Updated: May 13, 2021 1:08:58 am
Two women mountaineers — one from Himachal Pradesh and the other from Rajasthan — have defied all odds and a raging pandemic to become the first Indian women to summit Mount Pumori (7,161 metres) in Nepal on Wednesday. The duo also are the first in the country to scale a mountain that is part of the Everest Massif.
The mountaineers, Baljeet Kaur, of Solan district of Himachal and Gunbala Sharma of Rajasthan are part of a 12-member team that will attempt to conquer all four peaks that are part of the Everest Massif.
Four peaks — Mt Nuptse (7,862 metres), Mt Pumori (7,161m), Mt Lhotse (8,516m) along with the tallest mountain on earth, Mt Everest (8,848.86m) — make up the Everest Massif.
As per reports, Baljeet Kaur summited Mt Pumori at 8.40am on Wednesday. Gunbala Sharma summited the peak soon after. Two sherpas — Nuri Sherpa and Gelu Sherpa — accompanied the two mountaineers to the peak respectively.
Brigadier Ashok Abbey (Rtd), President of Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), Delhi, said, “Baljeet Kaur and Gunbala Sharma are the first Indian women to scale one of the toughest peaks in the Everest Massif in Nepal. On May 10, two Indian male mountaineers — Hem Raj and Stanzin Norboo — had summited the same mountain, along with four sherpas. Overall, it is the first Indian ascent of this mountain. If we see it from the technical point of view, Mt Pumori and Mt Nuptse are considered to be the toughest mountains to summit in the world. Some even call them tougher than Mt Everest. All 12 members of our team followed strict Covid-19 protocols while staying in Nepal.”
As per information shared by IMF, the expedition team had made three camps enroute to the summit point. Camp 1 was established at 5,700 metres. Camp 2 was established at 6,200 metres and Camp 3 was established at 6,480 metres from sea level.
The Everest Massif expedition was flagged off by Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju in Delhi on March 27.
“The aim aof this two-month-long expedition is to make the first Indian ascent of the challenging Mt Nuptse and Mt Pumori, besides making an ascent of the difficult Mt Lhotse. The expedition team will assist and contribute to Nepal’s effort of cleaning the Upper Khumbu Glacier and the Western Cwm, which located in the shadow of the Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. Climbing these peaks, particularly Mt Nuptse and Mt Pumori, is considered to be more difficult than climbing Mt Everest,” a member of IMF said.
The 12 members taking part in the expedition are Manita Pradhan, Manish Kashniyal, Skalzang Rigzin, Nawab M Khan, Shanti Rai, Stanzen Youthog, Savita Kanswal, Hem Raj, Stanzin Norboo, Gunbala Sharma, Baljeet Kaur and Stanzen Desal. Dr Chetna Joshi is the Expedition Doctor. Brig Krishan Kumar (retd), an experienced mountaineer and a senior IMF member, is accompanying the expedition team as a mentor.
The expedition was originally supposed to be conducted in the year 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the date was later pushed back to 2021. The team has undergone extensive winter conditioning and training in Garhwal Himalaya in 2020 and 2021. The team has also been put through the Wilderness Advanced First Aid Course, recently conducted at the IMF, Delhi
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