Pink Twins

Pink Twins
Gangtok

Yellow Villa

Yellow Villa
Gangtok

Sparkling Rai Saag

Sparkling Rai Saag
Gangtok

Lovely Poppy Flowers

Lovely Poppy Flowers
Gangtok

A Different type of Seasonal Flower

A Different type of Seasonal Flower
Gangtok

Blue Flavour

Blue Flavour
Gangtok

Pink & White Combination

Pink & White Combination

Dark Pink Flavour

Dark Pink Flavour
Gangtok 6th March 16

Purple Charm

Purple Charm
CS Quarter Gangtok

Magnificent Yellow and Red Tulip

Magnificent Yellow and Red Tulip
Conservatory Near Selep Tank

Charm of Red Tulips

Charm of Red Tulips
Conservatory near Selep Tank

Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha
1-D Terminal New Delhi

Attraction of Red Panda

Attraction of Red Panda
Saramsa Garden

Lord Ganesh made of oranges

Lord Ganesh made of oranges
Saramsa Garden

Charm of Seasonal Flower

Charm of Seasonal Flower
Gaurds Ground Gangtok

Unmatched beauty

Unmatched beauty
Sikkim Organic Festival

Green is always soothing

Green is always soothing
Sikkim Organic Festival 2016

Yellow Orchid

Yellow Orchid
Somewhere in Gangtok

White Orchid

White Orchid
Manan Kendra

Purple Orchid

Purple Orchid
Manan Kendra, 31-10-2015

Gift of Nature

Gift of Nature
Near Cherry Building

Majestic View of Sea

Majestic View of Sea
Marina, Chennai, 19-10-15

Typical Sikkim Pillar Carving and painting

Typical Sikkim Pillar Carving and painting
Hotel Nork Hill

Mirror Reflection, Changed Angle

Mirror Reflection, Changed Angle
Nork Hill, 24-11-2015

Mirror Trick

Mirror Trick
Hotel Nork Hill, Gtok, 24-11-2015

Yes we have the power

Yes we have the power
Qtr at Devt Area, 25-11-2015

Majestic View of K.jenga from SLA

Majestic View of K.jenga from SLA
Gangtok dt 20-11-2015

MIRROR IMAGE OR COMPUTER TRICK

MIRROR IMAGE OR COMPUTER TRICK
NEW DELHI 22-10-15

BRILLIANT KATHAK PERFORMANCE

BRILLIANT KATHAK PERFORMANCE
MRS MALI SMU 13-10-2015

SAROD RECITAL

SAROD RECITAL
SMU CONVOCATION 13-10-15

SHOWCASING SIKKIM CULTURE

SHOWCASING SIKKIM CULTURE
ITM GANGTOK 14-10-15

RED BEAUTY

RED BEAUTY
GANGTOK

ARCHITECTURAL MARVEL

ARCHITECTURAL MARVEL
MAYFAIR GANGTOK

OM NAMAH SHIVAY

OM NAMAH SHIVAY
MAYFAIR GANGTOK 02-11-15

Smile and Joy

Smile and Joy
24th September Delhi

Catelia Orchid

Catelia Orchid
Gangtok

Beautiful Chinaware Lampshed

Beautiful Chinaware Lampshed
Gangtok

Catelia Orchid

Catelia Orchid
Gangtok on 7-10-15

Morning Glow

Morning Glow
Denzong Regency- Gangtok on 7-10-15

Pink Orchid

Pink Orchid
Pakyong Area

Green Orchid

Green Orchid
Bojeytar Pakyong 26 Feb 15

Tabla or Log Piece

Tabla or Log Piece
HMI Darjeeling Nov 2014

Hand can do anything

Hand can do anything
Birla Science Museum Kolkata

Legacy and Heritage

Legacy and Heritage
Indian Museum Kolkata

Queen Nephretus of Egypt

Queen Nephretus of Egypt
India Museum Kolkata 4th Mar 15

A Buddhist Stone Art Piece

A Buddhist Stone Art Piece
Tashi Delek June 2014

Foot Print of Bason

Foot Print of Bason
Satpura Forest

Foot Print of Tiger

Foot Print of Tiger
Satpura Forest (MP) March 14

