Though Roopkund trek is closed to trekkers at present, but that doesn’t keep away its tendency to be on news. It may well be a game changer from the prior researches and reveal new facts.

Last month a research paper published on “Roopkund” in ‘Nature’, a well-known and authoritative forum for the publication of important research papers.

A large number of national and regional newspapers printed the news, so as different media websites. Being mountain lovers and trekkers, it caught our eyes at first glance.. Although it seems that there are some confusions about the interpretations of article. Many of us have been to Roopkund and saw the remains of bones and even decomposed flesh and tissues. So what did the new research reveal? Here is my understanding and quick interpretations of the original article to the enthusiastic readers.

I avoided the complex and high technicalities of genetics, as much as possible. Read the original and full article published in Nature here. This attempt may have errors or wrong understanding due to my over enthusiasm! Request you to share your views in comments 🙂


Roopkund is a small to medium glacial lake situated at ~ 16000 ft on the Himalayas and famous as Skeletal Lake. Naming is due to scattered human bones and skeletons on the shore and around the lake.

Scientist have used Bioinformatic processing, Population genetic analyses, AMS radiocarbon dating, Stable isotope measurements before revealing the facts which are:

Skeletons are gathered here in multiple chronological events within a time difference of 1000 years, between ~ 800 CE to ~ 1800 C.E.

New experiments reveal interesting facts

The skeletons are of three different genetic population groups and include:

  1. Present day South Asians from countries of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Bhutan.
  2. Close to present-day people from mainland Greece and Crete.
  3. East Asian-related ancestry (between China and Andaman, one individual)

However, all these experiments delve deeper into a mysterious topic and able to throw light, meaningfully. Generally speaking this revelation established the bio-molecular advancements of modern day science.

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On the eve of independence day, Indian govt announced to open 137 new mountaineering and trekking peaks to climb in Indian Himalayas. This is surely a welcome move in favour of global mountaineering and climbing fraternity.

Prior to this, very few of the newly opened peaks were accessible to mountaineers following a lengthy process through IMF and in turn approval from GOI. As a result of this new announcement, enlisted peaks should be easily accessible to Indians and foreigners directly through IMF.

The new order issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has more cause to cheer for the foreign climbers. An easy Mountaineering Visa (MX) is proposed instead a labyrinthine process of moving from one department to another. Read the order from GOI and entire list of peaks which are now open to the climbers of the world.  These are in addition to the already “open peaks“.

As per our understanding peaks which are 6000 m or above are classified as “mountaineering” and below 6000 m are referred to as “trekking”. Probably this is to keep it simple, rather than the technical aspect  of climbing a peak or a particular face.

Highlights and takeaways for mountaineers and climbers:

  • A broad spectrum of mountaineers and climbers can choose suitable peak(s) from a variety of peaks ranging between 6000 m to 7000 m.
  • Top professional climbers will get new challenging peaks nda faces to attempt. A host of 7000 m peaks are now open in Sikkim, few of which are unclimbed.
  • Rock climbers now can easily get the “trekking permits” of peaks which are less than 6000 m but technically challenging. E.g. Kishtwar/Kalidhar spires, Kullu Eiger and similar peaks.

Here is a snapshot for your understanding:

Summary of newly opened peaks in India 2019
Region New Peaks 7000 m + 6500 m + 6000 m+
Sikkim 24 10 8 4
Uttarakhand 51 2 14 23
Himachal Pradesh 47 0 2 23
Jammu & Kashmir 15 0 0 9
Total 137 12 24 59

Note: As per the the list, Kanchenjunga, world’s 3rd highest peak looks open from Sikkim side. However valuing the  public belief of Sikkim,  IMF will probably not give a permit to climb this 8000 m from Sikkim side.

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