New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) Women in the Indian Army may not be deployed on combat roles but they will soon prove they are good enough for any challenge when a team will attempt to scale for the second time Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, in May.
The 22-member women’s team was flagged off Monday by Indian Army deputy chief Lt. Gen. Ramesh Halgali.
The team. led by Col Ajay Kothiyal, will take leave for Kathmandu on March 22 and after a 17-day trek, will reach base camp at 17,500 feet on April 12.
‘Four camps will be established en route and after completing the load ferries and acclimatisation process, the summit attempts will be made between May 15 and 20,’ an army release said here.
Indian Army has already scaled seven of the nine open peaks of above 8,000 metres altitude, apart from touching the South Pole last year. An expedition to North Pole is already on its way.
The Indian Army first scaled the 8,848-metre-high Mount Everest in 2001.
Since then, it has been a norm in the army to send members on all expeditions undertaken by army or by other organisations like Nehru Institute of Mountaineering and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.
The first army women team had summited Mount Everest from the north route in Tibet in 2005.
The present team will attempt the climb for the first time through the south route in Nepal, which is known as the traditional route from which Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had first climbed. This is also the longer and much tougher route, as considered by mountaineers.
Everest, due to the sheer difficulty posed by the terrain and altitude, and the glory of being the greatest mountain on the earth, is the ultimate destination of every mountaineer. It throws great technical challenges to the mountaineers, in form of the infamous Khumbu ice fall, blind crevasses and avalanche prone slopes, to climb over Lhotse face and other formidable obstacles like Geneva Spur, Yellow Band, Hillary Step, and Balcony
Indian Army has about 1,200 women in the officer cadre and they perform all roles in the force, except in combat units such as infantry, mechanised infantry, armoured and artillery.