Unique Piece of Pine Wood

Unique Piece of Pine Wood

Lovely Twins

Lovely Twins

Pink,Pink,Pink

Pink,Pink,Pink
Orchid,not only Spl ,It lasts longer Also

Clean Water has a Different Impact

Clean Water has a Different Impact
Rangeet at Jorethang ,24-11-14

What a Ravishing Beauty ?

What a Ravishing Beauty ?
Teesta near Kalijhora, 19-12-14

Pre Dawn Captivating Beauty

Pre Dawn Captivating Beauty
K.JUNGA, 6:20 AM 18 -12-14

Another Dawn View -Different Angle

Another Dawn View -Different Angle
K.JUNGA, 18-12-14

View at Dawn in Biting Cold

View at Dawn in Biting Cold
K.JUNGA 18-12

Dawn Scene-2

Dawn Scene-2
V Awas 18 -12-14

Dawn Scenario

Dawn Scenario
K.JUNGA

Morning Means End of Night

Morning Means End of Night
K. JUNGA,

View at Dawn

View at Dawn
K.JUNGA 2 ,18-12-14

Early Morning Freshness

Early Morning Freshness
K.JUNGA, 18-12-14

What an eye opener early in the day?

What an eye opener early in the day?
View of 17-12-2014 from Terrace of V. Awas

Another view of full snow around Mt Kanchendzonga

Another view of full snow around  Mt Kanchendzonga
17-12-2014

Magnificent view after bone chilling night

Magnificent view after bone chilling night
17-12-2014

Beauty of Kachendzonga after a cold night

Beauty of Kachendzonga after a cold night
Vidhayak Awas Gangtok

Amazing charm of Green Orchid

Amazing charm of Green Orchid
HMI Darjeeling

Green Orchid

Green Orchid
HMI DARJEELING (13-11-14)

Bell Flower in full bloom

Bell Flower in full bloom

Yellow Orchid

Yellow Orchid
Dec 14 Circuit House

View of Kanchendzonga always inspires

View of Kanchendzonga always inspires
Vidhayak Aawas Gangtok

Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom
November 14 Ganesh Tok Gangtok

What a view after getting up ?

What a view after getting up ?
B-1 Vidhayak Aawas Gangtok

Chanda Mama looking at Kanchendzonga

Chanda Mama looking at Kanchendzonga
11-11-2014 VIP COLONY

Red Rose

Red Rose
Gangtok

Cranes having Gala Time

Cranes having Gala Time
Tigaon, Faridabad (2nd Oct 14)

Yes I am from Faridabad

Yes I am from Faridabad
Tiny, Beautiful Bird at NTPC, Ballabgarh (29.9.14)

Water Vital for Life

Water Vital for Life
Awesome view of Teesta near Kalijhora

Yes I had a Bath

Yes I had a Bath
Gladiola at 6200 ft.

Soothing Morning View

Soothing Morning View
Mt. Khangchendzonga from C.House (April, 14)

Natural Yellow Fascinates

Natural Yellow Fascinates
Gangtok (April, 2014)

Flowery Bell ?

Flowery Bell ?
Circuit House (May 14)

Riot of Colour in Monsoon

Riot of Colour in Monsoon
Circuit House, Gangtok(May 14)

Blushing orange

Blushing orange
Circuit House Gangtok (May 14)

Magnificent Taj

Magnificent Taj
Sept 2013

I can lift Taj Mahal

I can lift Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal,Sept end 2013

Natural fan to beat the heat

Natural fan to beat the heat
India Gate (24.08.14)

Engineering Marvel

Engineering Marvel
Coronation Bridge (22.08.2014)

Cascading water, soothing to eyes

Cascading water, soothing to eyes
Scene near Teesta Baazar (22.8.14)

