International Mountain Day – 2022
Words, Compilation & Pictures: Saifuddin Ismailji
Founder: E-Travelers Club travel update
Maker of our universe created high rise mountains to serve as giant water tanks, the main source of providing water for the survival of all living beings. The endurance of global ecosystem is interdependent with the fragile mountain ecology.
Sprawling across 120 countries and home to 12% of the global population, mountains cover 24% of the total surface of the world. Other than the single largest source of water supply, mountains not only shelter unique wild life, flora and fauna, they are a significant source of producing energy, food and happiness – a playground for nature lover to enjoy with a sense of preservation, the grandeur of its very existence on earth.
The United Nations observe the International Mountain Day on 11 December each year. In Pakistan, the Day was commemorated at Karachi and Islamabad holding conference on the theme: “Role of Women for the Protection of Mountainous Areas”. Held at Karachi under the umbrella of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Standing Committee on Culture & Tourism and COTHM, the conference was convened by Mr. Salman Javed at the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management (COTHM Karachi).
Addressing the conference, Mr. Salman Javed said: “Women are the primary managers of mountain resources, guardians of biodiversity, keepers of traditional knowledge and local culture of mountains”. He also advised of a UNFAO study called Mountains of the world- Challenges, Resilience & Collective power, highlighting stories of Mountain Women in 8 countries.
Dr.Nuzhat Khan former Director General of Institute of Oceanography spoke about the beautiful mountain range in the South along the Makran Coastal Highway.
And at Islamabad, The Legend Hotel was the venue to perceive the event, supported by the PTDC, Alpine Club Pakistan. Members of Industry participated at both venues to address the significance of mountains, mountain tourism and role of women in the development of mountain areas and their contribution in farming, cottage industry, mountaineering and other related fields. Sustainable Tourism Foundation of Pakistan has published a guide to Green Trekking Code of Ethics for awareness of mountain lovers and trekking community. Visit:
Green trekking_English Version.pdf – Google Drive
Pakistan and Nepal boast a congregation of world’s 13 highest peaks in the Himalaya and Karakoram mountain ranges with Mount Everest (8,848 meters) – the highest and Mount K-2, the second highest in the world from the base of the land.
1) Everest (Sagarmatha) Nepal 8848 Himalaya
2) K- 2 (Chogo-ri) Pakistan 8611 Karakoram
3) Kanchenjunga Nepal 8586 Himalayas
4) Lhotse Nepal 8516 Himalayas
5) Makalu Nepal 8463 Himalayas
6) Cho-oyo Nepal 8201 Himalayas
7) Dhaulagiri Nepal 8167 Himalayas
8) Manaslu Nepal 8163 Himalayas
9) Nanga Parbat Pakistan 8125 Himalayas
10) Annapurna Nepal 8091 Himalayas
11) Gasherbrum I/ Hidden Peak Pakistan 8068 Karakoram
12) Broad Peak Pakistan 8047 Karakoram
13) Gasherbrum II Pakistan 8035 Karakoram
* Height in meters.
Types of Mountains
Mountains are classified into as many as 23 different types:
These can be narrowed down into 4 main types namely:
The collision forces of 2 or more Earth’s tectonic plates form Fold Mountains. This type includes the Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindukush in Asia; the Alps in Europe; Rockies in Canada, Andes – the longest mountain range in South America and Aravalli (oldest residual mountains) in North-west India.
Block Mountains (fault-block)
These are the mountains piled on top of one another, which is formed from the divergence of the Eurasian Plate and North American Plate. Sierra Nevada, Grand Teton and Harz block-mountain in Germany are some of the creations.
The type of mountain formed when liquid rock inside the Earth forces the ground above it upward, thus the pressure produces a dome like shape. An example is the popular Half-Dome at the Yosemite Park in the USA. However, wind pressure can form Snow Dome on top of the peaks,like the Broad Peak in Concordia region, Pakistan.
Volcanic Mountains – Highest Mountain on Earth
These are the tri-angular cone shaped mountains formed due to volcanic activity of spewing gases, ash, magma out of the vent at the top of the mountain.
More than a million years old, Muana Kea Volcano Mountain, a part of it submerged in the sea is the highest mountain measuring 10,200m (33,500 ft.)
Tallest Volcano Mountain on land surface is located in South America. Mexico, Indonesia, Philippines, Italy, Japan, East Africa are also home to active and dormant volcano mountains.
Sea Mountains (Karst) / Low Raise Range of Mountains
These may be sees as islands however, in some parts of the world including S.E.Asia, these mountains, regarded as “Vertical Gardens” are limestone mountains and some with complex cave system. These are seen in Thailand along the coastline of Krabi and Phang Nga Bay area. Out crop of limestone towers and needles majestically stand high in the sea. Guilin in China also have a system of low mountains cropping of the sea.
