gas) and cookware (gas)
  • Weather forecast from Meteotest, Bern, Switzerland
  • Solar panels for lighting in the mess-tent
  • Solar power at Basecamp to charge electronic devices (availability subject to weather)

 

Communications:

  • Communications (radio) at Basecamp (12 volts)
  • Radios: 1 radio (9 volts) per member
  • Satellite phones: Main use for emergencies and expedition updates but available for occasional personal use, at additional cost
  • Limited internet and e-mail access at Basecamp – additional data can be bought prior to the expedition

 

Medical:

  • Rescue sledge for emergencies
  • Medical oxygen and equipment for emergencies
  • Large medical kit at Basecamp
  • Medical kits for high camps
  • Medical kits for summit bid

 

Kitchen and dining:

  • Modern expedition kitchen with great facilities
  • Experienced qualified expedition cooks and kitchen helpers
  • Full board during the entire expedition
  • Beverages during group meals (except for alcoholic beverages)

Not Included

  • International flights to Islamabad
  • Summit bonus
  • Tips for ground support and western guides
  • Additional meals in Islamabad
  • Personal equipment
  • Supplementary oxygen (see FAQs): US $1,400 for 1 cylinder of O2, including mask, regulator & transport to BC/ High Camps; US $800 for each additional cylinder & transport
  • Medical and personal high-risk insurance
  • Camp wifi
  • Satellite phone calls (charged at £3/ minute)
  • Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, room service, alcoholic beverages etc.
  • Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early

Pics & Vids

Itinerary

DAY 1 : Depart UK

Likely departure on your overnight flight to Islamabad. International flights are not included in the itinerary – please advise the office of your arrival flight and times.

DAY 2 : Arrival in Islamabad

We’ll likely meet at the airport and transfer together to a centrally located hotel to relax and recover from our flight – though anyone on a different flight, we’ll meet at the hotel. There may be time for a short sightseeing excursion to Islamabad, or its twin city Rawalpindi, before dinner. It may be necessary for some, or all of, the group to visit the offices of the Ministry of Tourism to receive an official briefing about the expedition.

(D)

DAY 3 : Fly or drive to Skardu. (2,228 m)

Depending on flight permissions, today we will either fly to Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan, or start our journey to the Karakoram on the spectacular Karakoram Highway (KKH).

Weather permitting, we take the early morning flight to Skardu. The chances of flying are usually good, usually around an 80% possibility, and if we fly then the short flight is nothing short of spectacular with breathtaking views of the Rupal and Diamir faces of Nanga Parbat.

If we fly, we will spend the remainder of the day sightseeing in Skardu, the main trekking and expedition hub in the Karakoram.  Visit its many bazaars, known for their hand-woven woolen cloth and elaborate, colourful embroidered gowns, or take a stroll up the hill to the ancient Alexandria Fort overlooking the town. The sight of the wide alluvial plain beneath you with the mighty Indus flowing through is an indication of the visual pleasures that lie in store.

If we drive along the KKH, we will prepare for a simply astonishing two-day journey along what was once an ancient Silk Road though is now an international highway that connects Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent to China. Traversed for centuries by traders and travelers alike, the route will take us into a region rarely visited by modern expeditions, allowing us to capture a glimpse into the everyday world of these hardy mountain people.

We will still be able to get incredible views of the mighty Nanga Parbat, the 9th highest mountain in the world and we will experience first-hand what an astonishing engineering achievement this road is. Cut deeply into the side of mountains and high above the Indus river there simply is no road like it. It is, for many, one of the highlights of their journey through the Karakoram.

(B)                                                                                             

 

DAY 4 : Sightseeing in Skardu or continue the drive along the KKH

Skardu is a dusty fort town of bazaars, stores and ancient polo fields grazed by an eclectic variety of livestock. Originally settled by Tibetans, it is home to the Balti people, as well as the main stop before the mountains. With nods to its shamanist and Buddhist pasts, the town is of diverse origin, and is dotted with rustic hotels and second-hand shops for climbers, usually filling with trekkers and mountaineers during the summer. The Indus River flows past the town in a wide, flat valley and the stunning snow-topped peaks in the distance give a tantalising hint of the heights to come.

A free day in Skardu might also present us with a chance to take a jeep ride up to the beautiful Satpara Lake. A prominent rock inscription of the Lord Buddha on the drive to Satpara is a reminder of the important influence of Buddhism to this area before the arrival of Islam.

(BLD)

DAY 5 : Jeep Drive to Askole (3,048m) Drive 6-8 hrs

Leaving Skardu, we set out by jeep for approximately a 6 to 8-hour drive to Askole. Initially, friendly Balti farmers and waving school children are likely to enliven your journey through the colourful and fertile settlements of the Shigar Valley, but once we reach the confluence of the Braldu and Shigar valley the scenery changes from green and fertile to the desert landscape more typical of these mountains. Throughout the drive snow-capped 5000m peaks rise around us, with lush oasis visible where streams run down and cross the increasingly more rugged track. At times, landslides may make it necessary to walk short sections of the road. Askole is a single street of wooden houses flanked by vibrant fields of wheat and potatoes and dotted by apricot and mulberry orchards. This drive, like its big brother the KKH, reveals a hugely human aspect to the expedition and highlights the hospitality of the Balti people.

(BLD)

DAY 6 : Trek to Jhola Camp (3,305m) 8-9 hrs

A gentle and beautiful start marks the start of this incredible trek. Leaving Askole village behind, we walk initially along lanes and through fields where we’ll see friendly local Balti people going about their daily lives, but it doesn’t take long before the Karakoram begins to reveal itself; jagged peaks, stark snow-capped mountains and sheer cliff faces begin to dominate the landscape. A suspension bridge crosses the Baltoro River, which rushes from the glacier’s snout near the small oasis at Korofong. From Korofong, we follow the path up a side valley and cross the river on a good bridge that replaces the old trolley system or “jhola” that was previously used by both locals and expeditions alike. From here, we have views of Bakhor Das (5,809m), its impressive summit a rocky fist standing above its base. It is often referred to as K2 by local villagers. In the distance the needles of Paiju Peak are visible. Our first night on the trek to basecamp affords great views of what’s to come.

(BLD)

DAY 7 : Trek to Paiju camp (3620m). 7-8 hrs

We make an early start today along a path that is sometimes loose and occasionally flooded in places. We may need to take off our boots to wade across – sandals come in handy! Our objective today is Paiju Camp; a green oasis nestled beneath the striking granite spire of Paiju Peak (6,611m). At our high point we have jaw-dropping views of the Baltoro Glacier and the granite peaks of the Trango and Cathedral groups, and on a clear day it is even possible to see K2. Much has been done by the local Balti community to remove rubbish and human waste from both the trail and the camps ahead, in order to restore this incredible landscape to its natural splendour.

(BLD)

DAY 8 : Rest day / Acclimatisation day in Paiju (3,620m)

Today will be a rest day at Paiju Camp to acclimatise, take in the scenery and enjoy a relaxed morning stroll through alpine flower meadows. Our basecamp porters and Balti team traditionally use this camp to organize their loads and to prepare food for the remainder of their trek to basecamp. A short acclimatisation walk in the late afternoon will reward us with different views of the remarkable granite spires of the Trango and Cathedral Tower group at sunset.

(BLD)

DAY 9 : Trek to Urdukas. (4,200m) 7-8 hrs

We start today with a gradual climb up the southern edge of Baltoro Glacier. After about two hours the path divides at the snout of Baltoro Glacier, where the left branch goes to the basecamp of Trango Tower and the Sarpo Lago pass. We continue to the right, climbing up on to the glacier that stretches like an ocean of ice, 2km wide for a further 62km before us. After a hearty lunch we will continue a further 2 to 3 hours steady climb on a long diagonal to the other side of the Baltoro, to Liliwa and onward to Khoburtse. From here it’s a lovely walk for about 90 minutes to the campsite, alongside clear running water. Today’s highlights will be the stunning views of Paiyu Peak, Chorichi, Uli Biaho and the Trango Towers.

(BLD)

DAY 10 : Re-ascend the Baltoro Glacier to Goro II. (4,495m) 6-7 hrs

Taking the trail back onto the icy back of the Baltoro Glacier, we will pass the Yermanandu Glacier, flowing from Masherbrum and its immediate neighbour, Muztagh Tower: an imposing monolith of rock first climbed in 1956 by the British team of Joe Brown and Ian McNaught-Davis. For many, today’s highlight is the enormous shining wall at the head of the glacier of the stunning Gasherbrum IV (7,925m), which lures us further into Concordia, the realm of some of the greatest mountains on earth. We are quite high now and camping on one of the largest pieces of ice outside the polar regions. Ledges have been levelled out on the glacier to make our campsite and we’ll notice the drop in temperature that the altitude and camping on the ice brings.

(BLD)

DAY 11 : To Concordia and Shaqring (Shama) camp. (4,800m) 4-5 hrs

The final approach to Concordia is slightly easier than the preceding days and brings us to the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere in the world.  As our journey continues up the Baltoro Glacier, there will be tantalising glimpses of Gasherbrum II (8,035m) and we begin to appreciate why Broad Peak, standing at 8,051m, gained its name. Then, seemingly without warning, its peak towering almost 4,000 meters from the valley floor, stands the mighty K2. Together, the giants of Concordia make other mountain ranges seem puny in comparison. Surrounded on all sides by the gigantic summits of Gasherbrum IV, Mitre Peak, Chogolisa, Crystal Peak, Marble Peak, Baltoro Kangri, Broad Peak and K2, our lunch at Concordia is an experience that will stay forever etched in your memory. We will savour this incredible view and, after lunch, continue for a few more hours on a more complex path to our camp Shaqring, winding our way around crevasses and glacier streams.

(BLD)

DAY 12 : Gasherbrum 2 Basecamp. 3-4 hrs

The last day of our approach to basecamp takes us along the beautiful Godwin-Austin Glacier for 3 or 4 hours. Basecamp, our temporary home for now, is surrounded by numerous awe-inspiring peaks and must rate as one of the finest places to camp.

(BLD)

DAY 13 : Rest day at Gasherbrum 2 Basecamp

(BLD)

DAY 14-39 : Climbing Gasherbrum 2 (8,035 m)

Climbing a mountain the size of Gasherbrum 2 takes a significant amount of time to do safely and sensibly. Optimal acclimatisation, coupled with a climber’s fitness level, conditions of the mountain and weather conditions experienced as the expedition unfolds, all determine the time frame it takes to reach the summit and return safely back to basecamp.

The above time frame allows for a generous amount of time to get to the summit, and factors in plenty of contingency days to allow our team to both reach optimal acclimatisation and for conditions on the mountain to become safe to climb in.

In the past, many expeditions have concluded their expeditions in a much shorter time. If this is the case then climbers who are on the Gasherbrum 2 expedition and not attempting Broad Peak will return to Skardu earlier, and the Broad Peak team will continue to Broad Peak basecamp before the allocated time. The factors that determine how long it takes us to climb Gasherbrum 2 are equally at play on Broad Peak, but generally a much shorter time is required to reach this second summit due to the climbers being fully acclimatised and the route on Broad Peak being established and well-marked.

(BLD)

DAY 14-39 : Climbing Phases

We have 26 days to climb Gasherbrum 2.