Teesta attracts at every bend

Teesta attracts at every bend
16.7.2014

Monkey jump

Monkey jump
Teesta River, Birik(22.8.14)

Onset of Night

Onset of Night
Qutub,Sept.13

Qutub,Dusk Scene

Qutub,Dusk Scene
Sept.13

Together we take a Plunge

Together we take a Plunge
Clean Calicut Beach, Feb-2013

Setting Sun, always soothing

Setting Sun, always soothing
Dusk at a Gaya village(15.5.13)

Green Paradise in Concrete Jungle

Green Paradise in Concrete Jungle
Lake surrounding Purana Quila(20.10.13)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

SIkkim Expedition to Mount Everest


Named after the legendary mountaineer and the first Everester from Sikkim, the Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute is located at Gangtok. From the modest beginning as an adventure club in 1961, it assumed the status of a full-fledged mountaineering institute in 1963. In view of the pristine beauty and location of many peaks above the height of twenty two thousand feet, namely, Mt. Khangchendzonga, Mt. Kabru, Mt. Talung, Mt. Siniolchu, Mt. Simvo, Mt. Pandim, Mt. Rathong, and Mt. Paunhari, Sikkim was considered the right choice for training and pursuing the sport of mountaineering and adventure activities. Much ahead of this significant step, HMI, Darjeeling had started giving training to the budding mountaineers by using Yuksom area of West Sikkim as its base.
Though worthy sons of the soil, namely, Sonam Gyatso, Phu Dorji and Nadey Sherpa had achieved the difficult and challenging feat of climbing the Mount Everest, a need was recently felt to form a fresh group comprising of mountaineers from Sikkim as also other states and undertake an expedition to the ‘Sagarmatha’.
As a result of sincere work, commitment and painstaking planning for several weeks, a twenty member team was finally selected under the leadership of G.T.Bhutia, the former Principal of the SGMI. Dr. D.S.Burfal, an experienced mountaineer was chosen as the Deputy Leader and the expedition doctor. Of the twenty members, two were women, who hailed from Sikkim. One of them, Phulmaya Tamang had figured in the HMI Expedition to the world’s highest peak in 2003 but was unlucky in not reaching the summit.
Upon fulfilling the basic requirements and completion of necessary formalities, the team members had to undergo various rigorous sessions to determine their grit, stamina and determination. The objective was to put a sizeable number of mountaineers on the top. The team finally left Gangtok for New Delhi on 16th of March,2008.After some briefings, interactions and sensitizations for nearly a fortnight the highly spirited members were in a position to land at Kathmandu.
Subsequent to arranging essential climbing and camping equipments, food items and medicines, the work relating to logistics was tied up with a reputed company of Kathmandu. It took them another six days before they reached Lukla. There was nothing to worry on account of weather. Days were cool and sunny, while the nights were not very chilly. The team members, in addition, were in good health and high spirits. Perhaps, only setback the team faced was near the Namche Bazar(altitude 11,000 feet) when Bishnu, one of the members suddenly became indisposed. When sincere efforts to cure him failed, he had to be evacuated to Kathmandu.
Following a trek of another ten days over forty odd kilometers and undergoing acclimatization sessions, the team finally succeeded in setting up its first Base Camp at an altitude of 17,500 feet on 15th of April. Many of the members had the rich exposure of earlier expeditions. It became a plus point and an encouraging factor. The location maps began to be read seriously and the tips of seniors soon became the guiding principles. This being the main climbing season, a lot of activities were being witnessed in the surrounding rugged terrain. The team members did not forget to take part in a comprehensive puja for their well being and for the overall success of the expedition.
Slowly the thought of the daunting task ahead began occupying the mindset of every climber. But no one looked worried after a detailed interaction session on probable climbing routes. The next destination for them was the Khumbu Glacier. The climb was steep and therefore tough. The steep and hard ice walls on the way actually tested the technical skills of the climbers. They had to negotiate an ice maze using ladders, fixed ropes and ice axes.

