IAF officer conquers Mt Everest, dedicates it to unsung heroes of freedom struggle

Published on May 30, 2022 12:33 AM IST

he arduous expedition started from Kathmandu, Nepal on April 15 with team members from across the globe and concluded on May 21

Wing Commander Vikrant Uniyal atop Mt Everest (Sourced)
Wing Commander Vikrant Uniyal atop Mt Everest (Sourced)
By, Prayagraj

‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ is being celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the nation and the Indian armed forces personnel are dedicating inspiring efforts in individual capacity to this celebration as well.

Wing Commander Vikrant Uniyal of Indian Air Force, posted at Central Air Command, Prayagraj has raised the bar by scaling Mt Everest in this festive year on May 21. He has dedicated his feat as a tribute to all the unsung heroes and movements which contributed to India’s freedom struggle, informed IAF officials here on Sunday.

The Everest expedition itself is an unparalleled journey of both legendary and epic proportions, and as an ode to the sacrifices made for the country, the IAF officer as a befitting honour to freedom fighters, recited the national anthem at the summit of Mt Everest, said Gp Capt Samir Gangkhedkar, public relations officer (defence), Prayagraj.

The arduous expedition started from Kathmandu, Nepal on April 15 with team members from across the globe. Wg Cdr Vikrant Uniyal is a qualified mountaineer who trained from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi, Army Mountaineering Institute, Siachen, and National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Arunachal Pradesh, he added.

“The officer shared that the summit day with infinite steps was exciting and tiring. He was determined to hoist the national flag on the summit of Mt Everest on the occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotasav and share the proud feeling. Not only did he hoist the Indian flag on the Summit of Mt Everest on May 21, but he also felt extremely proud as being perhaps the only Indian to sing the national anthem on the summit of Mt Everest on this momentous occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav,” said Gp Capt Samir Gangkhedkar.

Despite the inhumane environment, the expedition was completed successfully. Mercury was between -10 to -20 degrees centigrade during daytime, and dropped further during night time. This expedition required patience, stamina, mental fortitude and a strong will. The team faced challenges of acclimatization besides the difficulty of terrain.

Apart from deadly Khumbu icefall where the ice structure changed continuously, the death zone was the biggest challenge (above 25000 ft). Here the body could no longer acclimatize to the altitude and the lungs couldn’t get enough oxygen. The environment was hostile for existence, shared IAF officials.

To generate interest in the climb, Wing Commander Vikrant Uniyal designed a commemorative e-postcard for his seniors, friends, loved ones and posted them online, in the network area while setting course. Because of wintry condition, Camp IV on the South Col (”Col” is a word for saddle, or pass) was established only on May 20.

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