This time, scaling a different height

Nirupama attributes her achievement to the new emerging Bihar

For Nirupama, who hails from a nondescript village Jamo Jalalpur in Biha­r’s Siwan district, it was mom­ent of pride and glory when she unfurled the national tri-colour on Mt Everest. In 1984, it was Bachendri Pal, who achieved the same feat and became the first Indian woman (and fifth in the orld) to scale Mt Everest.

Twenty-seven years down the line, Nirupama was part of the first-ever all-woman IAF team comprising flight lieutenant Nivedita Choudhary and flight lieutenant Rajika Sharma. The team followed the same south-east ridge route, which was used by Hillary and Tenzing during their first successful expedition atop Mt Everest in 1953.

“We took this route as we easily got permission from the Nepal government. Otherwise, we would have prefe­r­red to climb the Everest from China side, from where climbing is relatively less painstaking,” said Nirupama, who is presently posted at the Indian Air
Force station at Rajokri, New Delhi, under the Western Air Force command.

After reaching the pinnacle of glory, Nirupama is on a new high. But she attributes her success to the new emer­ging Bihar. “My achievement has brought laurels to not only the IAF, but also to my home state. I attribute my rare accomplishment to the new emerging Bihar,” she gushed. Incidentally, Bihar has joined the league of 14 states which boasts of at least one Everest summiteer.

Air Marshal J N Burma had flagged off the expedition team on April 13, 2011 in New Delhi. It took the IAF team 42 days to reach the summit. “For six months prior to the expedition, we had undergo­ne strenuous training schedule, including basic mountaineering course and winter training camps at Siachen in 2010, and 2011,” said the IAF officer.

“In fact, I was always fond of adventure sports since my childhood days. This is precisely why I joined NCC and often went to treks. I started my mountaineering career in 2007 by undergoing rigorous training at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttar­ka­shi,” she added.

In the course of her preparation, she scaled four Himal­ayan peaks in the last three years – Mt Stok Kang­ri, Mt Bhagirathi II, Mt Kamet and Mt Saser Kangri. “My next mission would be to ascend Mt Everest from the eastern ridge route through which only a few people have climbed the Everest in the past,” said Nirupama, who came down from Mt Everest on June 5, along with other members of the expedition team.

Her husband Prakash Jha  is also a qualified mountain­eer and serving as Squadron Leader. “My hubby, who hails from Madhubani district in Bihar, was a constant supp­ort. He took leave to accompany me to the base camp,” said Nirupama, who got married in 2009.

The young IAF officer, who has received the ‘The Best in Outdoor Training Trophy’ and ‘Cross Country Champions Trophy’, 2003 in women’s category, feels mountaineering is like an addiction. “Once you are into it, you get invariably drawn into it,” she avers.

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