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First Oriya woman on top of world - Kalpana from Dhenkanal third time lucky to reach Mount Everest

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 22.05.08

Bhubaneswar, May 22: The town of Kumbharsahi in Dhenkanal is busy celebrating today as its star resident Kalpana Dash reached the top of the world yesterday at 11.30am.

On Wednesday morning, Kalpana became the first Oriya woman to scale the Mount Everest. Back home on the plains, the telephone at her residence has been ringing off the hook, keeping her widow mother, Sailabala Dash, busy. The town’s people, too, have been celebrating with sweets and crackers.

The 38-year-old reached the top of the world after making two abortive attempts earlier. She was among the 27 who successfully scaled the Everest as members of High Altitude Workers of HAD International Everest Expedition 2008.

Kalpana led a team of five, she being the only Indian in the group. They started the expedition on April 3 from a Himalayan base camp. Other climbers in her team were Ryszard Kurdziel from Canada and three sherpas from Nepal.

Fighting all odds, the team successfully climbed the Mount Everest and covered 8,848 metres (29,035ft) from the base camp.

“She was determined this time and said that she would return home only after scaling the Everest. She has made the country and me proud,” said Sailabala.

“We were informed by the training camp general manager Dawa Sherpa over telephone. He said that Kalpana is fine and is on her way home,” said her delighted mother.

Kalpana had left Dhenkanal on March 5.

Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb the Everest congratulated Kalpana for having made it. “Kalpana chased her dreams and reached where she had wanted to be — she’s an inspiration for all Indian women. She learnt from her failures and her never-say-die attitude made her the winner. I am very happy for her,” said Pal.

Governor M.C. Bhanadare and chief minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated her. “Every Oriya today feels proud for her outstanding feat,” said Naveen in a message, adding that her determination and courage would inspire Oriya youths.

Kalpana’s maiden attempt to scale the peak was in 2004. However, she had to return after reaching over 7,000ft owing to bad weather. She made her second attempt in 2006, but this time, too, she had to bow before bad weather. But it was third time lucky for the Oriya girl, even though she had to battle financial constraints for all her attempts.