With the help of our Sherpa and Balti high-altitude crew, we will establish three high camps. Our climbing times will improve once we start to gain optimal acclimatisation on the rotations to the higher camps before our final summit push. The additional advantage of the rotations is the fact that we will become more and more familiar with the route, which will not only allow us to move safely on steeper terrain but facilitate our descent to basecamp once the summit has been reached.

DAY 14-39 : Basecamp to Camp 1. (5,900m)

Initially, the route from basecamp crosses the horizontal South Gasherbrum Glacier which can, at times,  be quite broken up by crevasses. Our Sherpa and Balti crew will fix ropes to facilitate our ascent and descent through the glacier. Camp I is located at the foot of the prominent south-west ridge, which is also known as ‘Banana Ridge’.

DAY 14-39 : Camp 1 to Camp 2. (6,900 m)

The terrain immediately gets steeper above Camp 1. However, our Sherpas and Balti crew will secure our safety by fixing ropes all the way up the Banana Ridge. The ridge itself becomes the south-west flank higher up. We continue on the flank up to the South Ridge, where we establish Camp 2 on an excellent platform which offers stunning views over to Hidden Peak. Technically, this is one of the most difficult sections of the climb.

DAY 14-39 : Camp 2 to Camp 3. (7,400 m)

From Camp 2, we will continue to climb the South Ridge to approximately 7,400m where we will establish Camp 3. We prefer to camp at this altitude as it makes our summit push significantly shorter, but we cannot guarantee this. This camp is exposed to the wind and in dry conditions it is difficult to pitch tents. If this is the case, we will establish our Camp 3 at approximately 7,100m and attempt the summit from this point.

DAY 14-39 : Camp 3 to Summit (8,035m)

Our summit bid we follow a broad ledge that rises underneath the massive summit pyramid before we gain a distinct saddle on the East side of Gasherbrum 2. We climb to the summit on the East ridge which via a short rock band brings us to the summit. We are rewarded for our effort with incredible views spanning over Chinese and the Karakoram giants.  Summit day normally takes around 12-14hrs for the return to camp 2.

DAY 40-47 : For climbers attempting solely Gasherbrum II

The following days 40-47 reflect the final days of the climb of Gasherbrum 2. Details for the Broad Peak Extension (days 40-61) are found below.

DAY 40-42 : Return to Askole

We will bid farewell and good luck to those attempting the Broad Peak summit and, making the most of our last few days in the Karakoram, we will most likely retrace our steps to Askole via Concordia, Goro II, Paiju and Jhola. Trekking this route back allows us to savour the summits from a different perspective and, as we are fully acclimatised and trekking fit, we are able to start the days at a leisurely pace and explore small side valleys and sections of the glacier we might not have had the time to see on our ascent. Depending on weather conditions, we may also take a different route out, via the spectacular Gondogoro La.

(BLD)

DAY 43 : Return drive to Skardu

From Askole, we will be driven by jeep directly back to Skardu, around a 6 to 7-hour drive. Arriving in the Balti capital, we will check into our hotel and enjoy modern facilities, a group meal in a local restaurant and a comfortable bed!

(BLD)

DAY 44 : Return to Islamabad

Today we will plan to fly from Skardu to Islamabad, and so the day will be spent either exploring Islamabad and its twin city Rawalpindi, or on the road enjoying the scenery of the return journey along the KKH if no flights are available.

We will check in to our hotel in the centre of Islamabad and celebrate our climb and ascent with a group meal in a local restaurant.

(BLD)

DAY 45 : Contingency day / Departure

Today is a contingency day to allow for any delays due to weather – we will either spend the morning in Islamabad or finish up our scenic drive along the KKH no flights are available.

International flights are not included in this itinerary, so depending on the international flights you have arranged, you will likely depart on a night flight departing from Islamabad to your home country. Islamabad Airport transfers will be provided.

DAY 46 : Arrive UK

Depending on the international flights you have booked, you’ll arrive in your home country after your overnight flight.

DAY 40-61 : For climbers on Broad Peak Extension (8,051m)

Days 40-61 below reflect the additional days for the extension of the expedition to Broad Peak.

Please get in touch with the 360 office if you have any queries regarding the optional Broad Peak extension to this expedition and we will be happy to discuss the various details.

DAY 40 : Rest day in Gasherbrum 2 Basecamp

Today we rest from our achievements so far and bid farewell to our Gasherbrum 2 team mates. Our Sherpa and Balti crew will begin to move our camp down to Broad Peak basecamp, a day’s walk away.

(BLD)

DAY 41 : Trek to Broad Peak Basecamp. (4,800 m) 5-6 hours

We descend the Godwin Austin glacier till we reach the junction of the upper Baltoro and establish ourselves at Broad Peak basecamp.

(BLD)

DAY 42 : Rest day / Acclimatisation at Broad Peak Basecamp

(BLD)

DAY 43-51 : Climbing Broad Peak (8,051m)

The factors that determine how long it takes us to climb Gasherbrum 2 are equally at play on Broad Peak, but a much shorter time is generally required to reach the summit as you will be fully acclimatised. The route on Broad Peak is also more established and well-marked.

The greatest advantage of climbing Broad Peak is that our proposed route, the West Ridge, goes directly up from basecamp and, although steep in places (up to 45 degrees), it is relatively safe. There is little of the time-consuming horizontal distance to cover, as is the case on many other big mountains, and this will aid us substantially in terms of logistics and speed of ascent. We will be making a direct summit push and not doing acclimatisation rotations for this phase of the expedition.

Ably assisted by our Sherpa and Balti high-altitude crew we will establish 3 camps on the mountain.

(BLD)

DAY 43-51 : Basecamp to Camp 1. (5,800m)

From our base on the Godwin Austen glacier, it will take us around half an hour to cross the Baltoro Glacier and reach the foot of the West Ridge.  Initially we will ascend mixed terrain for 2 hours, until we reach a gully which our Balti and Sherpa team will fix with about 500m of safety rope. At the end of the gully, we reach a site often used as Camp 1 (at 5,400m) but which is exposed to both weather and objective hazards and so we continue for approximately a further 2 hours up the ridge at about 30 degrees to locate our camp at 5,800m.

DAY 43-51 : Camp 1 to Camp 2 (6,600m)

The climb to C2 involves sections of 35-degree snow-slopes and short rock sections. Initially from camp we ascend a short ridge of mixed terrain that brings us onto the south-west ridge, from which we ascend to a broad platform to 6,600m where we set up Camp 2. Camp 2 is safely positioned between two rocky pinnacles and offers incredible views of the peaks lining the Baltoro Glacier stretching below us.

DAY 43-51 : Camp 2 to Camp 3. (7,400m)

The climb to C3 initially stays on the crest of the ridge and is again over mixed terrain before joining a wide couloir leading up to a distinct rock pinnacle. From here, a short ridge leads to the summit snow slopes. We establish C3 on a glacier plateau at 7,400m, which is well-protected as it sits between two seracs and reduces our time for our summit push.

DAY 43-51 : Camp 3 to Summit.(8,051m)

For those using oxygen, we will most likely begin using it for the first time today. The climb to the summit becomes steep immediately as we leave our high camp. First, we climb above the two seracs guarding our camp until we reach the 7,900-metre-high saddle between the main and the north summits. Our team will fix rope on the steep section (30 to 50 degrees). From the saddle we will traverse over to the fore-summit on the wide and gently sloping summit ridge towards the main summit of Broad Peak. This can take up to 2 or 3 hours.

DAY 52-57 : Trek to Askole

After returning to basecamp to rest and pack up, we then make the most of our last few days in the Karakoram as we retrace our steps to Askole, likely via Concordia, Goro II, Paiju and Jhola. Trekking this route back allows us to savour the summits from a different perspective and, as we are fully acclimatised and trekking fit, we are able to start the days at a leisurely pace and explore small side valleys and sections of the glacier we might not have had the time to see on our ascent.

(BLD)

DAY 58 : Return to Skardu

We will be driven by jeep directly back to Skardu, around a 6 to 7-hour drive. Arriving in the Balti capital, we will check into our hotel and enjoy modern facilities, a group meal in a local restaurant and a comfortable bed.

(BLD)

DAY 59 : Return to Islamabad

Today we will plan to fly from Skardu to Islamabad, and so the day will be spent either exploring Islamabad and its twin city Rawalpindi, or on the road enjoying the scenery of the return journey along the KKH if no flights are available. We will check in to our hotel in the centre of Islamabad and celebrate our climb and ascent with a group meal in a local restaurant.

(BLD)

DAY 60 : Islamabad / Departure

Today is a contingency day to allow for any delays due to weather – we will either spend the morning in Islamabad or finish up our scenic drive along the KKH no flights are available.

Depending on the international flights you have arranged, you will likely depart on a night flight departing from Islamabad to your home country. Islamabad Airport transfers will be provided.

DAY 61 : Arrive UK

Depending on the international flights you have booked, you’ll arrive in your home country after your overnight flight.

These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the trek and what you will experience.

Kit List

Bags & Packs

Kit bag

Two large duffel bags of 120L or larger (some climbers manage with 1, others need 2)  to transport your kit out to Pakistan and then up to Base Camp.

Make sure they are well labelled with indelible ink as well as a travel tag. The duffels go on the trek/climb with you and will be carried by porters and yaks. Expect for them to get wet and muddy, so rugged, waterproof tarpaulin duffels are good. Bags with wheels are nice for the airport, but the porters and yaks don’t like to carry them, so don’t bring wheeled bags (or at least not two of them)

Quantity: 2

Expedition rucksack

With rain cover. Approximately 70 – 80L to take your kit from basecamp to higher camps carrying up to 15kg. Look for a pack that is comfortable to carry, very durable and as light as is reasonable.

Daysack

A smaller rucksack makes a great carry-on bag for your flight and is useful during the trek for smaller walks on acclimatisation days, or once back in town. 30 – 40L. You can use your expedition rucksack instead if you do not want to take this pack. Some do, some don’t, it’s a personal choice

Waterproof rucksack cover

To protect rucksack from rain.

Dry stuffsacks

Rolltop bags that keep fresh clothing and other important items lime your passports and electronics dry in the event of a total downpour that could seep into your kitbag. Good for quarantining old socks! Please note that Pakistan has now banned plastic bags. In any case, we would always advise buying reusable and sustainable nylon rolltop bags for keeping your kit dry.

Small kit bag or light bag

This is for any kit you intend to leave at the hotel and could even simply be a heavy-duty plastic bag. Do note that Pakistan have banned the sale of single-use plastic bags so if you have something reusable this would be preferable.

Padlocks

For use on your kit bag during travel and on the expedition, plus any bag you may leave at the hotel.

Sleeping Gear

5 Season sleeping bag

We would recommend a 5-season bag with a comfort rating to -25°C – choose a sleeping bag that functions within the comfort rating of this temperature. Down is lighter, though more expensive than synthetic. A sleeping bag liner will enhance this rating on the coldest nights.

Lighter rated sleeping bag

For use at basecamp

Sleeping mat

A full length self-inflating Thermarest rather than ¾ length.

Sleeping bag liner

A liner will help keep your sleeping bag clean and provide extra warmth. Silk is best for keeping you a little warmer.

Headwear

Warm headgear

This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head

Quantity: 2

Wide brimmed hat

Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck

Sunglasses

A Category-4 wrap around style is highly recommended. These sunglasses allow for the highest available protection against harmful UV light found at altitude and from glare from snow and sand surfaces. It’s worth spending money on good UV filters.  <a href=”https://www.julbo.com/en/10/home.html”>Julbo</a> is our preferred supplier.

