Kashmir Skiing Mountaineering
In March 2011, a group from Bavaria in Germany headed by Mr. Oliver came to Kashmir to take advantage of virgin snow in Gulmarg, Lidderwatt, and the Kolahoi Glacier. Day 1 took us to Gulmarg, and after fantastic skiing there, the party ventured on a skiing/mountaineering expedition to Sunrise Peak. On day 2 we returned to Srinagar to an enthusiastic reception by the press. As the first ski mountaineering expedition in twenty years, we attracted a lot of attention. This was, of course, flattering, but it meant we set off for the Aru Valley and Lidderwatt much later than expected.
The delay was compounded when we found the road to Aru blocked by an avalanche, but everyone pitched in with ice picks, shovels and whatever came to hand, and before long we continued. Needless to say, we reached the Aru Valley at a time that made our 5am start for the Lidderwatt Valley the following morning seem even earlier. Even so, we set off almost as planned. While a team of twenty porters carried the gear, the expedition began skiing in eleven feet of snow, and by 3pm we had reached Lidderwatt where we stayed overnight. Next morning we started out for Satlanjan where we encountered heavy snows and a number of fresh avalanches. The group went on to the Kolahoi Glacier with a local guide for a two day ski trip. Upon their return to Lidderwatt, they climbed the kolahoi summit peak up to 5300 meters.
On 20th December we had taken a pair of girls from Lithuania to Lidderwatt, where the temperature in the Aru Valley had dropped to minus 12 during the day. Even so, we went on a great day trip in deep, virgin snow. The previous spring an Indian group had come and enjoyed it immensely. With the tremendous success of the the Kashmir Ski Mountaineering Expedition of March 2011 we can honestly say that Kashmir is a great place to adventure out into the snow.
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