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Bachendri to lead group of women above 50 in Himalayan expedition

Tata foundation ties up with ministry of youth and sports under FIT India initiative

Jayesh Thaker Jamshedpur Published 08.03.21, 06:17 PM
Bachendri Pal.

Bachendri Pal. Telegraph picture

Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) is organising a unique expedition titled FIT@50+ Women’s Trans Himalayan Expedition ’21 in collaboration with the ministry of youth affairs and sports under the FIT India banner.

The expedition is also being supported by Tata Motors and Tata Sports Club as drive and fitness partners respectively.


The voyage will be led by Bachendri Pal, recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, legendary mountaineer and the first Indian woman to scale Mt. Everest, and will have participants aged 50 and above from across India.

The team members have been drawn from across India comprising retired professionals and homemakers. The 10-member team also comprises three Women Everest summiteers. The 5-month long expedition involves traversing the Himalaya from Arunachal to Karakoram range (East to West) covering around 4,500 kms and cross about 40 mountain passes. It is expected to begin in the first week of May and will conclude in the second week of October this year.

Pal, leader of the expedition and mentor, TSAF, said: “The expedition aims to address the mindset of our society and highlight the need to keep fit and demonstrate that age and gender is no barrier for a fit and a healthy lifestyle. It will also signify women empowerment, leadership, decision making, lifestyle and the importance of fitness for our entire community. What makes this expedition more tough is the long duration of 5 months combined with multiple challenges, including emotional, social, mental factors, physical fatigue and weather constraints, and all these put together make Fit@50+ women’s Trans Himalayan expedition a unique one."

Pal also emphasised the importance of embracing risk and firmly believes that the biggest risk in life is not taking the risk.

The logo of the expedition.

The logo of the expedition. Telegraph picture

Chanakya Chaudhary, vice-president (corporate services), Tata Steel, said: “For more than three and a half decades, Tata Steel Adventure Foundation has played a pioneering role in creating an environment of equal opportunity and empowerment of women. The FIT@50+ Women’s Trans Himalayan Expedition is yet another unique initiative that will push this agenda a step further by reaching out to women aged 50 years and above to become part of a movement that will also prepare them to challenge physical and social stereotypes. The entire family of Tata Steel stands behind this amazing journey they are about to embark on and wish the very best for a resounding success.”

The 10-member team will commence the journey of an ultimate human endurance starting from the misty mountains of Arunachal Pradesh at Bomdila and then enter Bhutan. From there, the expedition will traverse through Bhutan cross over into Sikkim and cover Chitrey, Kala Pokhari and Sandakphu. The team will then move into Nepal, where the route enters Dhaulagiri range and cover Salpa Pass, Lamajura Pass and also cross Thorang la (17,769 ft) around Annapurna Massif. From Western Nepal, the trail goes from Jumla and enters Kumaon district in Uttarakhand at Dharchula. From here, the expedition will cross Lamkhaga Pass (17,320 ft) - one of the toughest passes, which connects Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh with Harshil of Uttarakhand. The team will then traverse to Himachal. From here, they will trek through Spiti to cross Kaza, Kibber and cross Parang La (18,307 ft).

The expedition will conclude in the Leh-Ladakh region where the team will cross Khardungla (18,380 ft), Saser La (17,753 ft), Depsang La (17,869 ft) and finish at Karakoram Pass (18,175 ft).

The 10-member team include Bachendri Pal, Leader (67- Jamshedpur-Jharkhand), Chetna Sahoo (54-Calcutta-Bengal), Savita Dhapwal (52-Bhilai-Chhattisgarh), Shamala Padmanabhan (64-Mysuru-Karnataka), Gangorti Soneji (62-Baroda-Gujarat), Chaula Jagirdar (63-Palanpur-Gujarat), Payo Murmu (53-Jamshedpur-Jharkhand), Dr. Sushma Bissa (55-Bikaner -Rajasthan), Maj. Krishna Dubey (59-Lucknow-UP), and Bimbla Deoskar (55- Nagpur-Maharashtra).

The 3-member support team includes Mohan Rawat (41), Amla Rawat (47) and Randev Singh (30), all from Uttarakhand.

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