Watch Exclusive “Raw Courage of NCC Girls Cadets Scaling Mt. Everest Making India Proud”
National Defence Bureau
New Delhi, 09 June 2017
The NCC Girls Mt. Everest Expedition Team, which has successfully scaled the world’s highest peak on May 21 and 22, 2016 was praised by Indian Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag in a flag in ceremony held at Vigyan Bhawan. “Their act displays raw courage, physical fitness and sheer determination in achieving the feat”, said Army Chief. The NCC girls cadet scaled the peak after dividing themselves into two teams. The first team was led by the Expedition Team Leader Col Gaurav Karki, who reached the summit on May 21, 2016; and the second team led by Lt Col Vishal Alhawat reached the top on May 22, 2016 making it a first ever successful expedition by the NCC Girls Team.
“This is for the first time that a ten member NCC girl team summitted the Mt. Everest and could well be a world record, however, we are yet to apply for the Guinness Book of World Record”, said Col Gaurav Karki.
“They have created history. When I see these young girls, some of them appear to be in class IX and X. I was wondering that (with) the weight and height ratio how could they carry so much of stuff (weight) at that height and the kind of weather conditions that exist in that zone”, remarked General Dalbir Singh during Flag In ceremony.
“It was just amazing realising that I am on top of the world. Every girl should do what she wants and parent should encourage the girls. There is now no distinction between girl or boys. Girls can achieve what boys could do”, said Parul Mehra, an NCC cadets who achieved the Mt. Everest feat.
The journey to Mt. Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world was not easy. It was full of dangers to life.
“The weather was inclement and window to Himalayan peak was open only for 12 days this season. Our girls braved inclement weather, dared crevasses, chilly high pressure winds, low oxygen carrying a load of material on back wasn’t an easy task. Sheer determination and crucial training helped them achieve this remarkable feat”, said Major Deepika Rathod, who herself scaled Mt. Everest second time, now with the NCC girls.
Earlier, the team led by Col Gaurav Karki reached the base camp on April 21, 2016 and established four camps enroute to acclimatize the team at high altitude. Camp I and Camp II were at an altitude less than 7000m whereas Camp III and Camp IV were established at an altitude of less than 8000m. Having fully acclimatized the cadets waited for favourable weather to climb the summit.
The team had trained hard for the Mt. Everest mission. Selection of officers and staff was carried out from January to June 2014. Thereafter 100 cadets were selected by trials held pan India. The selected cadets then underwent a special mountain course at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), Darjeeling. Pre-Everest Expedition to Mt. Deo-Tibba (19688 ft), near Manali in Himachal Pradesh was conducted for 40 cadets in April to May 2015. 15 cadets were selected for the next phase based on their performance. In August 2015, the team set off on second Pre-Everest Expedition to Mt. Trishul (23360 ft), and selected 10 girl cadets for the Everest Expedition. These ten cadets thereafter did a month long intensive winter training in Siachen Glacier at the Indian Army’s Siachen Battle School, before setting course for Nepal.
The aim of mountaineering expeditions in NCC is to strengthen the character and instil qualities of courage, comradeship, discipline and leadership among the cadets. NCC has always been in the forefront of adventure activities. The first mountaineering course for NCC Cadets was conducted for 42 days at HMI, Darjeeling in 1961. Every year, NCC sponsors 354 boy and girl cadets for various mountaineering courses at HMI, Darjeeling, NIM Uttarkashi, ABVIMAS Manali and JIM & WS Pahalgam.
Mountaineering Expedition as an adventure activity was introduced in NCC in the year 1970. Since then, NCC conducts two mountaineering expeditions every year, one each for boy and girl cadets thus having launched more than 70 expeditions to various peaks.
Watch the extraordinary feat of all ten girl cadets of the expedition team aged between 17 and 21 years. The raw courage, firm determination and constant perseverance of these young NCC mountaineers will inspire generations specially the girls.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.