Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Up above the world so high: TSAF trio share their journey to Mt Everest

Jamshedpur: The three-member expedition team from Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF), which scaled the Everest on May 21, returned back to city safely from the 17,500 ft base camp. Sandeep, Poonam and Swarnalata Dalai (20) are happy to have returned after achieving big feat.


“We feel lucky to have reached the summit and return safely. We saw death from very close and had lost all hopes of scaling the mountain,” said Sandeep and Poonam.

“At one situation I had to wait for nearly an hour from 6.30 am to 7.30 am near the summit (28, 700 ft) on May 21 for the cylinder as my Sherpa was far behind me. I had no oxygen and began gasping. I was lucky that a climber from Uttarakhand Police lent me a spare cylinder which had just 10 per cent oxygen left,” Sandeep, a senior instructor with the TSAF, recollected.

Poonam also faced a harrowing time. The in-charge of TSAF’s base camp in Kuflon, Uttarakhand, had to wait for oxygen cylinder for nearly two hours at the Everest balcony (27,500 ft).

Swarnalata, a tribal from Odisha, also become victim of sheer negligence of the sherpas. She ran out of oxygen, water and sleeping bag after dropping anchor at Camp 3 ( (23,625 ft).

Poonam, 21 years old, has done Basic and Advance mountaineering courses and trekked to Everest Base Camp in April 2017. She hails from Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand.

Swarnalata Dalai, 20 years old, is from the state of Odisha. She has trekked to Everest Base camp, climbed Mt. Rudugaira and undergone various high-altitude treks in Himalayas. She is the first girl from Odisha to be sponsored by Tata Steel for Everest Expedition.

Sandeep Toliya has been working with TSAF for more than 10 years as Sr. Instructor. He has done Basic and Advance mountaineering courses, Method of instruction, Outdoor Educator Semester at National Outdoor Leadership Course, USA, trip leader course at NOLS, Ranikhet.

The Everesters had been undergoing training at the TSAF for the past one year. In February this year, they were sent to Mt. Aconcagua (Highest peak of South America & one of the 7 summits) as part of their training to provide them with climbing experience with international climbers. During the training, they faced turbulent weather, high altitudes and thin air with less oxygen, an experience like the Mt. Everest expedition.

The trio left Jamshedpur for Garhwal Himalaya on Feb 25 for another round of training under TSAF. This included a month-long training on the snow-covered mountains to get acclimatized to the cold conditions, heavy load carrying up and down the mountain slopes, and sleeping in tents.

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