Three mountaineers from the city-based Giripremi mountaineering club conquered Mount Everest on Friday morning.
It was the first joint Indian civilian expedition to two peaks Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse. The Giripremi team comprising Anand Mali, Ganesh More and Bhushan Harshe summitted Everest at 8 am on Friday, a day after team member Ashish Mane from Satara had conquered Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest peak.
However, the attempt to scale Mount Everest was dramatic as team leader Umesh Zirpe decided to dropout of the team on Thursday night. Explaining his decision, Zirpe said the oxygen cylinders were insufficient for all four team members to summit Everest. “Had I also joined the summit attempt, we would have definitely fallen short of oxygen, which would cut short our dream,” Zirpe said from camp II on Friday evening.
Mali, More and Harshe set out for the summit climb on Thursday at 8.30 pm. Ajit Tate, a member of the club, who was at the base camp and in constant touch with the mountaineers through satellite phone, was unable to receive any message from the trio till 6 am on Friday.
Speaking from base camp, Tate said, “Around 6.30 am on Friday, I received a message on my satellite phone that the trio and their sherpas were at the Hillary step. I heaved a sigh of relief knowing that they were safe and the summit was in sight for them. In another two hours, I received another message from the trio; that was when they were on the world’s highest point waving the tricolour.” The Hillary step is a 40ft spur of rock where temperatures are minus 20c and which is just 180ft from the summit.
Speaking about his experience from South Col, More said, “The conditions were not very conducive as the winds were blowing fast. It was a struggle, but it was worth it when we touched the summit at 8.30 am on Friday. We cannot thank our team leader Umesh Zirpe enough for his sacrifice.”
The Giripremi mountaineers left for the expedition on March 21 from Pune and reached the base camp on April 13. From April 16, the mountaineers started acclimatizing themselves to attempt the final summit. Citing good weather on May 15 and 16, the members decided to give it a go.