The Indian Army women’s Everest Expedition had a perfect track record by putting all its members on the summit of Mount Everest despite a climbing season that saw bad weather including high winds, unseasonably warm weather and few climbing windows.
The team led by Col Ajay Kothiyal had made a strategic decision to retreat to base camp on their first summit attempt after high winds made the situation dangerous. Rimo Expeditions provided logistical support for the expedition.
The unseasonably warm weather that made the ice fall treacherous and increased the chances of avalanches also led several expeditions to abandon their quest to reach the world’s highest mountain.
A break in the weather on 25 May and 26, the last pre-monsoon climbing window allowed two teams to reach the summit.
“Sir, we’ve done it,” were the first words from Captain Namrata Rathore to Colonel Ajay Kothiyal, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, Vishisht Seva Medal the leader of the expedition from the summit.
“I am proud of our women and men who refused to give up,” said Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali, AVSM, SM, Deputy Chief of the Army Staff.
“Our officers have made the Indian army and the country proud by being determined to achieve their goal of reaching the summit of the world’s highest mountain despite all the odds and inclement weather of the past few weeks,” added Lt Gen SP Tanwar, AVSM, Director General of Military Training.
As part of the expedition, Subedar Jalal, a veteran mountaineer who has already scaled five eight thousand meter peaks and Mt Everest in 2003 became the first Indian to summit without oxygen.
Team 1 was made up of Major N. Linyu, Capt. Namrata Rathore, Capt. Deepika Rathore, Capt. Smitha, Major R. S. Jamwal (deputy leader), Sub. Rajender Jalal, Hav. Sherab Palden, Hav. Praveen Thapa and L/H Sudhir Singh. The Rimo Sherpas were Pema Tsering, Chombe Sherpa. Karma Gyalge Sherpa, Na Dorjee Sherpa, Pasang Tenjee Sherpa, Phuchung Bhote and Samgel Sherpa.
Team 2 was made up of Major Neha Bhatnagar, Capt. Poonam Sangwan, Capt. Prachi Gole, Sub. Prabhu Dayal Bisht and Sub. Tejpal Negi. The Rimo Sherpas were Pasang Sherpa, Lakche Sherpa, Jamchang Bhote, Lakpa Tendup, Dawa Norbu and Mingma Tendup.
Below are some photos from the final days of the expedition:
Rimo Expeditions Sherpas on the summit of Mount Everest
- The ice fall was unstable this year
Major Linyu became the first Naga to climb Mount Everest
- Major Neha (Team 2) on the summit
An emotional Capt. Poonam radios from the summit
A group shot on the Western CWM before the summit bid
On way to Camp 2
The view from the Western CWM (Camp 3)
A view from Everest