Family of Orissa woman Everester celebrates feat

May 22nd, 2008 - 7:28 pm ICT by admin  

Dhenkanal (Orissa), May 22 (IANS) The family of Kalpana Dash, who Wednesday climbed the world’s highest peak Mt Everest, celebrated her feat in her hometown here in Orissa by praying and distributing sweets. Hundreds of local residents gathered at her house, in Kumbhar Sahi locality, to wish the family as the news of the 41-year-old lawyer’s accomplishment spread across the town, some 100 km from Bhubaneswar.

It proved to be third-time lucky for the feisty Kalpana, whose dream of standing on the 8,848-metre summit finally came true when she pulled off the feat as the leader of the five-member Friendship Mt Everest Expedition.

“She was confident before she started her journey and I thank god that she finally succeeded,” Kalpana’s septuagenarian mother Sailabala told IANS.

The family, on hearing the news Thursday from an official of Kalpana’s training camp, worshipped the deities in the nearby temple before distributing sweets.

“Kalpana left Orissa March 5. Before she left, she had pasted her small photograph on the picture of Everest,” Kalpana’s brother Pradeep said. “She had told us that she will return successful this time.”

Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to scale Mt Everest, said she is happy that Kalpana has brought laurels to the country.

Kalpana did rigorous practice of climbing every day on the 785-metre high Kapila Hill, 20 km near here. She also spent some time with Bachendri learning climbing tricks, one of her family members said.

Earlier, Kalpana had twice failed to climb Everest. In May 2004, she scaled 7,300 metres without oxygen.

Two years later, she went up to 8,048 metres, entering the death zone - an area marked by oxygen scarcity, sub-zero temperature and strong winds - before being forced to return.

This time around, favourable weather helped 27 climbers reach the top Wednesday, the first being Ngima Nuru Sherpa, a high-altitude worker hired by Kalpana’s expedition.

Kalpana is the only Indian among the nearly 500 foreigners who are attempting the summit this year. She is also the first Indian woman and the third Indian climber to have been able to summit Mt Everest after accomplishing the Himalayan task of raising money privately.

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