The TSAF team in New Delhi on October 13
Say brr, have a quick bite of chocolate but keep climbing.
An inter-state team of 10 women, including two Everesters, under the aegis of Jamshedpur-based Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF), are braving drizzle and sub-zero temperatures to trek on the treacherous Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.
Led by Everester Bachendri Pal, the team, which also has Everester Premlata Agarwal, reached Thorang Pedi (14,818 ft) on Tuesday.
Other members who are following their passion for heights comprise L. Annapurna Devi, Payo Murmu and Shobha Rani Hansda from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, Naina Dhakkad from Chhattisgarh, Kalpana Das from Odisha, Om Keshav Singh Kesri from Bihar and Jyoti Sharma and Tanu Verma from Delhi.
Currently, the ladies are on their way to Thorang La Pass (17,769ft), the highest point of the trek.
Armed with rucksacks, mattresses, sleeping bags, trekking shoes and high-altitude glares, the climbers are proving their mettle on slippery mountain tracks.
“It’s very cold but we are moving on. We expect to reach Thorang La Pass on Wednesday. The team members are fit and are making good progress,” team leader Bachendri said over phone.
Dogged about their progress, the women are taking breaks. “Usually we cook rice, dal and khichdi. We also carry chocolates and biscuits. Sometimes we eat at the tiny joints run by villagers in hutments dotting the climb,” said TSAF senior instructor L. Annapurna.
The team will begin its return journey once they reach Thorang La Pass.
The descent route will touch Marpha (8,891ft), Lete (8,258ft) and Tato Pani (3,963ft) on October 26.
Then, the team will move up to reach Ghore Pani (9,524) and Poon Hill (10,633ft). After reaching Nayapul 5,595 on October 29, the team will cover 60km by bus to reach Pokhra.
The team plans to be back to Kathmandu by October 30.
The Tata Steel-funded expedition took off on October 14 from Kathmandu.
Earlier, Bachendri and Annapurna, after their Uttarkashi relief work, had met some team members in New Delhi.
The team reached Jagat (4,329ft) on October 15 before winding their way to Dalapani (6,193ft) the next day.
“It became extremely cold during the uphill climb. We reached Tisang (11,098ft) on October 18 having crossed Chamme (8,828 ft) the previous day,” said Hansda, an employee at Tata Steel security department.
This is the eighth all-woman expedition led by Bachendri is leading.