Snow Lake and Hispar La Trek
- The crossing of Hisper La 5151m
- Hisper Pass is one of the longest glacial systems outside the polar regions. This highway of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms; Hunza in west with Baltistan in the east
- Walking on Biafo and Hisper Glacier
- One of the world`s top 5 trekking adventures
- Trek up to Biafo Glacier (Longest and world’s largest outside the polar region)
- Views of peaks between 5,000m to 7,000m Peaks
Snow Lake and Hispar La Trek
Snow Lake is a high altitude glacial over 16km wide located at the head of the Biafo and Hispar glaciers. Snow Lake and Hispar La Trek starts from Skardu- Askoli, which lies on the right bank of Biafo Glacier. Biafo Glacier is 68 Kilometers on the Karakorum Range and south of Baltoro glacier leads to Hispar glacier.
This is a strenuous trek for strong trekkers where you get to cross peaks in the range of 5500m to 7300 meters. The famous snow lake is lying on 500 meters behind the Hispar La pass, this is the one of the best place for skiers and small peak climbers. After crossing Hispar La at an altitude of 5151 meters it gives a beautiful panoramic view of Mountains around Hispar glacier. We cross the summer pastures and we get into Hisper village, from there we meet the Jeeps to drive to Karimabad Valley.
Overview Snow Lake & Biafo Hisper Trek
Day-01 Arrive Islamabad airport and transfer to hotel,
Day-02 Fly to Skardu in case of flight cancellation drive to Chilas 12-14hrs
Day-03 Rest day in Skardu or drive from Chilas to Skardu. Meals & overnight at hotel
Day-04 Drive to Askoli 6-7hrs 3000m. Meals & overnight in tents
Day-05 Trek to Namla 6-7hrs 3400m, overnight in tents
Day-06 Trek to Shikonfon 4-5hrs 6.7km 3660m, overnight in tents
Day-07 Trek to Baintha 6-7hrs 10.7km 3990m, overnight in tents
Day-08 Baintha- Free day for local exploration
Day-09 Trek to Marpogoro 7.5km, 4410m, 5-6 hrs
Day-10 Trek to Karpogoro 6.5km 4680M, 5-6 hrs,
Day-11 Trek to Snow Lake Hisper La base camp 6-7hrs 11.6km 4770m
Day-12 Trek to Hisper La 4-6 hrs, 4.2km, 381m ascent, 5151m, overnight in tents
Day-13 Trek to Khani Bassa 14km, 4-5 hrs, 4511m, overnight in tents
Day-14 Trek to Jutmal 4-5hrs 4330m, overnight in tens
Day-15 Trek to Red Star 6-7hrs, overnight in tents
Day-16 Trek to Bitanmal 5-6 hrs (7.9km), 3660m Meals & overnight in tents
Day-17 Trek to Hisper village 4-5hrs 3383m, overnight in tents
Day-18 Drive to Hunza by 4X4 Jeeps. Arrive and transfer to hotel
Day-19 Drive to Naran via Babusar Pass (4173m) 9-10hrs
Day-20 Drive to Islamabad 6/7 hrs (239.2 km)
Day-21 Transfer to Islamabad airport for international flight
In this venture, we assure you a quality time. Hunza Guides is one of the parent tour and trekking companies in Pakistan. Snow Lake Biafo Hispar Trek is one of the finest trekking you can find on planet earth. Please do not hesitate to Contact Us or click on the next tab for further details.
Map and Itinerary for Snow Lake and Biafo Hisper Trek
Arrive in Islamabad and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon we enjoy a city tour of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Day-02 Islamabad- Skardu
Today we take the short but spectacular flight to Skardu 1hr. Arrive and transfer to hotel. Altitude 2,228m. Note: If our flight is canceled due to bad weather, we will start the drive to Skardu traveling for 11/12 hrs via Babusar Pass 4173m.
Free/preparation day in Skardu (Today we enjoy a free day in Skardu where we can visit the bazaar and Khurpucho Fort). Note: if our flight canceled on day 2, we will spend 8-9hrs driving from Chilas to Skardu along with Indus River.
