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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Bad weather triggered by Yaas, Tauktae, forces Indian climbers to abandon Mt Nuptse summit

Mt Nuptse was among four peaks including Mt Pumori (7,161 mts), Mt Lhotse (8,516 mts) and Mt Everest (8,848 mts), to be climbed as part of the one and half month long expedition. The remaining three peaks were scaled successfully.

Written by Saurabh Parashar | Chandigarh |
Updated: June 12, 2021 10:58:22 am
The team at IMF, Delhi. (Express Photo)

Heavy precipitation caused by cyclones Tauktae and Yaas alongwith consistent bad weather forced a team of Indian climbers to abandon their climb to the summit of Mt Nuptse (7,862 mts), as part of the first-of-its kind ‘Everest Massif Expedition’.

Mt Nuptse was among four peaks including Mt Pumori (7,161 mts), Mt Lhotse (8,516 mts) and Mt Everest (8,848 mts), to be climbed as part of the one and half month long expedition. The remaining three peaks were scaled successfully. The team comprising 12 Indian mountaineers returned after completing the expedition from Nepal to Delhi Friday. 

Brig Ashok Abbey (Rtd), president, Indian Mountaineering Foundation, alongwith others received the team at IMF premises. The expedition was flagged off by Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on March 27. The team members included six men and six women.

A member of the IMF said, “Members of team Nuptse after a committed technical climb and protracted route opening, moved up to Camp-III of Mt Nuptse, but had to abandon the summit attempt due to consistent bad weather and heavy precipitation caused by cyclones Tauktae and Yaas. The final summit bid by experienced mountaineers Skalzang Rigzin (Leader), Nawab M Khan, Shanti Rai, and Stanzen Youthog had to be aborted on May 30 due to dangerous snow conditions and avalanche between Camp II and III.” 

The member further said: “The expedition holds significance for various reasons, never before in the history of the Everest Massif have four major peaks been attempted by an Indian team. This was the smallest Indian team comprising of 14 climbing members to attempt four major mountains, with an average of 3.5 climbers per mountain, thus ensuring minimum environmental footprint and human impact on the already fragile environment of these hard pressed mountains.”

According to the IMF, Mt Lobuche was climbed by 13 members of the expedition and one later as part of their initial acclimatisation on April 12, 2021. The team reached base camp on April 15. Mt Pumori was the first to be attempted. Two members of the Team Pumori named Hem Raj (leader) and Stanzin Norboo climbed Mt Pumori on May 10, making the first Indian ascent of the mountain. Mountaineers Baljeet Kaur and Gunbala Sharma reached the summit of Mt Pumori on May 12 after starting from Camp III at midnight. Baljeet Kaur of Himachal Pradesh became the first Indian woman to climb Mt Pumori.

The two members of Team Lhotse — Stanzin Desal (Leader) and Savita Kanswal — climbed Mt Lhotse at 5.50 am on May 24 after a gruelling ascent up the Reiss Coulor. Mountaineer Savita Kanswal became the second woman climber to scale this mountain.

As per the strategy of IMF, Mt Everest was the last to be attempted. Two members of Team Everest — Amit Negi and Neeraj Chaudhary — reached the summit of Mt Everest (8848.86 mts) on May 31 and Manish Kashniyal and Manita Pradhan also scaled the peak on June 1. 

“These ascents were made in the final stages of the expedition after persistent bad weather and snowfall. For the climb on May 31, the first team directly moved to South Col from Camp II on May 30 and attempted the peak successfully the next morning. The team safely reached Kathmandu on June 6 and New Delhi on June 11,” an IMF official said.

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