Ski goggles

Category 3, for days when it may be snowing and very windy. Essential for all climbers in really stormy conditions and can serve as an emergency back-up for broken or lost sunglasses. Very useful on summit day.

Buff/Scarf

Essential for protection from the sun and dust

Sunblock

Buy the highest SPF you can find, as UV intensifies with altitude. Use tubes small enough to fit in your pocket for regular reapplication or consider high factor single application

Lip salve

Sun cream generally does not work on your lips and they are very susceptible to burning without proper protection, so it’s important to also have high SPF lip salve.

Upper Body

Base layer

This is the layer closest to the skin and its principle function is to draw or wick moisture and sweat away from the skin. You can also get thermal base layers for use at higher altitudes that provide an additional insulating layer while still drawing away sweat during times of high exertion.

Quantity: 3

Mid layer

These are typically lightweight microfleeces or similar technology that provide varying degrees of warmth and insulation without being overly bulky or heavy to pack.

Quantity: 3

Light insulated jacket

A lighter jacket such as a Primaloft or lightweight down, which can be worn at lower to mid altitudes, is a great addition to your kit and offers greater flexibility with layering.

Soft Shell

Optional – These should be windproof (not all are) and insulative. They are mostly made of soft polyester and sometimes resemble a neoprene finish which makes them very mobile and comfortable to wear. Be aware that while they do offer a degree of weather repellence, they are usually not waterproof.

Gilet (optional)

Optional – A great low-volume additional layer to keep your core warm, whether down, Primaloft or fleece

Waterproof top

A good Goretex hardshell jacket with sealed seams provides effective defence against wind and rain as your outermost layer. This should be big enough to fit over your other layers

Down jacket

These provide the best insulation and are worth every penny. They will keep you warm down to around -25C with a couple of layers underneath, the higher the ‘loft’ the better. Our guides usually wear a lighter down or Primaloft jacket under their down jackets for greater layering

Down suit

It is highly recommended to wear a full down suit, rather than a combination of a down jacket and trousers for summit day

Warm gloves

Consider a light polartec pair or better still liner gloves for lower altitudes and evenings, and a thicker pair like ski gloves for higher altitudes that can be worn in combination with liners

Light gloves

Polartec or windproof fleece. Leather or abrasion resistant palms handle the fixed lines better. Leather gloves or good abrasion resistant climbing glove for the rock sections

Waterproof mitts

A great addition to fit over your down mitts high up or gloves lower down for an added windproof or waterproof layer, especially as down ceases to work when it gets wet and takes a long time to dry. Synthetic fill dries much more quickly

High altitude down mitts

Worn over liners for summit days on all 6,000m plus expeditions. Mitts provide more warmth than finger gloves. For extreme cold down or prima loft fill is recommended

Lower Body

Trekking trousers

These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly after a shower and weigh little in your pack. Consider perhaps a pair with detachable lower legs as an alternative to shorts

Quantity: 2

Midweight trousers

Softshell windproof or thermal lined mid weight trekking trousers. Thermal leggings can still be worn underneath if necessary.

Waterproof overtrousers

Waterproof overtrousers or salopettes – like the jacket, an essential piece of kit to stay dry and should also be Goretex or breathable, to fit over your summit trousers if needed

Down overtrouser

For summit day – though a full down suit is advisable rather

Long Johns

Essential thermal insulation for your legs, to be worn underneath trekking trousers or thicker trousers for high up

Quantity: 2

Underwear

Merino or wicking material, not cotton. How many pairs you take is entirely up to you

Feet

High altitude boots

These boots are double or triple layered to offer the best insulation and the warmest feet up high. Either La Sportiva G2 SMs, Scarpa Phantom 8000s, La Sportiva Spantiks or specialized 8,000m boots are such as Olympus Monts are suitable. Make sure you can fit 2 pairs of socks for added warmth with room to wiggle your toes.

3-4 season walking boots

Well-worn in 4-season waterproof boots, with mid to high ankle support, to use for your trek at lower altitudes.

Gaiters

To protect the tops of your footwear from harsh conditions and to provide some added insulation

Comfortable trainers

For evening use and to give your feet a break in the evenings.

Trekking socks

Start with lighter socks lower down, working up to thicker pairs higher up as it gets colder. Single layer or wearing 2 pairs is a personal choice and lighter weight merino wool is a good option. Some people like a clean pair every day, others are happy to change every other day – that’s a personal choice.

Quantity: 5

High altitude socks

These are especially thick to provide maximum insulation. Bring three pairs, keep one pair clean for summit day, and wear with a thinner inner

Quantity: 3

High altitude inner socks

Lighter weight inner socks, Merino wool is advisable

Quantity: 3

Spare laces

Just in case.

Technical Equipment

Climbing helmet

A plastic helmet is more suitable rather than the expanded foam helmets available. Make sure you try it on in a shop with a woolly/fleece hat underneath.

Climbing harness

Make sure the buckle is easy for you to thread in cold conditions! Gear loops will be useful for this trip as well as adjustable leg. We recommend Petzl harnesses.

Carabiners & prussik loops

Large pear shape HMS locking carabiner

Quantity: 4

Jumars

Ascender, left or right-handed depending on your preference. One to use and one as a spare

Quantity: 2

Figure of 8

Figure of 8 descender

Belay plate

Back up descending device

Prusiks

1.5m of 5mm cord to be used as a prusik loop

Prusik loops

2 x 120 cm lengths of 6mm diameter cord

Sling (120cm)

120cm slings. One to be used as a cows tail and the other as back up

Crampons

12-point mountaineering crampons with anti-balling plates that fit your specific plastic boots (not ice climbing crampons)

Ice axe (available to borrow from 360)

A walking ice axe between 55cm and 65cm.

Trekking poles

Essential for high up the mountain when we are load carrying as well as descending.

Hydration

Water bottles/bladder

3L equivalent – a good combination is a Platypus/Camelbak plus 2 x 1L Nalgene bottles. Nalgene bottles are better at altitude, and you can use the bladder on the days before the water starts to freeze at higher camps!

Water purification

Although generally all water is boiled some prefer to double up and add purification tabs as well. Always good to have in your bag.

Insulated mug

A great addition for hot drinks at the higher camps

Small thermal flask

Appreciated on summit night when it’s cold.

Pee bottle (+ optional Shewee for the girls!)

A good idea if you are storm bound at higher camps. A 1ltr Nalgene bottle is a good option but do make sure you label it appropriately!

Toiletries

Wash kit

Keep it simple on the mountain. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!

Travel towel

Travel towels from the likes of LifeSystems are perfect.

Wet wipes

Preferably biodegradable, these are great for washing when modern shower facilities become a thing of the past

Alcohol gel

A must have for good camp hygiene.

Toilet paper

Provided on the mountain but a spare in your daysack may be useful if you need to hide behind a rock between camps.

Nappy sacks or dog poo bags

Only needed to bag your toilet paper if you are caught short in between camps, and for keeping your rubbish tidy in your tent.

Insect repellent

For early stages and once back down.

Ear plugs

For protection against the inevitable snorers!

Medications

Personal first aid kit

The 360 medical kits are designed to be used in emergencies and are akin rather to an A&E than a pharmacy on Expeditions, so please come prepared with useful meds for yourself. Your kit would include: painkillers (Ibuprofen, if you can take it, and Paracetamol) plus blister plasters, plasters, antiseptic, rehydration sachets and any muscle rubs you wish to use.

Personal medication

Keep this in your daysack.

Miscellaneous

Camera

Bring plenty of spare batteries. Cold temperatures deplete battery power very rapidly and recharging might not be possible at all camps. Bring spare memory cards too. The trek can be dusty, so some sort of protective camera bag is advisable.

Head torch

Bring spare batteries and a small spare headtorch. We recommend Petzl head torches.

Penknife (optional)

Snacks

You will be fed very well and given snacks each day however we advise bringing a small selection as a little bit of comfort.  For summit night it’s always good to have a few extra chunky bars for that extra boost. Energy gels and protein bars are not suitable.

Hand and foot warmers

For summit day.

Documentation

Passport

Don’t forget this! Your passport should have at least 6 months validity, with your passport expiry date at least six months after the final day of travel. Your passport should also have at least two blank pages.

Copy of passport

Just in case.

Passport photos x 4

We need these to obtain your climbing and trekking permits.

Visa

For Pakistan, a visa needs to be obtained at least a month before travel from your nearest Pakistani embassy.  Costs vary between nationalities. The 360 office crew can assist you with the various documentation that may be required for some nationalities.

Dental check up

We recommend you have a dental check-up before your trip. New fillings can be an issue at altitude if there is an air pocket left in the gap.

Money

We recommend you take around $300-$400 onto the mountain in small denominations to tip the local team, plus the summit bonus. You’ll also need to take about $200 for any extras along the way, satellite phone calls etc.

Travel insurance

Copy of own travel insurance details, along with relevant contact numbers.

We recommend looking into deals offered by True Traveller, the BMC, Austrian Alpine Club or similar insurers. Team members should take out private insurance that covers against cancellation due to medical or personal reasons and it is important that the insurance also contains coverage for medical evacuations by helicopter or other means.

Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip which includes, at a minimum, medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

Please contact the 360 office if you have any queries about insurance for this expedition.

FAQs

Expedition Overview

Why climb G2 with 360?

An expedition to Gasherbrum 2 (8,035m) in the Karakoram entails a huge financial and time commitment for the climber. Due to the mountain’s extreme remoteness and high-altitude, careful planning and execution is needed to successfully and safely reach its summit. This depends largely on how well the expedition is managed and what resources are available to the team.

We of course ascertain that each of our climbers has the adequate experience to join this expedition, but the strength of our expedition to G2 (and the optional extension to Broad Peak) lays primarily in our exceptional knowledge and understanding of the country and similar climbs, and in how we plan to execute the expedition and the backup strategies we have in place. Continual support throughout, from a professional and dedicated office crew to highly experienced expedition leaders, means that you can concentrate on the climb without distraction. Our entire 360 team work hard to make sure that you reach the summit.

What makes this expedition so worthwhile?

This expedition starts with a spectacular trek up the Baltoro glacier, the largest glacier outside the polar regions. The scenery as we approach Concordia and the upper Baltoro becomes increasingly magnificent as we pass mountains etched into the annals of mountaineering legend and is a fantastic experience in itself. We aim to bring you up close to K2, the greatest mountain in the range, with an acclimatisation walk to its basecamp. Though our proposed route on Gasherbrum 2 is not especially steep, the remoteness of this area gives the expedition a true adventure feel, an especially rewarding experience. The expedition will attempt the traditional south-west ridge route on the peak, which is the most technically accessible route of the 8,000m peaks of the Karakoram. G2 is a stunning, challenging peak in its own right, though it is still an ideal training peak for Mount Everest.

As an amazing added optional extra, 360 will also be offering the chance for climbers to attempt Broad Peak (8,051 m) immediately after Gasherbrum 2.

The additional timeframe needed to climb Broad Peak is approximately 10 days – chat to the office for more information on this extension.

How are 360 operating on G2?

To create an unparalleled expedition with quality logistics, we have teamed up with long term friends and mountain colleagues Andreas Neuschmid and Kari Kobler, and their long-established Swiss company Kobler and Partners (K&P). Friendship and respect are key in our partnership.

