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Default Glaciers of Pakistan


Abruzzi Glacier
Abruzzi Glacier is a glacier in the north of the Baltoro Kangri peak in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The glacier joins the huge Baltoro Glacier (one of the largest glaciers outside polar region) that flows northwest in the beginning and then turns westward.


Baltoro Glacier
The Baltoro Glacier, at 57 kilometers long, is one of the longest glaciers outside of the polar regions. It is located in Baltistan, in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, and runs through part of the Karakoram mountain range. The Baltoro Muztagh lies to the north and east of the glacier, while the Masherbrum Mountains lie to the south. At 8,611 m (28,251 ft), K2 is the highest mountain in the region, and three others within 20 km top 8,000 m.

The glacier gives rise to the Shigar River, which is a tributary of the Indus River. Several large tributary glaciers feed the main Baltoro glacier, including the Godwin Austen Glacier, flowing south from K2; the Abruzzi and the various Gasherbrum Glaciers, flowing from the Gasherbrum group of peaks; the Vigne Glacier, flowing from Chogolisa, and the Yermandendu Glacier, flowing from Masherbrum. The confluence of the main Baltoro Glacier with the Godwin Austen Glacier is known as Concordia; this location and K2 base camp are popular trekking destinations.

The trough of this glacier is very wide and its central part is a vast snowfield. Small valley glaciers form icefalls where they meet the trunk glacier. The sidewalls vary from very steep to precipitous. The glacier has carved striations on the surrounding country rocks. Moving ice has formed depressions, which serve as basins for numerous glacial lakes.
The glacier can be approached via the important Balti town of Skardu.


Batura Glacier
Batura Glacier (57km long) is one of the largest and longest glaciers outside the polar regions. It lies in the Gojal region of the Northern Areas of Pakistan, just north of Batura (7,795 m) and Passu (7,500 m) massifs. It flows west to east. The lower portions can be described as a grey sea of rocks and gravelly moraine, bordered by a few summer villages and pastures with herds of sheep, goats, cows and yaks and where roses and juniper trees are common.


Biafo Glacier
The Biafo Glacier is a 63 km long glacier in the Karakoram Mountains of the Northern Areas, Pakistan which meets the 49 km long Hispar Glacier at an altitude of 5,128m (16,824 feet)at Hispar La(Pass) to create the world's longest glacial system outside of the polar regions. This highway of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms, Nagar (immediately south of Hunza) in the west with Baltistan in the east. The traverse uses 51 of the Biafo Glacier's 63 km and all of the Hispar Glacier to form a 100 km glacial route.

The Biafo Glacier presents a trekker with several days of very strenuous, often hectic boulder hopping, with spectacular views throughout and Snow Lake near the high point. Snow Lake, consisting of parts of the upper Biafo Glacier and its tributary glacier Sim Gang, is one of the world's largest basins of snow or ice in the world outside of the polar regions, up to one mile in depth.

The Biafo Glacier is the world's third longest glacier outside of the polar regions, second only to the 70 km Siachen Glacier disputed between Pakistan and India and Tajikistan's 77 km long Fedchenko Glacier.

Campsites along the Biafo are located off of the glacier, adjacent to the lateral moraines and steep mountainsides. The first three (heading up from the last village before the glacier, the thousand-year-old Askole village) are beautiful sites with flowing water nearby. Mango and Namla, the first two campsites, are often covered in flowers and Namla has an amazing waterfall very near the camping area. Biantha, the third camp site, is often used as a rest day. A large green meadow, it has a few running streams near the camp and many places to spend the day rock climbing or rappelling.
Evidence of wildlife can be seen through out the trek. The Ibex and the Markhor Mountain Goat can be found and the area is famous for brown bears and snow leopards, although sightings are rare.

Biarchedi Glacier
The Biarchedi Glacier is located on the northeast of Biarchedi Peak in Pakistan. It flows north into the Baltoro Glacier.


Godwin-Austen Glacier
The Godwin-Austen Glacier is located near K2 in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Its confluence with the Baltoro Glacier is called Concordia and is one of the most favorite spots for trekking in Pakistan since it provides excellent views of four of the five eight-thousanders in Pakistan.

The glacier can be approached via the important Balti town of Skardu.


Gondogoro Glacier
Gondogoro Glacier or Gondoghoro Glacier is glacier near Concordia in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. It serves as an alternative means to reach Concordia; the confluence of Baltoro Glacier and Godwin-Austen Glacier.


Hainablak Glacier
Hainablak Glacier is a glacier near Trango Tower mountain in Baltistan, Northern Areas of Pakistan.


