Bachendiri Pal in Oslo, Norway. Telegraph picture
Jamshedpur, March 15: After scaling many peaks during her long mountaineering career, skiing in Norway turned out to be a novel and thrilling experience for climber Bachendri Pal.
After attending a skiing camp at 4000ft, Bachendri is back in the city with unforgettable memories of Oslo. She’s still overwhelmed by her fortnight-long experience spent under different conditions, training for the 2011 South Pole Expedition.
“I loved every moment of my stay there. In fact, Oslo has added a new dimension to my life. I’ll never forget this experience,” she said.
After spending Sunday at home, the chief of Tata Steel Adventure Programme was in office dot on time today, sorting out and signing pending files.
“The first thing I did after reaching Calcutta on Saturday from Oslo was gorge on Indian food, especially rice, and watch My Name is Khan,” she quipped.
But she was quick to get back to the Oslo track, recounting the memories. “It was all about blisters, bruises and body ache. But skiing was a new experience for me. The exercise under cold conditions (it was minus 20 degrees) was tough but there was lot of excitement at Fensie, where I trained along with Lisa Kanawa (New Zealand), Kim Anthea Simity (South Africa) and Irina M Lovna,” she added. Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft — the first women in the world to reach South Pole — also inspired the quartet.
Bachendri, who will turn 56 this May, added that the participants were generally left on their own while skiing. “We reached Fensie by train on March 1. It was a beautiful five-hour journey through snow-covered trees and mountains. We camped at a hotel in Fensie and ate bread, butter, cheese and jam. Vegetables were premium items and I used to pick bits of broccoli, carrots and capsisum from chicken preparations. I'm a complete veggie,” she said.
According to her, apart from skiing, they also attended classroom sessions on vision and mission.
“We also walked 20km on snow as part of the training. Pulling the sledge was a tough thing to do. I slipped and fell on number of occasions. Skiing is a passion for Norwegians. I saw mothers putting their toddlers in a sledge while skiing. They are adequately tuned to this sort of activity.”
“It was all snow when I reached Oslo on February 27. We stayed for two days at a hotel before moving to Fensei,” she said.
She added that her luggage had not yet arrived from Frankfurt. “I'm trying to contact the Calcutta airport authorities,” Bachendri said.
The next training schedule is in January next year but “for that I have to tone up my fitness. I’ve planned to ski at Manali or Gulmarg,” she said.
Bachendri is among six women from as many continents — Asia, Africa, North and South America, Oceania and Europe — to have received an invite from Arnesen and Bancroft.
She was the lone women representative from Asia.
Next year’s expedition is being organised to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Roald Amundsen’s discovery of the South Pole. An international team of six women will embark on a 1400km expedition from Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea to the geographic South Pole beginning October, 2011. The collaboration between the explorers and their native countries will provide a platform to million of children around the globe to follow the 100-day expedition and learn that they have a voice in their community and the world to create positive change.
The team, which will also include Arnesen and Bancroft, will depart from Christchurch in New Zealand to Antartica, reach the South Pole by January 2012, and be flown to the coast.