Everest the world’s tallest mountain stands at a staggering height of 8850 m from the mean sea level. It goes by the name of Sagarmatha in Nepal, chamulunga in Tibet and Kumulugama in China. I got the grateful opportunity to scale the Everest, when I was an instructor at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. It’s a mountaineer’s dream to scale the Everest atleast once in their lifetime but not everyone is that fortunate. I feel myself to be lucky enough and grateful for this opportunity. I was selected in the group consisting of 18 members, 15 climbing members and 3 support members, led by Colonel M.M Mashur.
Journey to the top of the world:-
Day 1 to Day 3: (4th April 2009) Our team reached Kathmandu(Nepal). We spent 3 days in Kathmandu during which we bought some equipments necessary for expedition and also visited Lord Pashupatinath temple.
Day 4 to Day 7: (8th April 2009) We departed for Lukla at 9 am via helicopter and arrived within 50 minutes. After having lunch we departed for Fakdeen village and stayed for the night. After Lukla one has to travel by foot and the luggage is carried with the help of yaks and bulls to the Everest base camp. On 9th April we departed for Namche market, the biggest of Khumbu valley, at 3440m from MSL. We stayed there for the next day and met with the local police and Everest rescue team.
Day 8: We departed for Debuche on 11th April, situated at 3950m from MSL. One can also see mount Ammadablam and other peaks from here. We visited lord Buddha shrine there and spent the night.
Day 9: On 12th April we departed for Pangbuche at 3980m from MSL. We arrived within 3 hours and spent the night there.
Day 10: On 13th April, after visiting lord Buddha shrine, we departed for Dingbuche at 4365m from MSL. This is the last village of Khumbu valley and no further vegetation is found after this.
Day 11: On 14th April we stayed in Dingbuche to acclimatize with the climate.
Day 12: On 15th April we departed for Dhukla, had a tea there and continued further for Lubuche, which is at 4930m from MSL and spent the night there.
Day 13 to Day 15: On 16th April we departed for Gorkasep, at 5160m from MSL and arrived within 4 hours. We stayed for 3 days from 16th to 18th April. On 17th we visited Kala Pathhar where one can have a mesmerizing view of Everest.
Day 16 to Day 23: We departed for base camp on 19th April, which is at 5330m from MSL, above Khumbu glacier and reached within 4 hours. 40 other countries team were staying there in tents and it looked like a colorful village in itself. We stayed in base camp from 19th to 26th April, did ice training there and acclimatized with the climate.
Day 24: On 27th April we departed for camp-1 at 3:30 am, which is at 6000m from MSL. To reach there we crossed Khumbu ice-fall which is one of the most dangerous ice-fall as it moves and changes the alignment of the way continuously. We had to use almost 40 aluminum ladders to help cross it; We stayed for the night in camp-1.
Day 25 to Day 30: On 28th April we returned to the base camp and stayed till 3 may due to the bad weather and did some treks during meantime to keep ourselves fit.
Day 31: On 4th may the crew departed for camp-2. I reached to camp-1 along with four other members, waited for the rest and then trekked to camp-2.There were some deep crevasses along the way to camp-2 which is at 6402m from MSL; We reached at camp-2 at about 3 pm and spent the night there.
Day 32: On 5th may we departed for camp-3. After covering some distance one of our team member returned after some health problems. The strong winds added to the cold and increased the difficulty for us, it was an indication of bad weather for us. Five of us reached camp-3, at 7164m from MSL (60-70 degree slope). Due to the bad weather rest of the team returned and we also returned to the camp-2 after a while.
Day 33 – 35: On 7th may we descended to base camp. As we were crossing the Khumbu ice-fall an avalanche came from the Lola top which took one Sherpa along with it and two other foreigners were buried in the ice. Somehow, we were safe by the grace of Lord Badrivishal. We rescued those foreigners from the crevasses and took them along with us, they were treated and were saved. We returned to the base camp and one of our member was transported via Kathmandu helicopter service due to the bad health.
Day 36 – 45: We stayed in the base camp from 9th May to 16th May due to the bad weather. We began to prepare after we got a weather forecast about weather being clear from 20-21st May. On 17th May, eleven of us departed from the base camp to camp-2 and arrived there by 2pm. We stayed in camp-2 till 18th May.
Day 46: On 19th May we departed for camp-3. The deputy leader returned after a while due to health problems and ten of us continued for camp-3. We reached at camp-3 by 11 am and camped there. Due to the low oxygen it was very difficult to perform tasks there and some of the members were facing health problems. Camp-3 is also known as the dead zone and one has to be very careful there. We stayed for the night.
Day 47: On 20th May at 6 am we departed for South Cole which is at 7900m from MSL. After covering some distance we came across Yellow band. We had begun to use our oxygen cylinders before that because of difficulty in breathing. Our team was tired and at 1 pm our first team reached South Cole. There were tents set up by Sherpas and the second team joined us at 2 pm. We had to summit the top the next day and we began our preparation for the further journey. We continued our journey at 8 pm. I was accompanied by inspector Luvraj and Subedar Surendra and also had two Sherpas along with us. The rest of the team was accompanied by one Sherpa each. At 11 pm we reached at Balkoni, which is at 8384 m from MSL. We changed our oxygen cylinder there, some of our team members were at some distance behind us and so we were treading slowly. After reaching South summit we continued for Hillary step and the moon looked like as it was just at some distance ahead of us. Hillary step is a huge rock and one of our Sherpa was facing difficulty while climbing it so we helped him with it. Four of us stopped at 3:30 am about 100 m from the summit. We waited for one more hour until morning and reached the summit at about 4:30 am. I along with inspector Luvraj, Subedar Surendra and Kavita reached the summit, took some photos and placed a garland around Lord Buddha statue.
Day 48: Three of my teammates returned and I waited for the others, who reached at 6 am. We could see only the summit tops which were at 8000 m which is same as Makalu, Cho you, Dhaulagiri and the rest of the ranges were lost to the eyes in the sea of clouds. We thanked the Lord Badrivishal, returned to South Cole and stayed there for the night.
Day 49: On 22nd May we began our journey for camp-2. The weather was bad and we reached there at 2pm. The Sherpas welcomed us there with the warm food which we hadn’t had for the past four days.
Day 50 – Day 57: On 23rd may we departed for base camp, where we were warmly welcomed. We stayed there from 23rd to 25th May and on 26th May we descended from base camp and arrived at Fakdeen village on 30th May where we were welcomed by the Sherpa leader.
Day 58: On 31st May we traveled from Lukla to Kathmandu via helicopter and stayed there till 3 June; Meanwhile, we also visited Lord Pashupatinath Temple. On 4th June, we arrived at New Delhi and were felicitated by honorable Minister of State for Defense Dr. M.M Pallam Raju. Summiting the Everest is a herculean feat in itself and it calls for determination and perseverance.
Honorary Captain Pratap Singh
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