Women on top
The first all-girl team of the National Cadet Corps (NCC), which consisted of 10 girl cadets forming part of the expedition, between the age group of 17 to 21 years, successfully climbed the world’s tallest peak on May 21 and 22, 2016.
The NCC team successfully scaled the world’s highest peak in two teams, the first team reached the summit on May 21 and the second team reached the top on May 22, making it the first ever successful expedition by NCC girls’ team.
The team, led by Col Gaurav Karki, reached the base camp on April 21 and established four camps enroute to make it easier for the team to adjust to higher altitudes. They then went to each camp and spent a night, after which they returned to the base camp. Having acclimatised, the cadets waited for favourable weather to climb the summit. The women divided themselves into two teams. The second team was lead by Lt Col Vishal Alhawat.
The team had trained hard for the Mt Everest Mission. Selection of officers and staff was carried out two years back in January (2014). Thereafter, 100 cadets were selected by trials held pan-India. The selected cadets then underwent a special mountain course at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), Darjeeling.
Pre-Everest expedition to Mt Deo-Tibba (19688 ft), near Manali in Himachal Pradesh was conducted for 40 cadets in April-May 2015. Fifteen cadets were selected for the next phase based on their performance. In August 2015, the team set off on the second pre-Everest expedition to Mt Trishul (23,360 ft), and selected 10 girl cadets for the Everest expedition. These cadets thereafter underwent a month long intensive winter training in Siachen Glacier at the Indian Army’s Siachen Battle School, before setting course for Nepal.
The aim of mountaineering expeditions in NCC is to strengthen the character and instill qualities of courage, comradeship, discipline and leadership in the cadets. NCC has always been in the forefront of adventure activities. The first mountaineering course for NCC cadets was conducted for 42 days at HMI in 1961. Every year, NCC sponsors 354 cadets (both boys and girls) for various mountaineering courses at HMI, Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports in Manali and Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports in Pahalgam.
NCC conducts two mountaineering expeditions every year, one each for boy and girl cadets thus having launched more than 70 expeditions to various peaks.