Go Back

MT. K2 EXPEDITION (8611M) Travel Guide

K2 Travel Info

Tourist Visa

Getting a Pakistan visa was a real pain for a long time where you could only apply in your origin country and with lots of paperwork required. But recently it has become easier with the introduction of online visas. Be sure to have a copy of your passport, visa of any other countries, sponsor letter from the tour company, and any other travel document. The tourist visa fees differ from one country to another country.

Getting in Pakistan

It is easiest to get to Pakistan by flight to one of the twelve international airports in the county. Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad are the main entry points by air for most foreign travelers. Likewise, Pakistan has land borders from where you can enter the country with a valid visa.

Domestic Flights

Regular domestic flight has been operations from the different international airports to the major cities in Pakistan. You aren't required to use your passport since the flight doesn't leave the country, you are not subject to border and immigration controls. However, you will still need a valid photo ID. There are limited flights to Skardu during the peak season and are sold very fast so you need to book the flight to Skardu before your arrival.

Altitude Sickness

Altitude Sickness is an effect of high-altitude atmospheric pressure that results in a quick change in oxygen level and air pressure of a human body. The symptoms will arise while walking at a high altitude without properly acclimatizing the body. It can happen to anyone even if they have great physical fitness if you climb faster at a higher altitude. It is smarter to descend gradually to prevent altitude sickness.

Money

Getting Money from an ATM or finding a working ATM can be a real pain in Pakistan; even in the larger cities, this can be a real problem. There are ATMs in every town in the country, but in smaller places, they often run out of money. Carry some cash with you at all times. Pakistan is still catching up on paperless transactions and relies heavily on cash, so while you should have your bank cards, do keep a reasonable amount of cash handy at all times. Make sure that you get your currency exchanged before flying out or do some research on the best money changers to get good rates.

Tipping

There is no significant rule about tipping your guide or porter yet it has been more common in Pakistan. It is on you to decide whether to thank the guide and porter with tips or not. But in most cases, guides and porters expect tips from you though they don’t request tips verbally because their salary is not enough to fulfill their basic needs.

Safety

For various reasons, some places in Pakistan are still considered unsafe or inaccessible for foreign travelers. When you plan your trip here, it is best to leave out these places from your itinerary because of border conflict and other reasons at the Khyber Pass, Waziristan, and adjacent areas to the Afghan border. It is best to listen to authority on this matter unless you have permission. Azad Kashmir is currently a disputed area between India and Pakistan.

Internet & SIM Card

WIFI and 3/4G connections are technically available everywhere, but they can be very unstable, and don´t expect them to be fast and reliable. About every hotel and guesthouse in the country, together with upscale coffee shops and restaurants, have WIFI. Getting a local sim card is your best bet if you require internet. If you are planning to travel to the two northern regions Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, you need to get the SCOM network since SCOM provides the largest network coverage in the area with an equal footprint in rural and urban terrain in major cities, towns and villages both in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. You can choose your service provider based on your needs: area coverage, data volume, and call frequency. As soon as you touch down, make your way to the nearest sales and service center of the company you’ve finalized and follow the procedure to acquire your local SIM card.

Language

The vast country is home to 74 different languages spoken as first languages. With five of them have more than 10 million speakers each around the country – Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, and Urdu with other major languages such as Balochi, Hindko, Brahui, and Minor languages. But Urdu is the national language of Pakistan which is a mixture of Persian, Arabic, and various local languages. It is similar to Hindi but written in Arabic script.

Seven Summit Treks

Grading

Below the different grades shown in the chart are explained in more detail.

For Expeditions

  1. Easy (E): Climb requires one-day climbs, or a multiday climbs with non-technical elements.
  2. Moderate (M): Either a serious one-day climbs, or a multiday climbs with some technical elements. Requires an average level of physical fitness.
  3. Difficult (D): Multiday climbs with some moderately technical elements. Requires an above average fitness level and high level of stamina.
  4. Hard Difficult (HD): Multiday, Highly technical climb. Requires high level of physical fitness and stamina.
  5. Very Difficult (VD): Multiday, Extremely technical climb. Requires very high level of Physical fitness and stamina.

Grading

Below the different grades shown in the chart are explained in more detail.

