Everest- 8850 m

Lhotse- 8516 m

Team: Joint Indo Nepal

Leader: Col. Ashok Abbey


Date of ascent

Lohtse- 13 May 2003

Everest- 22nd& 26th May 03


Lhotse- West Face

Everest- South East Ridge


Naib Subedar Palden Giacho, Naib Subedar Chhering Bodh, Naib Subedar Neel Chand, Havaldar Surjeet Sigh and ASL Champa.

Maj SS Shekhawat, SC, Sub C Angchuk, SM, Hav Jagat Singh, Maj Abhijeet Singh, Sub Lalit Kumar, Hav Lal Singh, Hav Rajendra Singh, Hav Tashi Giapo and LNK Kunwar Singh.

The Ascent of Everest

The 17 members team left Delhi on 13 March and reached Kathmandu on 16 Mar, where it married up with Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) team. The Joint team then flew to Lukla from where it began it's long approach march to the Base Camp. Base Camp was established on the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier, on 01 April at an altitude of 17,700 ft.

Members thereafter began their acclimatization as loads were ferried and higher camps stocked, established and subsequently occupied by the team. The biggest obstacle enroute to the climbing of Everest was the Khumbu Ice fall, an unstable mass of giant blocks of ice, which the team negotiated with great care and caution.

Camp I was established at an altitude of 19500 ft and Camp II under the great south west face of the mountain at an altitude of 21,500 ft. Camp III , the most precarious camp wsa established on the steep Lhotse face at 24000 ft. Camp IV , the final camp wsa established on South Col at an altitude of 26000 ft.

South Col was stocked by end April and the first summit bid was initially planned by the leader in the first week in May. However, extreme weather and high wind conditions, precluded launching of the attempt. The team thus had very a patient wait of almost 3 weeks.

The first attempt was launched on 20 May, however the attempt was aborted at the Balcony as the wind speed picked up. The second attempt was again made on 21 May, which commenced from South Col at 2230 hours on 21 May. Finally 14 members of the joint team scaled Mt Everest on 22 may between 0556 hours to 0800 hours. These summiteers included three members of the Indian Army, four members of the RNA and seven Sherpas.

The huge success was soon followed up by another historic feat, when 17 other members of the expedition again successfully scaled Everest on 26 May from 0430 hours to 0450 hours. This time there were six members of the Indian Army, six members of RNA and 5 sherpas atop Everest. The team did the Indian Army proud by raising the Indian tri colour and the Joint expedition flags atop the highest mountain of the world, for the second time in four days.

The Ascent of Lhotse

The attempt on Lhotse was planned as part of the Golden Jublee ascent of Everest, from its traditional route. Lhotse was attempted from the West Face, which is approached from the Western Cwm.

The expedition established base camp on the lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier on 01 April. Camp 1 was established above the notorious Khumbu Ice fall in the western Cwm. Camp 2 was established under the majestic south west face of Everest. From Camp 2, the route taken was to the head of the base of the Weatern Cwm. Camp 3 was established on the steep Lhotse face at an altitude of 24000 ft. Camp 4, the final camp of Lhotse was established on 10 May 25,500 ft, above the Yellow Band.

In a bold decision, Colonel Ashok Abbey the expedition leader decided to attempt Lhotse , on 13 May, thus taking advantage of the fleeting weather window which the mountain offered. The team left Camp 4 at 0100 hours on 13 May. Moving up the Great Couloir, which rises steeply to the summit from Camp 4, members moved with great caution, through the difficult mixed ground of snow, rock and ice and shooting stones, which greeted them. Success finally came at 0805 hours on 13 May as 5 Indian soldiers, 3 RNA members and 4 Sherpas stood on the elusive summit.

(Article, Himalayan Journal Vol. 60)