May 20, 2011

Bengal 2 scale Kanchenjungha

Saturday , May 21 , 2011- The Telegraph, Kolkata, India

Darjeeling/Behrampore, May 20: On a day Mamata Banerjee climbed to the seat of power in Writers’ Buildings, Basanta Singha Roy and Debashis Biswas became the first Bengalis to scale Mount Kanchenjungha, the third highest mountain in the world.

Basanta, 50, an employee with a nationalised bank, and Debashis, 40, an income-tax official, climbed the peak, braving strong winds and unstable weather. The duo stood at the top of the mountain at 7.40am, along with three Sherpa brothers, Passang Pusur Sherpa, Pemba Chhoti Sherpa and Ang Tashi Sherpa.

Loben Sherpa of the Kathmandu-based Loben Expeditions told The Telegraph via e-mail that the five-member team had started the ascent from the summit camp about 6am today. “At 7.40am, Pemba informed the base camp over walkie-talkie that they had reached the top and all of them were fine. This was relayed to me via sat phone by Lila Rai from the base camp around 7.50 am,” said Loben. 

The expedition was organised by Loben Expeditions.

“Basanta and Debashis were the first from Bengal to conquer Mt Kanchenjungha. They were also the first civilian Bengalis to summit Mt Everest (29,029 feet) in May last year,” said Loben. He also said the three Sherpas were the first brothers to have climbed the peak together.

Both Basanta and Debashis, who work and stay in Calcutta, are members of the Mountaineering Association of Krishnagar in Nadia district. Even though people were glued to the television sets for Mamata’s swearing-in at Raj Bhavan, there were scenes of celebrations in Krishnagar. Members of the association, who received the news at 7.45am, announced the feat to the residents of town through loudspeakers.

“They had started the expedition from here (Krishnagar) on March 28 and 368 days after conquering Mt Everest, they were on top of Kanchenjungha that stands at 28,169 feet. They had scaled Mt Everest on May 17, 2010. No mountaineers have climbed two peaks in a gap of 368 days,” said Arup Sarkar, a member of the association.

A large number of people came to the association office to offer congratulations.
“There were phone calls also as people felt very happy about the achievement,” said Sarkar. He added that Kanchenjungha was conquered last by a British-American team in 1998.

Basanta and Debashis climbed from the Nepal side of the mountain. Climbing is banned on the other side that falls in Sikkim as the mountain is considered a holy place in the hill state.

1 comment:

  1. Hearty congratualtions for the success of Basanta & Debasish in ascending Kangchenjunga. Their successive sunmiits of Everest & Kangchenjunga made us really proud. However be cautious in spreading wrong news about their achievement due to excitement & over reaction. Arup Sarkar of Krishnanagar Mountaineering Association claimed that Basanta & Debasish created a record of ascending two peaks within a gap of 368 days. This statement is not true. There are many instances of much less duration for successive ascents of 8000ers. This year itself Swiss Mountaineer Ueli Stuck made successive ascents of Sishapangma & Cho You only within 18 days. There are other examples too. However i am not belittling the credits bestowed upon Basanta & Debasish. They are our heroes.