India opened 137 Himalayan peaks to foreigners for mountaineering and trekking expeditions, including the world’s third-highest peak — Kanchenjunga. These include Mt Kailash (6400m) in Jammu & Kashmir, Hardeol (7151m) in Uttarakhand and Mulkila (6571m) in Himachal Pradesh.
Located at a height of 8,586 metres, Kanchenjunga was first scaled by a British expedition in 1955 but they stopped short of the summit. Since then, no expedition has not climbed the last 10m as the mountain is considered holy and the route was closed by Sikkim govt in 2000.
Of the 137 peaks, 51 are in Uttarakhand, 24 in Sikkim, 15 in Jammu and Kashmir, and 47 in Himachal Pradesh.
However, for carrying satellite phones the expedition teams have to take prior permissions from the department of telecommunication, the home ministry said, adding that all information gathered have to be shared with locals formations.
However, many residents of Sikkim are unhappy with the decision. Kunzang Gyatso, an Everester, told News 18,
“Religion is a priority in many places. And being a mountaineer, I feel that the way we challenge nature, we must also respect it. Sikkim has been built with the blessings of the mountain gods. If you want to climb the Kanchenjunga, you can do so from the Nepal side. In Sikkim, according to religious beliefs, we leave a gap of 10m from the top for any peak, and that becomes our summit.”