Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
25-May-2011 16:15 IST
IAF Women Expedition Team Scales Everest

Sqn Ldr Nirupama Pandey and Flt Lt Rajika Sharma of the IAF today reached the summit of the Mt. Everest at 1015 hrs, forming the first three women IAF officers, together with Flt Lt Nevidita Choudhary who scaled the Everest earlier on Saturday, May 21, to create history.

Striving to “Touch the sky with glory” an Indian Air Force women mountaineering tam set off to conquer the highest peak in the world, Mt Everest (8848M). It is first time in the history of IAF that women in blue have geared up to raise the pride of the nation to the highest possible point on the Earth. The team was flagged off by Air Officer –in-Charge Administration, Air Marshal JN Burma PVSM on April 13, 2011.

The team comprising of eleven women officers is accompanied by one medical officer and eight male air warriors who are qualified mountaineers. The team has followed the South-East Ridge route which was used by Hillary and Tenzing in their first successful expedition to Mt. Everest in 1953.

Flight Lieutenant Choudhary accompanied by Corporal Raju Sindhu were the first ones to climb Mt Everest in this expedition on May 21m 2011 at 0900 hrs. Squadron Leader Nirupama Pandey and Flight Lieutenant Rajika Sharma accompanied by Squadron Leader D Panda, Sergeant Jasbir Singh and Corporal Ganesh Pokhariya climbed the peak on 25 May 11 at 1015 hrs. Being the first women officers to IAF to be in situation where no other IAF women officer has been earlier, these women officers exhibited exemplary courage and determination in bringing laurels to the IAF and the Nation.

To undertake this challenge, the team underwent strenuous training schedule including Basic Mountaineering Course and Winter Training Camps at Siachen in 2010 and 2011. They went on to scale progressively higher and tougher Himalayan peaks in the past two years starting with Mt. Stock Kangri (6121M) in Leh, Mt. Bhagirathi II (6512M) in Uttarakhand, Mt Kamet (7757M) in Garhwal and Mt. Saser Kangri I (7672M) in Ladakh.

This endeavour not only heralds the indomitable spirit of human courage but also a milestone in the direction of women empowerment which has injected a fresh surge of confidence amongst the women of Armed Forces.