The rising of Indus stretches down to Baltistan valley from Tibet to Gilgit and down to the Arabian Sea, which cuts the Indian sub-continent from Asia; Baltistan valley is called a little Tibet in the North of Pakistan. Baltistan is situated at the last end of Himalaya, beside Deosai Plain and Satpara Lake. Baltistan the tourist destination of Mountains paradise where the world 2nd highest peak is K-2 (8611-m) and the other 8000m is Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I & II Likely 8068 to 8047m and there are many peaks 7750- 7800m. Its snowcapped peaks and long glaciers give you a spectacular view for climbers, trekkers, and travelers.
Day-04 Skardu- Askoli
Today we take the spectacular drive by jeeps to Askoli 6-7hrs, the starting point of our trek. Overnight in tents. Altitude 3,000m.
It is a spectacular drive from Skardu to Askoli; the jeep road crosses the Braldu River three times and passes the villages of Dassu, Apligon, Pakora, Hoto Chongo and Thongal.
Day-05 Askoli- Namla
Trek to Namla 6-7hrs. Altitude 3400m, overnight in tents
The early morning light finds us beginning our Snow Lake and Biafo Hisper trek as the Loads are distributed among the porters.
Walks through Askoli 3000m and past the confluence of the Biafo and Biafo rivers, following the true right bank of the Biafo River to Kisar Shaguran, beyond which the trails to the Biafo Glacier divide, the Biafo turn to the northeast and the Baltoro continues east. Move onto the moraine-covered Biafo glacier. Have a nice view of Pyramidal Baakhor Das Peak.
Day-06 Namla- Shikonfon
Trek to Shikonfon 4-5hrs 6.7km. Altitude 3660m, overnight in tents
Cross the crevassed area to the highest ridge on the glacier. Ahead to the top north are the 3 visible Latok Mountains. Latok -1 (7145m), Latok -II (7108m) and Latok -III (6949m).Climb gently for a couple of hours, on the unstable boulders all the way, then angle in across the crevasses to Mango, an ablation valley with grass and willows bushes by side stream flowing from the striated snow ridge and glacier of 5, 355m Mango Brakk. The campsite at about 3650m has stone circles for the porters and ample tents space.
Day-07 Shikonfon- Baintha
Trek to Baintha 6-7hrs 10.7km. Altitude 3990m, overnight in tents
This is lovely, the easy day starting with a short walk along the ablation valley past a small lake, then heading out across the lateral crevasses to the smooth, white center of the Biafo glacier. Ahead is your first view of the Hisper Pass. The mountain walls on either side rise to 6000m, the serrated rock. Here we cross two medial moraines and climb the lateral moraine to find a green ablation valley and follow it up to Biantha, a grassy area with a clear stream following through dense willows shrubs surrounded by flowers the greenery and flowing water we can see for five days. Biantha is also known as Conway’s camp.
Day-08 Baintha- Free day
Free day for local exploration and Porters will prepare their food for further Snow Lake Biafo Hisper Trek
Day-09 Baintha- Morfogoro
Trek to Marpogoro 7.5km. Altitude 4410, 5-6 hrs, ascent
Trek to Karpogoro 17 km, 6-7hrs. Altitude 4680m, overnight in tents
Start with 45 minutes of easy walking up the ablation valley past several small lakes surrounded by flowers and willow bushes (can see bear droppings and ravens) followed by 30 minutes of crossing difficult crevasses out to the easy white ice. Please do not get too close to the Biantha Lukpar glacier, as the ice is churned up where the two glaciers meet. The next few hours are an easy stroll up smooth ice, stepping over frequent small crevasses. If the glacier is snow covered, we must rope up and walk in single file all the way across the pass. The Biafo is hemmed in by gleaning glaciers on the south and jagged granite on the north. Napina is a green campsite in the northern ablation valley, with fresh water but no bushes if you don’t wish to detour into Napina, we can camp out on the ice in the middle of Biafo at about 4400m and porters will collect water from glacier melt. Walk up the ice highway, until opposite the first of the three rock camps named for the color of the rock above them.