We came together as two teams exploring ways that we could work together, in order to enable us to offer you, the climber, the absolute best chances of success. Joining forces has allowed us to invest more time and costs into the logistics which you as a climber will benefit from while not being stung on the far heartier price tag that may otherwise apply for such logistics.

We are all climbers at heart, out leading the expeditions ourselves, and aim to provide everything needed to assure a safe, modern and realistically priced expedition. For all of us, our bottom line is to give our climbers the best chance to stand on the summit.

Leading an expedition of this calibre demands familiarity not only with the mountain’s unique complexities but also a complete understanding of a climber’s individual requirements. With 30 years’ experience in these leadership roles, it is safe to say that both Rolfe and Andreas have what it takes to confidently deal with the demands this career entails. Working together only strengthens this ability.

Who will make up the guiding team?

Due to the skill required in climbing these 8,000-metre mountains, and the isolation of the peaks themselves, a professional and highly technically-skilled team is essential. Although each team will be run separately, Andreas leading his and Rolfe leading the 360 team, they will run in parallel, allowing them to adapt the best possible summit strategy for both teams.

Each team will have no fewer than two Nepali Sherpa, and the Sherpas accompanying our teams are from those that form the elite, world renowned for their ability, endurance and technical skill.

These Sherpa will be accompanied by the most experienced High-Altitude Porters from Baltistan, who have worked alongside Andreas for many years, creating an incredibly strong team in combination with our two experienced western guides. In total there will be two western guides, 4 Sherpa and additional high altitude porters, for a minimum ratio of 1:3.

Our aim is to deliver an excellent expedition offering the strongest support, ready for all situations and our team, led by Rolfe and Andreas, is indisputably unparalleled.

A little more on Rolfe Oostra:

Rolfe Oostra (UIML), who is leading the 2021 Gasherbrum 2 / Broad Peak expedition for 360 Expeditions, has been leading expeditions globally for more than 30 years. He has led expeditions to four of the 8,000m peaks: Manaslu (summit) in 2013; Mount Everest in 2007 (North Col), 2015, 2016 (summit) and 2019; and Lhotse (no summit) in 2016, as well as achieving back to back summits in 24 hours on Cho Oyu in in 2016.

He has led five unsupported expeditions to technically difficult 7,000m peaks and has guided more than seventy expeditions to 6,000m peaks (including Great Trango Tower, Ama Dablam and the Peruvian Andes). He has also completed the Bass version of the Seven Summits numerous times.

A little more on Andreas Neuschmid:

Andreas Neuschmid is a fully qualified UIAGM guide and has led expeditions to, and summited, Nanga Parbat (8,126m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Shisha Pangma (8,013m), Cho Oyu (8,201m), Gasherbrum 2 (8,035m) and Everest (8,848m). His guiding resume on 6,000 and 7,000-metre expeditions is outstanding and he has also planned, operated and guided all of the Seven Summits, numerous times.

Does the expedition have a medic?

The 360 team is supported by Raj Joshi, an expert high-altitude medical professional from the UK. He has summited Cho Oyo and Mt Everest with his own self-sufficient expeditions and has completed the coveted Seven Summits, also completely unsupported. On six out of these seven he has worked in a leadership capacity and on Everest he acted as the expedition medical officer. Raj will be on hand before the expedition heads out to discuss any of your medical queries or concerns and will be available remotely 24/7 for any queries while the team is out on the expedition.

Rolfe and Andreas are, of course, are trained to the highest levels of wilderness first aid and will both have comprehensive medical kits with them. There is very little they haven’t had to deal with in the remote mountain ranges, often assisting other teams, where able, when they have been faced with an emergency.  If a situation arises, they will work as a team. This extraordinarily strong set-up and having two high qualified western leaders on this expedition offers exceptional backup.

What is the plan to fix the route?

The combined teams of 360 and K&P will take responsibility of providing all of the materials and man-power needed to fix the route for Gasherbrum 2. There is likely to be another guide joining our combined team, an exceptionally strong Russian UIAGM (guide in training), who has guided on Makalu (8,481m), Broad Peak (8,051m) and multiple Peak Lenin summits (7,134m), to be to part of the rope-fixing team and to take the place of one of the HAP. A stronger guiding team on any Karakoram peak for the 2021 season will be hard to imagine.

What is 360’s strategy for the climbers?

Our open-minded ascent strategy is dedicated to you as an individual climber, and you will have an integral part to play in every aspect of this expedition. Not one plan suits all and we allow you in on every decision-making aspect of the expedition. Concerns about how you are acclimatising, adapting to the expedition regime and dealing with the practicalities, to deciding on the best summit weather window are all openly discussed and catered for as best possible in regular team meetings. We are climbers, first and foremost, and understand that you want to climb this mountain on your terms. We will support you every step of the way in reaching the summit your way, and want you to feel that reach the summit under your own merit, with our support. Although we will be focused on individual team strategies, having two teams operating in parallel on the climb will allow for additional flexibility.

The Mountains

Can I climb these mountains?

This expedition is achievable by climbers with experience of (preferably several) mountains higher than 6,000 metres and who are familiar with climbing exposed technical terrain on fixed line. It is an advantage to feel comfortable climbing alpine routes of AD or D technical difficulty.

How does a Karakoram expedition differ from those to an 8,000m mountain in Nepal or Tibet? Part 1

An expedition to the Karakoram is quite different from the well-established peaks in Nepal and Tibet, primarily because of the remoteness of the mountains themselves. Although an 8 to 10-day trek is required to reach basecamps in all three of these countries, in Nepal treks are through a region that has well established villages, while in the Karakoram the camps get further each day from the nearest village of Askole which is, in itself, is a long day’s drive from the larger commercial hub and airport of Skardu. All regions give different though equally interesting treks, but you will find that you get a more ‘off the beaten path’ feel to the treks in the Karakoram.

This remoteness of the Karakoram giants does also mean that those attempting their summits must have a higher degree of self-sufficiency and reliance than necessary for climbing a mountain of this size elsewhere. While the leader of this expedition is responsible for the management of the entire team, there is an increased focus on making personal decisions regarding your own welfare. We naturally aim to keep the entire team together for both the rotations and summit push but, on occasion, a climber might be spending a few hours or a day by themselves. Climbers have to be able to move securely and independently through steep mixed terrain, without a guide or porter being present. Due to the location and remote aspect, logistical problems can occur more readily. Depending on the circumstances and conditions on the mountain, improvisations and changes to the itinerary might be necessary and more difficult to resolve due to the remoteness of this objective.

Why is this expedition so inexpensive when compared to mountains like Cho Oyu in Tibet or Manaslu in Nepal?

The main reason why expeditions to 8,000-metre mountains are generally lower cost in Pakistan compared to some in Nepal and Tibet is the significantly lower climbing fee charged by the Pakistani government (with differences of up to US $10,000). Also, the Pakistani government and local Balti communities are actively rebuilding the adventure industry in this incredible region and as such are offering attractive deals on hotels and tours. A significant source of local revenue comes from foreign expeditions and this has received a serious knock-back since 9/11 and subsequent political unrest. In cooperation with western companies such as 360 Expeditions who are actively promoting the fantastic adventure potential of these mountains, the local communities are quickly restructuring their tourist infrastructure to match that of other high-altitude nations and to attract foreign investment while still offering realistic prices.

The Climb

What is included on this expedition?

When comparing expedition companies, we know that it can be a minefield – and we appreciate the complexities of doing such a comparison, though believe it is important to look beyond the price and consider the expedition as a whole.
This is particularly the case for 8,000-metre peaks where summit success and team safety can be determined by the level of expedition leadership and the inclusions offered.

Here at 360 we pride ourselves on the quality of our service provided, by always adding on additional luxuries to enhance the expedition experience and allow our teams to focus on their ascents. As standard, we provide experienced and qualified western guides, dedicated world-class Sherpas and an incredibly strong high-altitude Balti team. An experienced team on hand and in country, all details and logistics of the expedition scrutinised and 24/7 support beforehand and throughout the expedition, and factors such as our unique individualised ascent strategy, all combine to make this expedition truly a life changing experience.
You can be safe in the knowledge that along with the detailed management, you also have small group sizes, a tried and tested 1:3 client to guide ratios, emergency oxygen and the highest quality of climbing equipment, as well as a fully catered kitchen during the climb, amazing cooks able to cater for all dietary requirements to a western standard, tasty varied menus – and a heated, carpeted dining tent to enjoy them in.

Full information on the inclusions can be found on the ‘Dates & Prices’ page for the G2 Expedition.

How safe is Gasherbrum (and Broad Peak) to climb?

Of course, there are challenges to climbing any 8,000-metre peak, and we have fully prepared ourselves for any eventuality. However, the routes we propose to climb are direct, relatively short and the few difficult passages will be secured with fixed ropes. Because of these factors, and because both mountains are relatively low 8,000m peaks, both these mountains are the first choice for many high-altitude mountaineers wishing to test themselves over the 8,000-metre mark and to prepare for a future attempt on Mount Everest.

Becoming a well accomplished climber is a spectacular achievement – and always requires you to be at top of your mountaineering game, and aware of your own limits. Although 360 Expeditions are on hand to prepare you and help get you ready mentally and physically, please do remember that you join at your own responsibility.

What is your individualised ascent strategy?

Every team member is unique. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different life experiences. Equally, a climber’s training and climbing resumés may differ and therefore an individual ascent strategy for the duration of the entire expedition has to be devised. Our team members benefit hugely from our small group policy as our guides can dedicate a huge amount of time to each plan, to maximise their chances of standing on the summit.

Based upon pre-existing factors and an individual’s expedition progress, 360 guides will be able to fine tune every client’s individual performance and enjoyment of the expedition. By creating an open and honest two-way communication between you, the climber, and the guide from the onset of the expedition, your guide will be able to dramatically enhance your experience and improve your chances of standing on top.

We’ll pair you up with the high-altitude porter you work best with on summit night, allocating you the best climbing support in situ to work on your summit strategy, complementing your abilities and needs. We’ll work out your ideal tent buddy, talk through your plans and overview your diet and hydration with you, making sure you are adequately rested also. We will be working as a team, ensuring you are comfortable and confident with climbing techniques, practising along the way, re-teaching you the use of climbing kit if necessary and, alongside you, determining when is the optimum time for you to summit.

These factors all form but a small part of our individualised ascent strategy for each climber.

What route will we be taking?

As noted on the itinerary page, our proposed route on Gasherbrum 2 is the South-West ridge, and the West Ridge on Broad Peak. They are the standard routes to ascend these mountains.

For how many hours do we climb each day?

As you get more acclimatised, adjust to the daily routine and become familiar with the route your time taken to climb between camps will decrease significantly. Average days can be between 6-10 hours long. A good break will be had after every period of work (such as a rotation) to allow you to adjust to the altitude, rest, eat and to rehydrate properly.

What's the acclimatisation process?

Our entire expedition, including the trek to base camp, is slow in order to allow our bodies ample time to acclimate and avoid altitude sickness. Please bring a few books or movies on your devices for the rest days and be patient. This can feel like a slow process, but it will give you a much better chance at success on the climb and trek. Make sure to communicate with your guides directly if you are experiencing any altitude issues.

What is a typical ascent profile of an 8,000-metre mountain?

