Everest waits for Indian tricolour

Everest waits for Indian tricolour

Despite the enormous amount of money needed for an Everest expedition - around $35,000 per person - and the initial disinterest of Indian corporate houses in sponsoring mountaineering expeditions - this season 17 individuals have managed to raise the funds under their own steam while the remaining 14 are members of the Indian Air Force team dominated by women.

Asian Trekking, the Kathmandu-based agency that last year helped New Delhi schoolboy Arjun Vajpai become the youngest Indian ever to achieve the feat at the age of 16, has the largest number of Indian individual clients this year: six, and half of them are women.
While five of them are from Haryana -- Premlata Agrawal, a 48-year-old indomitable housewife, is from Ranchi.

Two members of Asian Trekking's Eco Everest Expedition Spring Cleaning Initiative, led by renowned Japanese mountaineer and environmentalist Ken Noguchi, hope to set a record by becoming the first husband and wife duo from India to tread the summit: Narinder Singh and Sushma Singh, both of them 32.

Arun Treks and Expedition has sent the second-largest Indian contingent as part of its nine-member Arun Friendship Mt Everest Expedition.

Including climbers from Italy, Canada, France and Sweden, it is led by 32-year-old Anshu Jamsenpa from Arunachal Pradesh. The other Indian members are Amit Kumar, 30, Ganesh Jena and Jackie Jacks Khajuriya, 30.

Two more Indians - Rajiv Bhattacharya and Dipankar Ghosh - are members of the much-talked about expedition organised by Himalayan Ascent that also includes the Australian husband and wife couple of Sharon and Allan Karl Cohrs.

Sharon Cohrs is a 39-year-old breast cancer survivor who is seeking to raise $25,000 for further research on the killer disease so that a cure may be found one day.

Also among the most interesting expeditions is that led by Jogabyasa Bhoi, a 32-year-old from Orissa's Kalahandi district, once notorious for its famine deaths.

The one-member expedition is seeking to propagate spiritual teachings and peace and Bhoi has received a part sponsorship from Vedanta Aluminium Ltd.

The Indian summittings are expected to start this week with May 13 regarded as a likely date.

Last but not the least, the 14-member Indian Air Force expedition has eight women, led by Group Captain Narendra Kumar Dahiya, 46.

Of the 26 expeditions headed for Mt Everest from Nepal, one also includes a Briton of Indian origin. Partha Dey, 43, is part of the 11-member expedition led by fellow Briton Kenton Edward Cool, who has already summitted the peak this year, it being his ninth ascent.

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