Bachendri Pal (centre) and Premlata Agarwal (to her right) during relief operations in flood-hit Uttarakhand. Telegraph picture
Uncertainty again looms large over this year’s all-women expedition of Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF), thanks to team leader Bachendri Pal’s busy schedule.
According to a TSAF official, the legendary climber would not be able to plan and organise the expedition, which was once cancelled in 2010, as she was stuck with other commitments.
Pal said she was yet to give the trip a thought. “I would like to organise the outing, but I have no time to plan it. Nothing has been decided so far,” she added.
Post-monsoon, the climber, also the team leader of Tata Relief Committee, will be busy with rehabilitation in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.
The nine-member Tata Relief Committee team had rushed to the northern hill state to undertake relief operations soon after the calamity in June. They, along with local volunteers and NGOs, worked in several villages of Uttar Kashi.
“Besides, there are other commitments that include the TSAF winter outdoor leadership programme in Garhwal Himalayas as well as local fixtures. Moreover, pal has to look after day-to-day functioning of TSAF,” the official said, adding that planning for the expedition was a time-taking process.
The all-women outing, which is seen as a confidence-building measure, was cancelled in 2010 due to Pal’s offshore commitments and a nagging knee injury that she suffered during ski training near Rohtang Pass. Another cancellation will surely come as a major disappointment for accredited women climbers.
However, Pal has earlier organised expeditions on seven occasions.
In 1994, TSAF organised Hardwar-Calcutta rafting expedition and followed it up by a 5,000km Arunachal Pradesh to Siachen trans-Himalayan trip in 1997.
After a hiatus of seven years, Mount Island Peak was the next destination in 2004. Then from 2006 to 2008, the team went to Karakoram Pass-Stok Kangri, Thar Desert and Mount Kilimanjaro, respectively. The last was Snowman Trek in Bhutan in 2011.