We work closely with each individual team member to determine their own unique ascent profile but, generally speaking, a typical ascent profile is as follows:

  • Arrive at base camp, rest for a day or two.
  • Climb to altitude approximating C2 with a night at C1 and descend to base camp.
  • Several rest days at basecamp
  • Climb to C2 via C1 camp and remain for a night in each camp (or two nights) and climb to C3 for a day then return to ABC.
  • Several rest days at ABC
  • The next stage is the actual summit climb. By now you will be fit, well rested, well fed, fully hydrated, properly acclimatised and have developed a good mountain sense. You are ready for the climb of your life!

How long is summit day?

A typical summit day is 7-9 hours for the ascent from C3 to the summit and about 6 to 8 hours to return to C2.  These times can vary enormously from team to team and between team members and varies according to individual fitness and progress made to get to C3. The summit departure time will be determined by the team leader and climbing support team based on these factors as well as movements of other teams on the mountain.

How fit do I need to be for this expedition?

To climb Gasherbrum 2 (and Broad Peak) you will need to be in the best physical shape of your life. By the time you book and are accepted onto this expedition you will have a good understanding of your level of fitness and how you cope with altitude and with the discomforts of an expedition of this nature as a whole. This expedition is gruelling and will be physically demanding. We have rated it as P7, T5 for level of fitness needed. The last page of the brochure includes an example training plan – we would recommend that you are at the fitness stage comparable to month 6.

How early should I commit to my climb?

Climbing 8,000m mountains is a huge undertaking and something that you will want to work up to consistently. We have found that people are generally more successful when they commit earlier as it gives them longer to shake out any problems that may arise, arrange their home and work life to be away for a number of months, and build their fitness, endurance and strength up over time and thereby avoid injury.

How many climbers are on this expedition?

The price for this expedition is based on a group of 4. However, the price is variable and the expedition can be run with 1, 2 or 6 clients comfortably. We keep our groups small as we feel that our teams benefit enormously from the tight knit bonding and enhanced team spirit which develops on a complete expedition of around 10-12 members (including guides, Sherpas and Balti’s). Getting to know each other personally and climbing together during the course of an expedition helps team members understand each other better and allows a measure of internal support for each other to develop. This, coupled with receiving a much closer level of support from the guides, significantly enhances the expedition experience and hence increases an individual climber’s chances of standing on the summit.

Who will be my other team members?

Your fellow team members will have similar experience and ambitions to you. 360’s criteria for joining this expedition is that you have been to altitude before and have sufficient technical ability to cope with the terrain encountered on the mountain. Your teammates may come from a wide variety of backgrounds and will have different interests but the common ground is that you have all got what it takes to be on this expedition. In the past a great cast of characters have led to our expeditions being made all the more enjoyable. Life-long friendships have always developed by this shared experience.

Oxygen: I wish to attempt Gasherbrum 2 without using supplementary O2, is that an option?

Both Gasherbrum 2, and Broad Peak, are climbed quite frequently without the use of supplementary oxygen. If you wish to attempt these summits in a similar style then we will of course support your decision. However, it must be noted that the success rate of reaching 8000-metre summits without supplementary oxygen is significantly greater by those who have previously reached this bench mark altitude in the same style.
With this in mind, supplementary oxygen must be rented separately should you wish to use it. ($1,400 for 1 cylinder of oxygen including mask, regulator, plus the transport to BC and High Camps and $800 for each additional cylinder of oxygen, transport to BC and High Camps)
As you can appreciate, the Karakoram mountains are very remote and the sourcing and transportation of oxygen to Camp 3, should you wish to use it, is extremely difficult and costly.

Your expedition leader will be using supplementary oxygen on the summit bid. They recognise that the benefits of using supplementary oxygen are: keeping warm, moving faster and the reduced risk of developing altitude related problems, plus they work in leadership and climber support roles. They will be using 3 cylinders for the G2 attempt.

Will we be taught how to use the oxygen systems?

Top quality, reliable oxygen tanks, masks and regulators will be provided for you on your climb and we will go through their usage in depth at basecamp so you can practice before your climb. We typically use oxygen from Camp 3 (roughly 7,300m) to sleep & climb on to the summit. If you are interested in extra oxygen to use from C2 (roughly 6,600m) on the summit bid and to run a higher flow rate on summit day please let us know in advance and we can arrange this.

What is the best time of year to climb in the Karakoram?

The best weather is found during the period June to August when it is usually quite fair, dry and stable. Daytime temperatures are pleasantly warm in the valleys (20-30°C) but cool to very cold (especially with wind chill) high on the mountain. Night-time temperatures are cold (possibly as low as -30°C)

How cold can it get?

The coldest night time temperature at Camp 3 might get as low as -30°C with windchill. You will not be climbing in these low temperatures, but remain inside your sleeping bag inside your tent until temperatures get warmer.

What weather report service do you use?

Our team uses sophisticated weather forecasting services. We use Bracknell and Swiss forecasts for daily forecasts received from HQ in Europe. Our summit bid is aided enormously by up to date, reliable forecasts.

Is there a possibility for family or friends to come along on the road trip and trek?

We understand that it would be great to share this experience with your family and friends and so it is possible for them to join in the early stages. However, we generally don’t encourage this, as we find that the bond of the climbing team happens early on in to a climb and we have found, in the past, that for team members to have family or friends along who will not be joining for the final stages of the climb can distract from this.

If family members do wish to experience what you are experiencing, as well as see this incredible mountain area for themselves, 360 Expeditions also run treks to K2 Basecamp and Concordia, as well as an expedition to climb Spantik, at similar times.

Optional Broad Peak Extension

Why did you choose to add Broad Peak rather than Gasherbrum 1 (Hidden Peak) as an extension to this expedition?

Gasherbrum 2 and Broad Peak are the most sought after 8,000-metre mountains in the Karakoram, and our aim is to provide an expedition where the first objective is G2, keeping it possible to add Broad Peak as an extra option for a significantly lower price than a separate expedition. Many expeditions have attempted Gasherbrum 1 (G1 / Hidden Peak) directly after an attempt on G2, because both can be climbed from the same basecamp. However, it must be noted that G1 is technically harder to climb, follows much of the same route and has a lesser success rate than Broad Peak. In our opinion, climbing a mountain in a totally different part of the Karakoram adds enormously to this adventure and so we have added Broad Peak over G1.

How long will the recovery time be between the Gasherbrum 2 climb and the Broad Peak attempt?

Although we have a schedule in place, we won’t attempt Broad Peak until all of the team are fully rested. We’d envisage this to take approximately 3 days, but please do be aware that it may take more time for acclimatisation and to ensure we are all in the best shape for the next summit attempt. Of course, the conditions on the mountain itself and the weather dictate our movements also, and an additional day or two of rest might be required before our summit push on Broad Peak.

What is your summit strategy for the Broad Peak ascent?

The factors that determine how long it takes us to climb Gasherbrum 2 are equally at play on Broad Peak, but a much shorter time is required to reach the summit due to the climbers being fully acclimatised and the route on Broad Peak being established and well-marked.

The greatest advantage of climbing Broad Peak is that our proposed route, the West Ridge, although steep in places (up to 45 degrees), goes directly up from base camp. This means there is much less of the time-consuming horizontal distance to cover, as is the case on many other big mountains, and this will aid us substantially in terms of logistics and speed of ascent. The plan is also to make a direct summit push and not factor in acclimatisation rotations for this phase of the expedition. Full details can be found in the expedition itinerary.

Oxygen: I wish to attempt Broad Peak without using supplementary O2, is that an option?

Both Gasherbrum 2 and Broad Peak are climbed quite frequently without the use of supplementary oxygen. It must be noted that the success rate of reaching 8000-metre summits without supplementary oxygen is significantly greater by those who have previously reached this bench mark altitude in the same style.

If you successfully climb G2 without oxygen, we will of course support your decision to climb Broad Peak in the same style. However, note this will be a consecutive climb of an 8,000-metre peak and, as such, we would recommend you plan for use of O2 on this peak.

With this in mind, supplementary oxygen must be rented separately should you wish to use it. ($1,400 for 1 cylinder of oxygen including mask, regulator, plus the transport to BC and High Camps and $800 for each additional cylinder of oxygen, transport to BC and High Camps) As you can appreciate, the Karakoram mountains are very remote and the sourcing and transportation of oxygen to these altitudes, should you wish to use it, is extremely difficult and costly.

Your expedition leader will be using supplementary oxygen on the summit bid. They recognise that the benefits of using supplementary oxygen are: keeping warm, moving faster and the reduced risk of developing altitude related problems, plus they work in leadership and climber support roles. They will be using 2 cylinders for the Broad Peak attempt (and 3 cylinders for the prior G2 attempt).

Will we be taught how to use the oxygen systems?

Top quality, reliable oxygen tanks, masks and regulators will be provided for you on your climb and we will go through their usage in depth at basecamp so you can practice before your climb. We typically use oxygen from Camp 3 (roughly 7,300m) to sleep & climb on to the summit. If you are interested in extra oxygen to use from C2 (roughly 6,600m) on the summit bid and to run a higher flow rate on summit day please let us know in advance and we can arrange this.

Guides and Sherpa team

Who is the guiding team composed of? Part 1

To create an unparalleled expedition with quality logistics, we have teamed up with long term friends and mountain colleagues Andreas Neuschmid and Kari Kobler, and their long-established Swiss company Kobler and Partners (K&P). Friendship and respect are key in our partnership.

Due to the skill required in climbing these 8,000-metre mountains, and the isolation of the peaks themselves, a professional and highly technically-skilled team is essential. The company directors assigned to join you on our high-altitude expeditions have a world class background in leading expeditions of this nature. Each will be working closely with their respective teams but as friends will continuously consult to formulate a successful summit strategy for both their respective teams.

Each team will have no fewer than two Nepali Sherpa, and the Sherpas accompanying our teams are from those that form the elite, world renowned for their ability, endurance and technical skill. These Sherpa will be accompanied by the most experienced High-Altitude Porters from Baltistan, who have worked alongside Andreas for many years, creating an incredibly strong team in combination with our two experienced western guides. In total there will be two western guides, 4 Sherpa and additional high altitude porters, for a minimum ratio of 1:3.

Our aim is to deliver an excellent expedition offering the strongest support, ready for all situations and our team, led by Rolfe and Andreas, is indisputably unparalleled.

Who is the guiding team composed of? Part 2

Rolfe Oostra, (UIMLA), who is leading the 2021 Gasherbrum 2 / Broad Peak expedition for 360 Expeditions, has been leading expeditions globally for more than 30 years. He has led expeditions to four of the 8,000m peaks: Manaslu (summit) in 2013; Mount Everest in 2007 (North Col), 2015, 2016 (summit) and 2019; and Lhotse (no summit) in 2016, as well as achieving back to back summits in 24 hours on Cho Oyu in 2016.

He has led five further unsupported expeditions to technically difficult 7,000m peaks and has guided more than seventy expeditions to 6,000m peaks (including Great Trango Tower, Ama Dablam and the Peruvian Andes). He has also completed the Bass version of the Seven Summits numerous times.

Andreas Neuschmid, who is leading the 2021 Gasherbrum expedition for K&P has led expeditions to, and summited, Nanga Parbat (8,126m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Shisha Pangma (8,013m), Cho Oyu (8,201m), Gasherbrum 2 (8,035m) and Everest (8,848m). His guiding resume on 6,000 and 7,000-metre expeditions is outstanding and he has also planned, operated and guided all of the Seven Summits, numerous times.

