Saltoro Mountains

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Saltoro Mountains
Saltoro Muztagh
Un-kashmir-jammu.png
Highest point
PeakSaltoro Kangri
Elevation7,742 m (25,400 ft)
Coordinates35°24′01″N 76°50′55″E / 35.40028°N 76.84861°E / 35.40028; 76.84861Coordinates: 35°24′01″N 76°50′55″E / 35.40028°N 76.84861°E / 35.40028; 76.84861
Geography
LocationActual Ground Position Line, on the border between Indian and Pakistani controlled territories
Borders onMasherbrum Mountains

The Saltoro Mountains are a subrange of the Karakoram Range.[1] They are located in the southeast Karakoram on the southwest side of the Siachen Glacier, one of the two longest glaciers outside the polar regions. The name given to this range is shared with the Saltoro Valley which is located to the west of this range, downslope on the Pakistan side of the Saltoro Range which generally follows the Actual Ground Position Line. Saltoro Kangri peak, Saltoro River, and Saltoro Valley are features on this range. The Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) between Indian and Pakistan held area runs through this range, where the high peaks and passes of the Siachen area are held by India, whereas Pakistan occupies the lower peaks and valleys to the west.[2]

The Saltoro Mountains are Lesser Karakorams on the southwestern side of the large Karakoram-glaciers (Siachen, Baltoro, Biafo and Hispar Glacier from east to west) while the main ridge of the Karakorams lies northeast of these glaciers. The subranges of the main ridges are generally called Muztagh whereas the mountain groups of the Lesser Karakorams are denominated as mountains, ranges or groups.[3]

The Saltoro Range is claimed as part of Ladakh by India and as part of Gilgit–Baltistan by Pakistan. Between 1984 and 1987, India assumed military control of the main peaks and passes of the range, with Pakistani forces holding the glacial valleys just to the west. Hence, despite high peaks and dramatic climbing opportunities, they are little visited except by military forces due to the ongoing Siachen Conflict.

On the southwest side, the Saltoro Mountains drop steeply to the valleys of the Kondus and Dansam Rivers, which join to form the Saltoro River, a tributary of the Shyok River. This in turn flows into the Indus River. To the northwest, the Kondus Glacier separates the range from the neighboring Masherbrum Mountains, while on the southeast, the Gyong River, Glacier, and Pass (Gyong La) separate the northern Saltoro Mountains from the southern Saltoro Mountains or "Kailas Mountains" (not to be confused with Tibet's sacred Mount Kailash).

Background[edit]

Indo-Pak mutually-agreed undisputed "International Border" (IB) in the black line, Indo-Pak "Line of Control" (LoC) in black dotted line in the north and west, Indo-Sino "Line of Actual" (LAC) in black dotted line in the east, Indo-Pak line across Siachen in north is "Actual Ground Position Line" (AGPL). The areas shown in green are the two Pakistani-controlled areas: Gilgit–Baltistan in the north and Azad Kashmir in the south. The area shown in orange is the Indian-controlled territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, and the diagonally-hatched area to the east is the Chinese-controlled area known as Aksai Chin. "Territories ceded by Pakistan to China claimed by India" in the north is Shaksgam (Trans-Karakoram Tract).
United Nations map of Siachen Glacier showing "Point NJ980420" (Point NJ9842) as starting point of "Actual Ground Position Line" (AGPL). Nubra River valley and Siachen glaciers held by India. AGPL starts from NJ9842 and goes north via Gyong La, Chumik, Sia La, Saltoro Galcier, Bilafond La to Indira Col West, all of which are held by India. Goma military camp, Masherbrum Range, Baltoro Glacier, Baltoro Glacier, Baltoro Muztagh and K2 are held by Pakistan.

Indo-Pakistan borders: SC, IB, LOC, AGPL[edit]

The actual India-Pakistan boundary is divided into 4 types of borders: disputed Sir Creek (SC) riverine border, mutually agreed India–Pakistan International Border (IB) from north of Sir Creek to north of Dhalan near Jammu, Line of Control (LoC) across disputed Kashmir and Ladakh regions from north of Dhalan in India and west of Chicken's Neck in Pakistan to Point NJ9842, and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) across Siachen from Point NJ9842 to Indira Col West. Siachen lies south of the Shaksgam ceded by Pakistan to China via the 1963 Sino-Pakistan Agreement but also claimed by India[4] and Aksai Chin held by China since 1962 but also claimed by India. The Shaksgam Tract controlled by China is located north of the Saltoro mountain range from the Apsarasas Kangri Range to 90 km northwest of K2.[5]

AGPL[edit]

The AGPL runs roughly along the Saltoro Mountains from Point NJ9842 on the India-Pakistan LoC to near La Yongma Ri, Gyong La, Gyong Kangri, Chumik Kangri, Bilafond La (pass) and nearby Bana Post, Saltoro Kangri, Ghent Kangri, and Sia La to the India–Pakistan–China trijunction northwest of Indira Col West on the Sino-Indian LAC.[6][5] The peaks and passes under Pakistan's control such as Gayari Camp, Chogolisa, Baltoro Glacier, Conway Saddle,[5] Baltoro Muztagh, and Gasherbrum lie west of the AGPL.

Selected peaks[edit]

The following is a table of the peaks in the Saltoro Mountains which are over 7,200 metres (23,622 ft) in elevation and have over 500 metres (1,640 ft) of topographic prominence. (This is a common criterion for peaks of this stature to be independent.)

Mountain Height (m) Height (ft) Coordinates Prominence (m) Parent mountain First ascent Ascents (attempts)
Saltoro Kangri 7,742 25,400 35°23′57″N 76°50′51″E / 35.39917°N 76.84750°E / 35.39917; 76.84750 2,160 Gasherbrum I 1962 2 (1)
K12 7,428 24,370 35°17′42″N 77°01′18″E / 35.29500°N 77.02167°E / 35.29500; 77.02167 1,978 Saltoro Kangri 1974 4 (2)
Ghent Kangri (Mount Ghent) 7,401 24,281 35°31′03″N 76°48′01″E / 35.51750°N 76.80028°E / 35.51750; 76.80028 1,493 Saltoro Kangri 1961 4 (0)
Sherpi Kangri 7,380 24,213 35°27′58″N 76°46′53″E / 35.46611°N 76.78139°E / 35.46611; 76.78139 900 Ghent Kangri 1976 1 (1)

See also[edit]

Borders
Conflicts
Operations
Other related topics

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tryst With Deceit?". outlookindia.com/.
  2. ^ How India realised it was at risk of losing the Siachen glacier to Pakistan, The Print, 12 April 2018.
  3. ^ Mason, Kenneth (1938). "Karakoram Nomenclature". Himalayan Journal 10. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Pakistan: Signing with the Red Chinese". Time (magazine). 15 March 1963. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b c R Baghela and M Nüsserab, 2015, Securing the heights: The vertical dimension of the Siachen conflict between India and Pakistan in the Eastern Karakoram, Political Geography (journal), Volume 48, Pages 24–36.
  6. ^ "Manning the Siachen Glacier". Bharat Rakshak Monitor. 2003. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2011.

Sources[edit]

  • Jerzy Wala, Geographical Sketch Map of the Karakoram, Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, Zurich, 1990.