gondogoro la trek

Exploring the Wonders of Gondogoro La Trek: A hiker’s Adventure in the Heart of the Karakoram

The Gondogoro La Trek is a popular high-altitude trekking route in the Karakoram Range of Pakistan. The trek takes approximately 2 weeks to complete and offers stunning views of some of the world’s highest peaks, including K2, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum.

Altitude of Gondogoro Pass

Gondogoro Pass or Gondogoro La Trek is a 5585-meter-high mountain pass in the Baltistan region of Pakistan 25 km south of the world’s second-highest peak K2. It connects the Gondogoro Glacier in the southwest and the Vigne Glacier in the northeast. 

The trek begins in the village of Askole and follows the Braldu River through narrow gorges and across high suspension bridges. The trail then leads to the Baltoro Glacier, one of the largest glaciers outside of the polar regions. Along the way, trekkers pass through remote villages and campsites, offering a glimpse into the traditional way of life in the region.

On the southwest side, the route descends from the pass to the village of Hushe, which contains the highest settlements of Ghangche district. Most climbers and trekkers approach from the northeast side. 

In 1986, a route was established that connects Concordia at the top of the Baltoro Glacier with the Hushe Valley via the Gondogoro Pass. Since then, the pass has attracted tourists and climbers. This pass has one of the most amazing mountain panoramas with all the eight thousand peaks of the Karakoram at your fingertips.

gondogoro la trek

Best time to Visit Gondogoro La Trek

The pass is easier to cross earlier in the season and can be attempted as early as the last three or four days of June; earlier and will probably be the first side of the season to break the mark. In August, the objective danger in the form of crevasses, avalanches and falling rocks increases substantially, as the snow cover begins to melt.

The pass can be reached either from the village of Askole up the Baltoro Glacier valley to Concordia and then Ali Camp on the Vigne Glacier northeast of the pass, or via the Hushe Valley (beyond the mouth of the Charakusa Glacier Valley to the east and the Masherbrum Glacier Valley to the northwest and passing just west of the summit Laila.

Although there are fixed dynamic ropes on the ascending and descending sides of the pass, crossing this pass requires judgment, fitness, prior acclimatization and basic climbing skills. Local high altitude climbers stay near the top of the pass during climbing season to maintain ropes and assist.


The ascent to Gondogoro La Pass is on a snow slope with glacial ice below. The route varies from year to year, although the angle is usually gentle. The rope is fixed for one or two sections. in 2007 there was a glacial surge that made the ascent much steeper and opened a deep crevasse. This made it too difficult for hikers, so no groups were able to cross the pass that year.

By far the more difficult part of the Gondogoro La crossing is the descent from the top of the pass at an altitude of 5,560 m. This side of the pass has steep slopes of loose rock debris. When our trekking groups cross at the beginning of August, there is usually no snow.

There is a risk of rock falls and mudslides when descending Gondogoro La later in the day. It is important that people can move around this type of terrain with confidence. Hikers must be down at Khuspang Camp before the sun warms the slope in the pass. Our groups leave Ali Camp in the early hours of the morning. They reach the top of Gondogoro La at first light. That means, inshallah, the rocks on the descent slope are still frozen in place.

After descending the pass you will find a trail. This will take you along the side moraine to the Khuspang campsite. The next day we descend the trail, which includes several river crossings, to the campsite at Shaisho. From there you will follow an easy trail to the village of Hushe. This is the road leading the jeep back to Skardu.

The key to crossing Gondogoro La safely is having the right skills, experience and equipment.

Climbing Gondogoro La requires the use of ice axes and crampons plus a jumar for fixed rope climbing. The ascent leads along a gently sloping snow slope to the summit of Gondogoro La. Most groups don’t find it too difficult from a technical climbing point of view. Since you are climbing above 5000m, it will be hard physical work.

gondogoro la trek

The most challenging section is the descent down Gondogoro La. This requires multiple abseils (also known as abseiling) at an angle of approximately 40 to 45 degrees. At this incline, you can walk back down the slope with your weight on your feet, rather than hanging from a rope. One must be careful not to dig and knock rocks onto the ropes below. After three or four abseils, the angle eases further down the slope. At this point, you can use the rope as a handrail while walking down the rocky slope.

It is also important for tourists to have the right personal gear and equipment. This includes harness, ice ax and crampons. K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La would be suitable if you have previous high altitude trekking experience and if you have a high level of fitness. It is important that you also have the climbing skills explained above. If not, you will need to take a week-long climbing course to learn the required skills.

Or you can consider connecting to K2 Base Camp & Concordia. This trek does not involve any climbing. The route descends from Concordia by walking back along the Baltoro Glacier. While K2 Base Camp and Gondogoro La Group walk from Concordia to Ali Camp. The next day they pass through the pass.

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