Leading an expedition of this calibre demands familiarity not only with the mountain’s unique complexities but also a complete understanding of a climber’s individual requirements. With 30 years’ experience in these leadership roles, it is safe to say that both Rolfe and Andreas have what it takes to confidently deal with the demands this career entails. Working together only strengthens this ability.

Who are the 360 Climbing Sherpa and Balti high-altitude porter team?

One of many reasons to choose 360 is that we work closely with our local team with whom we have enjoyed several decades of climbing success. These guys are, quite simply, the best in the business. The people you will have looking after you have not only climbed the mountain(s) before but have an experience of 8,000m expeditions that is unsurpassed. Our climbing Sherpas typically have multiple Everest ascents under their belts.

Is it possible to have a personal Sherpa or Balti HAP to accompany me on the summit bid?

Yes, if you would like the additional support of one of our high-altitude climbing crew during the summit bid then this can be arranged, and we highly advise it – please speak to the 360 office team for further details. There will be a cost involved, plus a greater summit tip since your tip is not one shared by your team mates.

Is there a Basecamp manager?

We employ the services of a professional Basecamp manager whose sole purpose is to assure the seamless running of the camp facilities and the logistics on the mountain. He does not participate in the ascent but is on 24-hour standby via VHS radio to facilitate the safe running of the expedition and throughout the ascent period. He is in daily communication with our offices to source weather forecasting, pass on messages and to update the progress of the expedition to our office in Skardu and Islamabad.

Health & Safety

What happens if there is a problem on the mountain?

All our leaders are in communication with each other by phone and radio. A radio is also issued to every climbing pair. In the majority of cases of emergency rescue the problems can be attributed to slow acclimatisation or altitude and, if so, the solution is immediate descent to lower altitudes. Both Rolfe and Andreas are very experienced in dealing with any problems that may arise and our leaders have the highest standard of wilderness first aid qualifications and can handle emergencies to the highest level of competency.

We also have a fully qualified high-altitude medical professional supporting the team remotely.

Am I likely to suffer from altitude sickness on this expedition?

The likelihood of getting altitude related problems are dramatically reduced on this expedition due to our carefully designed acclimatisation strategy. We have years of experience in dealing with altitude and its related problems and have devised an ascent strategy which caters for a broad spectrum of individual altitude adaptation.

Still, it is important to understand there are different types of altitude sickness and that, at times, altitude related problems can happen and we must be able to recognise the symptoms if they occur.

The most common of these is high altitude sickness (AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness). Symptoms can vary, but generally this is just the process your body naturally goes through to adjust to the higher altitudes and the reduced partial pressure of the atmosphere. For some people the acclimatisation process takes a little longer than others. For our guides this is all part and parcel of ascending to these altitudes.

Our experienced support team will be assessing each climber’s personal situation carefully. By carefully observation and communication, guides are able to quickly determine possible symptoms and are on hand to advise and assist.

What can I do to help prevent AMS?

Apart from a gain in altitude, further factors which contribute to the development of AMS symptoms are an insufficient intake of water or ascending too quickly.

Your guides and incredible climbing team will be on hand throughout and will remind you to drink plenty of water, walk slowly, stay warm and eat well. By the time you are climbing a peak such as G2, we’re sure that you will be well aware of the causes and symptoms of AMS, but the most important aspect is this case is communication and so the team will be on hand to discuss and advise throughout.

We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the various affects that altitude can cause. During your pre-climb briefing we will describe altitude sickness to you in detail, and advise you how to cope with it. The most important thing is not to fear it, but to respect it and to know how to deal with it and, more importantly, tell your leaders how you feel.

Is there a risk of getting HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Oedema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema) on the mountain?

The severe forms of altitude sickness, HACE and HAPE, are extremely unlikely to occur on this expedition. However, our Leaders and Sherpa team are fully trained in recognition of the onset of these problems and will deal with them at the first sign of their development.

Is helicopter rescue possible on Gasherbrum 2 (and Broad Peak)?

Yes, helicopters are available for rescue on both Gasherbrum 2 and Broad Peak, if weather and logistics permits. Helicopters will of course make rescues and evacuations far quicker and seamless, but we always plan and continue to plan to be self-sufficient if outside help is unavailable due to logistics and bad weather.
We take state of the art medical and rescue equipment with us and ensure all our staff on the mountain have current first aid and/or medical qualifications and have our own expedition medical specialist on standby for the duration of this expedition.

What medical/emergency equipment do you bring on this expedition?

All our Guides, Climbing Sherpas and High-Altitude Balti crew have attained the necessary qualifications and training needed to deal not only with emergencies but also to maintain a healthy expedition from day one. For this expedition we will be bringing comprehensively supplied medical kits, emergency oxygen and Gamow bags as well as state of the art communication equipment. On the mountain our Expedition Leaders carry sufficient medical equipment to deal with localised first aid scenarios and at basecamp we have sufficient supplies to deal with longer lasting medical problems.

Should I take high-altitude drugs, such as Diamox, with me?

For the mountain phase, it is highly recommended to carry your own treatment dose of high-altitude drugs such as Nifedipine, Dexamethasone and Diamox. Your Expedition Leader will give a dose of Diamox to you at or before ABC if you haven’t already sourced it before the expedition, for you to carry in your first aid kit.

During the ascent, we advocate that each team member carries these drugs in the same place (i.e. top LH pocket of your down-suit) so that if an emergency should arise then the Expedition Leader, our Sherpa and Balti crew or fellow team member can locate them easily.

You advocate taking a small first aid kit, what should it have in it?

We advocate a self-help principle on this expedition for minor medical problems.      If you have a blister developing, for example, then please stop, take off your boot and treat it before it becomes a problem.

We would recommend your own first aid kit should contain:

Diamox, or other high-altitude drug, enough for duration of expedition; a basic blister kit, plasters, antiseptic, sun protection, your own personal medication (your luggage might not get to camp before you and so you may not be able to take your medicine according to the regime you are used to), basic pain relief (paracetamol /aspirin/ibuprofen,) and a personal course of antibiotics – two different types are preferable, as back up. Generally, the best approach to take when packing your first aid kit is to include such basic medications as if you would on a family or personal holiday.

Your 360 Leader and/or Climbing Sherpa will carry a very comprehensive first aid kit that contains a wide range of supplies and medications. They are fully trained to use whatever is needed for any emergency that may arise. We advocate keeping this in mind when packing your own first aid supplies and keeping your own first aid kit as compact and light as possible.

What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?

If a climber needs to leave early for whichever reason, medical or personal, the Expedition Leader and Sherpa team will deal with the matter with utmost competency and discretion. Further arrangements will be made with the assistance of our 360 team in Skardu and Europe to arrange every detail of the journey back from the mountain. Additional costs (transport, hotels, flights etc.) might be incurred by the climber but our 360 team will be able to assist in every detail of your departure.

What happens to toilet waste on the mountain?

CKNP (Central Karakorum National Park) is responsible for sanitation of campsites plus they collect a fee from all groups to keep the area clean to finance their waste removal operation.

Sanitary toilet facilities are provided on the trek and at basecamp. The waste is carried out on mules or porters and disposed of according to current sanitation and health regulations.

Above ABC, basic toilet facilities are provided – though you’ll find that your need to use the toilet will be less frequent at altitude. You will need to bring up sufficient toilet paper from ABC to cater for your individual requirements.

Do I need to take anti-malarial drugs?

The Malaria protozoa generally do not survive over an altitude of 1,500m so once we have started the trek malaria should pose no threat. When visiting the lowland regions of Pakistan or going to India after this expedition it may be advisable to seek advice about if and when to take the malarial prophylactics. When visiting these places, the chances of contracting malaria can be reduced by standard precautions such as sleeping under mosquito nets, applying insect repellent and wearing long sleeve shirts and trousers.

Please note that your 360 guide will not be taking anti-malarial drugs. Having said that, we do recommend that you visit your GP or nearest travel clinic before departure to get the latest advice.

Accommodation

What hotels do we stay at in Islamabad?

We stay at safe, centrally located hotels. Our choice of hotels offers comfortable rooms, classy on-site restaurants and quiet areas just a stone’s throw away from the bustle of Islamabad’s city centre and many of the cultural sites which feature on any visitor’s list of things to see list.

We’ll arrange visits to see some of the cultural highlights when in town, as well as a visit to Rawalpindi, the twin city of Islamabad.

What if I arrive early or depart late? Can you arrange an extra night lodging?

We are happy to make any arrangements scheduled outside of the trek dates: these may include personalised tours, extra hotel rooms, private airport pick-ups, early arrivals and late departures. We can also arrange private rooms. Please indicate your requirements on your application form or speak to the office beforehand and we will assist with the relevant arrangements and advise on any additional costs.

Do you offer a single tent option during the trek into basecamp?

For the duration of the stay at basecamp, you will be able to have a tent to yourself. . However, the trek into basecamp is a critical acclimatisation period and, since most altitude adjustment problems occur at night, we feel that it is essential that we each share tents with a trekking buddy. The tents are 3-person tents for two climbers and are therefore very roomy. Once at basecamp, when you have properly acclimatised, you will enjoy the luxury of a single tent. Please note that tent accommodations above base camp will be double-occupancy again due to the ongoing acclimatisation during the ascent.

At the hotels in both Islamabad and Skardu we are happy to organise single rooming accommodations for you. If you snore or are easily awakened by others that do snore, this might be a great option. A single room can add a bit of comfort and personal space that can go a long way on a lengthy expedition such as this. If you would like a single rooming option please let us know prior to the expedition and we will assist with the relevant arrangements and advise on any additional costs.

Will I be sharing a tent?

It will be necessary to share a tent with one of your team members during acclimatisation stages of this expedition – though at basecamp you will have a single tent. The primary reason for this is that most altitude related symptoms manifest themselves at night (further information is included below under ‘Health and Safety), therefore having a tent buddy to keep an eye on you is hugely reassuring. On the mountain you will need to share a tent with another climber not only for acclimatisation reasons but to reduce the number of dangerous loads the porters need to carry at these altitudes. It’s also a lot warmer, and safer when you can keep an eye on each other while on the mountain.

We use high quality, spacious 3-man tents throughout the expedition, and these will be shared between 2 people to provide extra space for your comfort.

What does the Basecamp set up look like?

We use large, spacious 3-man, high quality tents for each climber at basecamp. Inside you will have a thick, comfortable, sleeping mattress, placed on top of a ground sheet to keep out the wet and cold. To avoid you overcrowding your tent, there is a separate tent where you may store your climbing equipment.

Our shared amenities include:

  • well-trained and highly paid mountain crew
  • warm double-walled dining tents, padded chairs with armrests and full-time cooks on trek and at basecamp
  • a wide array of healthy and nutritious upper mountain food and comfort food to suit a wide variety of palates and dietary requirements.
  • state-of-the-art oxygen systems to maximize your summit chances, when climbing with supplementary O2.
  • the best weather forecasts sent to us daily to make sure you get the right weather window
  • hygienic washing facilities and toilet facilities on the trek and toilet tents at basecamp
  • solar array with backup generator for charging devices on international plug adapters

Are there shower tents at basecamp?

You can enjoy hot showers at Basecamp. Our basecamp team set up a shower tent nearby our collective campsite. Although there is no running water, our kitchen crew will be able to heat sufficient water for you to enjoy a shower.

Will my kit be safe in BC when I climb?

Yes, your kit is safe in your tent but we do advise to bring locks for your kit bags when flying which can be used on your bags in your tents to be doubly sure.

Food & Water

What is the food like on the mountain?