Hispar Glacier
Hispar Glacier is a 49 km. long glacier in the Karakoram Mountains of the (Northern Areas, Pakistan) which meets the 63 km. long Biafo Glacier at the Hispar La (Pass) at an altitude of 5,128m (16,824 feet) to create the world's longest glacial system outside of the polar regions. This 100 km. highway of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms, Nagar (immediately south of Hunza) in the west with Baltistan in the east. The extreme steepness of the hillsides and strenuous nature of the boulder hopping on the lateral moraines and hillsides make this route's upper half the most difficult part of the Biafo - Hispar traverse. Only the Hispar La day includes walking on the Hispar Glacier. The crossing of four major tributary glaciers from the north is most taxing, and potentially high nullah crossings can be dangerous. The views of 7800 meter (25,600 foot) peaks and of the snow covered cliffs and mountains on the south side of the glacier are particularly impressive.

Lonak Glacier
Lonak Glacier is one of the three major glaciers of Sikhim, in the Himalaya range in Northern Areas of Pakistan.


Miar Glacier
Miar Glacier is a glacier that forms in the north of Miar Peak (6,824 m).


Panmah Glacier
Panmah Glacier is a glacier in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. It is included in the Central Karakoram National Park.


Passu Glacier
Passu Glacier forms in the east of the Passu Sar (Passu Peak).


Rupal Glacier
Rupal Glacier or Tashain Glacier is a glacier in the Great Himalaya subrange of Himalayas. It starts in the north of an unnamed 6,326 m high peak (35 8'35.93"N 7424'52.46"E) and flows northeast in the north of Laila Peak (Rupal Valley) and in the south of Nanga Parbat's many peaks. The melt water from the glacier forms Rupal River.


Sarpo Laggo Glacier
The Sarpo Laggo Glacier (Sarpo Laggo: young husband) is a glacier in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, in the Karakoram mountain range of the Himalayas.


Shani Glacier
Shani Glacier is a glacier in the north of Shani Peak (5,887 m) in Naltar Valley, Pakistan.


Siachen Glacier
The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram Range in the Himalaya Mountains, at approximately 35.5 N 77.0 E. It is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second longest in the world's non-polar areas. It ranges from an altitude of 5753 m (18,875 ft.) above sea level at its source at Indira Col (pass) on the China border to its snout at 3620 m (11,875 ft.)

The Siachen Glacier lies south of the great watershed that separates Central Asia from the Indian subcontinent. The 70 km (43.5 mile) long Siachen glacier lies between the Saltoro Ridge line immediately to the west and the main Karakoram range to the east. The Saltoro Ridge originates in the north from the Sia Kangri peak on the China border in the Karakoram range. The crest of the Saltoro Ridge's altitudes range from 5450 to 7720 m (17,880 to 25,330 feet). The major passes on this ridge are, from north to south, Sia La at 5589 m (18,336 ft), Bilafond La at 5450 m (17,880 ft), and Gyong La at 5689 m (18,665 ft.)

Conflict Zone
The glacier is located in the disputed region of Kashmir in the Indian subcontinent. The average winter snowfall is 10.5 m (35 ft.) and temperatures can dip to minus 50 degrees celsius (minus 58 degrees fahrenheit. In spite of the severe climate, the word 'Siachen' ironically means 'the place of wild roses, a reference some people attribute to the abundance of Himalayan wildflowers found in the valleys below the glacier, but specifically refers to the thorny wild plants which grow on the rocky outcrops. The glacier is also the highest battleground on earth, where India and Pakistan have fought intermittently since April 13, 1984. Both countries maintain permanent military personnel in the region at a height of over 6,000 metres. The site is a prime example of mountain warfare. The glacier's melting waters are the main source of the Nubra River, which drains into the Shyok River. The Shyok in turn joins the Indus River. The glacier's melting waters are a major source of the river Indus, a vital water source. Global warming has had one of its worst impacts here in the Himalayas with the glaciers melting at an unprecedented rate. The volume of the glacier has been reduced by 35 percent over the last twenty years. One report blames military activity as much as global warming.

The conflict in Siachen stems from the confusion in the improperly demarcated territory on the map beyond the map coordinate known as NJ9842. The 1949 Karachi Agreement and the 1972 Simla Agreement did not clearly mention who controlled the glacier, merely stating that from the NJ9842 location the boundary would proceed "thence north to the glaciers." In the 1960's and 1970's, however, the United States Defense Mapping Agency (now National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) began, with no legal justification or any boundary documentation, showing an international boundary on their maps available to the public and pilots as proceeding from NJ9842 east-northeast to the Karakoram Pass at 5534 m (18,136 ft.) on the China border. Numerous governmental and private cartographers and atlas producers followed suit. This resulted in cartographically "awarding" the entire 2700 square kilometers (1040 square miles) Siachen area to Pakistan. Indian government and military took note. Prior to 1984 neither India nor Pakistan had any permanent presence in the area.