Day-11 Karpogoro – Snow Lake BC
Trek to Snow Lake Hisper La base camp 6-7hrs 11.6km. Altitude 4770m, overnight in tents
This is ready poled on snow-covered ice (rope essential, gaiters recommended), zigzagging to cross the crevasses but keeping slightly right of center. Wagtails and Ravens follow you up. Snowy peaks adrip with glaciers wall you in on the south, as do granite towers on the north. At the intersection with the Sim Gang glacier and Snow Lake (Lukpe Lawo), the route to the Hisper Pass leads off the west. The ice here is about 1.5 kilometers thick and flowing at about 300m a year. Camp at about 4780min a flat bowl of ice several kilometers wide and surrounded by jagged black and white mountains. (From here treks leads north across Snow Lake and Khurdopin pass 5790 to the Shimshal valley)
The Name Snow Lake was given in 1892 by W Martin Conway, the first foreign visitor, in 1899, the husband-wife team of William Hunter Workman and Fanny Bullock Workman came and speculated that Snow Lake might be an ice -cap like those in the polar region, from which glaciers flowed out in all directions, and estimated its size at 300 square miles (777 square kilometers).
Day-12 Snow Lake BC- Hisper LA 5151m
Trek to Hisper La 4-6 hrs, 4.2km. Altitude 5151m, overnight in tents
This day we recommend Rope, gaiters and waterproof boots are essential. It is an easy, steady climb to the top of the Hisper pass 5151m but quite strenuous at this altitude. The route wends gently up the center, with giant crevasses and stripped greenish- blue seracs on either side. Looking back across Snow Lake gives a feeling of vast snowy space, without a hint of vegetation. Coiling out from Snow Lakes, smooth glaciers writhe between nameless unclimbed peaks
Day-13 Hisper LA 5151m-Khani Bassa
Trek to Khani Bassa 14km, 4-5 hrs. Altitude 4511m, overnight in tents
3 to 5 hours trek down to Khani Bassa, depending on snow conditions, even in the early morning, the snow can be so soft that we can sink up to our calves. Undulate for one hour cross the top of the Pass, than plod sharply down the center on smooth snow, jumping small crevasses for another hour or so. Beware of hidden crevasses, rope up, and walk in single file. Large crevasses and seracs border the glacier on both sides. To more hours of boulder hopping on scree and moraine leads to a small green campsite just before the junction with the Khani Bassa glacier, have a nice view of the white wall of Balchish range, which is 6000m.Camp at about 4580m.
Day-14 Khani Bassa- Jutmal
Trek to Jutmal 4-5hrs. Altitude 4330m, overnight in tens
It takes about 90 minutes to cross the Khani Bassa glacier. It is relatively easy going, with a fine view north to the smooth white dome of Kanjut SAR at 7,760m the 29th highest peak in the world. There are plenty of places for camping between Khani Bassa and Yutmaru glaciers. Much of the way is along a clear path high on the lateral moraine above 30 m of the glacier, with magnificent views across to the hanging glaciers and frequent avalanches on the southern ice wall. Camp about an hour before the Yutmaru glacier in a flat, sheltered field in the ablation valley, which offers rooms for many tents, here is running water until mid-August. A few small willow bushes and flowers are around the site.
Day-15 Jutmal- Red Star
Trek to Red Star 6-7hrs, overnight in tents
The Yutmaru glacier takes at least 2 hours to cross, with high ice walls and deep crevasses to negotiate. On the other side climb steeply up under the cliff to a good possible campsite with a panoramic view back to the Hisper pass (but on the water in September). We will have to cross few screes, and there is a shortage of water, but flowers and fine views make this otherwise idyllic. There are at least 5 possible campsites along the way. The lower path, following the edge of the glacier, is more difficult and not as scenic. Red Star camp (marked by a Red Star on the U502 map) is a large field at 4,150mt with stone shelters and circles and silty river water.
Day-16 Red Star- Bitanmal
Trek to Bitanmal 5-6 hrs (7.9km) Altitude 3660m. Meals & overnight in tents
Cross a stream from the small tributary glacier just beyond camp and descend steeply to the ablation valley along the Hispar Glacier, north margin. Move onto boulder covered medial moraine 30 minutes from the cam. On either side of this level moraine are heavily broken sections. Although a trail hugs the grassy hillside above the glacier
Day-17 Bitanmal- Hisper village
Trek to Hisper village 4-5hrs. Altitude 3383m, overnight in tents
Trek through a green trail to the pastures of Bitanaml beneath lofty Makrong Chhish 6607m descend steep talus to the edge of the Kunyang Glacier and cross it on a faint trail. Stroll down the ablation valley. Cross the Hisper river bridge and climb to Hisper village.
