Training on Glacier Monitoring


Theory Session: 6–10 November 2017 at ICIMOD Headquarters

Practical Session (in the field): 13–28 November 2017 at Yala Glacier, Langtang National Park

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) will organize a training on glacier monitoring in collaboration with its partners as part of the capacity-building component of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) Cryosphere Monitoring Programme (CMP). The activity is supported by the Government of Norway. 

The training targets students and professionals from national and regional partner countries to carry out glacier mass balance measurements on clean glaciers in the Himalaya. 

The participating partners are the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), Kathmandu University (KU), and Tribhuvan University (TU) from Nepal; Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan, and the National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) from Bhutan; Karakoram International University (KIU) from Pakistan; and the ICIMOD Country Office from Afghanistan.

The training is organized in two parts: theoretical and practical sessions.  

Overall focus:

  • Theoretical background on glacier mass balance
  • Analysis of data and interpretation of the results
  • Basic mountaineering skill training 
  • Health and safety issues in the field
  • Hands-on exercise on carrying out glacier mass balance measurement on a clean glacier.

The field-based practical training on the Yala Glacier will familiarize participants to glacier environment, monitoring techniques, and hands-on basic mountaineering skills. The glacier monitoring techniques include the direct glaciological method for mass balance measurements with stake and snow pit measurements, analysis of snow profiles and density measurements, and dGPS surveys.

Planned field activities: 

  • Training on glacier monitoring
  • Stakes maintenance and measurements in the ablation and accumulation area
  • Basic mountaineering training 
  • Snow pit and density measurement in the accumulation area
  • dGPS surveys of longitudinal and cross profiles, terminus, and measurement sites
  • Collection of ground surface temperature data for permafrost studies

Participants learn basic mountaineering skills from Dorjee Lama Sherpa, a licensed mountain guide during a training in 2015. (Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD)