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High Altitude Siachen Glacier Trek – 2013

Siachen Glacier:-

The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains at about 35.421226°N 77.109540°E, just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends. At 70 km (43 mi) long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world’s non-polar areas. It falls from an altitude of 5,753 m (18,875 ft) above sea level at its head at Indira Col on the China border down to 3,620 m (11,875 ft) at the snout.

“Sia” in the Balti language refers to the rose family plant widely dispersed in the region. “Chun” references any object found in abundance. Thus the name Siachen refers to a land with an abundance of roses

The Siachen Trek is an annual program sponsored by the Army Adventure Wing. The Army has announced plans to take around 10 civilians to the forbidding Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge in September. This is the only chance for a civilian to visit the highest and coldest battlefield in the world.

The civilian trek to Siachen, the first edition of which was held in 2007, would include civilians from all walks of life, will be held in the months of September and / or October each year.

The trek, being organised by the (AAW) Army Adventure Wing , will involve a 60-km climb up the glacier to the Kumar Post at a height of over 18,300 ft braving chilly winds, lack of oxygen and sub-zero temperatures. The one-month trek will include acclimatization of the civilian trekkers in Leh and Siachen base camp.

Role of Indian Mountaineering Foundation(IMF):-

The Army Adventure Wing, HQ, New Delhi each year requests IMF to select 10 civilians from all over India for the Siachen Trek. IMF sends out a notification to all its Members (Clubs & Tour Operators) to submit applications in a week’s time.

  • Generally this process happens from Mid- August to Mid-September.
  • The selection is purely on first come first serve basis.
  • Participants must have completed the  Basic Mountaineering Course and / or attended a few expeditions / treks.
  • The entire process in completed in 20 days and the selected participants receive a confirmation letter to the attend the trek from their respective Clubs / Tour Operators.
  • The letter has the details required for the trek (whom, when to report, things to bring etc)

Application Form:

  • Reference Copy of Application Form.
  • First take a print out on plain paper and fill the form in the prescribed format, also attach all necessary documents (Appendix A, B, C & Certificates of your Mountaineering Course if available) and send it to the provided address.
  • “Indemnity Bond is a declaration form to be filled by the participant.” 
  • Appendix D mentions a list of special equipment. Please take them along to cross Khardung La.
  • For further clarifications you may also e-mail to <armyadventurewing@gmail.com>

Report to Leh:

  1. The selected civilians would be asked to report on a specific date at Leh Airport.
  2. Do NOT report early by a day or two, as no accommodation will be provided, you must stay on your own.
  3. Do NOT report a day late, as there are chances of being sent back.
  4. The 30- day trek is well organized by the Army Adventure Wing.
  5. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is followed.
  6. Please refrain from smoking if you want to complete this trek.

Stage 1A

About Leh:-

Mountains dominate the landscape around the Leh as it is at an altitude of 3,500m. Leh has a cold desert climate with long, harsh winters from October to early March, with minimum temperatures well below freezing for most of the winter. The city gets occasional snowfall during winter. The weather in the remaining months is generally fine and warm during the day. The temperature can range from −28 °C (-18.4 °F) in winter to 33 °C (91.4 °F) in summer.

The principal access roads include the 434 km Srinagar-Leh highway which connects Leh with Srinagar and the 473 km Leh-Manali Highway which connects Manali with Leh. Both roads are open only on a seasonal basis. The access roads from Srinagar and Manali are often blocked by snow in winter. There is scarce tree line, hence it is difficult to breathe. Hence drink a lot of water to maintain the levels of oxygen in your body.

