President Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil, flags in the successful Indian Army Women Everest Expedition Team on 3JUL12, which has created history by putting seventeen climbers ontop of Mount Everest on 25 and 26 May 2012. One of them, Subedar Rajendra Singh Jalal climbed Everest without using supplemental oxygen, the first Indian Army man to do so.
It took one full year of training and two phase selections, one at Siachen Base Camp and the other at Manali, to find and prepare the final team of seven women and ten male climbers along with the support staff. The expedition was led by Colonel Ajay Kothiyal an experienced mountaineer. The expedition was ‘Flagged Off’ by Lieutenant General Ramesh Halagali, Deputy Chief of Army Staff, on 12 Mar 2012. They set off for Kathmandu on 22 Mar 2012 from Delhi and after a strenuous trek of eighteen days, the team reached the Everest Base Camp on 14 Apr 2012.
The expedition team comprised of:
Major RS Jamwal, Deputy Leader (Jammu & Kashmir), Captain Nitin Balram Ahuja, Medical Officer cum Base Camp Manager (Maharastra), Major N Linyu (Nagaland), Major Neha Bhatnagar (Rajasthan), Captain Namrata Rathore (Uttarakhand), Captain Poonam Sangwan (Haryana), Captain Prachi R Gole (Maharastra), Captain Deepika Rathore (Rajasthan), Captain Smitha L (Karnataka), Subedar Rajendra Singh Jalal, (Uttarakhand), Subedar Tajpal Singh Negi, (Uttarakhand), Subedar Prabhudayal Bisht (Uttarakhand), Subedar Khim Chand, (Himachal Pradesh), Havildar Sherab Palden (Jammu & Kashmir), Havildar Praveen Thapa (Uttarakhand), Havildar Sonam Targais (Jammu & Kashmir), Havildar Hoshiyar Singh (Himachal Pradesh), Havildar Chander Bahadur Thapa (Uttarakhand), Lance Havildar Sudhir Singh (Punjab), Naik Unnikannan (Kerala) and Lance Naik Daljinder Singh (Punjab).
The team’s brief stay in Nepal was marked with camaraderie between Nepal Army and Indian Army climbers. Gen Chhatraman Singh Gurung, The Chief of Nepal Army visited the expedition members at Everest Base Camp, prior to their summit attempt and subsequently hosted a private dinner for the team at his house. Indian Army Women Everest Expedition Team members also met all Nepalese women mountaineers who have summited Mt Everest during the past few years.