Day-18 Hisper village- Karimabad/Hunza
Drive to Hunza by 4X4 Jeeps. Arrive and transfer to hotel
The Hunza Valley is a mountainous valley, situated north/west of the Hunza River, at an elevation of around 2,500 m. The territory of Hunza is about 7,900 square km (3,100 sq mi). Aliabad is the main town, while Baltit and Altit are popular tourist destination because of the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains.
The people are cheerful, friendly, almost all speak Burushaski and in upper Hunza, they speak Wakhi. The miracle of the Hunzakuts longevity, supposedly resulting from their mostly vegetarian diet of cereals and fruits. From Hunza Valley, Panoramic views of Rakaposhi 7788m, Diran Peak 7266m, Spantik Peak7027m, Ultar 7388 Lady Finger 6000m.
Day-19 Karimabad- Naran
Drive to Chilas (221KM), after lunch continue drive to Naran 3-4 hrs (113.3 km) via Babusar Pass 4173m)
Day-20 Naran- Islamabad
Drive to Islamabad 6/7 hrs (239.2 km)
Transfer to Islamabad airport for international flight
Service details for Snow Lake and Biafo Hisper Trek
- Accommodation and Meals
Accommodation will be provided based on following hotels sharing twin/double occupancy.
Islamabad– Hill View hotel or similar category – Bed & Breakfast only.
Chilas– Midway Shangri-La or similar category – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Skardu– PTDC Motel or Masherbrum hotel – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Hunza- Hill Top or Hunza Embassy hotel – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Naran– PTDC Motel or Guesthouse Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Note: Alternate accommodation will be provided if rooms in above-mentioned hotels are not available. Check in before 12:00 pm is subject to previous night charges
- Internal Flights
Gilgit Baltistan fights are subject to weather, in case of flight cancellation surface transfer will be provided
Air-condition transport for sightseeing
Air-condition transport for airport pick and drop
Air-condition transport from Islamabad to Skardu
Air-condition transport from Hunza to Islamabad
- 4×4 Jeeps
4×4 Jeeps from Skardu to Askoli village
4×4 Jeeps from Hisper village to Karimabad
- Porterage (Low Altitude Porters)
Required low altitude porter from Askoli to Hisper village.
Free baggage allowance for members personal gear and collective equipment is 15 kilograms per person
- Taxes and Fees
Bridge crossing fees.
CKNP Fee 50 U$ per person.
- Camping Equipment & Accessories
Camp food from Askoli village to Hisper village
D3V sleeping tent.
Mess Tent- Kitchen Tent- Tables- Chairs.
- Kitchen Equipment
All necessary kitchen utensils.
Lamps for light.
Professional English Speaking Guide
Assistant Guide as per group size
What's not Included
- International air ticket & airport taxes.
- Visa fee for Pakistan & personal insurance of the clients.
- Tips for drivers, porters and staff
- Single Supplement
- Hotel meals in Islamabad (lunch & dinner)
- Helicopter charges 15,000U$ in case of use for rescue
- Transfers to and from airports for participants making individual air arrangements
- Optional excursions or deviations from the scheduled tour
- Sleeping bag and all personal expenses such as telephone, fax, email charges, liquor or soft drinks,
- Room service, gratuities for personal services, items of a purely
- Any other service that is not mentioned in the list above.
Joining Arrangements & Transfers
- All clients arriving on Day 1 will be met at Islamabad Airport by our representative who will arrange the transfer to the group hotel. Similarly, transfers will be provided back to Islamabad Airport on the final day of the itinerary. Full joining instructions together with hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.
While in Islamabad accommodation is on Bed and breakfast basis and our guide will guide you to different restaurants nearby for lunch and dinner, while at the camps you will get breakfast with porridge and cereal, toast or chapattis/parathas, omelettes and a range of hot drinks. Normally a hot lunch is served during the trek, In the afternoon you will be given tea and biscuits and a three-course meal will follow with soup, a main meal, and dessert. We bring along fresh vegetables and meat for the main meals. We can cater for those with special dietary requirements, so long as we are informed of these at the time of booking.
The accommodation arrangement in Islamabad is of standard hotels. Rooms at our provided hotels will be on twin sharing basis. At the time of camping, the participants will be sharing D3V sleeping tents for two persons, D3V means three men dome tent). If any participant is coming alone on this trek, he/she will be accommodated with one of the other members for tent and room sharing. For strangers and solo trekkers, first preference will be given to same-gender stays. Nevertheless, a participant can opt for the separate tent of hotel rooms as he/she likes, however, the additional cost will be incurred for making the separate arrangement. Any participants seeking separate accommodation must inform our office in advance.
