Hey there, Chris here from Epic Backpacker Tours. Just wanted to speak to a few points you and others mentioned and a little insight from someone working in this industry. First off, stoked you were thinking of going on a big trek expedition with us. That's awesome.
To clear up the topic of outsourcing - we definitely do not outsource the K2 Base Camp trip or any other of our trips in Pakistan and it is unfair for the commenters to suggest we do if you don't know how we roll. I personally guide and lead our K2 Base Camp Trips and lead a successful summit trip to Spantik Peak (7000 m) last year as well. We have a local ground team that we have worked with for years who are native to Baltistan - these dudes are like family to us and are paid way above industry average as well. Our trip does cost a bit more than local outfitters because we do way more in terms of providing extra comforts (like quality group gear and enough food for example), one on one trip preparation for every exped member, and active communication throughout the whole pre-trip process. You are NOT going to get that from 90% of local operators. We know Pakistan and we know how to navigate Pakistan for foreign trekkers. If you look at other foreign operators, some charge between 8 and 10k for the K2 Base Camp and GG La - which is triple the cost of what we charge. If you are looking to go for the cheapest option surely you can find that and maybe keeping costs down is the priority. If the overall quality of experience and mentoring is your priority - then the cost will be a bit higher - just the name of the game.
Also, our trips are international expeditions which make them a whole lot of fun - our trips attract cool, like-minded people from around the world. I will say that there are some fine local operators too who are great and what they do - but the majority of local operators all work together and will actually be the ones who outsource the trip! They will place you onto any team that is running during the dates you choose (most likely a budget Pakastani team to keep their costs low and margins high) and not be anything more than a middle man. Plus if you join a budget trip one of these operators placed you on, you have no way of verifying guide quality, gear quality, expedition supply qulaity, etc.
Just wanted to clear that stuff up. Good luck in your journey and trip planning!
Hope that helps, let me know if you have any questions about the above. Cheers all.
Epic Backpacker Tours/K2 base camp Trek experience?
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