The Indian Navy's mountaineering team has scaled Mount Everest, braving adverse weather that forced the team to camp on the way for five days after starting the final climb, an official statement said.
The Naval mountaineering team comprising 24 members under Cdr Sanjay Kulkarni, followed the route from Jiri and trekked to Everest base camp covering over 180 km in 16 days of arduous climb, gradually gaining height and also acclimatising in the process between April 5 to 20.
The team comprised 18 climbers for Mt Everest; two climbers for Lhotse and four base camp members.
The climbers were then divided into two teams – A and B – comprising nine members each.
"The first attempt was made by Team A and four members scaled the peak in the wee hours of the morning on May 21," the statement said.
Lt Shashank Tewari, who was the first to reach the summit, said that the words of the legendary Indian mountaineer Capt M.S. Kohli: "One more step", kept echoing in his mind and urging him to reach the top.
The conditions were tough, owing to high wind speeds and a beeline of climbers causing blockades.
The Team B attempted the climb on May 27 and a total of five members summited the peak led by Lt Cdr Hari Prasath.
"The team had an agonizing wait of five days mid-way through for the weather to clear and commence their climb. The team seized the first available window and reached the summit on May 27," the statement said.
Meanwhile, two climbers summited Lhotse peak on May 25.
Team's leader, Cdr Kulkarni stated that a lot of effort had gone into planning and organizing the naval expedition and training the expedition team, however, it finally was the individual effort on the final summit push which resulted in triumph of the human spirit over the challenges posed by nature.
The base camp team led by Cdr Vishnu Prasad provided able support to the mission with regular updates on weather and coordinating the logistics requirements.
Meanwhile, Navy Medical team consisting of two doctors Surg Cdr IB Udaya and Surg Lt Prashanta treated nearly 300 patients at the medical tent set up at the base camp which included 65 percent Sherpas.
Almost 15 percent of cases were critical requiring evacuation after stabilization. This medical facility provided free of charge.
The last Mount Everest expedition by the Navy was conducted in 2004 under the leadership of Cdr Satyabrata Dam and five Naval mountaineer summited the peak.
The Navy has named its expedition "Sagartal se Sagarmath" which translates into "from the seabed to Mt. Everest", Sagarmatha being the name of Mt. Everest in Nepal.