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The best time for Snow Lake Biafo Hisper trek is from mid-June - August end The start and end dates in the table above are your dates of arrival and departure from Pakistan We have at least five guaranteed departures every year. Our dates for the trek to Snow Lake Biafo Hisper trek are given above. We can organize solo treks if your dates do not match our dates of fixed departures.
How the trip will operate?
Upon arrival in Islamabad, one of our representatives will pick you up from the airport and transfer to hotel. We then fly to Skardu capital of Baltistan region, or if the weather is inclement we travel by road through the Indus gorge. Skardu is the parting point from civilization, where we will be accommodated in a Hotel. Jeeps take us to the road end at Askole, the last village in the valley. Askole is the beginning of the trek and each night we camp out as we travel up the valley with our Balti porters providing entertainment and color to the otherwise stark and barren countryside. Our cooks provide wholesome and high-quality food during the trek. The guide and porters will coordinate all the movements of equipment and people up and down the mountain and are there to assist and facilitate you. At the end of the trip the group retraces its steps to Islamabad.
What is a typical day on trek?
The day starts with an early morning mug of tea brought to your tent by one of the cook’s helpers. Before heading over to the mess tent for breakfast it is best to pack your overnight gear into your duffel bag. During breakfast the tents will be packed away and, after the porters have arranged their loads, they will set off on the trail in the cool of the morning. After breakfast, probably between 7 am and 8 am, we start walking. The pace of the trek is leisurely with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, take photos and explore the local villages. Lunch will be around 11 am at a spot by the side of the trail and is prepared for us by the cooks. There is more walking after lunch and normally you will get into camp by mid-afternoon with the tents already put up by the local staff. In the evening a three-course meal is served in the mess tent around 7 pm. After evening meal the guide will discuss the plan for the next day with the group. People might stay in the mess tent chatting about the day’s events for a while before retiring to their tent for the night.
What you Carry?
In your daypack, you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location, and weather), a rain jacket, water bottle, film and camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip-Eze etc. Porters carry all group gear and your trek pack. A daypack of approx. 45litres is ideal for this trek.
How internal flights operate?
Skardu is a weather-dependent airport. Since the valley is completely surrounded by high mountains, planes can only land here in good visibility and this means flights to and from Skardu are never guaranteed. The planes do fly more often than not, but cancellations can and do occur and in these circumstances, we will travel by road. If we did not do this groups would risk being stranded in Islamabad and you should beware of companies that say they will only fly to Skardu as this may mean you have no possibility of trekking.
What is participation statement and acknowledgment?
Participants should be aware trekking, mountaineering and travelling in a developing country are activities that involve a risk of personal injury or death. As a condition of booking, you must accept these risks and be responsible for your own actions and involvement.
Adventure travel requires an open and flexible attitude. You may Experience extreme conditions, unpredictable weather and last minute changes to the itinerary beyond our control. Lack of acclimatization to high altitudes could also be a risk factor. Our itineraries allow optimum time for acclimatizing although it is possible that some individuals might be slow acclimatizers.
The majority of our trips visit remote areas where you are away from normal emergency services and medical facilities. In case of a serious injury requiring hospitalization, it has to be accepted by you, evacuation could take up to several days and may impede your ensuing recovery. Helicopters are the most usual means of evacuation, however they are not always available or they may be hindered by poor weather and flying conditions.
What will be the camp food?
While in Islamabad accommodation is on Bed and breakfast basis and our guide will guide you to different restaurants nearby for lunch and dinner, while at the camps you will get breakfast with porridge and cereal, toast or chapattis/parathas, omelettes and a range of hot drinks. Normally a hot lunch is prepared by the trek, In the afternoon you will be given tea and biscuits and a three-course meal will follow with soup, a main meal, and dessert. We bring along fresh vegetables and meat for the main meals. We can cater for those with special dietary requirements, so long as we are informed of these at the time of booking.
How about hygiene & sanitation?
All our cooks and support staff are thoroughly trained in kitchen and table hygiene & observe strict hygienic code. You may give your personal water bottles to our kitchen staff every night & they’ll fill them up with boiling water, which will not only warm you up in your sleeping bags for a sound sleep but also provide you with safe boiled drinking water for the following day’s walk.
