SRINAGAR: Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali, AVSM,SM, DCOAS(IS&T) flagged off the historic ‘First Indian” ski expedition to North Pole is being organized by Indian Army. Indian Army has been a pioneer in the field of adventure activities. In last decade, Army teams made four first ascents on eight thousands and scaled seven out of nine available peaks.
Having gained experience over the years in multitude of adventure activities. Indian Army has ventured into a relatively unknown but challenging world of polar journey and exploration. First Indian Ski Expedition to South Pole was successfully conducted from Nov 10 to Jan 11. A eight member Army team unfurled the National and Army flag at South Pole on 15 Jan 11.
Having gained the requisite experience, Indian Army is now undertaking yet another ‘First Indian’ Ski Expedition to North Pole. The initial team was selected after long and tough selection trials in general area Sumdoh, HP conducted in Nov 11. The team led by Col Anand Swaroop, SM includes 02 Offrs and 06 OR. To realistically prepare the team in polar conditions, a training expedition was conducted at Svalbard, Norway from 10 Jan 12 to 28 Jan 12.
The main expedition is planned from 25 Feb 12 to 30 Apr 12. The expedition team of 08 personnel along with the eqpt will fly to northernmost island of Ellesmere in Canada by a mix of commercial and chartered flights. The expedition will take off from ‘Ward Hunt’ and would involve skiing for a distance of 780 Kms from coast off Ellesmere Island, Canada to North Pole. The team will pull sledges with all the equipment and supplies required for approximately two months.
During the expedition, the team will face extreme cold temperatures in the range of -250 C to -500 C, ever prevalent high winds causing even cooler temperatures due to ‘wind chill factor’, gradual climb, total lack of landmarks for navigation, lack of any possibility of support (depends on weather conditions), drifting ice, ice packs and leads, encounter with polar bears and non stop challenges for a period of over 50 days.