IAF team to scale Mount Everest

April 13th, 2011 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) A 20-member Indian Air Force (IAF) mountaineering team, with 11 women officers among its members, will attempt to scale Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.

The team, also consisting of a doctor and eight men, was flagged off on the mission by Air Officer-in-Charge (Administration) Air Marshal J.N. Burma here Wednesday.

“It is the first time in the history of IAF that ‘women in blue’ have embarked on an expedition to scale the highest peak on earth,” an air force release said here.

The idea of women officers scaling Mount Everest at 8,848 metres was conceived in early 2009. The mountaineers underwent rigorous training schedule at Siachen in 2010 and 2011.

The team members went on to scale progressively higher and tougher Himalayan peaks in the last two years beginning with Mount Stok Kangri at 6,121 metres in Leh, Mount Bhagirathi-II (6,512 metres) in Uttarkhand, Mount Kamet (7,757 metres) in Garhwal and Mount Saser Kangri-I (7,672 metres) in Ladakh, the statement said.

The team will be following the southeast ridge route used by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in the first successful expedition to Mount Everest in 1953.

“The route involves technical challenges such as famous Khumbu icefall, which is extremely volatile and keeps shifting, numerous crevasses and ceracs,” the release said.

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