An Indian Air Force mountaineering team comprising of 12 members including a lady climber was launched on a mountaineering expedition to Mt Dhaulagiri in Nepal on April 15, 2017. Standing at 8,167 M (26,795 ft) Mt Dhaulagiri is the seventh highest mountain in the world. The mountain’s name Dhaulagiri comes from the Sanskrit word ‘dhawal’ meaning dazzling, white and beautiful and ‘giri’ meaning mountain.
The IAF team of mountaineers is led by Group Captain R.C. Tripathi who was the first IAF air warrior to summit Mt Everest in 2005. The team reached the base camp after an arduous trek of eight days. At the base camp the team trained hard for a week to acclimatise and prepare itself for the challenge ahead. As the team was all set to start its summit attempt, a spell of bad weather forced it to literally cool its heels for almost one week. Finally when the weather gods smiled on May 18, 2017, the team set out on its summit attempt in two groups. The first group of three climbers led by Squadron Leader Kevin Nishant after an extremely challenging climb successfully summited the peak and hoisted the Indian and IAF flag on the summit of Mt Dhaulagiri on May 20, 2017 at 17:30 hrs. Other summiteers were Corporal Ravinder and Corporal JPS Raina along with three Sherpas.
It is indeed a moment of joy for IAF. Earlier in the year 2005, IAF had created history by hoisting tricolour and IAF flag on top of the world during its first ever expedition to Mt Everest and again in 2011 during an all women Everest expedition.