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Bulgarian summit push Everest North - Indian Navy update
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May 14, 2004 01: 37 EST
News at last from two "silent" teams on Everest. The Bulgarians and the Indian Navy - both on the North side:

The Everest Traverse veterans are back commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first Bulgarian ascent on Everest, when four of the climbers succeeded in making the second traverse of Everest by climbing up the West Ridge of the peak and down the southeast.
Now three of the summiteers return 20 years later, to attempt Everest from the North side and without oxygen. Leader is Metodi Savov who lost parts of his legs during the 1984 Everest climb. The other returning summiteers are Nikolay Petkov, who later also scaled Dhaulagiri in 1997 and Ivan Valchev (also Makalu 1998 without oxygen).

Other team members are Zveta Misheva who will try to become the first Bulgarian woman to summit Everest, Petko Totev (Broad peak 2001), Stanimir Zhelyazkov (Broad peak 2001), Ivan Temelkov, Doychin Boyanov, Christo Christov (Thalay Sagar 2003, new route), and Karina Salova (Shisha Pangma Foresummit 1999, physician).

Zveta Misheva and Petko Totev are going up Friday. Others are already camping at 7,800 meters (25,590 feet), climber Nikolay Petkov told the Sofia daily. Misheva and Totev are supposed to fix the last camp at 8,300 meters (27,230 feet). Petkov said he would lead a three-member group of the climbers to the summit on Sunday or Monday and another three members of the expedition are supposed to go up on Wednesday.

Indian Navy, Everest plus 250 feet

The Indian Navy team kicked off their expedition in early March off the coast of Goa in a Russian EKM submarine, 250 ft below the surface, with the defense minister of India in attendance to flag the team. Commander Satyabrata Dam is leading the 14-member expedition on Everestís North side.

In an e-mail to ExWeb this hour, they write that the team has reached Advanced Base Camp at 6400 meters. Commander Dam, the team leader, is a submariner and if he summits the Everest, he would be the first submariner, mountaineer to achieve this feat. The team reports:

"For the duration of the expedition, the Navy has set up an Everest Expedition Control Cell, New Delhi.

In an update on the teamís progress, the Officer in Charge of the cell, Lt. Commander Sameer Chopra said, 'The team arrived at the Base Camp, located at a height of 5200 meters, on April 06, 2004. Thereafter, on April 15, they reached the Advanced Base Camp, at a height of 6400 meters.

Thanks to good weather, the team achieved its first breakthrough on April 22; the route to North Col was opened by the team of sherpas and climbers. The team faced a rough time climbing higher with winds as strong as 110-150 kms/hr making it nearly impossible to go on further. Only sheer determination and grit has kept them going.

After having reached a height of 7800 meters, the team is now back to the Advanced Base Camp and will resume their final steps soon. The teamís progress to the summit is as per the plans and we hope to summit by the end of May 2004.'

Perennially driven by its unquenchable thirst for new challenges, the Indian Navy has always been on the forefront of adventure activities and has re-entered the arena of extreme mountaineering. Mt. Suithilla, a hitherto virgin peak, was recently scaled by the Naval mountaineers in their maiden attempt. Last year, they scaled Mt. Kamet (7756 meters), Abi Gamin (7354 meters) during May Ė June 2003 and Mt. Saser Kangri (7,677 meters)- adding credence to their claim 'We donít just rule the high seas, we also scale the highest peaks.'"

Check in later today on profiles of the Indian Navy team members.

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