www.explorersweb.com [everest] [K2] [oceans] [poles] [space] [tech] [weather] [statistics] [medical] [SPANISH] Some text

Indian Air Force quest for Everest: "The view of the mountain left us spellbound"
image story

Apr 22, 2005 09: 15 EST
The Indian Air Force guys are flying close behind the ladies from the Indian Army on Everest North side. IAF expedition leader Amit Chowdhury, 46, launched his IAF expedition in style - four mountaineers skydived from a helicopter to present the expedition flag from the sky. Reports from the fighter pilots have been scarce, but yesterday a lengthy dispatch arrived. Amit finally found some time to reflect:

Tibet to Lhasa in body lengths

"For the first time, I've found a little time to sit down and write about what's been happening. Well, we arrived at Lhasa on the 31st. We had to spend 3 nights at Lhasa to acclimatize at 12,000 feet, and also to pick up a few things like cooking pots and pans, nets, gas cylinders etc. Of course we also saw the very interesting Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple.

The Jokhang Temple reminded me of a Nat Geo program that had been done on a pilgrim who measured the distance from his village in Tibet to Lhasa in a straight line in body lengths (Sastang Pranayam). It took him two years, with his mother and wife coming along on the normal route, waiting for him at a reasonable distance. The pilgrim would mark his day's effort with a pile of stones, rest for the night with his mother and wife and continue his journey the next day.

Impressive roads and efficient services in Tibet

Lhasa is a modern, thriving city today with wide roads, public transport, malls etc. The airport terminal is well laid out and modern, complete with aerobridges, and efficient passenger and cargo handling facilities, much of what we miss at Indian airports.

The drive to Base Camp through Shigatse (the second biggest city in Tibet) and Shegar was uneventful, except that we were very impressed with the roads and efficient services available everywhere. Our Tibetian guide wanted us to see all the monasteries en-route, but we were more interested in conserving as much energy as possible, thereby acclimatizing properly. We reached BC on the 7th.

BC camp by a memorial for Mallory and Irving

Base Camp is like a small village. The Rombuk monastery short of BC is being rebuilt and looks quite deserted. The entrance of BC is lined with tea shops. The Tibetan Mountaineering Association has its office atop a small hillock. It's mandatory for the leader to report and present all the permits etc.

There is always a scramble for good camping space. Our Sherpa sirdar was waiting for us and had already occupied some space next to a hillock on which stands the small memorial to Mallory and Irving. At 17,000 feet we had to be very careful to rest on the first two days. The view of the mountain from BC left us speechless and spellbound.

Space is also at a premium at ABC

The rest days were utilized in looking at Everest at various times of the day, trying to figure out at what time the famous plume of Everest started and comparing with photos and literature as to where the many routes to the mountain were. Winds were very strong at BC and our tents had to be literally tied down with ropes.

As soon as Doc Hemant declared us fit, we started preparing for the move further up the mountain. Two days were spent in "height gain", the age old adage which says 'climb high and sleep low' for proper acclimatization.

A party of 11 reached Advance Base on the 13th, gaining almost 4000 ft. Space is also at a premium at ABC. We had of course sent a couple of Sherpas to occupy a good camping ground. A second party reached on the 17th. Meanwhile three members who were bringing some of the gear which had been supplied late also reached BC. They have to go through the acclimatization phase and are expected at ABC on the 20th, along with the oxygen which we have also fetched up from Kathmandu.

The ladies to touch 28000 ft

Today a team of 10 members and 9 Sherpas have gone up for a ferry to North Col (23,000 ft). This process will continue for the next few days, after which all the climbers earmarked for the summit attempt will go up to spend two nights at North Col (Camp I) and touch 27000 ft before we all go back to Base Camp around the 4th/ 5th to recuperate for the final climb. The weather here is good, very sunny and calm.

The Army women's team meanwhile has gone up to North Col once and gone back to BC on the 17th because they experienced high winds at ABC. The leader says he plans to bring the team up again in a few days, touch 28000 ft and go back to BC once again to recuperate for the final push to summit."

IAF expedition leader Amit Chowdhury 46, is married with two kids (13, 17). An experienced climber he led the Jadavpur University team to climb all three Jogin peaks (Garhwal Himalaya) including the virgin Jogin II in 1980.

Later he led expeditions to Sudarshan, Jaonli, CB53/54, Hanuman Tibba, Deo Tibba, and was a member of expeditions to Satopanth, Kamet West Ridge and Principal of the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering in Gulmarg, Kashmir.

Image of the view from Everest camp 4, courtesy of Serac Films.

Feature Stories Latest News more news

1. Magic Line   
2. Russian Jannu Exp.   
Jannu North Face
3. Over Everest - Richard
      Over Everest - Angelo   
Everest Ultra light
4. Dominick Arduin   
North Pole
5. Spaceship One   
6. Central North Wall   
Mount Everest
7. Russian Extreme Pr.    
Amin Brakk BASE jump
8. Fiona & Rosie    
South Pole

Special mention:

Edurne Pasaban
Juanito Oiarzabal

Henk De Velde
North West Passage

Pavel Rezvoy

Nawang Sherpa

The Spirit of Adventure

Mount Everest Expeditions  •  Mount Everest Technology  •  Mount Everest Weather  •  Mount Everest Medical  •  Mount Everest Guide  •  Mount Everest News  Mount Everest Video  •  Mount Everest Trekking Agencies  •  Mount Everest Climbing Permits#8226;  Mount Everest Statistics  •  Mount Everest Expedition List  •  Mount Everest Resources  •  Mount Everest Community