An exciting trekking possibility which leads to the Concordia and K2 is the Gondogoro Pass. With the breathtaking views of all ‘eight thousandars’ in the region, this is also an opportunity to climb up to 5400 meters.
It can be the quickest way to reach Concordia from Hushe if you are fit and like to accept the challenge. From Hushe to Concordia via Gondogo La can be a three-day trekking. Typically, Gondogoro La trek is done from the Concordia side. Trekking companies and expedition guides offer a round trek from Askole to Hushe to avoid any possible altitude and fitness problems.
The stages of this trek are short but height is a considerable matter. The altitude difference between the Hushe and the Gondoro La is 1800 meters. Without proper acclimatization and physical fitness, this can be extremely dangerous in case of High Altitude Sickness. This high altitude trek needs glacier experience with necessary information and gear.
Hushe to Saitcho
From Hushe to Saitcho is an easy walk with superb views of Masherbrum in the front. Passing through the cultivated fields, you will reach to the stones boundary wall of the village in 10 minutes. Keeping to the right and under the shadow of high rocky straight wall, you will reach to a patch of willow woods and fresh water stream. There are few temporary huts of shepherds who take care of domestic animals in the summer. It will take about one and half hour when you reach to the junction of Charuksa and Gondogor rivers. The Gondogoro glacier is also visible from here. By crossing two wooden bridges one on the Charuksa River and other on a side stream, you will reach the Saitcho.
If already acclimatized, it is possible to continue to the Gondoro Camp after a tea break.
Saitcho to Gondogoro Camp
A steep ascending walk from Saitcho through the bushes and roses takes about one hour to end. The Gondogoro glacier is on the left under this high ridge. This place also offers excellent views of substantial snows of Masherbrum. After crossing a couple of muddy water streams flowing down from the heights from right side, you will reach in a long and wide ground. This is the Gondogoro Camp with some very low roof shepherd huts and fresh water.
Gondogoro Camp to Dalsangpa
Fill the water bottles as the drinkable water is in Dalsangpa now which is about 3 hours from Gondogoro Camp. A steep path from the left end of Gondogoro Camp drops down on the edge of Gondogor glacier. The path is dusty, somewhere muddy; sometimes span only few inches. The cooling of glacier with haunting views is on your left while a wall of sand is on the right side. It will remain for an hour balancing and avoiding a fall in the icy ponds of glacier.
A steep circular climb with a water crossing in the middle will take you to a grassy start. This is also the start of the greenest and extremely scenic part of this trek. Dalsangpa is a glorious campsite at a broad ridge with amazing views of sparkling Masherbrum massif on the other side of Gondogoro glacier. The flower strewn land with a deep blue small lake among snow capped heights makes it a hidden splendor.
Dalsangpa to Haspang
The next 3 hours out of 4 from the end of Dalsangpa to Haspang are on the glacier. Descend through a short and steep path at the end of grassy land of Dalsangpa to the surface of glacier. The glacier here is full of boulders, crevasses, stones and sand. Uncountable jumps are required to cross the boulders and crevasses while continuing on an inclined glacier. Once out of the crevasses part, the going is easier on the rough ice.
In a short while, Laila Peak (6400 meters), the most beautiful mountain peak in the world appears to the right. The sharp needle like tower with steep snow covered slopes makes it the prettiest peak. From Laila Peak on the right to the Gondogor Peak on the left, this is a semi-circle of snow covered walls dividing the Hushe valley from Shigar valley. The views are splendid in every direction around the white snow covered glacier.
Keep moving to the left towards the massive heap of stones and boulders. After getting across the boulders, Haspang campsite at an altitude of 4900 meters is a smooth walk of about 15 mintutes. A temporary canteen for tea and food and camping platforms are built for tourists at Haspang.
At Haspang, you may rest for a night and almost complete next day. The Gondogoro Pass needs to be crossed after the midnight and before the sunrise. This is the only time when the snow at the top and both sides of the Gondogor Pass gets hard to walk on.
Haspang to Gondogoro Base
The Gondogor La Rescue Team helps the trekkers climbing up and down at the pass. Few members of the rescue team are usually there at Haspang who can provide the guidance.
This walk throughout on snow can take about 2 hours. Start moving before sunset or as per the guidance from the rescue team. It’s the perfect to have gaiters to protect the boots and feet from the snow and water. In case of unavailability of gaiters, create any possible protection by every mean. You will need to camp at about 5100 meters on the snow. Use snow by melting it on stove for any water requirements.
Gondogor Base to Ali Camp
Wait for the torch signal of rescue team from the top of the pass. You have to pack up in a quick time. At this altitude and the extreme cold temperature, it can be a difficult ascending to reach the installed ropes at the top most part of the Gondogoro Pass. Be steady; keep your breathing smooth by taking frequent stops. Once reach the ropes, this can be the final difficult hour to climb 100 meters up.
The unforgettable views of the upper triangle of K2 (8616M), Gasherbrum I (8068M) Broad Peak (8047M), Gasherbrum II (8035M), Masherbrum (7821M), Chogolisa (7654M) and many other Karakoram wonders are the reward of this excursion.
The descending on a smooth icy path to the Ali Camp makes no trouble and can be done easily.
Ali Camp to Concordia
If the snow is not much softer, it is the best way to walk on. Alternatively, you will need to walk on the stony paths at the side of Vigne Glacier. The walk on the stones can be tiring but not very difficult. Once out of Vigne Glacier, there are several side glaciers which take about 2 hours to cross. This final crossing takes you to the world’s number one mountain scenery anywhere in the world!