Trekking in Kashmir

OVERVIEW

The State of Jammu & Kashmir has main three geographical regions known as “The Lesser Himalayas” or the “Jhelum Valley” (Kashmir), “The Inner Himalayas” or “The Indus Valley” (Ladakh & Frontier areas) also called “Trans-Himalayas”, and “The Outer-Himalayas” or “The Southern mountain range” (Jammu). The area of Jammu & Kashmir is 2, 22,236 square kilometres.

TREKKING IN KASHMIR 


Carved tectonically, the valley of Kashmir is a longitudinal depression in the great north-western Himalayan range, situated at an altitude of 1590 mtrs (5209) feet having latitude between 23-4' and 37-6 'North and longitude between 72-31' and 77-30' East. A typical oval shaped valley, its length has a parallel axis to the general direction of the bordering mountains – The Shivaliks, The Middle Mountains, The Pir Panjal, The Himalayas, The Zanaskar, The Ladakh and The Korakaram.
For many, Kashmir still remains high on the Himalayan trekkers ‘wish list’.Often described as ‘Switzerland but in Himalayan proportions’ it’s not hard to understand why as it was considered a natural follow-on after completing a trek in Nepal.
Spending time on the renowned houseboats – added an attractive dimension to the itinerary before heading off into the mountains. The trails through conifer forests and across meadows carpeted with wildflowers never seemed crowded. Campsites in forest glades beneath high peaks and hanging glaciers never failed to impress. Yet this is no wilderness area. There are Gujar shepherds with their herds of lumbering buffalo, Bakraval with their flocks of sheep and goats. Treks in Kashmir is a life remembering activity.

CLIMATE 


Kashmir has a modified monsoon climate. The pre-monsoon months are May and June. Although storms are experienced in July and August they are not so heavy or protracted as in Himachal or Uttarakhand. By early September settled conditions return and continue until the end of October when the first of the winter snow falls on the mountain ridges. The trekking season therefore extends from when the winter snows melt on the high passes in May and June and continues through July and August until the end of October.

ENVIRONMENT 


The Kashmir Valley was, until recent geological times, a vast lake with a water level around 200m to 300m above the present valley floor. The pressure of water eventually cleared the blockage of silt and rocks to the north of the valley. What remains is one of the most fertile regions in northern India including the vast waters of Dal Lake and the capital of Srinagar built alongside the banks of the Jhelum River, originates from Verinag, Anantnag. The Pir Panjal encloses the valley to the west and south, rising on average to elevations of around 5000m. Sonamarg Range provides an equally impressive backdrop, including the sacred peak of Harimukh (5135m). In Pahalgam,  Kolahoi Ranges rise above Sonamarg. The ramparts of the Kashmir Valley are breached only once, to the north, where the Jhelum River forges through a narrow gorge en route to the Indus River.
To view wildlife involves heading to the hills where there are black and brown bear, forest leopards as well as urial, markhor and musk deer. For wildflower enthusiasts the alpine meadows support a wide array of flowering species particularly on the Alpine lakes trek to Harimukh

PEAKS AND LAKES

Several mountain ranges through the state of Jammu & Kashmir among them Pir Panjal,Great Himalayas,Zanskar,Ladakh,Karakoram. Climbing in these Himalayas can be very stimulating and typically an expedition can take a month. Rich in flora and fauna, the summits of most peaks are an exhilarating experience and from a top them, one can look beyond to neighbouring countries Pakistan and Tibet. The most popular peaks Kolahoi(5,425 m) and Harmukh (5,148 m).These are peaks one can get to quickly making an alpine ascent. Similarly the peaks in the Kishtwar region are not too high but offer technically difficult climbing with many challenging faces and ridges. Some are still virgin peaks. The popular peaks are Sickle Moon 6,575 m ,Riger 6,001m,Brammah-I 6,416m,Crooked Finger 5,630m, Arjuna 6,230m,Katori 6,138m and Flat Top 6,100m.In the Zanskar region are the famous peaks of Nun 7,135m and Kun 7,077m.Around these are White Needle 6,500m,Pinacle 6,930m and Z-1 6,400m.These peaks are located at the head of the Shafat glacier.The 'Z' series also cluster around the Durung Drung glacier which is visible from the Pensita.In the Ladakh region are the Stok Kangri 6,153m, Parcha Kangri 6,065m and Kanglcha 6,400m.More recently peaks in the restricted area of the Nubra valley in the Inaian Karakorams have also been opened to foreigners and Indian. Kashmir Valley also has many lakes like Kashmir Great Lakes including Vishnusar and Kishansar twin lakes, Gadsr, Gangabal twin lakes. Also may lakes from South Kashmir Including Tarsar, Marsar, Sonasar, Royal Sar, Tulian, Kausar Nag Lakes.