Definition of a Popular Peak:
I have used total climbing frequency as the yardstick to rank peaks. For this analysis, a popular peak means a peak that was attempted five or more than five (>=5) times in the half decade 2010-14.
5 Top Peaks
The mountaineers visited the following five peaks in the Jammu and Kashmir Himalayas >=5 times:
- Stok Kangri
- Chamser Kangri
- Lungser Kangri
Chamser was the first choice of the Indian mountaineers, whereas Kun was the first choice of their foreign counter parts.
3 Most Popular Peaks: Year Wise Analysis of Foreign and Indian Attempts
Foreign climbers attempted Kun and Nun every year in the study period. However, Indian mountaineers attempted Kun every year except in 2011 and Nun in 2010, 2013, and 2014.
Foreign mountaineers attempted Stok Kangri every year except in 2014, whereas Indian climbers did not attempt the peak even once during the said period.
4 Favorite Peaks of Indian Mountaineers
The Indian mountaineers favored four peaks out of total thirty-six (36) peaks attempted during the study period.
They attempted Chamser Kangri maximum number of times (10), followed by Lungser Kangri (8), Kun (6), and Nun (5). The total number of attempts made on these four peaks accounted for 44.61% (29) of the total attempts (65) made on the thirty-six (36) peaks.
3 Favorite Peaks of Foreign Mountaineers
Foreign mountaineers attempted Kun and Stok Kangri twenty-one (21) times each in the five-year period.
Nun, the second popular peak, was attempted seventeen (17) times.
Total number of attempts made on these three peaks accounted for 55.66% (59) of the total attempts (106) made on the total number of peaks (43) attempted by foreign mountaineers.
Altitude vs. Climbing Frequency of Peaks
Altitude of five favorite peaks and Plateau ranged from 6,153 meters to 7,300 meters. However, there was no direct relationship between the altitude and the climbing frequency of a peak. For example, Stok Kangri at an altitude of 6,153 meters and Nun at 7,135 meters recorded twenty-one (21) and twenty-two (22) attempts respectively.
Kun (7,077 meters) and Plateau (7,300 meters) were attempted twenty-seven (27) times and thrice (3) respectively during the said period.
Number of Attempts per Peak vs. %Age of Peaks
The Jammu and Kashmir Himalayas received mountaineering expeditions to seventy-three (73) peaks during 2010-2014. Out of which 78% (57) peaks were attempted just once. Mountaineers attempted only 1% (1) peaks twenty-seven (27) times. Forty-three attempts were made on just two (2) peaks, Nun and Stok Kangri.
The average climbing frequency was 2.35 attempts per year.
Will This Favoritism Have Negative Impact on the Peak Environment?
It would depend on number of climbers and climbing ethics followed by them. Because yearly average peak climbing frequency is not very high. For example, the average for Kun, which was attempted maximum number of times, is just 5.4 attempts per year during 2010-14.