Indian Army Team

Indian Army personnel including the Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition team. Photo Courtesy: India's Press Information Bureau (PIB)

KATHMANDU: A team of army personnel today reached the base camp of Mt Makalu in Sankhuwasabha district to begin the Indian Army’s maiden expedition to the 8,485-metre peak.

According to Mingma Sherpa, chairman at Seven Summit Treks, a 15-member team led by Manoj Joshi is attempting to climb the world’s fifth highest mountain this spring season. “The team is now at the base camp and it will start acclimatisation rotations in a day or two,” Sherpa, whose company locally handles the Indian Army expedition, shared.

“This is the first Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu comprising five officers, two junior commissioned officers and 11 other ranks,” Sherpa said, adding that the team would also set up different camps en route to the summit point.

According to the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the team comprises Joshi as its leader and Jigmat Namgail, Balwant Singh, Ankur Rawat, Devendra Singh, Dinesh Kumar, Sanjay Kumar Chaudhary, Deepak Kumar, Pankaj Gaur, Sunil Kumar Rai, Ram Bahadur Mall, Dhane Karki, Indar Singh Adhikari, Narayan Singh and Jaypal Singh as members.

The expedition was flagged off by Director General Military Training on March 26, according to India’s Press Information Bureau. “In furtherance of the objective of summiting all challenging peaks above 8,000 m, Indian Army has launched its maiden expedition to Mt Makalu,” PIB’s statement read.

As Mt Makalu is considered one of the most dangerous peaks and summiting the peak is considered extremely challenging due to inclement weather conditions and freezing temperatures, the peak will test the climbers for technical acumen, mental and physical courage and their determination to reach atop the mountain, the statement added.

According to PIB, the team has trained hard for last six months as part of the preparation to fulfil the daunting task assigned to them by successfully conducting an expedition to Mt Kamet and winter training including the summit of Mt Bhanoti in 2018.