For Trekking

  1. Light: Light walking and generally level hiking that is good for most fitness levels. During these trips, hill-walking experience is desirable.
  2. Moderate: Trek has various types of moderate to difficult terrain, including rough trails and normally 3 to 5 hours a day. Requires an average to above average fitness level.
  3. Moderate+: High altitude treks above 3000 meters or in fairly difficult terrain- normally 4 to 6 hours a day. Requires an above average fitness level and high level of stamina.
  4. Extreme: These high altitude treks or passes are known to be the most strenuous and has difficult terrain and conditions. These treks may require a degree of mountaineering skills and you capability of carrying on normally at an altitude of 4000-5600 meters. Daily walking is 5-8 hours approx.

Mohamed H. Al Khalifa

Bahrain

Seven summits are the best! Very professional highly recommended and fun people to work with.. 👏

Nir Shah

Great Britain

My wife and I had an amazing experience with Seven Summits for the Everest Base Camp Trek. The company was extremely hospitable with a welcome dinner on day 1, including an introduction to our guide. Speaking of our guide, Phurkitar, he was simply brilliant. During the trek, he was very patient as both of us went through physical and emotional tiredness, and he ensured we reached EBC without any major issues. In addition, he helped cater to my vegan and my wife's vegetarian diets throughout the trek. Cannot compliment Phurkitar enough for all his efforts.

Would readily book with Seven Summits again.

Chris Huntsman

USA

These guys are the real deal. Incredibly professional and helpful; I genuinely couldn’t imagine hiking to base camp any other way.

Seven summits planned everything, lodging, flights, and meals. All I had to do was show up and hike. My bag got lost on the way into Lukla (the airlines' fault not Seven Summits) but these guys (Sherpa Chhepal) organized a personal porter to bring my pack up to us since we’d already started our trek.

Not only did Chhepal square away a porter but he did even more digging and got my bag on a helicopter instead. I had it first thing in the morning; it was incredible. When I was heading back to Kathmandu once we were finished, I realized I had time to catch an earlier flight if I could get out of Lukla on time. Well our flight was delayed but Seven Summits squoze me on a helicopter, got me to KTM, and I started making my journey home an entire day early because of that.

Besides being super knowledgeable, helpful, A+ customer service, and everything else, these guys were just cool to hang out with. Made a lot of friends and would recommend Seven Summits to anyone in my circle.

Damon Tedford

Canada

I had an excellent experience with these guys. They had a stellar Ama Dablam basecamp, a solid group of Sherpas, and great food. I'll be using them again on future climbs.

Richard McConnell

UK/Bahrain

Simply the best in the business.

We climbed Lobuche East, Manaslu, and Everest with SST. The quality of guidance, Sherpa support, training, and service was second to none.

Due to Covid, we had to combine our Lobuche and Manaslu expeditions, normally this would be a huge logistical nightmare for any other company, SST have the team size, logistic support, and experience to make this happen…. All of this was also done during the lockdown. We were in a unique position being a national team, we could isolate ourselves before travel and upon arrival in Nepal, we had no fixed timeline to meet and had the use of a military aircraft for travel so SST presented this to the Nepalese Government who agreed to use us as the test case and allow us to climb in autumn 2020 and see if it would be possible to open the Khumbu for the spring 2021 season.

Both Lobuche and Manaslu were a huge success, the basecamp and higher camp setup were fantastic, the staff was amazing throughout and it made us look forward to Everest.

Everest was even better, the training, trek, and climbing were fully supported, we didn’t have to ask for anything, SST fixed the ropes to the summit and planned our climb perfectly, and we were the first team to the summit on the first day of the first weather window… couldn’t have planned it any better. We felt fully supported and safe throughout!

We went for an all-inclusive package so booked all of our travel, insurance, kit and equipment, full basecamp and climbing service included, as well as a full 90-minute documentary made by their climbing camera team.

Overall an amazing company that I would thoroughly recommend to everyone, their experience, skills, reputation, and connections within all levels of government mean they can provide what others can’t…. Don’t always believe the hype around other companies…. They’re almost always on an SST permit, using SST Sherpas and base camp staff and use SST to set up their base camps, etc… around 50% of climbers on Everest in 2021 were on SST permits.

NO OTHER COMPANY CAN DO WHAT THEY DO!!!