After two days of hard work in the beautiful surroundings, the team could arrange its First Acclimatization Camp. A few of the members, however,had to be examined by the Deputy Leader for testing their endurance skills. They had to retreat on health grounds. With the passage of two more days, the team was in a position to climb a height of 6000 metres followed by another climb of 400 metres in the next five days. Thus, two additional rounds of acclimatizations could be completed. The Camp II was pitched at an altitude of 6400 metres on 26th April. Fourteen out of the original twenty mountaineers managed to reach this point. Intensity of cold was on rise, accompanied by strong winds and avalanche. Adequate precaution, therefore, had to be taken starting from the afternoons. At the night, biting cold conditions would prevail.
By 30th of April, further upward movement took place. Ultimately, the Fourth Acclimatization Camp could be set up. Sign of fatigue, now could be seen over the faces of a few members. When further planning and steps were being discussed, a news was received that the Government of China had imposed restrictions on more treacherous Northern Ridge approach to the peak. This was to ensure unhindered movement of the Olympic Torch. The expedition members, therefore, were compelled to modify their approach route and suspend further activities. They were, thus confined to the Camp II till 10th of May without any notable activity. They, nevertheless, kept themselves in good humor and encouraged each other to the best of their ability. When the Olympic Torch rally finally got over, further movement began.
The Camp III of the expedition could be set up on 13th May with tremendous hard work by braving inclement weather at an altitude of 7200 metres. This also meant a kind of fresh acclimatization process for the diehard 13 members. Profound discussions thereafter, led to the planning for the final assault. Further meticulous climb over the next seven days took them closer to the Lhotse Face. The view of Mt. Nuptse (25,850 feet) while ascending, was awesome. A halt or two in these beautiful settings lifted the spirits of everyone.
On 21st May, the climb began rather early for the famous transit point- South Col (26,200 ft.). Late in the afternoon, the proposed site of Camp IV located at an altitude of 8,000 metres could be approached. The sight of MT.Lhotse (27,890 feet)from here was simply out of world. It was pristine. It was crystal clear. Since the weather was very congenial, it was decided to make an attempt on the Mount Everest the same evening.
Keeping in view the fitness and overall performance, the leader decided to send D.D. Bhutia of Kalimpong first.By being cheered and encouraged by everyone, he began his climb around 19:30 hours. Kunzang Gyatso Bhutia of Sikkim followed him closely. Subsequent to almost non-stop movement of about eight hours in the trying conditions,including a 'jam' at the famous Hillary Steps, D.D. Bhutia was lucky to reach the summit of the magnificent Mount Everest at 29,035 feet. He made it at 5:30 am on 22nd May. Even though he was tired, he was extremely elated and satisfied. For him, rightly, it was a dream which came true. It was enthralling and mesmerising on top of the world. Peaks in the neighbourhood were also visible clearly.
Before Kunzang Gyatso Bhutia, the next member could make it at 5:40 am, the famous mountaineer, Yappa Sherpa of Nepal reached the peak for a record eighteenth time. Thus, the diehard Sherpa was instrumental in breaking his own world record.
The well deserved success of K.G. Bhutia was immediately followed by Ram Singh of Jammu & Kashmir. He proudly displayed the Indian tri colour and the flag of J&K Police exactly at 5:40 am. The summit was full of colourful prayer flags and many other things left behind by other mountaineers.
The next turn was that of two women climbers from Sikkim - Phulmaya Tamang and Yangdi Sherpa. With their sincerity and determination, they set foot on the highest point of the world at 6:30 am. While doing so they became the first two women to accomplish the feat from anywhere in the North Eastern Region.
Phulmaya Tamang was lucky after a gap of five years, having failed at a substantial height as a member of HMI 2003 Expedition. Recounting their experience and feelings, later, they stated “It was unbelievable. We felt as if we were in the sky. Everything else was down below. We closed our eyes on reaching the top. We thanked God and offered prayers (Mt. Everest is considered Chomolongma or the Mother Goddess of the Earth by the Sherpas).Given a choice, we are ready to climb again.”
