Kathmandu , 21 May 2006
India’s Border Security Force conquered the ultimate border, the highest point in the world, when six of its men summited Mt. Everest, the first for the agency as well as the first ascent of the 8,848-metre-high peak this summer by Indian climbers.
Loveraj Singh Dharmshaktu, 33, from Pithoragarh in India’s Uttaranchal state, Kamlesh Kumar Bounthiyal, 36, from Pauri Garhwal, also in Uttaranchal, and four mountaineers from New Delhi, Praveen Singh Lohis, 31, Kedar Singh, 30, Bhagat Singh Rawat, 28, and Manoj Dahal, 28, were the first to reach the summit from Nepal Saturday.
Six Nepali Sherpas working as their high-altitude guides and porters also ascended with the team.
The climbers began their last push Friday night, summiting at 6 a.m. After they reached the top, 16 more mountaineers from different expeditions also summited the same day, making it a total of 28 climbers on a single day.
While the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police have sent men to the summit earlier, this is the first time that a BSF team has performed the feat. Last year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) team’s performance was marred by tragedy when one of its climbers, Squadron leader S.S. Chaitanya, lost his way while descending due to a snowstorm and died on the icy slope.
The 14-member team led by Sharab Chandub Negi was flagged off from New Delhi in March by Home Minister Shiv Raj Patil.
Unlike the other security agencies, the BSF started mountaineering and other adventurous sports much later, debuting in 1978 with its first expedition to Mt. Nun, a 7,135 m Himalayan peak.
To prepare for the 2006 Everest expedition, the BSF team scaled Mt. Satopanth last year.
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