Guidance on tipping?
It is usual to tip the members of your trek crew, including your local guide, if you are happy with the services provided. We estimate that $100 – $150 (in local currency equivalent) will cover this aspect of your trip expenditure.
Towards the end of the trek, the trip leader will help the group to determine an appropriate level of tipping for each crew member, and this is most usually done as a group ‘thank-you’ with a ceremony on the final day of trekking.
What will be the weather?
The traditional trekking season in Pakistan is from June to September. The K2 Base Camp and Gondogoro la trek will have a wide range of temperatures depending on the altitude and the time of day. In the mountains between 1,000m and 3,500m, the nights will be cool normally around 5°C. During the day temperatures can be very hot even as high as 40°C in the lower elevations. Bring lots of water, sunhat and sunscreen! At higher altitudes temperatures range from about 20°C to -10°C. The mornings are generally clear with clouds building up during the afternoon and often disappearing at night to reveal beautiful starry nights. Rawalpindi will be hot and humid at this time of year; temperatures typically range from 30°C to 46°C with high humidity, whereas the temperatures in Skardu at 2,340m will be cooler.
What will be the weather?
Vaccinations and medical?
You should obtain professional advice from a travel clinic or your local GP from your home country about which vaccinations to have before you arrive in Pakistan. A dental check-up is a good idea as there will be no dental facilities while on the trek.
What will be the weather?
How to avoid altitude sickness?
The below notes on altitude sickness is to point out what it is and to note the symptoms. Problems with altitude sickness can usually be avoided if care is taken to prepare properly. Ensure good physical fitness, chose a trip suitable to your level, staged ascents to allow time for acclimatization, drink plenty of liquid and avoid alcohol, be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and do not ignore symptoms of altitude sickness if they occur. Normal physiologic changes occur in every person who goes to altitude: hyperventilation (breathing faster, deeper, or both), shortness of breath during exertion, changed breathing pattern at night, awakening frequently at night and increased urination.
By slowly gaining height we reap the benefits of a gradual gain in fitness and acclimatization. We offer advice based on our experience and with the sensible approach we take on all of our treks, anyone who is well prepared, fit and healthy should have few problems, as we are very careful to allow time to acclimatize to the altitude. Even with these precautions, it is still possible for altitude sickness to occur. It is difficult to predict who is likely to suffer from altitude sickness. Sex is not a determinant, nor is age. Your physical condition is important to good altitude adjustment, but sometimes people who are fit ascend too rapidly for their systems to adjust.
Please also note that individuals vary widely in both their physical response to high altitude and the ability to acclimatize and since physical fitness does not confer any protection or facilitate acclimatization, it is impossible to predict how you will adapt to the altitude. The greatest protection is avoiding rapid ascents and allowing time for acclimatization. Your body can adapt to altitude if given time. We feel this itinerary specifically provides that option, but you must individually pace yourself to go slowly and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Do not push too hard regardless of how physically fit you may be or feel.
Early symptoms of high altitude sickness include a headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, vomiting, dry cough, irregular breathing, shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of ankles and eyelids. It is not uncommon to experience some of these symptoms when you first arrive at high altitude and then to have them decrease in severity within a few days. It is important that you inform your Trip Leader immediately of any symptoms or discomfort, however minor so that they can help you monitor the situation. Please be aware that remaining at high altitude in spite of alarm signals from your body may result in serious illness or even death.
Medical conditions that are aggravated or complicated by high altitude include heart diseases, lung diseases, pregnancy, anemia, and sickle cell disease. It is imperative that anyone with any of these conditions consult their physician in detail before attempting this trekking expedition.
Personal Medical Kit
It is very important to have your own personal medical kit and it is wise to bring all the essentials with you from the home country. As time is limited and it will save you having to go searching for medical supplies in an unfamiliar city. Most medicines are available from chemists in main cities. The following suggestions are based on our experience of travelling, trekking and on the most common medical problems encountered. It is important to check with your doctor in case of allergies to any medications.
We suggest that you bring the following:
Plasters: Elastoplasts or adhesive tape.
Antiseptic cream: Germalene, Savlon etc
Crepe or Elasticated Bandage: For knee and ankle support, if you strain in these joints.
Blister dressings: Moleskin, compead, spenco dressings etc. Stop at the first sign of a blister forming and use a plaster or moleskin.