Stage 1B

Acclimatization:-

  • The available amount of oxygen to sustain mental and physical alertness decreases with altitude.
  • Available oxygen drops as the air density itself, the number of molecules (of both oxygen and nitrogen) per given volume, drops as altitude increases.
  • Dehydration due to the higher rate of water vapor lost from the lungs at higher altitudes may contribute to the symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • The percentage saturation of hemoglobin with oxygen determines the content of oxygen in our blood.
  • The rate of ascent, altitude attained, amount of physical activity at high altitude, as well as individual susceptibility, are contributing factors to the onset and severity of high-altitude illness.
  • After the human body reaches around 2,100 m (7,000 feet) above sea level, the saturation of oxyhemoglobin begins to plummet.However, the human body has both short-term and long-term adaptations to altitude that allow it to partially compensate for the lack of oxygen.
  • There is a limit to the level of adaptation; mountaineers refer to the altitudes above 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) as the “death zone”, where no human body can acclimatize.
  • Altitude sickness usually occurs following a rapid ascent and can usually be prevented by ascending slowly.
  • The symptoms are temporary and usually abate as altitude acclimatization occurs. However, in extreme cases, altitude sickness can be fatal.

Cost of the Trek:

  • You have to bear for the costs of travelling, food, boarding and lodging from your place to Leh Reporting Point and back. Also for your personal expenses during the entire trek.
  • In case you damage any of the equipment issued for the trek, you have to pay the amount as you will be issued Brand New Equipment (SEALED BOXES). Equipment’s will be issue in Base Camp ONLY (Stage II).
  • No charge on Transportation, Food, Boarding & Lodging from Reporting Point in Leh to Kumar Post & Back .

Travelling Information:

By Road:

Via Srinagar:  

  • Board a train to Jammu Tawi.
  • Take a shared cab from Jammu Tourist Centre  to Srinagar (Tourist Centre). Innova / Tavera / Tempo Traveler Rs 1500 / Rs 1300 / Rs 1100 per person (10 hours  or more – weather conditions apply).
  • Take a shared cab from Srinagar Bus Stand to Leh Bus Stand. Innova / Tavera Rs. 1800 / Rs 1500 per person (12 – 14 hours or more – weather conditions apply).
  • You may get down at Leh Airport if you are reaching on the time specified.
  • By J&KSRTC – Jammu to Srinagar Rs. 400 & Srinagar to Leh Rs. 1100. Beware that sometimes the staff goes on strike without any information. Conditions Apply.

Via Keylong:

  • Board a night bus to Manali from Delhi. (check Redbus) or the Delhi / HP State Transport for details.
  • Board a shared cab from Manali to Leh via Keylong. Innova / Tavera Rs. 2000 / Rs. 1800. Weather conditions apply.
  • You need to acclimatize well on this route by drinking a lot of water. Altitude touches an alarming 15,400 ft after Rohtang pass. Contradicting the pace at which altitude has to be gained.

By Flight: Board a flight from Delhi to Leh which will save you time  Costs vary as per season.

Mobile Connectivity

  • Only Postpaid connections work in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Aircel & BSNL are the only two networks which work in Leh.
  • BSNL is the only carrier which you can rely upon in Stage II & Stage III.
  • All Mobile Phones & Cameras (Digital Electronic Equipment, GPS Trackers etc) will be collected and deposited at Base Camp before starting for the Stage IV. These will be returned after reaching Base Camp.

Stages of Acclimatization:- The acclimatization stage is subdivided into 3 stages.

I stage: for height above 9000ft -12000ft. (Leh – 257 Transit Camp @ ht 11,550 ft)

  • Day1 & 2 : Rest, short walks
  • Day 3 & 4 : 3 km walk without load (No steep climbs)
  • Day 5 & 6 : 5 km walk with load or 300m steep climb with load.

II stage: for height above 12000 ft -15000ft. (Base Camp @ ht 12,500 ft)

  • Day1 & 2 : 1.5 km walk without load (No steep climbs)
  • Day 3 : 3 km walk without load or 300m steep climb without load
  • Day 4 : 3 km walk with load or 300m steep climb with load.

III stage: for height above 15000 ft -18000 ft. (North Pullu @ ht 15,300 ft)

  • Day1 & 2 : 1.5 km walk without load (No steep climbs)
  • Day 3 : 3 km walk without load or 300m steep climb without load
  • Day 4 : 3 km walk with load or 300m steep climb with load.

