First Indian group to scale Mt Everest feted

The first Indian group to scale the world's highest peak Mt Everest was felicitated at an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the feat.

New Delhi: The first Indian group to scale the world's highest peak Mt Everest was felicitated at an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the feat.

The group of 10 Indians led by Avtar Singh Cheema scaled the Everest in May 1965, becoming the fourth country to achieve the distinction then. It was the third mission undertaken by the Indian Army after two failed attempts.

Cheema, MS Kohli and Sherpa Nawang Gombu successfully summitted the peak on May 20 followed by Sonam Gyatso and Sonam Wangyal on May 22. CP Vohra and Sherpa Ang Kami were the next to set foot on the peak on May 24. HPS Ahluwalia, HCS Rawat and Phu Dorje climbed the Everest on May 29.

The team were felicitated at the India International Centre here on Wednesday. The commemoration included short speeches by living members of the team -- Ahluwalia and Kohli -- and featured a documentary showing their climb.

Kohli spoke of the difference in climbing the peak 50 years ago and now.

"Today most of you are exposed to Mt. Everest and it is commercialised. The mountain is already roped and you just have to pay $5,000 to the Sherpa agency. You can pay for using their equipment," he said, adding that when they climbed, they did the roping themselves and it was not commercialised.

"We feel proud to have opened the floodgates of mountaineering in India."

Indian Mountaineering Federation (IMF) president HS Chauhan said the achievement set the tone for adventure sports in India. Chauhan added an All India Services team is currently attempting to scale the peak.

The IMF has planned to organise a series of programmes to commemorate the golden jubilee of the record.

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