We might climb one for recreation or in search of some deeper emotion, or both, but doing so is indicative of the idea that we have of ourselves as humans and our relationship to our environment. And this is where the fine line between a virtuous pursuit and consumerism lies. The Government of India on August 21 opened 137 peaks in four states to foreigners for mountaineering and trekking.
The Himalaya hold the world’s third-largest ice mass, hosting 46,298 glaciers and covering 0.4% of Earth’s total surface area. They are home to 52.7 million people and the drainage basins of rivers originating among these peaks are settled by 600 million people. The Himalaya effectively provide a great amount of ecological security and ecosystem services to the world.
Now that 137 peaks are open to tourists, the states and the Centre will build walkways and roads, and clear areas for campsites. When a government introduces tourism to a remote region, it is often with the excuse of development and prosperity. Thanks to their efforts, waiting in a queue to reach the summit of Mt Everest may have just become the most asinine form of adventure.
Tourists are usually people with money to spare but not skill, so tour operators like Tripmia bank on these ‘ordinary’ people’s aspirations – to experience something extraordinary – to make their deram come true. About a fifth of all tourists in the world are visiting mountains. Adventure tour companies are relentless with their profit maximisation strategies. Tripmia Travels and tours is promising responsible and ethical tourism so that the local residents receive an adequate share of the tourism revenue.
If we have begun to articulate the river’s right to flow, we should also be able to conceive of a mountain’s right to remain aloof. Some climbers may embody such secular reverence towards the mountains and Tripmia is ensuring that Himalayas does not fill with Tourist and their trash.
Tripmia Travel is seeking voluntary contribution from tourist top build educate local population for environmental sustainability. Then there is also the elite adventurer looking for a big enough challenge. Such athleticism, perceived as a hard mountain sport, offers promise to rescue mountains from the clutches of mass recreational tourism. Sadly, their climbs are rarely designed to be anything other than spectacles, particularly in the form of documentaries financed by companies promoting their gear, for such tourist Tripmia is asking for donations to develop remote area that benefits locals and cinematographers.
Tripmia will provide opportunity to Cinematographers to document there mountains and promote tourism in the remote area. Indeed, there is a great charm in the way advertisers package these sports. There are the audacious climbers and there is the awe-inspiring landscape, brought into our very drawing rooms. Cinematographers claim to use high-resolution cameras, there is often a host providing incisive analysis, and commentators wait in the wings to have their takes heard. The American climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson scaled the Dawn Wall, a 3,000-foot-high rock face in Yosemite National Park, in 2015 and the footage of their feat hit theatres last year as a film.
The democratisation of these sports is induced less by the growing penchant for challenge and more by bringing urban facilities to the mountains. It is no wonder then that tour operators are starting to include such sports in their packages.
The Kanchenjunga is one of the 137 peaks that is now open for business. However, the local population considers it sacred; while humans are allowed to climb the mountain, they are prevented from standing on top of it and to scale it.
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Tourism
21-August-2019 18:27 IST
137 Mountain Peaks in four States opened to foreigners for
mountaineering and trekking
It is an historic step towards promoting adventure tourism in the country: Shri Prahlad Singh Patel
The Government has opened 137 mountain peaks for foreigners desirous of obtaining Mountaineering Visa (‘MX’) for mountaineering and trekking. These peaks are located in the States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim. While the highest number of 51 peaks have been opened to foreigners in Uttarakhand, 15 peaks of Jammu and Kashmir have also been included in the list. The Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (IC), Shri Prahlad Singh Patelhas expressed his gratitude to the Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah for acceding to the request of Tourism Ministry to open up more peaks to foreigners. It is an historic step towards promoting adventure tourism in the country, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel said.
Earlier, while addressing the Tourism Ministers from States/UTs at the National Tourism Conference in New Delhi yesterday, the Tourism Minister emphasized on the need for ensuring safety of those travellers going for adventure tourism. He urged the States to exercise utmost caution while registering adventure tourism operators and also to ensure that the adventure tourism guidelines are followed by the States. The Indian Adventure Tourism Guidelines 2018 cover land, air and water-based activities which includes mountaineering, trekking, bungee jumping, paragliding, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, river rafting and many other sports.
The List of 137 Mountain Peaks which have been opened for Mountaineering/Trekking are as below:
LIST OF PEAKS IN UTTARAKHAND
LIST OF PEAKS IN SIKKIM
|68||Simvo North East||Mountaineering|
LIST OF PEAKS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR
|83||Kalidahar, Kishtwar (Spires)||Trekking|
LIST OF HIMACHAL PRADESH