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Guns silent, Siachen Glacier is open to public now
September 12, 2007 19:35 IST
Siachen, the world's highest battlefield and an inhospitable terrain, has been thrown open to public.
Trekkers can now go up the icy heights of the second largest glacier in the mighty Karakoram range in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir [Images], a dreaded place till four years ago because of continuous shelling from Pakistan.
A group of 20 intrepid civilians--teenage girls, NCC and military academy cadets, housewives and corporate executives�will form the first batch to tread the glacial heights, where snow never melts, from September 19, Army officials said.
Though the Indian and Pakistani troops are at points across the 72-km-long glacier, almost at eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation, peace has prevailed in the snowy heights for the last four years ever since a cease-fire is in force.
The group sponsored by the Army Adventure cell and Indian Mountaineering foundation would trek from the Base to Kumar camp located at a height of 16,000 feet on the mid-glacier.
On their four-day trudge across the glacier, the civilian trekkers will be guided by 10 army glacial experts. Though guns have fallen silent, danger does lurk in the form of giant fissures and shifting ice formations.
"We plan to open the glacier to similar civilian trekkers on a regular basis from next year," army officials said.