The Youngest Mountain Range:
The Himalaya Range
Himalaya, which literally means Land of Snow, are the youngest and tallest mountain range in the world with over 30 peaks over 24,000 feet (7,315m). Forming a 1500 miles long crescent, the mountain system stretches through North Pakistan, North India, South Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan.
The main mountain systems in Pakistan comprises:
The Karakooram Range
A Kyrgyz term meaning Black-Gravel, Karakoram mountain system is 311 miles (500 kms) in length spanning the regions of Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan), India (Ladakh) and China (Xinjiang). The highest concentration of the peaks in height over an area of 5 miles (8kms) is found nowhere on the Earth but in the Gilgit-Baltistan region along the most heavily glaciated part of the world outside the Polar region. Some of the prominent peaks of the Karakoram includes K-2, Gasherbrum I (8068m), Broad Peak (8047m), Gaherbrum II (8035m), Gasherbrum III (7952m), Gasherbrum IV (7925m), Dastagil Sar (7885m), Masherbrum I (7921m), Batura (7795m), Rakaposhi (7788m), Chogolisa (7665m) and many more 7000ers and 6000ers, among the more picturesque peaks like Muztag Tower (7273m), Ultar, Golden (Spantik) peak, Princess Babuli peak.
The Hindu Kush
The mountain range was first mentioned in the writings of Ibn e Batuta (1333AD) as Kuh Hind – a Persian word meaning mountains of the Indian Sub-continent. The Hindu Kush stretches 500 miles (800 km) between central Afghanistan and North-west Pakistan, with its highest point: Mount Tirich Mir (7,708 m or 25,289 ft), located at Chitral in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
With the average height of 4500 m (14,700 ft). The foothills of Hindu Kush merges with Kohistan and Suvat, the main knot of Eastern ranges in Mankial.
The green valleys of Suvat, derived from the ancient name of Suvastu River commonly called “Swat” is a distorted term. Visitors call it “Switzerland of the East” with some of its picturesque Mount Mankial 5759m (18750 ft)., Falak Sair peak (6471m).
The Oldest Range
Before man walk the surface of the earth, volcanic episodes, erosion, continental collisions and other forces of nature created many unique and beautiful mountain formations. Barberton Greenstone Belt in Eastern Africa is the oldest mountain range on Earth (3.5 billion years old). However after the research carried out in the St. Francois mountains of South East Missouri, they have been considered the oldest range by many geologist.
The Alps – a derivative of Alpes (French word via Latin), are one of the largest and highest mountain ranges in the world, covering some 192,000km2 of land area, stretching over 750 miles (1,200 km) from Austria and Slovenia in the east, through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west. The Alps includes several hundred peaks and glaciers, including numerous peaks over 12,000 feet, with Mont Blanc highest at 15,771 feet.
The Alps cover 65% of Switzerland’s surface area (41,285 km²), making it one of the most alpine countries. The Aletsch Glacier in the western Bernese Alps is the largest and longest in the Alps, reaching a maximum depth of 900 metres at Konkordia.
Many 4000er peaks cluster the Bernese Alps including Finsteraahorn, Jungfrau, Aletschhorn, Monch, Schreckhorn.
A large concentration of highest peaks are found in the Pennine Alps including
Dufour psitze (Monte Rosa) 4634m (the highest), Dunant spitze 4632m, Grenzgipfel 4618m, Nordend 4609m, Zumstein spitze 4563m, Signalkuppe 4554m, Dom 4545m, Liskamm 4538m, Weisshorn 4506m, Taschhorn 4491m, Matterhorn 4478m,
The mountain areas around the world are classified into 3 Climatic Zones:
SUB – ALPINE
Human settlement and productive areas from 1000 – 1,800m.
The Alpine Zone is situated above the tree line and below the permafrost limit (at about 2,600m), the alpine meadows are often used as pastures.
GLACIAL (From 1500m)
Most of the mountain zones with high rise mountains and glaciated valleys are looped within the Glacial zone. The Karakoram, Himalayas and Hindu-Kush at higher elevation zones rising over 4000 meters remain in isolation with almost no signs of life forms.
The Alps played an important role in history.
St. Gotthard Pass bears historical significance being the transit point since the middle-ages and the region became the nucleus of Swiss Confederacy in the 14thC.
The Bernese Alps, Pennine Alps and Mont Blanc Massif contain most of the glaciated areas in the Alps. Except research stations such as the Sphinx Observatory no settlements are to be found in those regions.
Some of the Most Photogenic Mountains on Earth:
- PASSU PEAKS (Tupopdan Mountains) Gulmit – Pakistan.
2. Mount MATTERHORN Zermatt, Valais – Switzerland
MOUNT FUJI, Japan
MOUNT BROMO – Indonesia
MOUNT KINABALU, Sabah – Malaysia
SEA MOUNTAINS (KARST) Krabi – Thailand
CHOCOLATE MOUNTAINS OF BOHOL – Philippines
DIAMOND HEAD CRATER, Hawaii – USA
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