Fighting
In the 1970s and early 1980s several mountaineering expeditions applied to Pakistan to climb high peaks in the Siachen area, and Pakistan granted them. This reinforced the Pakistani claim on the area, as these expeditions arrived on the glacier with a permit obtained from the Government of Pakistan. Once having become aware of this in about 1978, Colonel N. Kumar of the Indian Army mounted an Army expedition to Teram Kangri peaks (in the Siachen area on the China border and just east of a line drawn due north from NJ9842) as a counter-exercise. The first public mention of a possible conflict situation was an article by Joydeep Sircar in The Telegraph newspaper of Calcutta in 1982, reprinted as "Oropolitics" in the Alpine Journal, London, in 1984. India launched Operation Meghdoot (named after the divine cloud messenger in a Sanskrit play) on 13 April 1984 when the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force went into the glacier region. Pakistan quickly responded with troop deployments and what followed was literally a race to the top. Within a few days, the Indians were in control over most of the area, as Pakistan was beaten to most of the Saltoro Ridge high ground by about a week. The two northern passes - Sia La and Bilfond La - were quickly secured by India. In his memoirs, current Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf states that Pakistan lost almost 2,331 Km2 (900 Mi2) of territory. TIME states that the Indian advance captured nearly 1,000 sq. mi. of territory claimed by Pakistan. Since then Pakistan has launched several attempts to displace the Indian forces, but with little success. The most well known was in 1987, when an attempt was made by Pakistan to dislodge India from the area. The attack was led by Pervez Musharraf (later President of Pakistan) heading a newly formed elite SSG commando unit in the area. A special garrison with eight thousand troops was built at Khapalu. The immediate aim was to capture Bilafond La but after bitter fighting that included hand to hand combat, the Pakistanis were thrown back and the positions remained the same. The only Param Vir Chakra - India's highest gallantry award - to be awarded for combat in the Siachen area went to Naib Subedar Bana Singh (retired as Subedar Major/Honorary Captain), who assaulted and captured a Pakistani post in a daring daylight raid atop a 22,000 foot (6 700 m) peak, now named Bana Post. Further attempts to reclaim positions were launched by Pakistan in 1990, 1995, 1996 and even in early 1999, just prior to the Lahore Summit. The 1995 attack by Pakistan SSG was significant as it resulted in 40 casualties for Pakistan troops without any changes in the positions.

Current situation
The Indian Army controls all of the Siachen Glacier and the three main passes of the Saltoro Ridge immediately west of the glacier, Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La, thus holding onto the tactical advantage of high ground. Gyong La (Pass) itself is at 35-10-29N, 77-04-15 E; that high point is controlled by India. The Pakistanis control the glacial valley just five kilometers southwest of Gyong La. The line where Indian and Pakistani troops are presently holding on to their respective posts is being increasingly referred to as the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).

The Pakistanis have been unable get up to the crest of the Saltoro Ridge, while the Indians cannot come down and abandon their strategic high posts. A ceasefire went into effect in 2003. Even before then, every year more soldiers were killed because of severe weather than enemy firing. The two sides have lost an estimated 2,000 personnel primarily due to frostbite, avalanches and other complications. Both nations have 150 manned outposts along the glacier, with some 3,000 troops each. Official figures for maintaining these outposts are put at ~$300 and ~$200 million for India and Pakistan respectively. India has built the world's highest helipad on this glacier at a place called Sonam, which is at 21,000 feet (6,400 m) above the sea level, to serve the area. India also installed the world's highest telephone booth on the glacier. Both sides have been wishing to disengage from the costly military outposts but after the Kargil War in 1999 where Pakistan sent infiltrators to occupy vacated Indian posts across the Line of Control, India has backed off from withdrawing in Siachen. India feels that Pakistan would resort to the same thing if Siachen Glacier is vacated without any official confirmation of its positions in the glacier.
During her tenure as Prime Minister of Pakistan, Ms Benazir Bhutto, visited the area west of Gyong La, making her the first premier from either side to get to the Siachen region. On June 12, 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the area, calling for a peaceful resolution of the problem. In the previous year, the President of India, Abdul Kalam became the first head of state to visit the area. India based Jet Airways plans to open a chartered service to the glacier's nearest airlink, the Thoise airbase, mainly for military purposes. Pakistan's PIA flies tourists and trekkers daily to Skardu, which is the jumping off point for K2, the world's second highest point just 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) northwest of the Siachen area, although bad weather frequently grounds these scheduled flights.


Trango Glacier
Trango Glacier is a glacier near Trango Tower mountain in Baltistan, Northern Areas of Pakistan.


Vigne Glacier
Vigne Glacier is a glacier in the Northern Areas, Pakistan near Gondogoro Glacier and Baltoro Glacier.
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