IN SIACHEN AREA
Here joint maps of Siachen area and around :
It is common that mountains books finish the Karakoram
borders to the basin of Baltoro, being unaware all the Eastern part
of the Karakoram range which is surely the rochest part of Karakoram
in curiosities. In spite of the Siachen war, the exploration of the
Siachen area continues, with various successes, encouraged by the Indian
authorities. A military road crosses Khardung la today (5602) and in
144 km link Leh to Panamik. By interposed climbers, India is on the
The access is strictly regulated: expeditions by groups is authorized
and Indians members must be associated, the responsibility were necessarily
entrusted to the one of them; the rights prices about around 4000 USD
(changes every year). The major attempts and success in the area were
made between 1955 and 1978.
means " wild Rose ": many in the valley of Nubra downstream
from this glacier, the glacier of Siachen is the glacier of the wild
With a 72 kilometers length, it is the longest glacier of Karakoram.
A line of peaks surounded the glacier: Baltoro Kangri and Saltoro Kangri,
Chumik and Theram Shehr, Terong and Apsarasas Groups. The glacier was
much longer in the past. Bullock will baptize in 1912 the Indira Pass
in the extreme North-West of the glacier (obviously without relation
with the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi). Til 1984, there
were much more expeditions of 7000 as now. Since, , India encouraged
the visits of international expedition. The first was a British Indo
expedition lead by Harish Kapadia, which explored the Rimo group in
1985. Writing in Himalayan Newspaper in 1993, Aamir Ali recommends the
withdrawal the troops and the introduction of an international Peace
park under the guard of the United Nations. It quotes a certain number
of other sectors protected in the world where that functioned successfully,
like demilitarized zones between South & North Korea, Nicaragua
and Costa Rica or Greece and Turkey.
Contrary to the popular belief, the Siachen glacier has been visited
by many since more than a Century. The glacier, originally known as
'Saicher Gharni' was place of interest and several Baltis from the western
valleys visited the glacier. Many decades ago it is believed that a
small Yarkandi village existed at the entrance of the Teram Shehr glacier.
(Bullock-Workman found the walls of such a settlement in 1912 and it
was seen and photographed by the Indian expedition in 2002). Here on
the glacier Yarkandis met the Baltis and traded with them.
In 1980, an American team led by Galen Rowell traversed the Siachen
glacier during the Karakoram Ski Traverse of major glaciers.
1996, after closer of almost ten years (since1986) the first civilian
team was given permission to climb on the upper Siachen glacier. A team
from Bombay, led by Harish Kapadia climbed in the Terong valley at first.
As they were about to enter the upper Siachen glacier, army cancelled
their permits without assigning any reason and they were turned back.
Their critical report made a serious impact.
Siachen Glacier has been a well-known battleground for Indian and Pakistan
troops for the last 19 years and with recent infiltration of armed militants
into Kashmir, the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, the
subsequent threat of all-out nuclear war and the May 2002 murders in
Jammu, hopes for a solution have faded. The pollution in, and degradation
of, this wonderful mountain environment is appalling. Virtually nothing
can be burnt, destroyed or packed out and the remains of abandoned war
material, garbage and human waste is both huge and extensive. All this
will finally end up in the Nubra River and subsequently in the waters
of the Indian Plains. There is also the human and financial cost of
the war, the latter estimated at one million dollars a day for India
One solution that could enable both armies to withdraw in conditions
of honour and dignity would be to turn the whole region into at Transboundary
Peace Park. It would save many lives, huge costs and a magnificent area
that is of little real use to anyone except mountain visitors and climbers.
There are currently around 170 Transboundary Parks in the world and
it would be fitting if this number was joined by the Siachen Glacier
region. However, at the time of writing talk of peace seems as remote
Most of the peaks were first christened by Sahib Afraj, indian officer
during Visser expedition in 1835.
