Col Kumar guides city mountaineers

ST CORRESPONDENT
Thursday, 10 January 2019

To guide mountaineers on Giripremi’s Mt Kangchenjunga Eco Expedition 2019, Col Narinder Kumar, who is also known as the ‘Bull’ Kumar, said a mountaineer should always remember to  leave only his/her footprint on the mountains and nothing else.

Pune: To guide mountaineers on Giripremi’s Mt Kangchenjunga Eco Expedition 2019, Col Narinder Kumar, who is also known as the ‘Bull’ Kumar, said a mountaineer should always remember to  leave only his/her footprint on the mountains and nothing else.

A soldier-mountaineer who lost four of his toes to frostbite in 1961 became the first person to scale Nandadevi in 1964 and also among the first to put India on Everest in 1965 and first to climb Kanchenjunga from its toughest north-east face in 1976.

During an interaction organised by Umesh Zirpe of Giripremi, Kumar explained how he got the name ‘Bull’. “At the Joint Services Wing (JSW) when I gave a tough fight to SF Rodrigues in a boxing bout, people started calling me ‘Bull’ Kumar,” he said.

Born in Rawalpindi, Punjab and having 40 years of experience in mountaineering, his journey started with a successful expedition of Indian Army and Navy to Mt Trisul (23,360 ft) in 1958. In his expedition to Mt Neelkanth (21,644 ft), he lost four toes to frostbite, but it failed to prevent him from achieving other feats. He successfully scaled Mt Everest in 1965 along with nine other Indian army officers after a failed attempt in 1960 due to bad weather. He even scaled the highest peak of Alp mountains – Mont Blanc (15,782 ft) in 1968.

Now, Kumar is 85 years old. He feels that schools and educational institutes should include mountaineering in their extracurricular activities. He said, “Nowadays expedition has become easy as the equipment and gadgets have improved, but earlier we used to carry a weight of 23kg besides our body weight.”

Col Kumar also became the first man in the world to cross the Siachen Glacier in 1981 from the snout to its source, thus providing the country with a precious weapon in securing the strategic Siachen Glacier as the mountain is recognised as the highest battlefield and third pole of the world.
 
Kumar said, “Kanchenjunga, which is the world’s third highest peak is way much tougher than Mt Everest. Mountaineers from Giripremi are making their attempt to reach its peak, not only just climbing the mountain but for eco-expedition.” 

For 45 years, before Kumar successfully completed his Kanchenjunga expedition, several expeditions tried to climb the Kanchenjunga peak from the dangerous Sikkim route and were unsuccessful. In 1931, the German mountaineers had almost succeeded but they had to return from 3,000 feet below the summit. This achievement of Kumar was considered so great that he was awarded the Gold Medal at the Los Angles Olympics.

About Col Narinder Kumar 
He has been Principal of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute at Darjeeling, the Principal of the National Ski School at Gulmarg from 1971 to 1977, the head of the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering at Gulmarg and Commandant of the High Altitude Warfare School also at Gulmarg. He is presently the President of Ski Federation of India and Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association. 

His Achievements

  • Part of successful expedition of Indian Army and Navy to Mt Trisul (23,360 ft) in 1958
  • Successfully scaled Mt Neelkanth (21,644 ft)
  • Successfully scaled Mt Everest in 1965 along with nine other Indian army officers 
  • Scaled the highest peak of Alp mountains 
  • Mont Blanc (15,782 ft) in 1968
  • Col Kumar also became the first man in the world to cross the Siachen Glacier in 1981 from the snout to its source, thus providing the country with a precious weapon in securing the strategic Siachen Glacier

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