The Siachen Trek 2013

I Stage: for height above 9000ft -12000ft. (Leh – 257 Transit Camp @ ht 11,550 ft)

Breakfast – 8.30am to 9.30am; Lunch – 1.30pm to 2.30pm; Dinner – 8.30pm to 9.30pm

Stage 1C

Note:-

  1. BP checkup is done every evening.
  2. Blood, Sugar, Urine, ECG & 2D Echo(if recommended), Dental checkup is done at 153 GH(Army Hospital).
  3. Based on the medical reports & BP pattern for 6 days, after a thorough discussion with the CMO(Chief Medical Officer) the candidates are selected and sent for the II stage of acclimatisation.

Day 1: – Brief Introduction & Allotment of rooms.

Day 2:- Visited the Polo ground (last day of Ladakh Festival-2013)

Day 3:- 3km acclimatization walk at 7.30am, watched Chennai Express at Rinchen Auditorium.

Day 4:- Visited 153 GH for Blood, Sugar, Urine, Dental checkup. Sightseeing – Sangam of Indus & Zanskar Rivers, Lunch at Patiala Brigade (Nimmu), Magnetic Hill and Pathar Sahib Gurudwara.

Day 5:- 5km walk cancelled (Rain). Visited Dalai Lama’s Residence & Hemis Monastery.

Day 6:- Visited 14 Corps HQ (Flag off ceremony rehersal). Post lunch visited Stok Palace & Museum, Thiksey Monastery, 3 Idiots(Druk White Lotus School), Shey palace, Shanti Stupa, Leh Market.

Day 7:- Flag off ceremony at 14 Corps HQ, Visited Hall of Fame, Kali Mandir. Declaration of Fit candidates.

Flag Off

II Stage: for height above 12000 ft -15000ft. (Base Camp @ ht 12,500 ft)

Breakfast – 7.30am to 8.30am; Lunch – 1.30pm to 2.30pm; Dinner – 8.30pm to 9.30pm

Note:-

  1. BP checkup is done everyday at 12.30 pm.
  2. Dental checkup is done at Medical Inspection (MI) Room.
  3. Based on dental reports & BP pattern for 6 days, after thorough discussion with the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) the candidates are selected and sent for the III stage of acclimatization.

Day 8:- Early start off to Base Camp which is 205 km from Leh, via South Pullu(15300 ft), Khardung La(18380 ft), North Pullu(15300 ft).

Day 9:- Brief Introduction, Allotment of rooms & Issue of Equipment. Post Lunch Introduction of Instructors from Army Mountaineering Institute(AMI) & Siachen Battle School(SBS), Base Camp.

Day 10:- Walk to Rock Craft area. Techniques of RockCraft, Climbing Session – Rocks numbered 1,2&3. Jumaring & Rappelling.

Day 11:- 3 km walk with load to Ice Craft area on route visited OP Baba. Techniques of Ice Craft – 2 point, 3 point, 10 point techniques. Post Lunch lectures on Flora & Fauna of Ladakh Region, First Aid, Acclimatisation & Diseases at High Altitude.

Day 12:- 6 km glacier walk with load from SBS training area to Half Link. Post lunch visited the Core Commander Campus of 7 Kumaon Unit. (Unit organizing Siachen Trek 2013 for tea & snacks)

Day 13:- 8km trek cum glacier walk with load from base camp. Crevasse Rescue techniques – I, N, Z Methods.

Day 14:- 4km trek with load to SBS Training area. Knots practice & Ice Craft Demo – 2pt, 3pt, 4pt, Crevasse Crossing, Crevasse Rescue, Shifting of Injured etc. Post lunch watched Vertical Limit @ SBS Auditorium.

Day 15:- Steep Hill climb of 2000 ft with load. Post lunch visited the Siachen War Memorial (names of 986 soldiers who sacrificed their lives for India). Declaration of Fit candidates.

Stage 2

III Stage: for height above 15000 ft -18000 ft. (North Pullu @ ht 15,300 ft)

Breakfast – 8.30am to 9.30am; Lunch – 1.30pm to 2.30pm; Dinner – 8.30pm to 9.30pm

Note:-

  1. BP checkup is done everyday at MI Room at 1pm.
  2. Based on BP pattern for 4 days and after thorough discussion with the CMO(Chief Medical Officer) the candidates are selected and sent for the IV- last stage of the trek.

