K5 (Gasherbrum I)

K5 (Gasherbrum I, گاشر برم -1, 加舒尔布鲁木I峰, 加舒爾布魯木I峰, Jiāshūěrbùlǔmù I Fēng)

Gasherbrum mountain massif in a morning behind Baltoro glacier, K2 trek, Pakistan | Punnawit Suwattananun

Gasherbrum I, also known as K5, is situated on the border of Pakistan and China, and is a part of the majestic Baltoro Karakoram mountain range. The name ‘Gasherbrum’ translates to ‘beautiful mountain’ in the local language, and it is a fitting description for this awe-inspiring peak. It is the 11th highest peak in the world, standing at 8,080 meters (26,510 feet) above sea level.

The Gasherbrum I was first surveyed by a European in 1856 during the Great Trigonometric Survey of India. It was not until 1958 that an American team led by Nicholas Clinch made the first successful ascent of Gasherbrum I. The team used the south-east ridge route which is still considered one of the most challenging climbs in the Himalayas due to its extreme weather conditions and technical difficulty.

Gasherbrum I is a part of the larger Gasherbrum massif, which consists of six peaks, two of which are over 8,000 meters. This massif is located in one of the most remote and rugged parts of the Himalayas in the Baltoro Karakoram range. This range also includes four of the world’s 14 peaks that rise above 8,000 meters.

Despite its remote location, Gasherbrum I attracts climbers from around the world who are drawn to its challenging climb and stunning views. Climbers must be highly experienced and well-prepared to endure harsh weather conditions and high altitude. Overall, Gasherbrum I stands as a testament to the awe-inspiring beauty and intimidating power of nature’s grandeur that straddles between Pakistan and China. Its majesty serves as a beacon for mountaineers worldwide, beckoning them towards one of the most stunning spectacles in the Baltoro Karakoram range.

Gasherbrum I in Karakorum | Piotr Snigorski

Fast Facts

Country: Pakistan, China

State/Province: Gilgit-Baltistan, Xinjiang

Mountain Range: Baltoro Karakoram

Parents: Karakoram

Elevation: 26,510 feet / 8,080 meters

Prominence: 7,070 feet / 2,155 meters

Isolation: 15 miles / 24 kilometers

Nearest Higher Neighbor (NHN): K2

First Ascent: July 5, 1958 by Pete Schoening and Andy Kauffman of an American expedition led by Nicholas B. Clinch.

Fun Fact: K5 is the 11th highest mountain in the world!

Flora and Fauna

Gasherbrum I is one of the highest peaks in the world and is situated on the border between Pakistan and China. Despite its extreme altitude and harsh conditions, it hosts a variety of unique flora and fauna. The biodiverse ecosystem of Gasherbrum I has adapted to the severe climatic conditions and is a testament to the resilience of nature.

The flora around Gasherbrum I is unique and robust. The region is home to a variety of alpine plants that can endure cold temperatures, high winds, and intense solar radiation. These plants have adapted to the harsh conditions with characteristics such as small size, slow growth rates, and a preference for rocky substrates to avoid wind damage. Some of these hardy plants include varieties of mosses, lichens, and flowering plants, which add a touch of color to the otherwise stark landscape.

The fauna of Gasherbrum I also boasts an array of exceptional species. The animals that inhabit these high-altitude areas have adapted to survive in low oxygen levels and extreme cold. Some of the most notable species include snow leopards, Himalayan brown bears, and several species of birds like the Himalayan griffon vulture. These species have developed specialized physiological traits such as increased lung capacity or dense fur coats to survive in this challenging environment.

Pakistan, Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II Base Camp, June 2015 – Gasherbrum I also known as Hidden Peak, and South Gasherbrum Glacier seen from Base Camp | By Piotr Snigorski

Gasherbrum I acts as a natural boundary between Pakistan and China, but its flora and fauna know no borders. They thrive in an environment that is inhospitable to most other forms of life, demonstrating the incredible resilience of nature. This unique ecosystem is a treasure trove for scientists studying adaptation and survival in extreme conditions.

Gasherbrum I’s flora and fauna are a testament to life’s tenacity in the face of adversity. Despite the challenging conditions, these plants and animals continue to flourish, adding a touch of life to this majestic peak. The biodiversity here serves as an important reminder of our responsibility to protect and preserve such unique ecosystems around the world.


This majestic mountain is part of the Gasherbrum massif and is a sight to behold for mountaineers and nature lovers. The trails near Gasherbrum I offer a unique blend of rugged beauty, extreme adventure, and an opportunity to experience the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Gasherbrum I seen from Camp I on South Gasherbrum Glacier

The most popular trail near Gasherbrum I is the Baltoro Glacier trek, which leads climbers through some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. The trek starts from Askole in Pakistan and follows the path through Skardu, Broad Peak Base Camp, and finally to the foot of K5. This trail is renowned for its stunning panoramic views of four 8,000 meter peaks – K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II, and of course, Gasherbrum I.

South Gasherbrum Glacier | Piotr Snigorski

Another notable trail near Gasherbrum I is the challenging trek from Tibet in China. This route winds its way through remote valleys, high passes, and lush meadows before reaching the base camp at Gasherbrum I. This trail offers a glimpse into the diverse flora and fauna of the region, as well as a chance to immerse oneself in the rich Tibetan culture.

K2 mountain peak, second highest mountain in the world, K2 trek, Pakistan | Marcelo Alex

The trails near Gasherbrum I are not for the faint-hearted and require a good level of physical fitness and mountaineering skills. However, those who dare to venture on these routes are rewarded with breathtaking views, thrilling adventure and an unforgettable experience. Whether you choose to embark on a trek from Pakistan or China, the trails near Gasherbrum I promise a journey filled with raw beauty and grandeur that is sure to leave you spellbound.

Landscape of Gasherbrum massif and Baltoro glacier, K2 Base Camp, Pakistan | khlongwangchao

External Links

Philippe Gatta – Great post on Gasherbrum I, II, and Broad Peak expedition with photos

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