Our analysis of the Indian mountaineering market indicates:
- Mountaineers from West Bengal attempted the maximum number of peaks in the Indian Himalayas during 2014.
- Himachal Pradesh (HP) recorded the highest number of the expeditions.
- The most preferred peak altitude ranged from 6,000 – 6,499 meters.
- The number of 1-peak expeditions was the highest.
- Uttarakhand secured third place in both supply and demand side of the market.
- Success rate was 100% for expeditions from Harayana and Uttar Pradesh. Failure rate was 100% for expeditions from Kerala and Rajasthan. Interestingly, all four states attempted one peak each.
We found a number of other interesting facts about the market while analyzing the mountaineering data published in Indian Mountaineer (Number 50, 2014), an annual publication of Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF).
Total Peaks Attempted and Climbing Frequency
During 2014, Indian mountaineers attempted fifty (50) peaks in the Indian Himalayas in fifty-seven (57) expeditions. However, total climbs were sixty-six (66) because some peaks were climbed more than once.
Majority of the peaks (84%) were climbed just once. The share of the peaks climbed twice and four times was 6% each. Only 4% peaks were attempted thrice.
Bhagirathi-II (Uttarakhand), Deo Tibba (Himachal Pradesh), and Unnamed-6113 (Himachal Pradesh) were attempted four times each.
The altitude of peaks ranged between 5,516 and 7,756 meters. All peaks were divided into five categories starting from 5,500 meters by an interval of 500 meters. The most popular peak category was 6,000-6,499 with thirty-one (31 | 62%) peaks. The second most popular category was 5,500-5,999 (8 | 16%). The peaks taller than 7,000 meters accounted for just 8% (4).
Share of 4 Himalayan States in Total Peaks Attempted
Half of the peaks are in Himachal Pradesh. Jammu and Kashmir (JK) drew climbers to fourteen peaks (14 | 28%). Uttarakhand received expeditions for nine (9 | 18%) peaks. The share of Sikkim was just 2%.
Number of Peaks Attempted Per Expedition
The 1-peak expeditions accounted for 86% of the total 57 expeditions. The share of 2-peak expeditions was 12%. Only 2% expeditions attempted three peaks per expedition.
Himachal Pradesh received the highest number of 1-Peak expeditions (25), followed by Uttarakhand (13) and Jammu and Kashmir (9). Uttarakhand (UK) and Sikkim received only 1-Peak expeditions. HP and JK also drew 2- and 3-Peak expeditions.
Source of Indian Mountaineering Expeditions
Indian mountaineers from just nine (9 | 32%) states out of 28 Indian states attempted peaks during 2014.
West Bengal was the largest domestic market for mountaineering. In 2014, about 60% expeditions were from the state.
Maharashtra with 12% of expeditions was second largest market. For third place, there was a tie between Delhi and Uttarakhand. Each sent 9% expeditions of total 57 to the Indian Himalayas. The remaining expeditions originated from Haryana (3%), Assam (2%), Kerala (2%), Rajasathan (2%), and Uttar Pradesh (2%).
There were no expeditions from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim.
The maximum number of expeditions were from two of the most populated states: Maharashtra and West Bengal.
Share of Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh catered to mountaineers from just five Indian states: Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.
West Bengal was the biggest market (76%) for mountaineering followed by Maharashtra (14%).
Mountaineers from Uttarakhand also attempted one peak in Himachal Pradesh despite scores of peaks in their home state.
None of 4 Himalayan states received expeditions from all nine states that sent expeditions to the mountain range.
Share of Jammu and Kashmir
The state received climbing expeditions from only four Indian states: West Bengal, Delhi, Maharashtra, and Haryana.
West Bengal was again the biggest market (59%) of Jammu and Kashmir. Delhi mountaineers organized 25% of the expeditions.
Share of Uttarakhand
Mountaineers from five Indian states attempted peaks in Uttarakhand: West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan.
Both West Bengal and Uttarakhand accounted for equal share, aggregating 62%, the largest market share. The share of expeditions from Delhi and Maharashtra was also same (15% each).
Twenty-eight (28) expeditions took 11-25 days to complete. Twenty-seven (27) expeditions were 26-40 day long. Only two expeditions were longer than forty days.
The shortest expedition was of just twelve days (12).
One expedition attempted three peaks in a month.
Average duration per peak was 28.92 days.
Average duration per expedition was slightly more twenty-five days (25.37).
Beginning of Expedition Season
The Indian mountaineers prefer to start the expeditions in August (40%) and July (21%). October witnessed the least number of expeditions (2%).
Sikkim recorded expeditions in September only. One peak on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand also recorded just one expedition in June.
In Jammu and Kashmir, mountaineering expeditions were unevenly distributed in four months: June (7.02%), July (5.26%), August (7.02%), and September (1.75%).
The Indian mountaineers attempted peaks in Uttarakhand during three months: May (10.53%), August (7.02%), and September (5.26%). Uttarakhand was the only state to receive expeditions in May.
In Himachal Pradesh, mountaineering season was spread across five months: June (5.26%), July (15.79%), August (26.32%), September (3.51%), and October (1.75%).
The mountaineers from four states, Delhi, Kerala, Maharashtra, and West Bengal, started expeditions in August.
The mountaineers from West Bengal began their expeditions in five different months: May-September.
The mountaineers from Delhi attempted peaks during four months: May, June, August, and September. Maharashtrians started expeditions during June-September.
End of Expedition Season
Only 1.75% expeditions ended in May. Most of the expeditions (about 63%) ended in August-September. Slightly more than 14% expeditions ended in June. The remaining expeditions ended in July and October.
In Himachal Pradesh, 20% expeditions ended in June, July, and October. August and September witnessed end of 80% expeditions.
More than 40% expeditions in Jammu and Kashmir ended in August. July was the second most preferred month (33.33%) to pack up the expeditions.
In Uttarakhand, more than 38% Indian mountaineers ended the expedition in June and 30% in September.
The mountaineers from West Bengal wound the expeditions up in September (48%) and August (30%).
The mountaineers from Maharashtra completed 71% expeditions in August.
The mountaineers from Delhi ended expeditions evenly in five months: Jun-Oct. In each month 20% expeditions were completed.
Mountaineering Season in Indian Himalayas
Mountaineering season in the Indian Himalayas stretched from May to October. The season was the longest in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, followed by that in Jammu and Kashmir. Only Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand recorded expeditions in August. September is the month when all four Himalayan states received expeditions.
There were no expeditions during winter season: November to April.
The mountaineering season was just six month long.
July-August was the most popular season for going on an expedition in the Indian Himalayas.
August-September was the most preferred season for returning from the expedition.
Out of sixty-six (66) attempts to climb fifty peaks in four Indian Himalayan states 44% were successful and 48% were a failure. No information was available for 6% of attempts. One climb was abandoned.
In Himachal Pradesh, about forty nine (49%) percent attempts failed and forty-three (43%) percent were successful.
In Jammu and Kashmir, success rate (31%) was almost half of the failure rate (63%).
In Uttarakhand success rate (62%) was much higher than the failure rate (38%).
Mountaineering expeditions from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh achieved 100% success rate. The success rate of the expeditions from Uttarakhand was 80%, followed by West Bengal (44%), Delhi (> 30%), and Maharashtra (>25%).
The failure rate was 100% in case of the expeditions from Kerala and Rajasthan (1 each).