Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Jamshedpur mountaineer aims to be first Indian woman to summit Mount Everest without oxygen

Himalayan Paths

My roots have been calling me back, says TSAF instructor  

Mail News Service

Jamshedpur, March 29:  Senior instructor of Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF)  Asmita Dorjee aims to script history by being the first Indian woman to summit Everest without oxygen.

Climbing to the top of Mount Everest without oxygen is no easy feat, but mountaineer Asmita says she’s ready to take up the challenge and hopes to join the list of around 200 mountaineers internationally who had taken on the Everest Challenge successfully.

Apart from being the first Indian woman mountaineer, 38-year-old Asmita would also become a part of the select band of  200 mountaineers who have made the ascent to the top without oxygen.

According to reports, 216 people worldwide had successfully summited the world’s highest peak without supplementary oxygen. 

Asmita is the daughter of Sherpa Ang Dorjee who was part of Bachendri Pal’s Everest expedition in 1984 and later passed away during another expedition.  She moved to Jamshedpur when she was just three years old.

“I was born in Thesu, a hamlet above Namache Bazaar in Everest region. I moved to India after my mother passed away in 1989. I was brought up by Bachendri Pal as a family member and TSAF supported me in completing the Basic Mountaineering Course in 2001 and Advanced Mountaineering Course in 2003 after which, I was employed as instructor at TSAF,” said Asmita while addressing a press meet at JRD Tata Sports Complex.

Sharing her excitement and preparations for the expedition, Asmita said, “I have been waiting since childhood to stand atop the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. I will set off for the grueling trek early next month. My roots have been calling me back since my father’s death on Mt Everest. It will not just be an achievement but a moment full of emotion when I breathe the air of my birthplace without taking recourse to supplementary oxygen.”

Asmita is scheduled to fly to Kathmandu on April 3, 2022 post which she will leave for Everest Base Camp on April 6. This journey will take around eight days to reach the base camp where she will take a couple of days to acclimatize. She will then attempt climbing Lobuche East, which stands at a height of 6,119 meters in the Himalayan region.  Following the attempt, Asmita will then return to Base Camp -3 for one month of rotational acclimatization following which she will embark on her Everest venture between May 15 and 25 when the weather was expected to be fair for climbing. Asmita had climbed more than eight peaks measuring more than 6,000 meters.

“These expeditions were the building blocks of my mountaineering journey. An expedition to this highest summit and such ventures require a lot of active preparation that I commenced in April 2019. I have been training since the last three years with focus to improve my strength, endurance and stamina sans oxygen packs. I have climbed many 6,000 and 7000meter peaks as part of my training. In addition, I have been cycling and running long distances. I am also doing a lot of trail running in TSAF base camp at Uttarkashi and Dalma hills in Jamshedpur. The learning experience I continue to gain from advise of Everesters and these continue to play key roles in my Everest preparations,” shared Asmita. 

Asmita’s safety will be priority:  Chanakya Chaudhary

Flagging off the challenging expedition, Chanakya Chaudhary, Chairman, Tata Steel Adventure Foundation and Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, observed, “Entire Jamshedpur is backing Asmita as she sets off on an extremely difficult and arduous expedition. We wish the very best to Asmita for a successful and safe climb. Achievements will come and go but human life is more important. Asmita’s safety, however, will remain the topmost priority of the team.  Asmita has the zeal and this attempt is an example of the ultimate showcase of human endurance and the indomitable spirit that she possesses.”

Hemant Gupta, Head, TSAF said, “The Adventure foundation had been planning to send Asmita to Mt Everest in 2020 and 2021 but the expedition had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” and added, “”The attempt will be unique considering the extreme thin air available and death zone above 8000 meters, marked by other challenges of strong winds and extreme cold conditions. There have been very few people in the world who have scaled Mt Everest without supplementary oxygen. Due to very low oxygen availability, climbers need to put supplementary oxygen from camp-3 (above 7100-metre) to survive and return safely.”

Climbing Everest without oxygen is big challenge: Premlata

TSAF Manager and Padma Shri awardee and the record of being the first Indian to climb the seven summits, Premlata Agarwal wished Asmita the very best for the toughest challenge. Premlata said, “Asmita has taken up a big challenge to climb Mt Everest without oxygen. Climbing Everest in itself is a very difficult ask and it becomes all the more tough when one aims to reach the highest pinnacle without supplementary oxygen. One has to be physical and mentally strong and determined as weather conditions during the climb are hostile. Although she is a Sherpa and mountain oxygen runs in her blood, the challenges will persist.”


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