Army team returns for Everest expedition after quake

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) The Indian Army team that was at the Mt. Everest base camp last year when a massive earthquake hit Nepal is returning to the world’s highest mountain, with the expedition being flagged off on Tuesday.

The 30-member Everest Massif Expedition to scale Mt. Everest and Mt. Lhotse, was flagged off by Lt. Gen. M.M.S. Rai, the vice chief of the army.

This is the same team which was at the Everest base camp when the 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.

The team of five officers, four junior commissioned officers and 21 of other ranks, will attempt to summit Mt. Everest, and Mt. Lhotse, the fourth highest peak, and is being led by Lt. Col. R.S. Jamwal, a reputed climber who was also the leader during last year’s expedition.

Last year, an avalanche struck the base camp, destroying camps of many expedition teams, killing 22 international climbers and local sherpas, and injuring more than 70 other people, some of whom were critical due to severe head injuries.

The Indian Army’s Everest expedition camp was also in the path of the avalanche, but its members were safe.

The team immediately took control of the situation by regrouping themselves and started helping by providing stretcher bearers, as also providing shelter and rations to those in need.

As various agencies gradually moved their mountaineers down, the Indian Army team was the last to leave the base camp.

This time, the expedition will reach the base camp on April 14, and will make summit attempts between May 16 and 30.

Two members of the team would also be attempting the Everest-Lhotse traverse and five members would be participating in the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon on May 29, 2016. On completion of the expedition, the team will return to Delhi on June 10.

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