A 17-day expedition to the Everest base camp, earned after a gruelling selection process between thousands of applications from across the country, has been unceremoniously cut short for two Mumbai women, thanks to the deadly earthquake that hit Nepal.
The two — along with eight other women — are safe and expected to return to the city soon.
Goregaon resident Vartika Gupta, along with Powai resident Aparna More, left for the expedition sponsored by a television channel on April 19.
“On April 25, when the first tremors were felt, I received a message on a mobile messaging application that the group was calling off the expedition. I was surprised, but then I saw the size of the disaster on TV. We were horrified, but are relief that our daughter is safe,” said Manjusha, Vartika’s mother.
Manjusha said she has been able to talk to her daughter only once a day daily over the phone. “The arrangement decided before leaving for the trip was that the families would be kept informed through a WhatsApp group, and a single phone number would be available for the team for occasional calls. Now, I live from one call to another,” she said.
We could not speak to Vartika or Aparna, as only a one-way communication is possible. Manjusha said the group felt the tremors on the fourth day of the trek and immediately decided to call off the expedition.
Manjusha said her last conversation with her daughter was on Monday morning and that the team was staying in a hotel in Namche. By evening, she was informed that the team had begun to trek down and that they would reach the plains on Tuesday around 10a. “From there, they would be air-lifted to the Kathmandu airport,” Gupta said.
The trip gave 10 women a chance to trek to the Everest base camp, led by Jamling Norgay, son of Tenzing Norgay (who first climbed the Mount Everest in 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary).