Himalayas to be safer for trekking

Updated on Nov 26, 2006 05:46 PM IST

High frequency wireless stations are going to be set up to make rescue operations swift, reports Arun Joshi.

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None | ByArun Joshi, Jammu

Himalayas are going to become safer for mountaineers for trekking and expedition in Jammu and Kashmir.

The response time in rescuing mountaineers, caught in blizzards or buried in avalanches is going to be much shorter than before, thanks to the new communication equipments that are going to be installed in the mountains.

High frequency wireless stations are going to be set up all along the Himalayas, particularly in Uttarkashi and Leh. These wireless stations will be connected with Indian Mountaineering Foundation headquarters in Delhi, and within "minutes after receiving the distress call, the rescue operations can be launched," says M Ashraf, spokesman for the Indian Mountaineering Foundation or IMF.

"Forty walkie–talkies would be given to the mountaineers venturing into Himalayas in India. That would help them in constantly stay in touch with the wireless stations and tell their location from time to time and that is going to be a crucial factor is locating them in case of accidents," Ashraf said.

Himalayas are charming, But the accidents are frequent, too. The sudden change of weather conditions; high velocity winds, blizzards and avalanches claim lives. It is mostly because the rescue time is longer in absence of the requisite communication system.

Satellite phones are not permitted for the expeditions in Himalayas in India. At times, it is also because of missteps by mountaineers.

The world’s greatest living mountaineer Reinhold Messner who has conquered all the 14 peaks above the height of 8,000 meters above sea level in the world says that while climbing the "concentration should be absolute."

"Concentration is the best guard against accidents," says Ashraf," but then blizzards and avalanches are the unanticipated part of trekking in mountains. For that communication is as important as the rescue effort."

Ashraf said, "Rescuing is not a problem in Indian Himalayas because the units of the army are stationed almost every where. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police too have sufficient presence in the mountains."

The IMF is also going to equip the mountaineers with 20 avalanche beepers. "These beepers would be hung like an ID card around their neck. If hit and buried by snow, they can be traced and retrieved even from 10 to 12 feet snow," Ashraf said.

"This is going to bring a revolution in the mountaineering in Jammu and Kashmir," the state that boasts of several peaks including Nun Kun in Ladakh region.

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