Analysis of foreign mountaineering expeditions to the Indian Himalayas in 2014 reveals a number of interesting facts:
- Foreign expedition rate was 2.4 expeditions per country.
- More than one third peaks attempted by foreigners were unnamed.
- Most of the foreign expeditions attempted only one peak per expedition.
- The mountaineers liked single-country expeditions.
- Jammu Kashmir (JK) and Uttarakhand (UK) cornered more than 80% share of the foreign expedition market.
- Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand also accounted for maximum (1) number of expeditions and (2) maximum number of peaks attempted.
- No foreign expedition attempted peaks in Sikkim.
- Market for mountaineering, a land-based adventure activity, is too small.
- The 2014 witnessed a neck and neck race between Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand for the share of small international mountaineering market.
Here is the detailed analysis:
Total number of peaks attempted vs. expeditions
Forty one (41) foreign expeditions attempted thirty three (33) peaks in the Indian Himalayas during 2014. This mountaineering business contributes a miniscule to the hard adventure revenue earned by India.
Types of Peaks
Slightly more than one third of the total attempted peaks (36.36%) were unnamed. The altitude of the unnamed peaks varied from 5,200 to 6,335 meters.
Peaks per Expedition
More than 90% expeditions attempted just one peak per expedition. Five percent (5%) expeditions tried two peaks. Only two percent (2%) expeditions attempted three peaks.
Europeans organized the highest number of 1-peak expeditions (28). Only two (2) expeditions planned climbing of two peaks.
Only Americans went on one 3-peak expedition.
Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest number of one-peak expeditions (18 | 47%), followed by Uttarakhand (17 | 45%).
Demand Side of Mountaineering Market for Indian Himalayas
Mountaineers from seventeen (17) different countries organized expeditions in the Himalayas. Expedition rate was thus very low, 2.4 per country. The country-specific expeditions accounted for 80% of the total expeditions. The remaining expeditions were a joint effort of more than one country. For instance, the mountaineers from The Netherlands, Singapore, and Turkey did not attempt any peak individually.
Continent-wise Top Mountaineering Markets
Europe was the largest market because the mountaineers of twelve (12) different countries from the continent organized 30 (73%) expeditions to the Indian Himalayas:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
- United Kingdom
Europeans preferred one peak per expedition. The share of two peaks per expedition was nominal. Europeans were the only mountaineers to attempt two peaks per expedition.
British Mountaineer Profile
In Europe, Britain is the largest market for the Indian Himalayas. The country sent ten (10) expeditions. Out of which, nine (9) were 1-peak expeditions. The remaining one attempted two peaks.
Britons attempted nine peaks during ten expeditions. They attempted Mt Satopanth (Uttarakhand) twice in 2014.
They liked both Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand. In both the states, Britons attempted four peaks each. However, Uttarakhand received five expeditions and JK one less.
Their preferred peak altitude ranged from 5,924 to 7,077 meters.
Americans contributed 4 (10%) expeditions to the Himalaya.
Although Americans focused on one peak per expedition, a few of them also attempted three peaks per expedition.
Asia and Europe
Joint Asian and European expeditions were 3 (7%).
Asia Excluding India
Expeditions from Asia excluding India were just two (2) i.e. from Japan. These were 1-peak expeditions.
Joint vs. Single-Country Expeditions
Single-country expeditions were the highest (80%). The remaining expeditions were multi-country (joint) expeditions.
Jammu and Kashmir received half of joint expeditions (4). Uttarakhand recorded 25% of joint expeditions.
Seven peaks received joint expeditions. The remaining twenty-six (26) peaks received single-country expeditions.
These expeditions originated from the following fourteen (14) countries:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
However, none of three Himalayan states received expeditions from all these countries. Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand in fact received fifteen (15) and sixteen (16) expeditions respectively. But JK received expeditions from ten (10) countries, whereas UK from eight (8) countries.
The common foreign markets for JK and UK were France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Himachal Pradesh catered to just two expeditions: one each from Japan and the United Kingdom.
The British expeditions accounted for the highest number of single-country expeditions (10 | 30%). The remaining expeditions were from the thirteen countries. Each of these countries contributed 1-3 expeditions only.
Most Popular Himalayan State
Jammu and Kashmir with 19 expeditions (46%) was the most popular Himalayan state. Uttarakhand with 18 expeditions (44%) was not very far from JK. The share of Himachal Pradesh was seven percent. Data for one expedition was not available.
As per number of peaks attempted, Jammu and Kashmir accounted for 45.45% (15) peaks. Uttarakhand accounted for 39.39% (13) peaks. The share of Himachal Pradesh was just 12.12% (4). Data for one peak was not available.
Jammu and Kashmir was the most popular state in terms of (1) number of expeditions and (2) number of peaks attempted. Uttarakhand was the second most popular state as per these two parameters. Although Himachal Pradesh was the third largest market, its share was too small. Sikkim did not receive any foreign expeditions.
Seven Most Popular Peaks
Neither of the peaks received double digit expeditions.
Kun East Ridge accounted for the highest number of expeditions (5 | 11%), followed by Shivling (4 | 9%).
Five peaks with two expeditions each shared the third spot:
- Thaley Sagar, and
The remaining twenty-six (26) peaks received just one expedition each.
Taller the Peak, Higher the Number of Expeditions: Not Exactly
During 2014, there was no direct correlation between the peak altitude and the number of expeditions. We divided the peak altitude in five groups. The 6000-6499 meter group received the maximum number of expeditions (18 | 40%). The share of the 7000-7500 meter group was 28.88% (13) and that of the 6500-6999 meter group was 24.44% (11).
The 5000-5499 meter group with just one expedition was the least popular.