Mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest unscaled landscape. it has since branched into specializations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists of three (3) areas: rock-craft, snow-craft, and skiing, depending on whether the route chosen is over rock, snow or ice. All require experience, athletic ability, and technical knowledge to maintain safety.
Historically, mountains were synonymous to items of high sacred value. Due to this, mountaineering was not undertaken until the late 15th Century. The first person to scale a mountain was Antoine de Ville who attempted to scale Mount Aiguille with a small team using ladder and ropes. In the years to come, Europeans scaled several mountains located at the Alps.
This soon became a dangerous adventure sport with the advent of better tools and medical equipment. The world of mountaineering reached a peak when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled Mount Everest.
We will try to “climb” mountains around the world without moving from our systems.Data on the world’s highest mountains were shared on Kaggle recently.This data contained information about 92 mountains. Let’s see if we can gather some interesting insights.
Exploring the Data
How are the mountains’ heights distributed?
We see that most of the heights fall between 7200m and 8200m. There are outliers that lie between 8400m and 8899m.
How many first attempts were there per year?
Seven first attempts were made in the year 1960. This happens to be the highest. The number of first attempts seems like a haphazard trend.
Number of Ascents and Failures
The above graph is a plot between the number of failed attempts and successful ascents for given heights of mountains. The heights of mountains are indicated by the colour of the points whose legend is to the right of the plot. We seem to see a linear trend in the above plot. Is this linearity brought about by the outlier in the top right hand corner.
Removing this point makes our plot much more clearer to the naked eye, as shown below.
The plot does look linear. Why is this so? Why is the number of failures proportional to the number of successful attempts? There is something inspiring here. According to the above plot, mountain climbers are more ambitious to scale higher mountains. This is a feat , and yes, it does lead to a lot of failed attempts.
Which mountains were scaled more often?
Most of the mountains that are scaled often by mountaineers are located at the India-Nepal-China border. We see a dense dot at the Nepal China border. This is where Mount Everest and her sub-mountains are located.
Topological Prominence and Number of Ascents
What is topological prominence? Wikipedia defines it as ..’In topography, prominence[a] characterizes the height of a mountain or hill’s summit by the vertical distance between it and the lowest contour line encircling it but containing no higher summit within it. It is a measure of the independence of a summit. A peak’s key col is a unique point on this contour line and the parent peak is some higher mountain, selected according to various objective criteria…………Peaks with low prominences are either subsidiary tops of some higher summit or relatively insignificant independent summits. Peaks with high prominences tend to be the highest points around and are likely to have extraordinary views.’
In simple words, it describes the magnificence of the views you can get from the summit of the mountain in question.
We see a strong correlation between the number of ascents and the topological prominence. This is obvious as it is less likely ,for a mountain which does not offer a great view, to be scaled.
We were able to derive information about mountains and their legacy without even moving a feet away from our computers. The relationship between the prominence metric and number of ascents tells us a lot about the behaviour and attitude of adventurous mountaineers who made it and live to tell their tales.
Most highly visited mountains are located along the Great Himalayan Plains. This is where Mount Everest is located. The higher the mountain the more the attempts to scale it. This is evidence of the die hard and persistent attitude of mountaineers. Thank You for Reading!
The code can be found here