The first all-Bengali civilian team On top of the world, in 10 hours

The first all-Bengali civilian team On top of the world, in 10 hours

KOLKATA: At 7.45 am on Monday, when Basanta Sinha Roy and Debashish Biswas finally dug their pickaxes into the ice, they were feeling on top of the world. Literally. Having tackled bad weather, blinding snow and treacherous terrain, the two men — a banker and a taxman — had reached 8,848 metres. There was nowhere higher to climb. They stood on the peak of Mt Everest.

This unique feat, which took them on a heart-pounding eight-day climb from Base Camp to summit, made them the first all-Bengali civilian team to conquer the world’s highest mountain.

Earlier, two Bengalis — Commander Satyabrata Dam and Major Shipra Mazumdar — had summited Everest. But unlike Punjab National Bank employee Basanta and income tax officer Debashish, Satyabrata and Shipra were part of naval and Army teams.

Basanta and Debashish wer-en’t exactly greenhorns, though. Fifty-year-old Basanta has scaled several mountains in the Garhwal Himalayas, including Kamet, Chou Khamba, Thalay Sagar and Bhigu Panth. The biggest achievement was the Shiv Ling climb with Deba-shish, 11 years his junior. Both belong to Mountaineers’ Association of Krishnagar (MAK), a private organisation with limited resources, and have been making preparations for Everest for the past year, with rigorous stints at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, and Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi.

Photo: Basanta and Debashish

The five-member team led by Basanta set off from Kolkata on April 1. The initial plan was to attempt the climb via the North Col through Tibet. But China denied permission, forcing the team to switch to the South Col via Nepal’s Namche Bazar.

The push for the summit began on May 9. While the other members of the team— Sourabh Sinchan Mandal, Ashok Roy and Bibhas Sarkar — stayed back at Base Camp (5,380 metres), Basanta and Debashish pushed ahead with two sherpas, Pa San and Pem Ba. They had targeted the peak on May 15, but were held back by bad weather. They started on the final climb around 10 pm on Sunday, reaching the peak after nearly 10 agonising hours.

The route was the same that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had taken in 1953 during the first climb. “He made it to the same point that Tenzing had reached so many years ago. I’m very happy,” said Basanta’s mother Panna Rani Sinha Roy, breaking into tears after hearing the news.

Mukti Biswas, Debashish’s wife, got a call around 9 am, which informed her of her husband’s feat. Since then her cellphone hasn’t stopped ringing.

Link requested by Anim Rahman | original source

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