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‘The Climb’: Kashmir’s oldest mountaineering club springs back to life post Covid lockdown

KM Photo/Special Arrangement

Srinagar:  Forget Covid, enjoy a trek on the snow-capped mountains in Kashmir this fall.

Thanks to J&K Mountaineering and Hiking Club (JKMHC), adventure-lovers are giving trekking a shot once again.  


Despite sub-zero temperatures, the club is buzzing with activities. Mountaineers including the elderly and women are actively participating in weekly Sunday treks. Other treks too have resumed even as the Covid-19 lockdown had earlier played spoilsport.

KM Photo/Special Arrangement

“We see minimum participation of 70 persons in the Sunday treks of JKHMC. Now, other mountaineering groups too have been formed, and yesterday, three treks that saw a participation of 150 people were held despite cold weather. Because of Covid, people were feeling suffocated and now mountaineering activities have majorly picked up,” JKMHC president Mahmood Shah told The Kashmir Monitor.

Founded in 1934 by Eric Biscoe, son of Tyndale Biscoe, JKMHC is the valley’s oldest mountaineering club..  Tyndale Biscoe had founded the Valley’s oldest missionary school in 1880.

KM Photo/Special Arrangement

Pertinently, the club had almost become defunct after the eruption of militancy in Kashmir valley but its activities started picking up again during the past seven-eight years or so.

“More people started taking interest in mountaineering after we started our social media pages. Now, even the elderly and women take an active part in our treks. Now that snowfall has started, people like to go trekking and catch a closer view of snow-capped peaks. They also want to explore new and unconventional places,” said Shah.

Yesterday, the JKMHC had organized a trek to Dohdiward Pahalgam in South Kashmir in association with Glacier Trekking and Mountaineering Club Kashmir, Anantnag. Earlier in December this winter, the club organized Sunday treks to Wasturwan Mountain, treks from Khanmoh to Dachigam (via Sangri Top), Pantsal Pathri to Nus Pathar, Aryunbreer (Kokarnag). Several other treks were held in November as well in cold weather conditions.

KM Photo/Special Arrangement

Nawab Moazam Khan, an active JKHMC member, said the Sunday treks were mostly for beginners and open to all.

“Anybody can join us. Sunday treks are usually for beginners but they should be medically fit. Otherwise, we also conduct two-three day treks and expeditions of longer durations. Though Covid lockdown affected our activities earlier, we have resumed activities and held treks to Kolohai, Sunset and other peaks. We are planning to undertake more expeditions,” Khan told The Kashmir Monitor.