BHOPAL: In a first–of-its-kind expedition in the country, a 25-member team of trans-genders left Delhi on Friday for a 12-day expedition to scale the 17,353 ft high Friendship Peak in the Himalayas. Guided by mountaineer Ratnesh Pandey, 35, the expedition is a result of proactive efforts of his foundation and transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.
With representation from various states such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka, the team has among its members a bodybuilder, a model and some social activists. None of them has any prior experience of mountaineering barring team leader Ratnesh Pandey, who climbed Mt Everest in 2016.
“It was Tripathi Ji who selected the 25 trans-genders from across the country, after both of us started working on the project four months back. Subsequently, I began an online endurance training of the selected members for the first of its kind expedition,” Pandey told TNIE on Friday. After a month and half training of the selected trans-genders, October 2 was fixed as the date for starting the expedition from Delhi.
“October 2 was selected as both Gandhi and Shastri Jayanti fall on the same day. It was a suitable day for beginning the expedition which focuses on building the spirit of equality and showing the world amid Covid pandemic surge that it can conquer the adversity the same way as the team of trans-genders have decided to embark on conquering the 17,353 ft tall peak,” said Tripathi.
According to Pandey, who has thrice climbed the Friendship Peak in last six years, the team left Delhi on Friday for Manali, which will form the expedition’s base camp. “The team under my guidance aims to scale the Friendship Peak in 12 days time and consequently get into the Guinness Book of World Record and Limca Book of World Record, who have been informed about the expedition in advance.” Pandey said scaling Friendship Peak is a must for mountaineers to get advanced mountaineering certificate. The peak is popular among beginner trekkers looking to challenge themselves in their adventure pursuits.