FOUR students from Chandrapur’s two tribal ashram (residential) schools climbed Mount Everest on Wednesday. They are the first tribal students from India to scale the world’s tallest mountain. As reported earlier by The Indian Express, these students hadn’t even heard of Everest before they were approached by the authorities with the idea. They were among 10 tribal students from various government ashram schools in Chandrapur who were selected under a joint initiative of the state Tribal department and Chandrapur Collectorate called ‘Mission Shaurya’ to scale Everest.
“The four students are Umakant Madavi (19), Parmesh Aale (19) and Manisha Dhurve (18) from Devada ashram school and Kavidas Katmode (18) from Jivati ashram school. While Kavidas and Umakant reached the summit at 3.25 am, Parmesh and Manisha reached the peak at 4.25 am and 4.35 am, respectively,” said Chandrapur Collector Ashutosh Salil.
Salil added, “Two others, Vikas Soyam and Indu Kannake, will make an attempt for the summit on May 17 and 18, respectively. They will return to base camp by Wednesday night.” Salil said two students, Chhaya Atram and Aakash Madavi, had to return to Chandrapur after suffering from “altitude sickness”. All 10 students had undergone rigorous training for 18 months at various places before embarking on the mission from the Chinese side.
‘Mission Shaurya’ was flagged off in a grand ceremony at Chandrapur on April 8 by Minister of Tribal Affairs Vishnu Savara and Minister of Finance, Planning and Forests Sudhir Mungantiwar. The group arrived at Kathmandu on April 11. On April 13, the team was flown to Lhasa. After overnight journeys to Gyantse, Sigatse and Tingri, the team reached Everest Base Camp on April 20.
A series of acclimatisation hikes followed up to 5,800 m and 6,100 m till April 24. After visiting Rongbuk Monastery on April 25, the team reached Advance Base Camp (ABC) at an altitude of 6,400 m. More acclimatisation hikes (up to Crampton Point at 6,800 m) were done till April 30. On May 2 the team moved to North Col Camp to spend one night at 7,100 m. On May 3, another acclimatisation hike up to 7,500 m was done after which the team came back to the base camp. After resting for 5 days at base camp, Umakant, Pramesh, Kavidas and Manisha moved to ABC on May 10 for summit climb. They moved to North Col Camp on May 13 and moved to Camp 3 on May 15 at 8,300 m. Finally, the team started for the summit late evening on May 15 and reached it early morning of May 16.
Salil said, “These are the first tribal students from Maharashtra to scale Everest. The youngest tribal youth to have achieved the feat was Poorna, a 13 year old girl from Telangana, in 2014. There also the effort was led by Shekhar Babu. It was after watching the movie called Poorna by Rahul Bose that I thought of this idea. I can’t forget how the movie had moved me to tears.”