Climbers from India and abroad selected sixty-five (65) peaks in the Uttarakhand Himalayas during 2010-14. The peaks were attempted 175 times; average climbing frequency was 2.69 attempts per peak. The peak climbing frequency range was broad: 1-18.
10 Popular Peaks
- Bhagirathi II
- Thalay Sagar
- Trishul I
- Gangotri I
Performance Comparison of Top 4 Peaks
Satopanth was the darling of climbers during the period. Foreign mountaineers showed more love for the peak than the Indian mountaineers.
Bhagarathi II and Shivling received the same amount of love from the climbers. However, Indian climbers visited Bhagarathi II more number of times than their foreign counter parts and vice versa was true in the case of Shivling.
Kamet received just one like less than Bhagarathi II and Shivling that shared the second spot in the popular peak list.
Performance of Peak Groups
A comparison of three peak groups attempted during the said period revealed that number of attempts were not directly proportionate to the number of peaks per group.
Gangotri and Jogin groups registered eight attempts each on three peaks each.
Bhagirathi group with the lowest number of peaks (2) recorded the highest number of attempts (17).
Why Did Some Peaks Envy Their Counter Parts?
If you visualize each peak as an individual shop, answer to the question is simple. Out of 65 shops (peaks), 40 shops (62% peaks) received just one client (one attempt) each during the period. On the other hand ten shops (15.38% peaks) recorded 5-18 clients (attempts) each (40% of total attempts).
Who Preferred Shorter Peaks? Foreign or Indian Climbers?
For this article, a shorter peak means a peak whose height is less than 7,000 meters.
Foreign mountaineers tried to climb twenty-nine (29) peaks in the Uttarakhand Himalayas sixty-nine (69) times. Out of which three peaks were popular. The total attempts on these three (3) popular peaks aggregated twenty-eight (28), whereas the remaining twenty-six (26) peaks shared the remaining attempts (41).
Two (66.66%) of popular peaks, Kedardome (6,830 meters) and Shivling (6,543 meters), are less than 7,000 meters tall.
Indian climbers’ 42.45% attempts were concentrated on just 12.5% (6) popular peaks out of total forty-eight (48) peaks attempted. Altitude of four (4 | 66.66%) popular peaks was less than 7,000 meters: Gangotri I (6,672 meters), Thelu (6,000 meters), Rudugaira (5,819 meters), and Bhagirathi II (6,512 meters).
Thus, both climbers preferred shorter peaks.
Peak Altitude vs. Climbing Frequency: Was “Higher the Altitude, Higher the Number of Attempts” true?
Like in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, the number of attempts did not consistently increased with an increase in the altitude of the peak or vice versa in Uttarakhand.
On comparing altitude and climbing frequency of peaks, I found no regular patterns in the behavior. For example, although Kamet (7,756 meters) is taller than Satopanth (7,075 meters), climbing frequency of the former (12) was less than that of the latter (18).
Another example of discrepancies is three peaks of different heights that registered equal number of attempts during the study period. Thelu (6,000 meters), Thalay Sagar (6,984 meters), and Trishul I (7,120 meters) recorded six (6) attempts each.