Mountaineering in Kashmir

For mountaineering in Kashmir, you need to take permission from the Government of India through the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF). The relief and terrain of Kashmir offers exciting opportunities for mountaineering in the state. High peaks of the Himalayas attract thousands of adventure sports lovers to the state. These mountains can be categorized as Alpine and Himalaya. The four important mountaineering zones in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are Kashmir, Zanskar, Kishtwar and Ladakh. With the mighty ranges of the Himalayas towering 10,000 to 28,000 feet above the sea level, mountaineering options in Kashmir are almost unlimited.

The Pir Panjal, Karakoram and Zanskar ranges are the mountaineer's delight. Add to that the charm of the green pine forests, the rich plants and animal life on the mountains. The peaks of Sonamarg facilitate quick ascent and decent, while the lower peaks of Kishtwar are more challenging owing to their ruggedness.

Foreign climbing expeditions are required to obtain permission from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation for climbing all listed peaks. Application forms for booking along with other requisite documents can be obtained from the Director, Indian Mountaineering Foundation, Benito Jurez Road, New Delhi-110021.The climbing season extends from mid-May to mid-October.

Ladakh is the paradise for mountaineering as there are so many peaks and mountains to climb. Only dare devils can dare to climb these. Climbingand conquering the lofty peaks of Ladakh needs extreme fitness.However, before attempting to climb any peak acclimatisation to weatheris necessary. Climbing peaks in Ladakh may require one to three weeks.

The climbing season in ladakh extends from mid - May to mid -October,the ideal period being from June to September because it is during this time that Ladakh remains unaffected by the monsoon, which holds swayover most of the Himalayas. The Suru and Zanskar valleys provide someof the most spectacular and difficult climbing in Ladakh. The Nun Kun Massif is one of the most frequent climbing areas of the region and isbooked out for months ahead, sometimes years, by climbing expeditions.The approach to the twin peaks is from the Kargil-Padum Road, about70-km south of Kargil. The main approach is either from Tangole or Gulmadong. Some expeditions have also approached from Parkutse along the Kangri Glacier. To reach the base camp for Kun it is for the climbers necessary to cross the Suru River. The Nun Kun Massif, which lies on the great Himalayan range, is the highest peak in Ladakh at7,077m. Other named peaks within the Suru and Zanskar areas are Pinnacle at 6,930m, White Needle at 6,500m, Z1 at 6,400m and D41 at5,600m. In this region, along the Great Himalayas to the south of the valley and the Zanskar range to the north, there are many peaks between5,500 and 6,500m.

Another popular area for climbing is Stok-khangri Massif (6153 Mts) in the Zanskar mountains, south of Leh.The base camp for the various peaks of this massif is about two days trek from the village of Stok. A feast of scenic and ethnic diversity,the Stok Kangri Expedition is one of the Ladakh's classic Expedition.One has to cross three passes including Kongmaru La , higher than twoothers' to reach the Stok Kangri . Other peaks in the area include Gulap Kangri , and Matho west Many un-named peaks in the altitude range of 5500 Mts. and 6400 Mts. makes the great amphitheater of this trek.

If you are an adventure sports enthusiast and love exploring nature then Kashmir is the place for you. There are numerous mountainous peaks and ranges in Himalaya towering from 10,000 to 28,000 feet from above sea level and thus the valley offers huge opportunities of mountaineering in Kashmir. The major mountaineering zones can be divided into four areas: Kashmir, Kishtwar, Zanskar, Ladakh.

Biju John
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