Padma Bhushan awardee Bachendri Pal to lead expedition trek to Mt Everest


New Delhi: Padma Bhushan awardee Ms. Bachendri Pal, Chief, Adventure Programmes, Tata Steel & Director, Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) and the first Indian woman to scale Mt Everest, is leading a trek to commemorative the Silver Jubilee of the 1993 Indo Nepalese Women’s Everest Expedition (INWEE 1993). The 1993 expedition was also led by Ms. Pal.

The 12-day trek, led by Ms. Pal, will cover 3,790 meters (mt) leg of the 8,848 mt stretch of the Mt Everest climb. The trek will include 10 women mountaineers and one technical advisor from the 1993 record-breaking expedition (Bachendri Pal, Nimi Sherpa, Chandra Prabha Aitwal, Dicky Dolma, Savita Thapwal, Suman KutiyalDatal, Radha Devi, Harsha Panwar, G Anita Devi, Dr. Rita Sharad Singh and Rajeev Sharma – Technical Advisor) and two additional members (Shamala Padmanabhan and Chetna Sahoo). Mr Rajeev Sharma was the Technical Advisor of the 1993 expedition team.

The commemorative expedition will start from Lukla and will retrace the INWEE 1993 route till Khumjung at 3,790 mt above the sea level. The expedition had taken the South-East Ridge route to climb Mt. Everest.

Ms Bachendri Pal along with the expedition team and Mr Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, met President Ram Nath Kovind, on Friday (April 12, 2019) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. The President conveyed his good wishes to the team and remarked on how this team was an inspiration for others.

Ms Bachendri Pal said, “For me, leading the first-ever international expedition from India to Mt Everest was the ultimate challenge and gave a far greater sense of achievement than scaling Mt. Everest in 1984. The 1993 expedition that saw seven women reach the Summit of Mt Everest not only broke several records but also became an inspiring story for women everywhere to come out with flying colors in spite of the steep challenges, figuratively and literally.”

“Through our work at TSAF, several chapters have been added to this inspiring story. This commemorative expedition is not just a trek down the memory lane but a reminder to women in every walk of life that there is nothing that is not within our reach if we are willing to stand up and deliver with guts, grit, and gumption,” Ms Bachendri Pal added.

The 1993 Indo-Nepalese Women’s Everest Expedition comprising 23 members(Bachendri Pal, Rita Marwah, Santosh Yadav, Nimi Sherpa, UpasanaMalla, Chandra PrabhaAitwal, Deepu Sharma, KungaBhutia, Dicky Dolma, Radha Devi, Bimla Negi, Savita Mortolia, Suman Kutiyal, Sarla Negi, K Saraswati, Dr. Rita Patel, Harsha Panwar, G Anita Devi, Rajeev Sharma, Nima Norbu, BaldevKanwar, J N Panwar and Thapa)was led by Ms. Pal. This was the first International all women expedition from India to successfully scale the summit of Mt Everest in its very first attempt. The historic expedition set up several world records at the time which included the largest number of individuals (18) from a single expedition to climb Mount Everest and also the most number of women (7) from a single country to scale Mt Everest. Nimi Sherpa and UpasanaMalla were the Nepalese team members.

The 1993 expedition was launched by Indian Mountaineering Foundation and supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India. All the members of the historic INWEE 1993 expedition were given the first National Adventure Award which is now known as the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award.

Ms Pal has personally conducted adventure programmes and motivated thousands of women to participate and develop the ‘can do spirit’.  At a National level, she has led several path-breaking expeditions with teams from across the country, providing first such opportunities to several women.

Some of the landmark adventure programmes led by Ms Pal include The Great Indian Women’s Rafting Voyage in 1994, The Indian Women’s First Trans Himalayan Journey in 1997, Vijay Rally to Kargil in 1999, Indo-African Women Team to Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2008 and the Indian Women’s first successful expedition to Snowman Trek in Bhutan in 2011.

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