Cold and Flu Medication: Beechams powders, Lemsip, nasal decongestant, and throat lozenges. On treks that stay above 3000 meters for any length of time or on treks with dry conditions, it is quite common due to breathing dry, cold air through the mouth to get a sore throat or a cough (it may become productive due to irritation not necessarily infection).
Treatment For Diarrhoea: Oral rehydration salts, which contain a variety of salts (electrolytes) and sugar. The combination of electrolytes and sugar stimulates water and electrolyte absorption from the gut. It, therefore, prevents or reverses dehydration and replaces lost salts in conditions such as diarrhea and vomiting. Preparations such as Imodium or Lomotil are anti-motility drugs, which do not treat diarrhea but slows the gut. They should only be used when the condition is causing dehydration, much distress or is impossible to deal with on transport. The aim in using them is to take just enough to control the complaint (see section on diarrhea).
General Painkillers: Aspirin, paracetamol and/or ibuprofen etc
Insect repellent and after bite cream:
Small Pair of Scissors
Any Special Medicines: Those you take regularly or will require on your trip.
Optional – Treatment for Giardia: A common infection caused by a protozoan in the upper bowel. It develops one to three weeks after exposure and can result in a sudden acute illness or a more long-lasting condition. The symptoms are usually explosive and gassy diarrhea along with burping and wind that tastes and smells like rotten eggs. There may be abdominal pain after eating. Treatment is a course of Metronidazole; this is a prescription drug. Under the advice given by your GP, you may consider carrying a course of wide spectrum antibiotic in your personal medical kit.
Optional – A Broad-Spectrum Antibiotic: These are prescription drugs and should be used in consultation with a GP. A broad-spectrum antibiotic e.g. Ciprofloxacin may be useful if traveling to remote areas or for long periods. A broad-spectrum antibiotic can be used to treat bacterial infectious diarrhea, dysentery, respiratory, skin and urinary infections. However, antibiotics used without proper medical advise can cause or predispose other medical complications and bacterial resistance e.g. Clostridium or MRSA. Under the advice given by your GP, you may consider carrying a course of broad-spectrum antibiotic in your personal medical kit.
Optional – Use of Acetazolamide (Diamox): For those trekking above 3000 meters, Diamox has been described as an aid to acclimatization and the prevention of altitude sickness
Equipment & Accessories
Rucksack or Day Sack: This is what you carry containing any items you will need during the day, e.g. camera, water bottle, jumper, waterproofs, personal first aid kit (or part of it), toilet paper & lighter etc. A rucksack of around 35 to 40 litres capacity should be large enough, lined with one large plastic bag to
ensure contents remain dry. Padded hip belts are recommended for trekkers.
Sleeping Bag & Liner: A good quality 4-season down or synthetic bag and cotton, thermal or silk liner. Suggested manufacturers RAB, Mountain Equipment, North Face, Ajungilak, Vango.
Scarf/Bandana: Silk, cotton or nylon for keeping the sun off the back of your neck or dust out of your mouth.
Water Bottle: 1x 1 Litre (Platypus, Sigg or Nalgene bottles are recommended). Sigg bottles also makes great hot water bottle!
Water Purification: Biox Aqua Tablets are the safest and most effective form of emergency water disinfection in outdoor environments. Biox Aqua Tablets are more effective than either chlorine or iodine tablets (working against both cryptosporidium and giardia), and leaves no bad tastes or colours behind. Biox Aqua does not react with contaminants in the water to form hazardous byproducts. Each application will take between 10-30 mins to take effect, dependant on the condition of the water source. Puritabs are not advised as they have no effect on the amoebas and will not protect you from hepatitis.
Sun Screen: High protection factor 20-30 or higher
Lip Screen: High protection factor 20-30 or higher
Toilet Items: Soap, travel towel, flannel (or J-cloth), toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, comb, sanitary protection, toilet paper is provided but bring a roll for personal use and at airports!
Sewing Kit: Needle, cotton and a few safety pins for emergency repairs.
Small Knife: Swiss army style – has many uses (do not carry this in hand luggage when taking international or internal flights it will be confiscated).
Small Padlocks: Essential for locking your kit bag and bags left at the hotel.
Passport & Spare Passport Photographs: (3-4 plus any required for permits)
A Copy of Your Insurance Certificate: This is very important and useful.
