A 27-year-old officer became the first woman from the Indian Air Force to conquer Mt Everest on Saturday as more of her peers from the 14-member expedition bided their time to set foot on the highest peak in the world.
Flt Lt Nivedita Chaudhary from Rajasthan became the first member of the Indian Air Force Mt Everest Expedition 2011 to stand on the top of the world around 8.50am, followed by a second member of the team, Corporal Raju Sindhu, 26, from Haryana.
An exultant Chaudhary, who almost wept in joy, said she was stunned by the magnificent view from the top and that she was overjoyed.
Chaudhary, a navigator with the IAF, is currently posted in Agra.
The expedition, headed by Group Captain Narendra Kumar Dahiya, had trained on the snowy slopes of Siachen glacier for the arduous ascent. The team includes eight women.
This is the second IAF expedition to Mt Everest after the first one in 2005 via Tibet. The joy of summiting in 2005 was diminished by the death of Squadron Leader SS Chaitanya, who became separated from his Sherpa guide and lost his way while descending due to a snow storm and perished.
Women from the country's defence forces also made their mark on Mt Everest the same year, putting four climbers from the Indian Army on the 8,848-metre summit in an expedition led by Major SS Shekhawat.