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Memoirs of veteran mountaineer Romen Banerjee

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credit: www.outsideonline.com

By Arnab Mitra and Ila Garg

Born on June 20, 1951, and brought up in North Kolkata, Romen Banerjee is a veteran mountaineer. The scenic beauty of mountains had always attracted him, since his childhood days. He grew up to be the first civilian of India to conquer Mt Everest in 1971.

At the age of 20 when he was a second-year commerce student, he took conquering peaks as his mission. He along with six other members of Balak Sangha mountaineer club started their mission from the highest peak of the world, that is, Mt Everest. He successfully scaled the deadly heights of Mt Everest with the help of two sherpas, namely, Ang Tshering and Pemba Doorjie. It took him 11 days to reach the peak and complete his first mission.

It was on June 19, 1971, that he finally reached the peak, and was subsequently honoured by the West Bengal government for becoming the first Indian civilian to conquer Everest. This victory was enough for him to start off with the expedition of conquering all the prominent peaks of the world. His achievements include scaling the peak of Kanchenjungha in 1973, Nanda Devi in 1974, Sandakphu in December of 1974, Dodda Betta in 1975 and broad peak in 1977. He then joined IMF in 1981 and alongside managed two schools in Garwal.

Banerjee, at present, works as a teacher in Himalayan Mountaineer Association. He is also a member of IMF Eastern region. He actively participates in different camps and continues to inspire young mountaineering enthusiasts. 

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Nepali Woman scales Mt Everest with the message to fight against human trafficking

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Kanchhi Maya Tamang, a trafficking survivor with a message against human trafficking

Kathmandu, 21 May, 2017:A Nepali woman has scaled up Mt Everest with the message to fight against human trafficking, becoming the first to climb the worlds highest peak for women empowerment and gender equality, according to UN Women Nepal.

Kanchhi Maya Tamang, a trafficking survivor, has also become the first woman from the Tamang community of Nepal to summit Mt Everest.

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Tamang was seen holding a poster stating “We are people, not property” in an undated photograph taken on the mountain. She is herself a trafficking survivor, reported Himalayan Times.

Associated with UN Women, Tamang, along with Pemba Dorje Sherpa climbed Mt Everest with a message to “Fight Against Human Trafficking”, said Gyanendra Shrestha, a liaison officer in the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Tamang was accompanied by 19 other climbers from Japan, Australia and India. (IANS)

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Arunachal Woman Anshu Jamsenpa scripts History by Unfurling Indian Flag at Mt. Everest for fourth time

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama had on April 2 this year flagged off the mountaineer's double ascent expedition from Guwahati in Assam

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Mount Everest, Wikimedia

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh’s Anshu Jamsenpa on Tuesday scripted history of a sort by becoming the first Indian woman to scale the Mount Everest for the fourth time. She will attempt a double ascent to the world’s highest peak to make it a total five successful climbs.

Jamsenpa, a mother of two, started at 1.45 a.m. on May 13 for her climb and reached the Everest top at 9 a.m. on Tuesday to unfurl the national flag.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama had on April 2 this year flagged off the mountaineer’s double ascent expedition from Guwahati in Assam.
Jamsenpa scaled the Mount Everest twice in May 2011 and again scaled the peak on May 18 in 2013.

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If she is successful with her double ascent this time, Jamsenpa will set a record five climbs of Mt Everest.

She started the summit expedition after 38 days of acclimatisation at the Everest Base Camp from April 4 to May 12.

“The good news is that she is absolutely well and fine and shall attempt a double expedition,” her spokesperson said.

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Jamsenpa spoke to officials at the Everest Base Camp and in Kathmandu over satellite phone from the world’s tallest peak after unfurling the tricolour and clicking testimonial photos.

Her health is stated to be perfectly fine and she is descending now to the base camp.

She acknowledged the support extended by State Bank of India, North Eastern Council, Numaligarh Refinery Limited, North Eastern Electric Power Corporation, Arunachal Pradesh government and all her previous associates for her success.

Jamsenpa is motivated and energised to try the double ascent if conditions remain favourable. (IANS)

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Sherpa: A documentary that marks the 2014 Everest expedition Tragedy

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A Sherpa on Everest. Image source: Wikipedia

Filmmaker  Jennifer Peedom brings a documentary film that captures the worst tragedy in the highest peak of the world and will keep the audience glued to their seats till the end. ‘Sherpa‘ a feature documentary tells the story of 2014 Everest expedition from the Sherpa’s point of view.

As many as 16 Sherpas, the native guides of Mt Everest died in an avalanche on 18th April 2014. The film focuses on the dangers and hardships the sherpas endure for every climbing season for the fractions of profits the expeditions and the Nepalese government makes at their expense.

“Getting hot towels and tea in the morning on Mt Everest is one of the most enticing feeling in this world” says Tim Medvetz, a mountaineer who prepares to climb Mt Everest. Praying for a safe ascent while their families anxiously await their returns, Sherpas pay their respect to the guards of the mountains.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CQ1gvGagi8

Doing anything at this altitude can be risky and deadly but lavish summit expeditions designed to make the climb less extreme are the things that endanger the lives of the climbers and the Sherpas alike.

“I wish I had never climbed the mountain, said my father” says Norbu Tenzing Norgay, son of Tenzing Norgay the first ever Sherpa to climb Mt Everest. He says risks can be reduced if people aren’t carrying special machines, heaters and pads (for the clients to sleep comfortably).

poster of the film 'Sherpa' image source Google.
Poster of the film ‘Sherpa’. Image source: Wikipedia.

The documentary highlights the inequity in the cultural rift between the Sherpas who see the climb as a pilgrimage and the climbers who see it as a challenge. Despite the dangers, the Sherpas depend on the expedition. each make around $5000 a season whereas their farming counterpart makes $700 a year!

“The share ($70,000-100,000 each climber pays) goes to the businesses and the government” says Norbu Nogay. “But if you go back a number of years, when somebody died on the Everest, every sherpa was able to build a house, send kids to school and build a tea house, whereas these days it barely covers the cost of the funeral” he adds.

Area where 16 Nepali staffs were killed. Image source: Wikipedia

“16 people dying at the same time is a huge shock. One of them started to sink in the anger that distinctly pointed at the government, they feel that the government has always benefited of the labors of the Sherpas and never put anything back” says Dawa Steven Sherpa, expedition operator.

To try to get more control over their fate, they have started to by pass the climbing business and start their own expeditions, their goal is to keep their and the climber’s life safe if not comfortable on a mountain they revealed.

-by Vrushali Mahajan

Vrushali is pursuing her graduation in Journalism and is an intern at NewsGram. You can reach the author at twitter- Vrushali Mahajan 

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