OPERATION BLUE FREEDOM
Land World Record

Siachen Glacier

Team Creates World Record

Major Arun Prakash Ambathy

By MAJOR ARUN PRAKASH AMBATHY

11th September 2021, Kumar Post (Siachen Glacier)

A team of 08 People with disabilities create new world record for the ‘largest number of people with disabilities to scale the world’s highest battlefield (Siachen Glacier), by scaling upto Kumar Post (Altitude – 15,632 ft).

History was created today when 08 People with Disabilities reached Kumar Post on Siachen Glacier at an altitude of 15,632 feet. The team of 08 People with Disabilities was trained and led by Team CLAW, a team of Special Forces Veterans from Indian Armed Forces.

The expedition was actively supported throughout by the Indian Army, helping make this unique and powerful expedition, a grand success.

The expedition team climbed a total distance of 60 km atop the Spine of the Siachen Glacier over a period of 05 days from 07th Sept to finally reach Kumar Post on 11th Sept.

The team ascended 4,000 ft, gradually, while scaling the Glacier. The route involved crossing several deep crevasses, icy glacial water streams, hard-ice stretches and undulating rocky moraines. This not just tested the physical endurance and mental stamina, but also the ice-craft skills of the participants, like – use of ice axe, crampons, ladder crossing and rope skills.

The expedition of 60kms from Siachen Base Camp to Kumar Post tested the mental and physical limits of the expedition team of people with disabilities. The extremely rough, rocky and undulating terrain along the moraines of the glacier made the climb particularly challenging for the visually impaired and the leg amputees. They displayed phenomenal grit despite the challenges. The participants with hand amputation had to constantly work on their balance, managing the rope and work on adaptations for emergency rescue procedures.

The nerves of steel and sheer will displayed by the people with disabilities on the expedition, moved the soldiers who saw them in action along the Siachen Glacier. At all the intermediate camps where the expedition team stayed enroute, the soldiers displayed pure love and affection born out of respect after seeing them in action along the obstacle ridden moving block of glassy ice.

Besides the ever emerging icy obstacles, the expedition team had to face erratic and fast changing weather challenges too. Dry throats as a consequence of Glacier winds, dehydration owing to constant sweating, alternating scorching sun and bone chilling cold conditions kept the expedition team on tenter hooks.

With the weather changing faster than cricket scores, the team had to constantly adjust the protective clothing while on the Glacier march

The expedition team had to climb roughly 15 km on the Glacier each day to reach the next Camp enroute, where they would halt the night before resuming the march on the next day. Built atop glassy hard ice, these enroute camps are the only logistical pit-stops on the glacier for all survival needs of food, shelter and water.

Time was the next challenge which needed deft planning and careful execution to overcome the speeding glacier winds. One has to wake up early, start the march on time and complete the day’s route before 4pm to evade the bone chilling glacier winds.

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