The next five members namely, Ashish K. Singh of Uttarakhand, Nima Wangchuk Sherpa of Sikkim, N. Suraj Singh of Manipur, Yaduram Sharma of Siliguri and Atul Karwal of Gujarat reached the top between 6:30 and 8.30 am. Relentless hard work and blessings of God enabled Karwal to become the first All India Services officer to achieve the distinction.Similarly, Nima Wangchuk at the age of fifty nine years and seven months became the oldest Indian ever to accomplish the feat. According to him, it was the greatest achievement of his life.He was working very hard for same for forty years.
It was a very busy and lucky day at the Mount Everest. Including ten victorious members of this expedition, altogether twenty seven mountaineers from different countries made it to the summit. Overall, it was a show of fantastic camrederie and performance by the Sikkim expedition .Putting ten climbers on top in one attempt without any accident or casualty was incredible indeed.
After spending half an hour and expressing pleasure and happiness over their remarkable achievements, all the climbers could return to Camp IV at South Col between 14:00 and 15.00 hours. They had to spend the night therein. This night however, was different. In view of their accomplishments, all could get sound sleep.
The next day, the team reached Camp II located at a height of 6,400 metres. Climbing down ,however ,was not easy. Same precautions or sometimes more had to be taken. By 24th May, the team could reach the base camp at 17,500 feet.
On 27th May ,all except three members, departed for Kathmandu. The three members, namely. Dr. D.S. Burfal, P.W. Sherpa and S. Pokhariyal stayed back at the Base Camp for the Everest Marathon organised by Bikrum Pandey, of the Himalayan Expedition Company,Kathmandu. Organised between the Everest Base Camp and Namche Bazar(42 kms),it is the highest marathon venue in the world.
With a sense of pride, the whole team returned to Kathmandu on 31st May. Half of the team departed for New Delhi. Those belonging to Sikkim and nearby states returned to a rousing welcome and reception by the Tourism Department at Rangpo on 5th of June. People from all walks of life in Sikkim appeared overjoyed. It was a resounding success after a gap of 43 years.(Late Sonam Gyatso had climbed the Mt. Everest in 1965).Sri Pawan Chamling, the Chief Minister of Sikkim expressing his extreme happiness, congratulated the expedition members.
The expedition, per se, had some more achievements to their credit apart from putting ten members on the top of the Mount Everest. These were;
-- Nepal Army was assisted in building a helipad at the Everest Base Camp for the emergency evacuations. Same was used a couple of times in their presence.
--In a rare humanitarian gesture, Ashish Singh gave his oxygen cylinder to a Vietnamese climber when the latter had exhausted his own. Thus a precious life was saved during the return journey between the summit and the Camp IV.
--The medical team of the expedition, in the same way, saved the life of Miss Kalpana Das, a single woman climber from Orissa .On 21st May, after scaling the peak she was reported to have developed severe dehydration and abdominal pain. She was kept on observation at the Base Camp for more than twenty eight hours and given all possible care. Ultimately, she recovered upon being evacuated by a helicopter to Kathmandu.
--Last but not the least, thirty nine expeditions from different parts of the world were also given free medical aid..
One hopes that more young men and women from the North-Eastern Region will be inspired by the achievements of the expedition. They may, perhaps be encouraged to take up mountaineering activity more seriously and diligently than before.

1 comment:

nepalwriter said...

Sherpas are the true heroes of Everest. Without their assistance, very few would reach the summit. To learn more about this amazing tribe, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view.

Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to www.beyondthesummit-novel.com

Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
Richard Blake for Readers Views.

A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest. EverestNews.com

A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review

LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

LeBlanc’s vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week

A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there. USABookNews.com

This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.”
– John (college professor)

Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialog. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA

This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels

Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.
By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina)

Available through Barnes and Noble, Borders, amazon.com, Chesslerbooks.com, and the web site