Three Indian Army mountaineers, members of an expedition to the Kumaon Himalayas, succumbed to freezing temperatures in an unseasonal heavy snowfall while returning to base after summitting the 7,120-metre Mt. Trishul, an official said yesterday.
Havaldar Thandraj Rai, Naik Chandra Bahadur Limbu and Naik Nima Wangdi Sherpa "fell critically ill" on their way back from the summit to the base camp and "succumbed to cold", the official said.
The army had launched the expedition to Mt. Trishul May 15. The team from the 11 Gorkha Rifles Regimental Centre, at Lucknow, comprised two officers, two junior commissioned officers and 27 other ranks, and was led by Major K.S. Rajawat.
The team successfully scaled the peak June 8 and while "returning from the summit, they encountered extreme weather conditions in the form of unseasonal heavy snowfall and blizzards for almost 24 hours," the official said.
Rajawat, who has led a number of expeditions in the recent past, including the joint India-Tajikistan mountaineering expedition to Mt Stok and Gulap Kangri in 2009, brought the team back to the base camp braving the extreme weather conditions, the official said.