Regarding the international recognition of new 8000m Peaks
The UIAA has initiated the Agura project with the primary mandate to identify and recognize minor peaks above the altitude of 8000m. Currently, only 8 of Nepal’s 8000m peaks are recognized internationally.
A mountain massif is very big and can have more than one peak that is higher than 8000m. As you know, many climbers attempt to climb these "side peaks of 8000m and above": by using completely different and separate routes. These expeditions only focus to climb the side peak and not the main peak. These expeditions and expert mountaineers already recognize these peaks with its own identity and as a separate challenge from the main peak.
As mountaineers and mountain lovers, we all love that climbers are doing new adventures, making new routes and accomplishing new achievements. It is also our duty to make mountaineering exciting for the next generation and make them feel that they are able to also achieve new successes. Recognizing new peaks will also mean that a larger number of expeditions will be going to our mountains for climbing.
However, if someone wants to climb all the 14 highest mountains, they must climb the main peaks of each mountain and not the newly identified side peaks.
So, the Agura project is not trying to identify new mountains, but they are trying to recognize internationally that there are other prominent peaks on 8000m mountains that deserve to have a unique identification. I think this is great for the next generation of mountaineers and also for China, Pakistan, India and Nepal.
I think by having these other peaks recognized as 8000m peaks will be very beneficial to us all Himalayan Host Countries.
However, in accordance with their criteria, the Agura project has recognized 5 more peaks in Nepal and one more peak in the Pakistan–China border. They will possibility to recommend the official recognition of these 6 peaks at the next UIAA general assembly in October 2013. These peaks are (in order of highest to lowest) Yarlung Khang -8505m (Alias- Kanchenjunga West), Nepal, Kanchenjunga South- 8476m (Nepal-India Border), Kanchenjunga Central – 8473m(Nepal- India Border), Lhotse Middle – 8413m (Nepal-China border), Lhotse Shar – 8400m (Nepal- China border) and Broad Peak Central (Pakistan-China border).
It is necessary for the Nepalese delegation to campaign strongly and persuade the UIAA member federation delegates to approve the recognition of these new 8000m peaks at the UIAA General Assembly. It is also important to keep a distinction between the historically recognized peaks and that of newly recognized peaks. Amongst other reasons, it is so that it does not belittle the colossal achievements of past climbers who have scaled all 14 of the currently recognized 8000m peaks in the world.
I believe strongly that the recognition of these six new 8000m peaks will bring in a new era of inspirational mountaineering campaigns, which will bring new challenges to veteran climbers and light up the imaginations of the aspiring youth. The international recognition of these new 8000m peaks will also encourage more expeditions to come to Nepal, which will increase royalty collection, increase job opportunities, stimulate the local and national economies and greatly enhance the global reputation and prestige of Nepal as a safe, secure and quality destination in the world.
Ang Tshering Sherpa
Honorary Member of UIAA (World Mountaineering and Climbing Federation)
Immediate Past President of UAAA (Asian Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) and NMA(Nepal Mountaineering Association)
Senior Vice President of IMA (International Mountaineers Association)
Member of Nepalese Mountaineering and Mountain Tourism Rule, Regulation and Policy Review Recommendation Committee, Government of Nepal
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