SMA to promote mountain tourism in Sikkim

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Gangtok, Sep 28 (UNI) The Sikkim Mountaineering Association (SMA) is gearing up with its five-year blueprint to popularise adventure tourism in the state, presently dominated by Nepal and other nations.

Speaking to UNI here today, SMA General Secretary Kazi Sherpa said SMA would endeavour to digitise data on the five challenging mountains of the state and disseminate the information to lure those seeking a thrilling adventure at altitudes above 5,800 mt.

He said five peaks had been selected for the purpose - Freys Peak, 5,830 m (West Sikkim), Lama Wangden, 5,868 m (North Sikkim), Brumkhanshe, 5,635 m (North Sikkim), Mt Tenchangkhang, 6,010 m (West Sikkim) and Mt Jopnu 19,500 ft (West Sikkim).

All the peaks were relatively unexplored with only a few expeditions so far after the state government had declared them open for mountaineering last year.

Ice climbing along the frozen waterfalls in Yumay Samdong in North Sikkim would also be a part of SMA's five-year plan.

For the indigenous tourists, SMA would organise skiing at Kupup near Nathu La from February.

''The slope of the snow clad Kupup is ideal for skiing during February, '' SMA vice-president Palden T Sherpa said.

15 SMA members would tour the popular skiing destinations -- Gulmarg and Manali -- for undergoing training.

Mountain biking, high altitude trekking, rock climbing and other adventure sports were the annual features of SMA, Mr Sherpa said.

Presently, SMA has equipment for 60 trekkers (training and trekking) and expedition purposes. It also sends its members for training courses conducted anually by the National Adventure Club.

SMA was established in 1991 with 15 permanent members and 30-40 seasonal members. It is affiliated to the Indian Mountain Foundation.

UNI

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