Nawab Moazam Khan (27), an MBA graduate from Srinagar started exploring the mountains during his school days. Though initially, he had no serious plans of going for it professionally, but his love and fascination for mountains made him join the Jammu and Kashmir Mountaineering and Adventure club (JKMAC) in 2014.
Moazam has done many course in the field including, Adventure Course, Basic Mountaineering Course, Advance Mountaineering Course, Search and Rescue Course, Liaison Officer Course, Basic Skiing Course, Intermediate Skiing Course, Advance Skiing Course, Wilderness First Aid and CPR Course.
There are more than 1100 Alpine Lakes in the Kashmir region and Moazam so far has seen 50 of these lakes.
He has done his treks and expeditions outside of J&K as well which includes Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Nepal.
“I was one among the 12 persons selected out of 800 mountaineers across India by IMF for Indian Everest Massif Expedition 2021, through an arduous and a rigorous process which lasted for two years,” he said.
“I was also part of the Mt Nuptse team, it was the first-ever summit attempt of Mt Nuptse by Indian Mountaineering Contingent. It is to be one of the most technically formidable peaks of the world. However, due to unfavourable weather conditions and frequent avalanches, we could not summit the mountain.”
Moazam believes trekking/mountaineering is an expensive sport that needs sponsorship as a person himself cannot bear all the expenditures alone.
“I usually do the treks or expeditions with my friends in which we share the money. Also, I do it with my club, which sponsors some of the expeditions,” he said.
Moazam has done a few solo treks as well.
“I have done solo treks, but I won’t personally suggest someone to go for it. However, if someone intends to do so, he or she must make themselves fully prepared i.e., physically, mentally, emotionally. Furthermore, they should have in-depth knowledge of weather, the terrain they are going into. They should be aware of how to handle adverse situations, and take proper permissions from necessary quarters,” he said.
Moazam believes J&K has a huge scope for mountaineering and can also generate employment among the people.
“We in J&K are quite lucky to have been bestowed with such amazing mountains. We are sitting on a gold mine, as far as mountains are concerned. Mountain tourism can bring in a lot of revenue and provide jobs to many unemployed youths if we properly train them, whilst managing the mountains and planning wisely,” he said.
Moazam has to face a lot of difficulties while being in the mountains.
It is not a cakewalk to be in the mountains. Hardships like weather vagaries (which include cold, high-speed winds and storms), high altitude illnesses, injuries, daunting terrain, physical tiredness, exhaustion- mental and emotional instabilities. Mountaineering furthermore is a time-intensive and risk intensive sport, which calls for proper training and updating of skills.