Mountains Calling: Trek to Masherbrum

This is a first-hand account of a trek in the magnificent mountains of Pakistan by a group of adventure-seeking city dwellers. 

The Group

Skardu is the starting point for most mountainous treks in Pakistan. Our aim was to make it all the way to Masherbrum (K1) basecamp with a group of 20 people. Some in the group were friends, others acquaintances, and few complete strangers.
mountains of Pakistan
Hauntingly beautiful vistas surrounding Mashabrum
mountains of Pakistan
Independence Day celebrations at Saicho camp
Our goal however was the same, to break out of our collective mundane urban routines and push ourselves out of our comfort zones.
Route map of K1 and K7 Base Camp, Hushe being the kick off point for such expeditions

 Starting Point

The trek began at the beautiful and quaint village of Hushe. The greenery and mountainous surroundings were the start of an ever changing array of beautiful backdrops along our trek.
Wild flowers along trekking paths
Our guides and porters’ team, without whom this adventure could not have been possible
The trek was an incredibly rewarding experience. We got to test our physical limits, build relationships with our group mates and feast our senses on some of the natural beauty the mountains of Pakistan have to offer.
A serene lake at K1 Mashabrum Base Camp
However, the trek was also quite challenging; one had to constantly break mental barriers, which included pushing your body further to make the next stop day in and day out.
mountains of Pakistan
Crossing makeshift bridges with gushing rivers flowing below
Treacherous trekking on top of boulders from the aftermath of the landslide

Change in Plan

 Hikers are at the mercy of mother nature whenever they embark on a trek. In our case, our original goal was to reach K7 but he route was blocked by a landslide before we arrived. So our guides suggested an alternate route for us to climb. But that route was deemed too dangerous by our group leader and as a result we initially planned to turn back.
mountains of Pakistan
Piled stones serve as guiding waypoints for trekkers
Ascent to K1 Mashabrum Base Camp
 Though a majority of the group (12 trekkers) decided to turn back and head home, 8 trekkers stayed behind and decided to change course from K7’s base camp and headed towards our new goal of Masherbrum (K1)’s base camp.
Trekking team picture before embarking for K7 Base Camp
Inspiring stamina and resilience of one of our ever-helpful porters

mountains of Pakistan

 The most memorable part of the trip was the comraderie that was formed within the group. Getting to spend days on end with the same people, pushing each other to reach new heights..literally! That was the highlight of my experience followed closely by the sheer beauty of the mountains.
Komail Naqvi celebrating (recovering) after a gruelling vertical climb near Pashuka
Shahzain Malik taking a much-needed break on the dangerous slope of a rocky glacier
 A word of caution however; a trekker did collapse at base camp due to altitude sickness. Thankfully the guide and the trained personnel around were up to the task of helping the trekker get back down from basecamp to a suitable height where his body started fighting off the sickness.
mountains of Pakistan
Return to Hushe after successfully completing K1 Mashabrum Base Camp
It is extremely important to make sure the entire group is acclimatized before proceeding further up in altitude.
Photography by Komail Naqvi