The mountains are calling

Monday Musing

[ M Doley ]

Every mountaineer dreams of climbing Mt Everest once. Considered the ultimate mountaineering challenge, the peak continues to attract hundreds of mountaineers every season.

Once, only the bravest dared to climb the peak. These days, even septuagenarians and relatively inexperienced persons are reaching to the top of the peak with a high success rate.

Climbing Mt Everest is becoming easier than ever these days, thanks to the advancement in technology.

It costs around Rs 30 lakhs to get to the top of Mt Everest. An Indian climber needs to pay a royalty of INR 7.80 lakhs per person to the Nepal government for getting permission to climb the peak. This excludes Sherpa/guide fees and other expenditures. A Sherpa earns around Rs 4 lakhs per Everest trip, including a bonus amount of Rs 1.20 lakh from a climber for each and every successful climb. Nepal’s economy is largely built on Everest expeditions.

A dozen mountaineers from Arunachal have also climbed Mt Everest in a span of 12 years after Tapi Mra had scaled it on 21 May, 2009 to become the first Everester from the state.

Arunachal, one of the country’s most popular destinations for adventure sports, also has the potential to offer a lot to mountaineering enthusiasts. There are so many high-altitude mountain peaks in the state which are yet to be explored. Prominent among them are Mt Kangto (7,060 mtrs), Mt Kyarisatam (7,001 mtrs), and Mt Sumo (6,500 mtrs) in East Kameng district. There are two more yet-to-be-named vertical mountain peaks of 6,746 mtrs’ and 6,800 mtrs’ height in the Kra Daadi mountain range in East Kameng and Kurung Kumey districts.

According to Mra, these local right-angled mountain peaks are no less challenging than the world’s famous ones, including Mt Everest, and are best suited for pre-Everest expeditions.

“A mountaineer can easily reach the top of Mt Everest after climbing any one of these local peaks,” he claimed.

Though the base camps for all of these peaks have been explored, no attempt has so far been made by any mountaineer to climb these alluring peaks.

There are no clear routes to reach the base camps of Mt Kyari Satam and other mountain peaks. Apart from crossing the Kameng river four to five times, one has to undertake over 20 days of arduous trekking to reach its base camp situated at an elevation of at 4,512 metres.

Remains of earthen pots, the carved feature of a human face on a rock, and sharp objects fashioned out of stones were found by Mra and his team while exploring the base of Kyarisatam, a perennially snow-clad peak in Sawa circle.

Apart from these, other discoveries were made, such as bones, a hot spring and a lake reportedly larger than the size of a standard football ground. The findings might shed light on many unknown facts about the state and its people.

Adventure lovers always look for unexplored treks and unseen places to know the unknown. They will start flocking to the state to satisfy their thirst for exploring the unexplored once these mountain peaks are opened for expeditions.

Hence, exploration of these local peaks assumes great importance for promotion and popularization of mountaineering activities in the state.

Those at the helm of affairs must give a serious thought to it as the state has lot more to explore than just the deep jungles.

This way, a new source earning revenue will open up, which will enrich the state’s coffer, apart from employment generation.

Apart from mountaineering, Arunachal has also scopes for winter sports like ice hockey, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, etc, in the snow-covered districts. The possibilities of these sports should also be examined.