Altitude can often affect your appetite, and so we aim for the food on the trek to stimulate your appetite and keep you going. The meals on the mountain are excellent – freshly cooked and nutritious, as well as varied. Local ingredients are used, and if you have any dietary requirements do let us know beforehand and the local team will do their best to cater to your needs. The menu is designed to fill you with carbohydrate-loaded meals to give you plenty of energy for the trek, as well as being well-balanced. You’ll have tea and coffee, as well as drinking water, along with the meals and in camp.

You can expect the trek menu to consist of the following, or similar:

Breakfast:  Local breads (paratha), jams and honey, porridge and/or cooked eggs. Lunch:  crackers, cheese, sardines, biscuits. Afternoon tea: pakora, samosa, French fries. Dinner: Soup, rice, daal, vegetables (potato, cabbage, peas, cauliflower, carrot, etc), chapatis and salad. Fresh meat, usually chicken, is sometimes available and at other times tinned meat is used. Dessert: custard, jelly and tinned fruit.

Above basecamp, you will boil water to cook the “boil in the bag” meals. These ready meals are of the highest standard and come in a huge variety of flavours.

Snacks of sweets, chocolate bars and nuts will also be available, but you can of course bring any of your favourite snacks with you to top these up. Choose high-energy goodies to give you a boost on those longer days!

I have food allergies; can these be catered for?

Absolutely, please inform the office of your specific allergies or intolerances and we will ensure that these are taken into account on the trek and that the local teams have all of the information necessary.

How safe is the food and water?

As in Islamabad and Skardu, once on the trail to basecamp it is highly recommended that you stick to treated rather than tap water or drinking from streams. We provide sufficient boiled water at the beginning and end of each trekking day. You can also bring your own water treatment solution.

We will provide teas and coffees at mealtimes on the trek and at basecamp but if you want sodas, bottled waters, specialty coffees, or drinks outside of mealtimes we ask that you purchase them yourself. This is an option for the cities, towns and first part of the trek.

What is the local food like?

Pakistani cuisine, although delicious, may not always be to everyone’s taste. As such, during the trek and at basecamp we have our own chefs who create appetising, locally-sourced and healthy dishes in a full catering kitchen.

Do I need to bring my own snacks?

We do provide a variety of snacks alongside the meals on the mountain but we want to make sure everyone has the food that they need. On an expedition such as this, it’s always great to have your favourite snacks, particularly for early, cold mornings, or longer days.

Getting lots of calories is hugely important, so go with Gu packs, shot blocks, nuts, Snickers bars, cheese, etc… whatever it is that you know you can eat when you don’t want to eat! Getting speciality and familiar food can be difficult in Pakistan so it’s best you bring what you love from home.

Also, we recommend to bring a good supply of cough drops or hard candy as you might like them in the dry air. We’ll have some for the team but people go through them quickly!

How often is fresh water available for refilling during a typical trekking and climbing day?

Ample water is continuously available during the trek and at basecamp, as are hot drinks, soups and the occasional canned beverage. You will be able to refill at any time from the water supply provided in both the kitchen tent and the dining tent (hot water flasks 24 hours per day).

Once at Camp 1 and above for the rotations or summit bid you will begin the re-hydration process immediately upon arrival into camp. Your Guide and Sherpa/Balti team will assist you with this. Equally you will begin to make (from ice) all the water you will need for the following days activity before you leave the tent that day. On summit day your Guide and Sherpa team will carry extra flasks of hot tea in addition to your own water supply. The use of stoves and cooking equipment will be demonstrated to you by your Guide and Sherpa team.

Where does the drinking water come from? On the trek and in camps?

For your stay in towns and cities and for the road journey to Skardu (if taken) filtered, bottled water is provided. On the trek, we will use locally-sourced drinking water from streams, springs or nearby glacier. These are usually fresh being topped up from meltwater above or by rainfall, but we also increase their purity by treating the water with purification chemicals or by boiling it. We ensure the water is as pure as possible. At the camps there is a continuous supply of hot water for you to make hot drinks and lunches and dinners usually commence with a soup. Further, in towns ample soft drinks are available at shops, hotels and restaurants.

What meals are provided above basecamp?

Above basecamp you will be expected to use gas stoves to boil water to cook the “boil in the bag” meals and melt sufficient ice to serve as drinking water for the following day. The ready meals are of the highest standard and come in a huge variety of flavours. Appetite is likely to be reduced as we ascend higher but we aim to cater for every personal taste with a variety of meals to encourage essential fuel loading.

Kit

What gear will I need?

Please review the kit list for this expedition. While all items are required there may be times when some of the items on the gear list may not be used (such as warm weather or changing conditions). The lists are created by the guides so that climbers are prepared to summit in any conditions. The equipment list will also advise our recommended brands to consider using, based on our experience. Please do get in touch with the 360 team if you have any questions.

Can I rent equipment for this expedition?

We advocate the use of personal equipment whenever possible, and this is particularly important for the use of boots and high-altitude clothing.

However, things you don’t currently have can be hired cost effectively from our partners atOutdoor Hire (in the UK) or similar specialist rental outlets in your nearest city.

What clothing should I wear on at the start of the expedition?

Our leaders usually start the trek wearing long, lightweight trekking trousers and wicking (non-cotton) shirts. Long trousers are recommended to act as sun protection. Shorts can also be worn on the initial few days of the road trip and for walks around Skardu as the temperature can be warm. Ensure that you apply sun protection frequently. Sunglasses are worn for most of the trek as well as sunhats.

The prevailing conditions on the trek will dictate what you will wear. If it is cold when you leave the camp in the morning then wear your base layer plus soft shell. As things warm up take advantage of the zipper system which most trekking clothing has to adjust to your own preferred temperature. If you get too warm, take a layer off.

Waterproofs are needed on hand, especially during the acclimatisation phase of the expedition. The Karakoram creates its own weather system and it is not unusual to be caught out in an afternoon snowstorm low down on the mountain. Waterproofs should be Gortex material or similar and be carried with you at all times.

What do your guides and climbing Sherpa/Balti wear on summit day?

On summit day it gets cold and temperatures of -30°C are not unusual. Typically, our guides wear 2 sets of base layers (long johns), a fleece mid layer (top and bottom) and thin down jacket on the torso. Over the top of this they wear a one piece down suit. To further ward off the wind chill a wind suit (thin Gortex shell) could be considered.

On their hands they’ll wear a thin layer of fleece or silk gloves over which a thicker set of gloves are worn. Over the top of these two layers a large set of mittens (down recommended) is worn. Hand warmers inside the mittens are also recommended.

Their heads are covered by a thermal “beanie” hat or a thick balaclava and the hood of their down jackets. On their feet the guides wear one pair of thin inner socks and one pair of thick. Foot warmers are recommended.

Over the top of your clothing you will wear a climbing harness and you will be attached to a rope for high passes/summit day. On summit day your guides will also wear snow goggles.

How much gear can I bring?

We pay for mule and porter transport for two 50lb duffels (1 trekking duffel which will travel with you and 1 climbing duffel which will go straight to basecamp) – this should be more than enough weight. If you want to bring more than this with you, you will be expected to pay for the excess weight.

How should I pack?

For the trip to basecamp climbers will need to pack in two separate duffels: a basecamp duffel and a trekking duffel. Climbers’ basecamp duffels will not be accessible while on the trek to base camp, and as such should contain all of your climbing gear (crampons, axes, down suit etc) and items you won’t need on the trek.

Your trekking duffel will contain everything you will need for the trip to basecamp, including your trekking gear, rain gear, change of clothes and your sleeping bag. Trekkers will have everything with them in one duffel. Please keep everything you will need with you, including medications and medical supplies. What will go in your trekking and base camp duffels will be covered in more detail in Skardu.

Pack an additional small lightweight duffel in your luggage to leave street, travel clothes and things you won’t need on the expedition at the hotel in Skardu.

How heavy will my climbing pack be?

In general, climbing packs on 8,000m peaks are relatively light. You will likely be carrying 15-18kg most of the time while climbing, though less on the trek into base camp and on summit day. While climbing you should be prepared to carry your gear for the day and some of your personal gear for the mountain. Our High-Altitude porters will carry all of the group gear and help with personal gear where possible.

What is the best type of footwear that I can use for the various phases on this expedition?

There are two distinct types of footwear on this trek.

The boots used for the trekking phase to basecamp should be sturdy, waterproof, insulated against cold temperatures and offer adequate ankle support. (Crampon compatible B2 boots.) In addition, it is highly recommended that your boots are well worn in, to prevent the formation of blisters. A range of suitable boots are on the market and further advice as to which brand names are available and their relative pros and cons can be found online or at your local gear store. If still stuck then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our 360 office for advice.

Double boots (or triple boots) are essential for climbing 8,000m peaks. You will only be using your double boots for the entire mountain phase on this expedition. These boots should have a soft insulating inner bootie and a hard-plastic exterior outer boot with a high insulated exterior gaiter covering both. Either La Sportiva G2 SMs, Scarpa Phantom 8000s, La Sportiva Spantiks or specialized 8,000m boots are such as Olympus Monts are suitable. Temperatures high on the mountain are usually well below -30°C and only double boots can withstand such conditions. Ensure that you have tried the boots on before you leave home and that you can wear a thin and a thick pair of socks in them and still be able to freely move your toes.

What about crampons?

Crampons are worn for the majority of the time you spend above basecamp and for the actual summit day itself. Your crampons should preferably be of the easy “heel clip” variety (rather than the strap systems which can be fiddly). It is not necessary to use specialist technical climbing crampons as standard 12 point all round crampons such as those from Grivel will do the job very well.

What specialised kit is needed?

Please see our comprehensive kit list for the equipment and clothing systems you will need for this ascent. You might be familiar with some of the high-altitude clothing and equipment needed for climbing Gasherbrum from having previously been to high altitude on other mountains. The use of specialised equipment such as oxygen delivery systems, climbing and cooking equipment will be demonstrated and retaught to you at basecamp should you be in need of a refreshment course or want to be updated on current techniques.

If you have specific questions about equipment or clothing than don’t hesitate to contact the office prior to leaving on the expedition, our dedicated team of professionals are always on hand to give you specific advice on any of the specialised equipment you will need for this ascent.

What type of rucksack should I use for this expedition?

A good all-round size, approximately 70L, will accommodate both phases of this expedition. It is worth considering expedition specific rucksacks rather than travel rucksacks, and it’s important that your rucksack has an adjustable waist belt to transfer the weight of your daily load onto your hips and from here onto your legs so that the strongest muscles do most of the carrying and that the shoulder straps are sufficiently padded for extra comfort. Another handy feature would be a compartment in which to fit a Camelbak or water bladder.

On the climb you should aim to carry a very light rucksack. A 60-70L sack is ideal as a rucksack for both trek and climb but for the road journey to BC and for the trek to BC a smaller (around 40L capacity) rucksack can be used.

A rucksack this size is recommended as on the climb you will need to carry the above items plus your own sleeping bag, down clothing, sleeping mat and personal climbing equipment to the higher camps and on the descent. For the climb your porters will carry tents, fixed rope, group cooking equipment, fuel and their own climbing and survival equipment.

What will I carry inside my rucksack?