Bilafond (Saltoro pass) -c5,550m- :
1976, Japanese expedition led by H. Misawa made the first ascent of
Apsarasas I, crossing over Bilafond (Saltoro Pass) Crossed by seven
mountaineers from Tohoku University, Japan.
1980, Bilafond pass was as part of the American east to west traverse
of the Karakoram. Skiing westward from the Bilafond Glacier, Asay, Gillette,
Rowell and Schmitz took six weeks to complete the amazing journey to
Hispar via Askole. However, the starting point now lies in a disputed
area and the route taken in 1980 could not currently be attempted because
of the Indo-Pakistan border conflict. This is the longest ski tour yet
achieved in the Karakoram, though two other major journeys are worthy
In 1983, few trekking parties crossed over Bilafond (Saltoro pass) from
In 1997, The Indian Women's team, with Ms. Bachendri Pal as leader,
traversed the Siachen glacier and reached the India Saddle in early
Seven mountaineers from Tohoku University, Japan climbed the North Face
and North West Ridge of Singhi Kangri above the Staghar Glacier having
crossed both the Bilafond and Turkestan La from Pakistan (the area of
today's disputed territory).
pass is today's disputed territory and close. 1972 'Shimla Agreement'
was signed between India and Pakistan. It failed to clearly demarcate
the border along this glacier. (PDF Border Liner)
In 1981, Indian Army expedition led by Col. N. Kumar reached the upper
glacier via the Nubra valley. They climbed Saltoro Kangri I, Sia Kangri
I, reached Indira Col (West), Sia la, Turkestan la and Saltoro Pass
(PK 36 glacier pass).
Italia pass (passo italia) -c6,096m- (c5,920m)
The pass is today's disputed territory and close.
In 1929 an Italian expedition led by Professor Dainelli visited the
Siachen Glacier but was subsequently unable to reverse its approach
from the south via the Nubra Valley, when the river was found to be
in serious flood. Instead the team members were forced to re-ascend
the Siachen and find an escape east from the top of the Teram Shehr
Glacier. The high pass leading to the Central Rimo Glacier and crossed
by Dainelli's team with almost 400 porters, was dubbed Col Italia. Although
it had been reached once since, in August 2000 from the Central Rimo
by members of Harish Kapadia's joint Indo-French Expedition, a complete
crossing had never been repeated.
Col Italia was reached again for the first time in 70 years on the 23rd
August 2000 by Electricwala, Kapadia and Mistry with two Sherpas, Karma
and Pemba Tsering. This Indian team established four camps on the glacier
before reaching the col, which was found to be a seven kilometre-square
plateau. During their return down the glacier, Electricwala and Sherpas,
Karma and Nima Dorje, climbed the previously virgin Migpa (5,935m) via
the South East Ridge.
Tragically, as the Central Rimo team were returning on the 27th, an
accident took place. While crossing a knee-deep tributary of the Shyok,
Dan Singh, Electricwala, Kapadia and Mistry were swept off their feet.
All except Mistry managed to get to different banks of the river and
some had to wait for almost three cold hours before being rescued by
the Sherpas. For Mistry, however, there was no such luck. Unable to
throw off his heavy rucksack he was carried almost three kilometres
downstream, where his body was found by the South Rimo climbers who
were crossing the Shyok at the time. Thirty two years old Mistry was
an enthusiastic mountaineer from Bombay and was making his ninth expedition
to the Himalaya/Karakoram. A lighting engineer for the theatre world,
he was very well-known in both climbing and art circles.
In 2002, an the Indian-Japanese Expedition (Harish Kapadia and Hiroshi
Sakai) traversed the Shyok valley and reached Karakoram Pass, the first
international team to stand there in 5 decades. They crossed 'Col Italia'
(first crossing after 1930) to reach the Siachen Glacier and made the
first ascent of peak Padmanabh (7030 m) on the west of the Siachen Glacier.
They explored the Teram Shehr Ice-Plateau fully reaching its head. After
crossing the pass in June 2002, the Indo-Japanese team descended the
far side and set up a camp at 5,650m east of Padmanabh.
Gyong La -c5,700m- :
The pass is today's disputed territory and close.
In 1939, Lt Peter Young visited Gyong la on shikar.
Indira pass -c,5840m-, India Saddle -c5,776m-,
Turkestan La -c5,810m-:
pass is today's disputed territory and close.
In 1998, the Indian team, led by Harish Kapadia, returned to the glacier.
They reached Indira Col (West), India Saddle and Turkestan la (East).
The team also made the first ascent of Bhujang Peak (6560 m) on the
Teram Shehr Plateau, the first ever peak to be climbed on this vast
In 1986, Sia Kangri was climbed by the Indo-American expedition led
by Maj. K.V. Cherian and Leo Lebon. They traversed the glacier. Seven
Indians reached the summit and Americans reached Indira Col (West).
In 2002, an indian expedition climbed Teram Kangri I (7,464m), II (7,407m)
et III (7,382m). They also climbed the famous India Pass.
Teram Sher Plateau -~6000m-:
some of the Yarkandis descended the Ghyari nala and took away a Balti
woman with them to their glacier village. To take revenge, Baltis contacted
an important mullah, who gave them a tawiz (amulet) which was to be
placed on the Bilafond (Saltoro pass). Mullah instructed them to return
via the Nubra valley. However the Baltis, after placing the tawiz on
the pass returned the way they had come. Soon afterwards a great storm
visited the Siachen glacier and destroyed the settlements and only the
rocky desolation remained. The priests say that the calamity would have
been greater had they followed the directions fully. Because of this
lapse in following the instructions wild roses were not destroyed by
the storm, Teram mean "Destroyed city".
Teram Shehr Plateau, is a 16km by 10km quasi-level icefield at around
6,000m surrounded by beautiful snowy peaks. Only one of these had previously
been climbed. Bhujang (6,560m) on the western rim had seen an ascent
from the Siachen Glacier in 1998 by Indians. Starting on the 21st June
2002, Hayashibara and Kapadia climbed south on to the upper reaches
of the plateau, the first humans to do so, and made an exploration of
various cols on the rim. In the meantime the rest of the party were
making an attempt on the virgin Padmanabh.
Singhi & Staghar glaciers
1929, an expedition led by the duke of Spolète finished the exploration
of the high valley of Shaksgam and discovered the glaciers of Staghar
& Singhie. In 1930, the Giotto Dainelli expedtion studied Siachen
glacier. This bewitching valley is one of the sorriest places in the
world, it was formerly attended only by baltis people who were going
to look for work in Chinese Turkestan and by the Hunzakuts thieves in
route to yarkand. The first European who have been there, was Francis
Younghusband in 1887.
1929, an expedition lead by the duke of Spolète finished the
exploration of the high valley of Shaksgam and discovered the Staghar
and Singhie glaciers (in 1930, the Italian expedition of Giotto Dainelli
studied the glacier of Siachen). This bewitching valley is one of the
closest places in the world, it was formerly attended only by the baltis
groups which were going to search work in Chinese Turkestan by the highs
Karakorams passes in the central Karakoram and the Hunzakuts brigands
who made incursions into the Yarkand valley. The first European who
ventured there in 1887 was Francis Younghusband. Today, it is crossed
only in its lower part, by the mountaineers joining the northern slopes
of K2, Gasherbrum and Broad Peak.
To reach the Aghil pass and the Shaksgam valley, it is necessary to
borrow the valley of Surukwat, an interminable ribbon of stone where
it is possible to meet the last wandering pastors who, during the summer,
take along their herds in the high mountain pastures. What attracts
certain climbers or hikers towards the Northern face of the k2 is the
feeling of insulation in the heart of an immense desert landscape. Without
the camels, the complex gorges and of Shaksgam torrents could not be
borrowed during summer.
To the same topics:
Révision B - 23/02/08 (http://blankonthemap.free.fr)
For more details, contact the