After Arunachal, Orissa shows way to top of Mt Everest

May 18th, 2011 - 3:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, May 18 (IANS) After two gritty women from India’s mountainous Arunachal Pradesh became the first Indians to summit Mt Everest this spring, a 39-year-old from the plains of Orissa became the third to reach the 8,848m peak Wednesday, becoming the first man from the eastern state to do so.

Ganesh Jena, an employee of Bhubaneswar Development Authority, reached the top of the world at 9.20 a.m., coinciding with the arrival on the summit of nine Nepali civil servants.

Jena was accompanied by three Nepali Sherpa guides - Ang Kami Sherpa, Da Jangbu Sherpa amd Tashi Tshering Sherpa, said Dawa Lama from the Kathmandu-based Arun Treks and Expeditions that assembled Jena’s expedition.

“This is very special news for the people of Orissa,” Lama said. “Jena is the first man from Orissa (and the second climber from the state) to climb Mt Everest.”

Three years ago, Kalpana Dash from Dhenkanal became the first mountaineer from Orissa to conquer Mt Everest.

Jena’s march was flagged off March 31 from the Orissa state assembly by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The victory was especially sweet for the tenacious Jena who had planned to make the attempt last year but had to defer it due to lack of sponsors.

This year, however, perhaps spurred by New Delhi school boy Arjun Vajpai last year making history by becoming the youngest Indian to tame the mountain at the age of 16, the corporate houses are showing more interest in sponsoring Everest expeditions.

A second climber from Orissa, 32-year-old Jogabyasa Bhoi, hoping to reach the summit this season, said he had been helped out by Vedanta Aluminium Ltd.

Jena is part of a nine-member expedition headed by Anshu Jamsenpa from Arunachal Pradesh who summited May 13.

The expedition has two more Indian aspirants: Amit Kumar, 30, from Haryana, and Jackie Jacks Khajuriya, 30, from Rajasthan.

This year, an unprecedented 31 Indian climbers are attempting the peak, including a 14-member team from the Indian Air Force.

More than 50 people have summited already while the mountain claimed three lives.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at sudeshna.s@ians.in)

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