GLACIERS IN THE KARAKORAM
The Karakarams possess above 40 glaciers the longest and important being (Siachen) 46.6 miles, Batura 34 miles and Baltoro 32.5 miles and other glaciers named Godwin Austin, Biafo Hisper, Chogolisa, Godogoro, Biarchedi Kaberi, Vigne, Hispar, Bilafond, Virjerb, Yazgil, Khuany others.
The Siachen measures approximately 75km in length and 4.8km in width, and rises to about 4,800m. The glacier originates near the Indra Koli Pass on the Pakistan-China border, about 70km southeast of K-2 , the second highest peak in the world. this glacier is discovered in 1907 and is the largest glacier in the world outside the polar regions. This glacier lies in the extreme north-central part of Jammu and Kashmir near the border of India and Tibet, on the north-facing slopes of the Karakoram range. Large tributary glaciers like the Shelkar Chorten and Mamostang feed into the main glacier. The central part of this glacier is a vast snowfield, however, the sides of the glacier are strewn with rocks.
The Rimo glacier consist of three glaciers ( North , Central and South) lies to the east of the Siachen and located at an altitude of between 6,000 and 7000 m above sea level. Between them, these glaciers have almost 700 square kilometers of ice which at places is 100 m deep. Thus the Siachen glacier contains about 2,000 square kilometers of ice surface and almost 200 cubic kilometers of ice. This tract is more or less devoid of a vegetative cover due to its high elevation as well as its latitude. It feeds the Mutzgah or Shaksgam River that flows parallel to the Karakoram range before entering into Tibet.
The Siachen glacier can be approached via Sakardu in Ladakh.
The Saltoro Pass, also known as Bilafond La (“Pass of the Butterflies”) has a unique history. In early 14th century, it was traversed by the Muslim saint Syed Ali Hamadani, who traveled from Kashmir through Shigar to Kashgar in Central Asia, spreading Islam en route. In the 16th century, a Turkish Sultan, Abu Sayid, invaded Ladakh from China through this pass. Domination of these strategic passes is a key to control the surrounding areas. The Saltoro Range inside Pakistan provides access to Siachen through five passes, i.e., Sia La (7,300m), Bilafond La (6,160m), Gyong La (5,640m), Yarma La (6,100m) and Chulung La (5,800m). These heights and passes, remain snowbound throughout the year.
The second largest glacier in the Himalaya, the Baltoro glacier is situated on the southern slopes of the central Karakoram range in the Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir. Large tributary glaciers include a glacier from the southwestern slopes of the Gasherbrum peak and a tributary glacier from the northwestern slope of the Masherbrum peak, both in the Karakoram, are fed into Baltoro stretching its length about 62 kms. This glacier is one of the sources of Shigar River, a tributary of the River Indus.
The Biafo glacier has a length of about 60 km and is located on the south-facing slopes of the Karakoram range in the Baltistan and Ladakh. It is fed by small glaciers at different points. No vegetation is seen on this tract. The main stream of this glacier rises the Shigar River. The Biafo glacier can be approached via Sakardu in Ladakh.
The Nubra glacier is a large glacier and is located on the southern slopes of the Karakoram range in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. Large tributary glaciers include valley glaciers from the northwestern slopes of the Sasser La massif and the southeastern slopes of the Karakoram range feed this glacier. also some small glaciers are fed into it. The central part of this glacier consists of a vast snowfield. while lateral moraines are found along the flanks and at the main glacier. This glacier gives rise to the Nubra River which in turn flows into the Shyok river.
This glacier is located on the lower slopes of the Karakoram range in Gilgit. It is tenanted on the north-facing slopes of the Rakaposhi massif. The Rakaposhi glacier feeds an eastern tributary of the Hunza River, which in turn flows into the Indus River. The Rakaposhi glacier lies in a trough whose bottom gently slopes towards the north and northwest. This glacier can be approached via Gilgit in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
CHONG KUMDAN GLACIER
The Chong Kumdan glacier is situated on the lower slopes of the Karakoram range. It is located in a trough that is surrounded by high peaks on all sides. The melt-water falls into the Shyok River which at the end goes into the Indus River. The Gapshan lake was formed as a result of the blockade of the Shyok river by the glacier but later it drained away due to melting of the ice. This glacier can be approached via Sakardu in Ladakh.
The Saltoro glacier is located on the southern slopes of the Karakoram range in Ladakh. This glacier feeds one of the two main streams of the Saltoro River, which falls into the Shyok River.
Lying at the base of the Gasherbrum peak, the Gasherbrum glacier having the length of 26 kms, is located on the southern slopes of the Karakoram range in the Baltistan area of Ladakh. Small valley Glaciers open into the main glacier. No vegetative cover is found due to extreme weather conditions. This glacier can be approached via Sakardu in Ladakh.
The Hispar glacier is the third largest glacier in the Himalayan region situated on the southern slopes of the Karakoram range in the Baltistan area of Ladakh. This large glacier is fed by a number of small glaciers stretching its length into about 60 kms. The central portion of this glacier is a vast snowfield while its sides contain debris eroded by the huge body of moving ice. This glacier feeds the main stream of the Shigar River that falls into the mighty Indus River. No vegetation is found on the entire tract. The Hispar glacier can be approached via Sakardu in Ladakh.
The meeting place of the Godwin-Austin Glaciers, Baltoro and Upper Baltoro is called the Concordia. Mountain loving people and climbers consider it the most worth seeing and most impressive point vis a vis mountain environment on earth.
This is a small glacier provides a base for approaching Baltoro glacier. This glacier feeds the main lower Baltoro glacier. it provides very beautiful view of surrounding mountains. A very beautiful camp site is at the base of huge granite slabs rising thousands of feet above a small lake!