His head over clouds
NASEER MIR, THE LIVING MOUNTAINEERING LEGEND, IS ENCOURAGING AND HELPING YOUTH TO TAKE UP TO EXTREME SPORTS, PROFILES MUHAMMAD YUSUF
Participating in two Pre-Everest selection camps, reaching the summit of Mt. Kangyassy, one of the Ladakh’s highest mountains and being a member on Indo-French Sasar-Kangri climbing expedition-1986 (Siachen region) is an achievement not many can claim.
One of ‘the few’ is Naseer Ahmad Mir, now in-charge of Adventure Wing in the Department of Tourism, Kashmir. Naseer, who was born in Habba Kadal area of Srinagar City is a fully-qualified mountaineering and skiing instructor. As a member of the J&K Mountaineering and Hiking Club, he undertook five years of training before gaining his qualifications.
He was inspired to adventure in his very tender age. During early schooling he used to go for bush walking and mild hiking. After joining S.P. College, Naseer started serious climbing. In the year 1974 he along with some of his friends set up a Climbing Club in the name of Kashmir Youngman’s Mountaineering and Trekking Club with its office in densely populated Habba Kadal in Srinagar.
With the passage of time he came across a great adventurer, promoter and motivator of his time, Mr. M. Ashraf, Ex-Director General Tourism who arranged his basic and advanced training in mountaineering at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering ,Utterkashi through his Club , the J&K Mountaineering and Hiking Club (JKMHC), in mid seventies. After finding more opportunities in JKMHC Nasir and his friends merged their club with JKMHC. Mr. M. Ashraf encouraged many other enthusiasts, including this writer, to adventure sports. With the inclusion of young and more enthusiastic new members the JKMHC was infused with fresh blood by these youngsters, which had remained defunct for a long period. The Club President, M. Ashraf managed training of more than 10 other enthusiasts at different Mountaineering and Skiing Institutes of the country during that period.
With a view to acquaint trained youth to adventure tourism and to give them more exposure Mr. Ashraf arranged their deputation as Liaison Officers with foreign Mountaineering Expeditions through Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi (IMF). Among others, Naseer also got the opportunity to accompany many such foreign expeditions, undertaken in J&K State from time to time. During a British Expedition in 1981 he climbed three un-named peaks near Mount Kangyassy region in Ladakh, with the height ranging between 5,900 to 6,200 Mtrs. He later participated and led scores of major climbing expeditions in Kashmir, Ladakh, Zanaskar, Kishtwar and Garhwal Himalayas etc. He is lucky to have climbed Mount Kolahoi, the highest peak in Kashmir, five times. He then climbed Mt. Kangyassy, Mt. Harmukh, Mt. Gulap-Kangri and Mt. Stock-Kangri. Not only this, the fearless, brave and prudent mountaineer, climbed a virgin un-named, 6150 mtrs high, peak in Garhwal Himalayas and has participated in an Indo-French Sasar Kangri Expedition in the year 1986. His ascent to White Needle (Zanaskar massif), jointly organized by the Union of International Alpine Association (UIAA) and IMF, the controlling bodies of mountaineering in the world and in India respectively, was one of the highlights of his long mountaineering career.
Great credit goes to Mr. M. Ashraf for arranging training of hundreds of local youth to adventure sports. He has in fact sowed the seed of adventure in many organizations and institutions in the state. After graduating different adventure courses he helped them to seek jobs as Instructors/Guides in Youth Services, Tourism Department, Kashmir University and other places, with the motive to facilitate these organizations to train the youth at grass roots level. He undoubtedly succeeded in his plan. Today thousands of youth are being trained to adventure by those veterans.
On the basis of his achievements the IMF selected him for Pre-Everest Camp (selection trials) held in Garhwal Himalayas in 1982. During this camp he climbed Mt. Gangotri-I and was recommended for final Everest selection camp held in the consecutive year. During this camp Naseer attempted Mt. Mana Parvat and reached up to the height of 24,000 feet. Though he performed extremely well there but was dropped by IMF in the final team of 1984 Everest Expedition due to unknown reasons under mysterious circumstances and this lone Kashmiri climber lost the opportunity of reaching the world’s highest place, the Mount Everest, forever. Entire mountaineering community of the valley was shocked for his dropping. This is highly appreciating that Naseer has reached up to the height of 25,000 feet during his climbing career and has extensively trekked in entire J&K and Garhwal Himalayas. He has played a pivotal role in exploring many virgin areas in the state.
Mountaineering did not quench his thirst so he started learning other adventure sports especially snow skiing at Gulmarg during late seventies. Later he joined the J&K Youth Services and Sports Department as an Instructor with the aim to teach ski and mountaineering to youngsters in the schools. But unfortunately his services were not properly utilized by his parent department so he preferred to join the Tourism Department where he was told that a separate Outward Bound School would be started in his Department for which the services of ace skiers, climbers and rafters etc. were required. He has very ably trained thousands of people to skiing and mountaineering in various remote and far-flung areas of the state
He is environment and ecology conscious person as well. To safeguard our mountains and high valleys from pollution and environmental degradation he has led several mountain cleaning expeditions in Ladakh and Kashmir, organized by the JKMHC and sponsored by IMF from time to time. His teams removed tones of garbage from sensitive mountainous areas.
Naseer is presently working as in-charge of adventure wing in the Tourism Department. The present Director Tourism, Mr. Farooq Shah being a dynamic and an innovative person is fully and properly utilizing his services for the growth and development of adventure tourism in Kashmir. Many new adventure activities such as rafting, snow cycling, snow rugby and snow baseball etc. have been included in the tourism calendar by the Tourism Department for last some years, which not only encouraged the youth to adventure but also helped reviving adventure tourism in the state. Pertinently Naseer has played an instrumental role in holding two state level and two International rafting championships in his department. He plans and designs new adventure tourism products those are later very ably and efficiently implemented. He suggests rules and regulations for adventure tourism products those are viable for operating on commercial lines by the tourism players.
We fervently hope that this legend continues to encourage youth to climbing as it is very beneficial for today’s youth. It makes them resourceful and teaches to face difficulties. It brings about the complete mental, emotional and spiritual integration. It is a unique sport that teaches self-discipline and strengthens one’s faith and determination. It is a way of acting, thinking and living together with a fraternity of people who seek high adventure in the high places. There are lots who dream of adventure, Naseer has to help some to realize their dreams. We hope that Naseer will propose many adventure based programs for local youth during the year 2011, which is declared as the Year of Adventure by Tourism Ministry of the state. We have to raise lot of trained manpower for this segment of tourism.
(The Author teaches Aquatics and Adventure Sports at Department of Physical Education and Sports, Kashmir University. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. )
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST
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