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Himalayan Peaks
About Himalayan Peaks

Overall, the Himalayan mountain system is the world's highest, and is home to the world's highest peaks, the Eight-thousanders. There are 14 Himalayan peaks with elevation over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft). The rocky terrain makes few routes through the mountains possible.

Uttarakhand is a Himalayan state of India. This hilly state contains, in its northern section, some of the highest mountain peaks in the world. Many of them are unclimbed; many are unnamed. A large number of peaks in Uttarakhand are still not open for climbing due to security reasons, as this region borders Tibet.

Top Himalayan peaks and their elevation in metres
1. Everest - (Sagarmatha/Qomolangma) - 8850 - Nepal-Tibet
2. K2 - (Godwin Austen) - 8611 - (Pak./China occupied Kashmir)
3. Kanchenjunga - 8598 - Nepal-India
4. Lhotse - 8501 - Nepal/Tibet
5. Makalu - 8463 - Nepal/Tibet
6. Cho Oyu - 8201 - Nepal/Tibet
7. Dhaulagiri - 8167 - Nepal
8. Manaslu - 8163 - Nepal
9. Nanga Parbat - 8125 - Pak. occupied Kashmir
10. Annapurna - 8091 - Nepal
11. Gasherbrum I - 8068 - Pak./China occupied Kashmir
12. Broad Peak - 8047 - Pak./China occupied Kashmir
13. Shisha Pangma - (Xixabangma Feng/Gosainthan) - 8046 - Nepal/Tibet
14. Gasherbrum II - 8035 - Pak./China occupied Kashmir

Stories Associated with Peaks

The names of the peaks have an interesting history. Everest was named after the British Surveyor-General to India. Initially it had the uninspiring name of Peak XXV. First climbed in 1953 by Tenzing and Hillary, it lies in the Khumbu Himal range.

K2 is called so because it was the second peak in the Karakoram Range of the Himalayas to be measured. K1 goes to another peak called Masherbrum (7900m) which appeared to be higher since it was much closer to the surveyor (Montgomerie). K2 is also named after the English topographer Henry Godwin-Austen who first explored the region. It was first climbed in 1954. It is often rated as the hardest 8000m mountain to climb with 164 successful summitteers and 48 sufferers. Just like Everest has the very popular South-East ridge route, so does K2, also called the Abruzzi urge after the Italian duke who first stepped on the urge in the late 19th century . For a very brief time in 1986, K2 held the title of the tallest mountain in the world because a brief, uncertain measurement using GPS gave it a higher elevation than Everest. This was quickly scattered by a follow-up expedition led by the same Italian team which first climbed the mountain in 1954. Amazingly, the measurements of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India in the early and mid 19th century has been verified by current technically advanced measurements as being accurate to within a few metres !

Kanchenjunga In the year1955 nobody is permitted to climb to the summit of Kanchenjunga since it is a holy mountain. The closest one can get is about 100m from the summit. Lhotse 1956, Makalu 1958, Cho Oyu - 1954. Annapurna was the first of the 8000 m peaks summited in 1950 by a French team led by Maurice Herzog. Clearly the 1950's were the golden age of climbing.

While many of these peaks are not offensively difficult to climb, the effects of altitude play an important role in enhancing the risks. Most climbers these days climb with supplementary bottled oxygen because the air on the top of Everest is a third as dense than at sea level, which implies that the amount of oxygen available in each breath is also about a third. However, when climbing with bottled oxygen one is subject to the vicissitudes of their equipment - so if oxygen regulator fails at high altitude your body suddenly has to deal with reduced oxygen intake. Also if one is trying to be in harmony with nature or challenge her in any way, it is aesthetically appealing to do it with as little aid as possible. Altitude sickness also affects each person differently and at different altitudes. Common symptoms are headache, wheezing/gasping for air, weakness and dizziness, inability to see clearly. Harsh effects of altitude are intellectual and pulmonary edema where the brain and lungs get filled with water. The only solution
in these cases is to get down to a lower altitude rapidly although incarceration in a hyperbaric chamber has also been shown to be useful.


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