Reviving the Thrill of Ice Climbing in Kashmir

Reviving the Thrill of Ice Climbing in Kashmir


by Babra Wani

SRINAGAR: Zeeshan Mushtaq secured the primary place within the Pure Ice Climbing Wall Competitors that the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports activities and the Pahalgam Improvement Authority collectively organised on January 28, 2024, in Pahalgam. The occasion aimed to advertise journey sports activities and showcase the winter exercise potential of the area noticed the participation of twenty-two contributors from various backgrounds who showcased their abilities and willpower by navigating the difficult ice obstacles of Pahalgam.

Zeeshan Mushtaq in the midst of Ice Climbing

Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports activities Mountain climbing, a sport akin to mountaineering, entails scaling frozen waterfalls by gripping the jagged edges of huge rocks. Climbers make use of crampons, picks, ropes, and different instruments tailor-made for icy surfaces. The exercise is deemed bodily demanding, and carried out in situations that will expose contributors to extreme climate, avalanches, and crevasses, typically requiring extended publicity to sub-freezing temperatures.

The game encompasses two essential sorts: Alpine mountaineering and water mountaineering. Alpine mountaineering happens in elevated areas like glaciers, excessive mountains, and ice fields. Then again, water mountaineering is possible solely throughout winters when water freezes because of low temperatures, a follow notably in style in Europe and the Canadian Rockies.

Ice Climbing Features Traction in Kashmir

Alpine mountaineering has discovered a foothold in Kashmir, providing lovers alternatives at numerous areas similar to glaciers and couloirs. Water ice, primarily shaped at frozen waterfalls, depends on components past temperature, together with the slope’s facet, in response to specialists.

Regardless of conducive situations, mountaineering has struggled to achieve widespread consideration in Kashmir. In 2016, the area noticed its inaugural ice-climbing occasion, a collaboration between Jammu and Kashmir Tourism and Jammu and Kashmir Mountaineering and Mountaineering Membership (JKMHC), led by skilled trekker and mountaineer Junaid Beigh.

The 2016 occasion featured 20 climbers, predominantly from Srinagar, scaling a 15-meter pure ice wall. Nonetheless, the game confronted setbacks, ceasing in 2018 because of evident gear shortages.

In 2021, Zeeshan Mushtaq, a neighborhood climber and mountaineer, sought to revive the game. Dealing with challenges acquiring gear, Zeeshan and two buddies ventured to Tramkazan nar, 45 minutes from Frislun village, the positioning of the 2016 occasion. Regardless of preliminary setbacks, Zeeshan’s willpower bore fruit on January 21, 2024, once they efficiently ascended the ice at Tramkazan Nar.

Reflecting on the journey, Zeeshan remarked, “I’m proud that I used to be capable of convey mountaineering again to Kashmir.” With plans to open the valley’s first mountaineering route, Zeeshan is optimistic in regards to the sport’s future.

In distinction, Ladakh embraced mountaineering occasions in 2021 and has continued organising them yearly.

A long time in the past, mountaineering began gaining recognition as an outside journey sport, marking its evolution right into a notable exercise within the area.

Ice Climbing Via Historic Lens

Within the exploration of mountaineering’s origins, Jeff Lowe’s Ice World: Strategies and Experiences of Trendy Ice Climbing sheds mild on its historic roots. Lowe notes that the primary documented proof of mountaineering dates again to the sixteenth century when Alpine shepherds geared up themselves with spiked horseshoes and iron-tipped alpenstocks. These instruments enabled them to navigate icy slopes whereas tending to their flocks in excessive Alpine valleys. Lowe remarks, “These shepherds challenged medieval superstitions about demons on summits and glaciers as dragons stealing from peasants’ cows at evening.”

Initially, mountaineering was predominantly a summer time alpine pursuit, with occasional winter ventures into excessive altitudes. Climbers then turned their consideration to low-altitude waterfalls, frozen solely in winter. Nonetheless, within the excessive mountains, the interaction of spring and autumn situations gave rise to a novel kind of climb involving frozen drips, flows, runnels, and chimneys of water ice, reworking mountaineering right into a year-round pursuit for lovers. Iconic climbs of the Seventies, such because the Tremendous Couloir on Mont Blanc du Tacul and Slip-stream in Canada, exemplify this class.

Lowe highlights the shift within the early to mid-Eighties when people like Patrick Gabarrou, Jean-Marc Boivin, and Christophe Revenue embraced low season choices. They pioneered paths on Mont Blanc, exemplified by climbs like Cascade de Notre Dame (V, WI5-7) and the Hypercouloir (V, WI5+7), that includes residing water ice ascending a whole bunch of ft between granite pillars. For the reason that mid-Eighties, the Alps have witnessed the proliferation of a whole bunch of comparable climbs, marking a big period within the sport’s improvement.

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