Money Belt: To carry valuables (passport, money, air ticket) this should be worn at all times when travelling.
High Energy Trek Snacks: Sweets, chocolate bars, dried fruit, glucose sweets, Kendal mint cake. These can make all the difference in unfamiliar surroundings.
Personal Medical Kit: (see list above).
Compression Bags, Stuff Sacs, Pillow Cases or Small Plastic Bags: To separate the gear in your kit bag and kept dry.
Cigarette Lighter/Matches: For burning toilet paper and rubbish.
Wet Wipes: One pack very useful for wiping hands, face and other parts of body.
Antibacterial Hand Cleansing Gel: Small bottle.
General Equipment List
This is a suggested kit list of some items needed when trekking. It is best to pack several thinner layers rather than one thick layer. There is a weight limit on trek (13-20kg depending on the package). It is best not to pack more items than what you actually need on any holiday.
Lightweight Thermal Underwear: Tops (2), bottoms or long johns (1). Made from polypropylene, Coolmax, Capilene etc, as cotton does not provide adequate warmth.
T-Shirts or Polo Shirts: (3) Capilene, DryFlo or Coolmax are preferred for their quick drying/high wicking ability.
Long Sleeved Shirt or Blouse: (1-2)
Trekking Trousers (2) e.g. polycotton trousers or zip off trousers.
Lightweight Wool or Fleece Jumper: (1)
Fleece or Pile Jacket: (1)
Duvet Jacket: Medium weight down or synthetic, it needs to fit overall insulation layers.
Waterproof Jacket: Good storm proof mountain jacket with attached hood.
Waterproof Trousers: Good storm proof trousers with side zips to the knee.
Travel Clothes: Lightweight cotton, preferably only for travelling in, e.g. separate to trekking gear.
Mitts & Gloves
Synthetic Gloves: 1 pair lightweight fleece/wool/pile.
Mitts: To fit over gloves
Boots: It is most important that you have well-fitting, comfortable boots, lightweight boots (Gore-Tex or leather). Boots are to be preferred rather than training shoes for the actual trekking, giving your ankles and feet much better support on the rough and stony ground and providing better grip. Boots protect the feet from bruising or damage caused by protruding stones or boulders. Boots should be sturdy enough to take flexible crampons.
Training Shoes/Sandals: For travelling in and around the cities, hotels and at camp. Also for wearing when crossing streams to protect feet.
Socks: 2-3 pairs of thin liner socks (polypropylene or Coolmax) to be worn next to the skin.
Harness: You need it while crossing Gondogoro La
Gaiters: Useful if we encounter snow.
Crampons: You only need it for Gondogoro Crossing. It is important to have the correct crampons for your boots.
Sun Hat: Baseball cap or wide-brimmed sun hat.
Wool or Fleece Hat
Head Torch: e.g. Petzl Tikka, Zipka or Black Diamond Moonlight and spare batteries.
Sunglasses: Essential to get a pair, which cuts out 100% UV rays. It is a good idea to also have a spare pair of good sunglasses. Glacier glasse
General Considerations When Packing
- Keep the weight and bulk down to a minimum.
- Baggage allowance on most international flights is around 23kg. Most people tend to bring more clothes than they actually need.
- You only need one change of clothes for time spent in towns/cities.
- On treks, your kit bag weight should be kept to below 15kg.
- For all trips but especially trekking it is important to dress in layers. When it is hot you will only be wearing light trousers and a T-shirt, when it gets colder you can add to this until you are wearing most of your clothes!
- Fragile and valuable items should be carried in your hand baggage.
- Most people take their daysack or rucksack on the plane as hand luggage but many airlines only allow one item of hand baggage, which should not be more than the airlines specified size.
- Camera gear should be carried as hand luggage in a padded or protective bag, discreet bags are ideal as they do not advertise the expensive contents and attract unwanted attention.
- On internal flights, there is an allowed baggage allowance of 15kg per person. When flying internally we suggest trekkers wear all your heavy clothes and boots to keep your baggage to a minimum.
- Any excess baggage charges will have to be borne by you.
- Pack all batteries, knives, sharp object and lighters into your main luggage to avoid confiscation by security personnel.
- Take a small sealable clear plastic bag if you wish to take liquid items such as toothpaste onboard the aircraft.
- Do not leave bags unattended at airports.
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