Rescue team to reach herdsmen trapped in Himalayas

Rescue team to reach herdsmen trapped in Himalayas

Representative image.

Hundreds of shepherds trapped in snow-clad upper Himalayan ranges in Himachal Pradesh have been braving severe odds of inclement weather without much food and shelter for the last nearly 25 days. 

Their reserves of food and water and other essential provisions have exhausted fast over the gruelling weeks.   
But there’s now hope. A team of four mountaineers along with a few others are expected to reach these stranded herdsmen Monday, after undertaking an arduous trek in rough snow-clad treacherous mountainous terrain. 
This will be the first contact with the over 150 herdsmen who got trapped at a Pass in Bara Bhangal, somewhere around September 21 last month. Snow boots and certain urgent provisions being carried by this set of rescuers in their backpacks will be handed over to the beleaguered shepherds. 
Also, at risk are over 10,000 livestock that these herdsmen are nurturing. Their livestock is the only source of earning for these stranded herdsmen.
The rescue team also included terrain guides and revenue officials. The primary task of this team is to scan all treks and guide these trapped shepherds to a possible route out of the valley. Among the team members is Ravinder Thakur, an instructor at the Mountaineering Institute in Dharamsala. 

Good sign

Chopper sorties have not been possible given the inclement weather over the last one month in the hill state. It is expected of this mountaineering team to identify and suitably indicate treks and routes which these shepherds could take on their return journey.
The good sign for these climbers is that the sky is expected to remain clear for the next few days, which is why a decision was taken to launch the operation on Saturday. Fresh snowfall may pose a serious threat to the operation. It may not only impede the operation but also cover the possible routes to be suggested to the herdsmen to walk to safety.