Day 16:- Early start off to North Pullu which is 150km from Base Camp, via Sasoma, Khalsar. Visited Snow & Avalanche Study Establishment(SASE – DRDO) at Sasoma. Post lunch rooms were allocated, followed by BP checkup.

Day 17:- Rest Day

Day 18:- 4km walk without load.

Day 19:- 5km walk without load.

Day 20:- Start off to Base Camp, after breakfast. Post lunch rooms were allocated, followed by BP checkup. Evening Fall In – Instructions about 4th stage schedule.

Stage 3

IV Stage – Trek from Base Camp to Kumar Post & back

Day 21:- Early start off from Base Camp to Camp I. (12 km)

Day 22:- Camp I to Camp II. (14km)

Day 23:- Camp II to Camp III. (16km)

Day 24:- Camp III to Kumar Post. (18km)

Day 25:- Return from Kumar Post to Camp III.

Day 26:- Camp III to Camp II.

Day 27:- Camp II to Camp I.

Day 28:- Camp I to Base Camp. Celebrations at Core Commander Campus.
Certificates & a CD of Pics taken during the entire trek are given to every successful participant.

Return to Leh

Day 29:- Early start off from Base Camp to Leh, via Sasoma, N.Pullu, Khardung La & S. Pullu.

Day 30:- Flag In celebrations at 14 Corps HQ. Dispersal of candidates at 5pm.

Summary & Final Notes:-

  • BP Check up is done every day.
  • Health is the prime factor in “THE SIACHEN GLACIER TREK”.
  • Every stage of acclimatization, unfit candidates are sent back immediately.
  • You will be asked about your health condition every day. In case of a slight headache bring it to the notice of the doctor or Officer In Charge of the trek.
  • In the IV stage, after the BP check up unfit candidates are sent back to Base Camp every day immediately without any delay
  • In case of chilblains / frostbite, the person is airlifted in an helicopter to the 153 GH in Leh.
  • Everyone participating in the trek irrespective of whether civilian or armed personnel has to follow the SOP and has to obey the instructions.
  • Candidates are eliminated in every stage, make sure you are fit by all means (Ex: BP, ECG was taken at 153 GH at around 11 pm, a day before flag off)
  • In all 21 people participated (8 Civilians, 4 kin of Armed Forces, 9 students from Rashtriya Indian Military School/College)
  • Stage I – 2 participants (both civilians) were declared unfit (Reason – High Sugar levels, High BP & ECG)
  • Stage II – 1 participant (civilian) was declared unfit (Reason – High BP)
  • Stage III – 4 participants (1 kin of armed forces, 2 students of RIMS & 1 civilian) were declared unfit (Reason – High BP, Nausea)
  • Stage IV –  After reaching Kumar Post , 1 student of RIMC reported frozen palms so was shifted immediately to Leh in a chopper (Reason – 1st degree Frost Bite)
  • No accommodation will be provided at Leh for the participants who are sent back from Stage I, II, III.

Info of Siachen :-

http://www.siachenglacier.com/counting-cost-siachen.html (Siachen & its cost per day as on 28/07/2007)

Ice Craft Training

Edit 1 – Poster of Siachen Trek 2016

Download application form from the Indian Army website.

Appx – A

  1. Your Name
  2. Your Designation (if working or just student)
  3. Working organisation name
  4. Address with Phone numbers
  5.  Indemnity bond date (Appx – B) signed date.
  6. Medical Certificate (Appx – C) signed date.
  7. Experience if any , if place not sufficient attach a separate list of places you have trekked or participated for expeditions.
  8. Declaration – Signature of Sponsoring Organization (take seal and stamp of Principal – school/college & Incharge – company(if you are working)

Appx – B (Indemnity Bond) – Stamp Paper NOT required. Just fill the form and attach photo also.

  1. In consideration of —-Your Name S/o or D/o— Father’s Name belong to —–School / College / Organization Name
  2. COUNTERSIGNATURE BY HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT/CO/OC – means Signature of Commanding Officer (CO) / Officer in Command (OC) when your application is received at the Unit Command for the Siachen Trek.

Appx – C (Medical Certificate)

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