8 Sep :27 member team of Indo – Sri Lankan Mountaineering Expedition reached High Altitude Warfare School at Sona Marg near Ladakh today. Their initial training in mountain climbing, snow craft and rock craft has started. Besides training, the team will also start their first stage of acclimatization from today.
It may be recalled that Lt Gen SPS Dhillon, Deputy Chief of Army Staff flagged off first ever Indo – Sri Lankan joint mountaineering expedition. In a simple ceremony in Sena Bhawan Lt Gen SPS Dhillon was introduced to Sri Lankan Officers and men along with their Indian counterparts heading towards the adventurous expedition.
The Indian Army has been pioneer in the field of mountaineering and in continuation with this glorious tradition and to enhance the cooperation between Indian Army and Sri Lankan Army, a mountaineering Expedition is being launched to Mount Stok Kangri (20, 200 ft) in Leh region.
Mount Stok Kangri is part of Stok Kangri massif which is approx 20 km South-East of Leh. It belongs to one of the most beautiful peaks in the Ladakh region of India. At 20,200 ft, Stok Kangri is the highest peak among the known peaks in the Stok kangri massif. Apart from being technically challenging, it offers a spectacular perspective of the central expanse of the Indus valley which it dominates. Other peaks in the areas include Gulap Kangri (19729 ft), Matho West (19650 ft) and Kantak (17410 ft).
The Team is led by Lt Col I S THAPA, SM, VSM and includes 4 officers, 3 JCOs and 12 other ranks of Indian Army and 4 officers and 4 other ranks of Sri Lankan Army. The Leader is an experienced mountaineer who successfully led the Indian Army Everest Expedition in the Year 2007.
The last road-head for the peak is at Village Stok which is approx 20 Km south east of Leh. Team plans to establish its Base Camp at approx 15,500 ft which is one day trek from the road head at Stok. After stoking of camp I and acclimatization, the summit attempts will be made to the peak in next one week.
Prior to the expedition, the team will undergo special training for 14 days at High Altitude Warfare School at Sonamarg in J & K. Thereafter, the team will move to Leh for acclimatization .Base Camp will be established at a height of 15,500 ft. Camp- I will be at 17,500 feet and weather permitting, the summit will be attempted on 19-20 Oct 08.
The Peak which belongs to the Stock Kangri Massif in the Leh region of J & K attracts mountaineers from many parts of the world. The route to this peak is long and difficult and requires expertise both in ice craft and rock craft. The team has to negotiate a number of crevasses, difficult terrain enroute and hence demands a high level of technical skill and meticulous planning.
Addressing the team, Lt Gen S P S Dhillon ,AVSM,VSM expressed hope that this expedition will not only help both the Armies learn from each other’s varied experiences but would go a long way in strengthening the ties between both the Nations. Indian Army in the past has organized similar expeditions with Australia, Nepal, USA, UK and Kazakhstan.
The General officer offered his best wishes to the members of the expedition. Maj Gen S K Singh, Officiating Director General Military Training who was present during the ceremony also offered his best wishes to the team.