The Siachen Glacier is a glacier located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends. At 76 km long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second longest in the world’s non-polar areas.
Situated at an altitude of 18,875 ft, it is an active war zone where the Indian and Pakistani armies remain engaged in conflict all 12 months making it the world’s highest battleground. The weather conditions are harsh here and more soldiers have died at Siachen due to the weather than from combat.
Siachen Base Camp is located in Nubra Valley of Ladakh. You will cross Khardung La (one of the highest motorable passes in the world) and drive through the villages of Panamik and Warshi to reach the base camp. Indian Army operates and handles the Glacier operations from here.
Until last year, civilians were only allowed till Warshi village. In October 2019, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has announced that Siachen Glacier will now be open to tourists. The base camp is located at 11,000 ft. Civilians can trek from here till Kumar Post (15000 ft).
The details are still being worked out regarding the tourism in the region. However, we need to keep in mind that Siachen is not a tourist spot. You can’t just buy a ticket and show up. The terrains are arduous and you need to be prepared both mentally and physically for this journey.
From 2007 to 2016, the glacier was open to an annual expedition in the months of August and September. Siachen trek was organized by the army in which some civilians were allowed to join. Participants had to go through extreme conditioning to adjust in the high altitude with difficult terrain. The upper age limit of 45 years was enforced and the participants had to follow a strict medical fitness regime. It is a nine-day return trek to Kumar post from Siachen Base camp. Prior to the trek, people had to acclimatize for few days at Leh. The trek which is infamous for frostbites and high-altitude sickness is still a dream for the adrenaline junkies. I will say that this definitely is a lifetime opportunity.
How to reach Siachen Base Camp: The only way to reach the base camp is to drive from Leh. It will take around 10 hours to reach.