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Saving glaciers: Winter expedition team from Shimshal reaches Skardu via Braldu Pass

SKARDU: A group of 10 mountaineers and researcher from Shimshal who embarked on a mission to save the glaciers from depleting have successfully made it to Skardu through the Braldu Pass. It took us 13 days to complete the mission, announced a representative of the winter expedition team.

The group of 10 member professional mountaineers and researchers crossed six longest glaciers of the world located in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan- Braldu, Lupke La, Snow Lake, Biafo, Khoordhopin and Yazghail Glacier, ultimately making it to Skardu, Baltistan.

The historic expedition was undertaken by professional mountaineers and activists that included Abdul Joshi, Niamat Karim, Daulat Muhammed, Bulbul Karim, Eid Muhammed, Ali Rehmat, Mansoor Karim, Syed Zaman, Jalaluddin and Hidayat Shah, all hailing from Shimshal valley.

The expedition was intended to save the fast depleting glaciers in the region, especially the recent melting are causing flash floods in many areas of Pakistan causing human displacement and lose of lives. In future this can affect agriculture, drinking water supplies, hydroelectric power, and ecological habitats.

Keeping in view this alarming situation, Pakistan Integrated Mountain Conservancy Program (PIMCP)-an initiative by young researchers and mountaineers, is going to organize the 1st Winter Glacier Conservancy Awareness Expedition 2017. The expedition was aimed at monitoring and collecting data to analyze the change in the glaciers due to global warming. Another goal was to awareness about the rapid and alarming rate of glaciers depletion due to human made Global Warming and inspiring people at every level around the world in general and Pakistan in particular to stand up and take some substantial steps in addressing the issues of global warming and climate change.

Pakistan is home to worlds largest ice glaciers out of the polar region. Spread over an area of 16933 square kilometer, there are over 5000 glaciers in the Gilgit – Baltistan and Chitral regions of Pakistan which includes the famous Siachin Glacier, Biafo Glacier, Khoordhopin Glacier, Batura Glacier, Braldu Glacier, Snow lake and many more.

These glaciers are the major source of Water feeding the major rivers in Pakistan. The glaciers are also considered as the Water Reservoir or Water Bank of the country. In the wake of the alarming increase in the Global warming, these glaciers are facing a serious threat, resulting an existential threat not just to the 0.2 million people of Gilgit-Baltistan but also the 200 million people of Pakistan.

“The data and information collected during the adventure will be shared with various University students and research organization in Pakistan who are conducting research work on glaciers”, said Samiullah one of the researchers in the PIMCP while talking to the media.

This expedition was the first in the series of many other activities that will be taken under the Pakistan Integrated Mountain Conservancy Program to raise awareness and conduct research studies on glaciers and on many other environmental issues of the mountain and the emerging risks it is facing due to increasing global warming. While sharing his views, Mr Abdul Joshi-mountaineer and expedition team leader says, “This is for the first time that we are using mountaineering for a cause by introducing echo-mountaineering and that is to use mountaineering for the conservancy of our glaciers and other mountain biodiversity.”

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