Nirmal Kumar

On the morning of May 28, Nirmal Kumar, scaled Mount Everest, thus become the first man in Doda district of Jammu to climb the world’s highest peak.

Kumar, 29, works with ONGC. He has done a degree in engineering at Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology. He hails from Sheeri village which is situated around 20 km from Doda town. As per media reports, Kumar was interested in mountaineering since his childhood. “It’s a dream come true for my brother. He always wanted to be become a mountaineer, but due to financial constrains and being the eldest among five siblings, he preferred to become an engineer to support the family,” his sister told Chandigarh based newspaper The Tribune, adding that he was happy to have conquered the peak. His father is a farmer.

Kumar trekked to the peak in a group of six members of ONGC employees. Kumar’s feat becomes more important as it comes just a week after a Jammu girl Sangeeta S Bahl had made an attempt to conquer the peak but she had to be evacuated along with six others from the high camp of Mount Everest after they developed high altitude sickness.  A helicopter was pressed into service for their evacuation from the camp to the hospital in Kathmandu.

Kashmir has a good history of mountaineers who successfully made it the top of Everest. Most of the mountaineers come from mountainous region of Ladakh.

In May 2013, Rafiq Malik, then 33, became the first Kashmiri to scale the Everest. He was part of NCC team who were on an expedition to Everest. Malik, who is associated with Indian Army, hails from Kuchipra in Islamabad district. He is an alumnus of High Altitude Warfare School in Gulmarg where he learned mountaineering and warfare techniques in 2007.

Two years before scaling Everest, Malik became the first person from Kashmir to climb Manaslu, an 8000 M peak.

“He is an outstanding biker as well,” his neighbour said. In May 2016, four girls, all cadets of NCC, from Leh district of Ladakh scaled Mount Everest. In the record books of NCC, Stanzin Laskit, Rigzin Dolker, Tsering Angmo and Tashi Laskit the first girls from Kashmir who conquered the highest mountain.  They were students of class XII of government school. The media in Kashmir and Delhi widely covered their achievement.

Indian army has a regiment from Ladakh region called Ladakh Scouts. “Every time a group from Indian Army goes on to Mount Everest expedition, they have at least two members from Ladakh scouts,” said Amir Rafique Pirzada, a Kashmiri journalists working with a Delhi based News channel who himself has scaled Everest. The day Amir scaled Everest a massive earth quake struck Nepal. He filmed the shaking of Everest. The film got him a prestigious Ram Nath Goenka award.

The relationship between Mount Everest and Kashmir is not all smooth. When earth quake struck Nepal, a Kashmiri Counsellor and mountaineer Renu Fotedar was killed in the avalanche on Mount Everest triggered by the 7.9-magnitude earthquake. She was the only qualified female transpersonal counsellor.

– Aakash Hassan

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