Depending on the day, the content of your rucksack for the trekking phase should include: a fleece or light down jacket (for when taking breaks or weather changes) a full set (top and bottom) of waterproofs, sufficient water for the day, snacks, camera equipment, personal medication, mini first aid kit, sun hat, sun-cream, sun glasses, a warm hat and gloves and a head torch. Your day-to-day rucksack will weigh no more than 4-6 kg. For the trek the rest of your gear can go in your kit bag and/or larger rucksack to be carried by the porters.

For the mountain phase the basic content of the rucksack is rearranged to be compatible with the demands of the next phase. It will include additional items such as sleeping bags, down clothing and personal climbing equipment which are to be carried between camps both on the ascent and descent.

Your rucksack can be filled to the brim with extra stuff (socks, down jackets etc.) before checking in at the airport to save weight and space in your hold luggage.

Our main expedition luggage will be carried to basecamp by porters and/or mules.

How warm does my sleeping bag need to be?

Sleeping bags should be rated within the -40°C comfort rating. From around basecamp upwards, it is not unusual to experience frosty nights and a good night’s sleep is important to giving you the best chance to climb this mountain. Ensure you get a sleeping bag that has this temperature as its comfort rating rather than its extreme rating. Our leaders take sleeping bags rated to well below -40°C to ensure  that they are warm at night. A 5-season sleeping bag can be enhanced by using an inner silk or fleece liner (or similar). The idea is to be as comfortable and warm as possible for the night and henceforth to ensure plenty of sleep for the arduous days ahead. Some climbers have found the use of a “Bivouac bag” helpful to increase the warmth of their bag.

For this expedition it is worthwhile to consider bringing two sleeping bags, one to leave at basecamp and one to leave at the higher camps. This method is used by some to minimise the need to carry their sleeping bags back down to basecamp after an acclimatisation rotation to the higher camps.

It is important to remember that down sleeping bags work by your own body heating the down that’s inside the bag. Once you have warmed up the bag the down will retain the heat and ensure that you sleep at a temperature that’s your own body temperature.

What luxuries should I take with me?

Few modern luxuries can be found in Skardu. Bring books as well as a Kindle, if you have, as these can be shared more easily with the group once you finished reading them. Electronic devices which store movies are also good for evenings, sitting out bad weather and the rest days.

What clothing is suitable for when we come back from the mountain?

Casual dress that respects the local Islamic culture is recommended for Islamabad and Skardu. Daytime temperatures are usually warm and shorts and t-shirts are fine. Evenings are generally cooler and a light fleece is recommended. A bag containing fresh clothes can be left in the hotel storage ready for your return.

Training

How can I maximise my chance of success?

High altitude mountaineering is about slack days of low activity followed by long days where every grain of stamina you have is called upon and every ounce of determination you possess is necessary to reach your goal.
The essential idea in order to prepare for a mountain such as Gasherbrum is to increase the intensity of the exercise you do by small increments over 8-12 months before you leave for the expedition. Concentrate on cardiovascular workouts during the initial weeks, and try to spend at least 2 weekends a month going on long duration walks (longer than 8 hrs) carrying a rucksack of around 15kg and aiming for 800-1,000 meters of ascent. As you get stronger, increase this rate of exercise and the duration by walking every weekend and running 5km every second day, for example.

We further encourage you to increase your climbing efficiency and use of climbing equipment by undertaking winter walks / climbs in the Scottish Highlands, Pyrenees or Alps. This will increase your body’s ability to cope with the extra demands of these activities and also allows you to get familiar with the equipment you will be using on the mountain.

A focused regime will not only prepare your body for carrying minor loads but will harden your body against the big days on the mountain itself, help break in your boots and get you used to your equipment for the trekking stages of the expedition. In combination, this will pay dividends when you reach base camp because even though you can’t train for altitude your body will be ready for arduous days and you will be familiar with how to best use your equipment, both adding to you being able to enjoy and appreciate the mountain all the more.

Are you able to recommend a training plan?

Along with the tips above, an example training plan can be found at the end of the expedition brochure. We work in partnership with the brilliant team at Joe’s Basecamp – check the thorough advice offered on their website. Several excellent training plans can also be found online to prepare you for this ascent.

Pakistan, the country

Is it safe to travel in Pakistan?

The short answer to this question is yes. Pakistan has had its share of political troubles but in recent years the British Foreign Office relaxed its advice for travellers. Since making peace with India it has become a great place to visit. The Balti people are some of the friendliest, most hospitable mountain people in the world and have worked hard to put their region back on the tourist map.

What security measures are in place to assure my safety?

We will not be travelling in any risky zones, so no measures are necessary for this expedition. Depending on availability of flights, we may travel through certain sections of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in which case we may require a police accompaniment, due to protocol rather than necessity.

How long do we stay in Islamabad?

We stay 3 nights in a safe, modern and centrally located hotel.

How do I communicate with loved ones when in Pakistan?

While in the cities or on the main roads you will find there is mobile reception and you can use mobile networks. After that, your expedition leader will have a satellite phone and this will be the main source of communication. Do note that this sat phone will be for emergencies and expedition use only. Many climbers prefer to source and bring their own personal satellite phone to keep in touch with friends and family back home.

Insurance & Travel

What is the best air route to my destination?

International flights are not included with this expedition, but do get in touch with the 360 office for advice on the flight routes to and from Pakistan.

Please let us know your travel arrangements to and from Islamabad, and if you will be arriving earlier than the noted start date.

Will I need to purchase insurance?

Yes, trip insurance is required for this program and it needs to cover the entire cost of the trip and include at a minimum, trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expenses, repatriation, and evacuation for the entire length of the expedition.

Unforeseen hiccups are part of adventure travel both before and during the expedition and these can be very expensive, so every effort should be taken to account for them in advance.

Your insurance details are requested on the booking form; however, this can be arranged at a later date. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure. It is your responsibility to have adequate insurance, and you will not able to join this expedition without it.

Are there any entry or Visa requirements?

Yes. Currently, UK, US citizens and most EU nationals need to purchase Visas in advance for Pakistan. Climbers of other nationalities should check with their local embassy. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip, and have at least two blank pages. Costs vary between nationalities. The 360 office crew can assist you with the various documentation that may be required for some nationalities.

This process has been made easier by all Pakistani embassies to encourage tourism to the country. Specialised forms might be required for some but our 360 office team and our agents in Islamabad can assist you with this.

What is the baggage allowance of the internal flight from Islamabad to Skardu?

For your own comfort, travel light. Normally, airlines restrict baggage to 15kg for the Skardu flight but you will be wearing your climbing boots and one set of trekking clothes. Normally we will travel with two duffel bags, one will go on the plane and then the second duffel travels via the KKH to Skardu. Some items can be left at the Islamabad hotel for your return.

Money

How much cash should I bring?

It is better to have more money than you need than not enough, while most things are covered on the trip once you land in Islamabad (check what’s included/what’s not included list for details) you will still need cash.

Generally, we recommend bringing US $1,200-$1,600 plus a credit card to cover all potential expenses, including an early departure, but it is unlikely that you will need all of this.

The cash that you need to bring includes

  • money for staff tips (customary but optional). See the questions on tips below.
  • to cover expenses for a potential early departure (not often, but occasionally this occurs)
  • for miscellaneous expenses like non-group meals, shopping, drinks around Islamabad and Skardu (sodas, specialty coffees, bottled water, alcohol), charging of devices, and snacks (meals are covered).

How much should we tip our local crew?

Our team of Balti High-Altitude porters and Nepali Sherpa, as well as the local crew, work extremely hard to ensure that your expedition runs well. While tipping is not compulsory, it is always very much appreciated.

As a general rule, we suggest around $300-$400 per client for the entire local crew to be shared amongst them. Alongside this tip for the local crew, you will also need to give a summit bonus tip.

Tipping the 360 Leader is entirely at your discretion.

What is a Summit Bonus?

This is the bonus tip that is independent to the overall tip reserved for the entire expedition support team. This tip is reserved for the climbing team of Sherpa and/or Balti crew that accompany you on the summit bid (around 5 days). We would recommend a minimum $500. You will need to have this money with you in cash to give to your Sherpa and / or Balti crew after your climb. If you hire your own private porter, an additional bonus would be necessary.

Any tips on using credit cards in Pakistan?

We would advise you let your credit card company know you will be traveling so you can use your card (and not set off the fraud alert due to using the card in a foreign destination)

Is it ok to use American dollars in Pakistan?

The local currency is the Pakistani rupee but American dollars are readily recognised and are easily converted to the local currency. Small denominations (1s, 5s, 10s and 20s) are better and although American dollars are accepted, you can change money into rupees at when you arrive in Islamabad. Rates are generally about the same and we haven’t yet encountered one that isn’t legitimate. Also, there are now quite a few ATMs around town where you can use your card to take out local cash at a good rate. It is much more difficult to change money, especially large sums, once you leave Skardu.

When is the money due for this expedition? What is your unique payment plan?

Generally, deposits are due when you book as this allows us to secure the best logistics for the expedition as far in advance as possible. The full amount should then be paid four months prior to departure. However, having said that, our aim is to get you to the top of this mountain and we understand that personal financial situations can vary. Please contact our friendly office crew to discuss a suitable payment plan should you find raising the funds to be difficult. We have been in your shoes after all and go by the motto of ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’!

What is your cancellation policy? What is your refund policy?

Please read 360 Expeditions’ Terms and Conditions carefully before you depart. 360 Expeditions highly recommend trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions. Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, 360 Expeditions must adhere to a stringent refund policy.

Communications & Electronics

What about phones and wi-fi?

We suggest picking up a local SIM card in Islamabad with a data package. Signal is reliable in Islamabad and Skardu and for the road trip on the KKH. Once on the trek to basecamp, service becomes unreliable, although it can sometimes pick up a low signal (though usually not enough to support data). You can buy a local SIM card in Islamabad. Your phone will need to be unlocked and you will need your passport to get a SIM card.

After we leave Askole the only communication possible is by satellite phone. We carry one as standard for every expedition and use it to update our 360 office on our progress and to pass on messages. The sat phone is available for emergency use, but do bear in mind that his phone is an essential tool for emergencies and re-supply and we allow limited personal talk time. Satellite phones are increasingly being bought by the climbers themselves for expeditions of this duration as this allows them to contact their family and friends whenever they want to. Cheap packages for satellite phone rental are also available in most western countries.

Can I contact the others before the climb? How about the leader?

We plan to hold several pre-expedition meetings  prior to the trip, in order to aid with any queries, and ideally would like to meet in the Pyrenees or the UK for some group climbing. We feel it is important that you have already struck up a friendship with your team before leaving, rather than setting off from the airport as total strangers! However, depending on the demographics of the team, which on an expedition of this type generally consist of varying differing nationalities, some of these meetings may take place over video chat remotely, though we hope to have the whole team together at least once prior to the climb. We’ll also set up a Facebook page before the expedition for the team to start chatting beforehand and arrange to meet as well if you wish.

Is there electricity at Basecamp?

Electricity is generated by small generators and solar panels. A ready power supply is available in both the kitchen and dining tent to keep cameras, iPod, Kindles and such like charged via USB. However, charging laptops can be a problem, so keep your personal equipment simple.

What is your point of contact? How can my family follow my progress?

Your 360 Leader will be sending regular updates to the 360 offices to allow your family and friends to track your progress on social media.

The best place to reach a loved one is through our main 360 office. We try to organise a daily satellite call with the 360 Leader on the mountain to allow communication between the outside world and to keep our team updated with important developments occurring at home.

 

The organisation of 360 was second to none. The attention to detail every step of the way was exceptional.

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