Broad Peak Overview
Situated on the western edge of the Baltoro Glacier, in between K2 and Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak rises to 8,051 metres (26,414 feet) in elevation.
The twelfth tallest mountain in the world is located within the Karakoram Range and stands out from its fellow 8,000ers due to its incredibly wide summit, which stretches over 1.5 kilometres (0.93 miles).
Along the main ridge at the top of the massif are five major summits: Broad Peak (8,051 metres/26,414 feet), Rocky Summit (8,028 metres/26,339 feet), Broad Peak Central (8,011 metres/26,283 feet), Broad Peak North (7,490 metres/24,573 feet) and Kharut Kangri (6,942 metres/22,776 feet).
However, only three of these summits – Board Peak, Broad Peak Central and Broad Peak North – are commercially climbed.
Quick Facts about Broad Peak
- Along with being the twelfth tallest mountain in the world, Broad Peak is the third highest in the Karakoram Range and fourth tallest in Pakistan.
- Unlike many of the other mountains in the range that were named with K followed by a number, there was no local name for the peak. After British system of naming was being reverted to the original names, K3 was given the name Broad Peak due to its long summit ridge.
- Broad Peak is one of several 8,000ers where many climbers finish the ascent on a minor summit that is just a bit shorter than the true summit. Hans Kammerlander was sick of people claiming to have climbed the peak when they had not, so in 1994 he stuck a ski pole with red and purple tape on the true summit and asked people bragging about their ascents what they had seen at the top.
History of Broad Peak
Broad Peak was first seen by Westerners in 1856 during Thomas George Montgomerie’s survey of the Indian subcontinent for the British army. He named the peak K3, with the K standing for Karakoram followed by a number.
The first attempt to summit the peak came in 1954 when a German expedition tried to climb the massif via the southwest ridge but had to turn back due to extreme cold and a storm.
The first successful ascent of the peak came in 1957, when an Austrian expedition led by Marcus Schmuck arrived at the summit on either June 8 or 9. The Austrian team also climbed the peak via the southwest route, using some of the fixed ropes put in place by the Germany expedition.
Experience Required for Climbing Broad Peak
While Broad Peak is generally considered to be one of the easiest 8000ers to climb, the peak comes with a fair share of challenges.
Overall, the climbing itself is not too technical. Participants will need to be able to climb a mix of snow and ice, and technical ice climbing skills can be taught during the trip.
However, guides recommend that participants have previous experience at 7,000 metres (23,000 feet) or higher and previous glacier climbing experience prior to booking the trip.
Since the majority of the climbing takes place at very high altitude, it is important to be in excellent physical condition. Most guides recommend spending three to six months prior to the trip improving endurance, strength and flexibility.
Main Routes up Broad Peak
While there are four main routes that lead up to the summit of Broad Peak, the one most commonly taken is the West Ridge route, also known as the standard route.
From the mountain’s base camp, the ascent includes a mix of snow and ice climbing up past camp I and on to camp II. From camp II to camp III is the steepest section of the ascent and involves a mix of snow and ice climbing.
After camp III, the ascent continues along a ridge line until reaching a snow couloir. After this is traversed, the summit is reached by continuing along the ridge line.
Away from this route, the other main ones are the Carsolio Route, from the West Ridge to the South Face; the Long Summit Ridge Traverse; and the South West Face.
Useful Information about Broad Peak
Height: 8,051 m (26,414 ft)
Weather: During the climbing season, average daily temperatures at the base of Broad Peak hover around 17 ºC (63 ºF). These drop to well below freezing as elevation is gained. Summers on and around Broad Peak are fairly wet, with around 30 to 45 millimeters (1.2 to 1.8 inches) of precipitation falling each month.
Peak Climbing Season: June to September
Summit Window: June to September
Average Expedition Length: 50 days
Accepted Currencies: Pakistani rupee (PKR)
Language: English, Urdu
How To Get To Broad Peak
The vast majority of trips to Broad Peak begin with a flight into Islamabad International Airport (ISB). From here, most guides will meet with participants and transfer to Skardu. From Skardu, it takes about a week of driving and trekking to get to base camp.
Your travel route will vary depending on the expedition you choose. Please refer to the individual guides expeditions for more information.