Jamshedpur: The first Indian woman to conquer Mount Everest, Bachendri Pal will lead a 10-member, all women’s team, all of whom are more than 50-years-old on a five-month-long expedition from Arunachal to Ladakh along with the Himalayan range.
The ‘FIT@50+ Women’s Trans Himalayan Expedition, is scheduled to start on 8th March 2022 from Arunachal Pradesh and will cover around 4,625 kilometres across about 37 mountain passes including the 17,320 feet Lamkhaga Pass, considered one of the toughest, said Pal, who will turn 67 when the expedition commences.
Organised by Tata Steel Adventure Foundation, the expedition which was to take off in May last year but had to be postponed due to the global pandemic, is slated to conclude in the Drass area of Ladakh in the first or second week of August. “The expedition will inspire and motivate women of all age groups to include fitness activities in their daily lives to stay healthy,” the legendary Indian mountaineer told PTI.
The objective behind the expedition is to send out a message that life does not end at 50 and “we must enjoy it by keeping ourselves fit,” she said. Pal said it was an all-women expedition, signifying women’s empowerment, and 8th March has been chosen for the kick-off as it’s international women’s day.
In the pandemic era, women’s health and fitness played a key role both in keeping families together and towards nation-building, the mountaineer pointed out.
The team members, drawn from across India, comprise three women Everest summiteers, retired professionals and homemakers.
The team has recently undergone a week-long pre-expedition training at Uttarkashi, she said adding that the team would be accompanied by two male supportive members for coordination and cooking purposes. The 10-member team will commence their journey from Arunachal Pradesh’s Pangsau Pass, near the Indo-Burma border and will then make their way through the state passing Thungri and cross over to Assam.
The earlier plan was to take trails through Bhutan. However, the entry in Bhutan continues to remain closed due to pandemic, Pal said. From there, the expedition will briefly pass through West Bengal cross over into Sikkim and cover Chitrey, Kala Pokhari and Sandakphu.
The team will then move into Nepal, where the route enters the Dhaulagiri range and covers Salpa Pass, Lamajura Pass and also crosses Thorang la (17,769 ft) around Annapurna Massif. From western Nepal, the trail goes from Jumla and enters the Kumaon district in Uttarakhand at Dharchula.
From here, the expedition will cross Lamkhaga Pass (17,320 ft) one of the toughest passes, which connects the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh with Harshil of Uttarakhand.
The team will then traverse to Himachal and then will trek through Spiti to cross Kaza, Kibber and cross Parang La (18,307 ft). The expedition will conclude in the Leh-Ladakh region where the team will cross Namshang La (15,900 ft) and finish at Tiger hill in Drass region of Kargil district (16,607 ft).
(With Inputs from PTI)