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INDIAN NAVY'S FIRST EXPEDITION

 
  TO GEOGRAPHIC NORTH POLE DURING MAR – APR 08  
 
1.    The Indian Navy picked up a team of 10 members to ski traverse tothe geographic North Pole during Mar – Apr 08. The team underwent arigorous and intense training and selection process over a period ofnearly 10 months prior to the team's departure for the North Poleexpedition.
 
 
2.    The team left Delhi on 24 Mar 08 and arrived at Oslo on its firstleg of the journey. The Defence Attaché, Sweden, received the team atOslo and there was a formal reception and Flagging Off ceremonyorganized by the Indian Embassy, Oslo where the Ambassador, HisExcellency, Shri Mahesh Sachdev handed over the expedition flag to theteam at his residence. The event was also attended by several of the leading Norwegian media.
 
     
   
     
  The Journey to the North Pole

 3.    
From Oslo, on completion of initial preparation and formalities,the team flew to Longyearbyen on 27 Mar 08. Over the next couple ofdays the team did its final preparation in terms of procurement andpacking of food, tents, sleds and ski equipment. Due to the inclementweather on the ice cap, the departure from Longyearbyen, got delayedby a day. On 02 Apr 08 the team flew out of Longyearbyen on a Russianchartered AN74 aircraft that landed on the sea ice base camp Barneo.After a brief halt at Barneo, the team boarded a MI helicopter and wasfurther dropped at the starting point for the ski traverse to thegeographic North Pole. It was a freezing day with the temp aroundminus 35 deg C and a raging gale. The sun was low on the horizon andprovided no warmth at all. The team commenced skiing thereafter andlater camped for the day.

 4.    
Over the next eight days, the team skied across the frozen ArcticOcean, facing average temperatures of – 40 deg C and the lowest of65 deg C, blizzards of over 50 knots. It encountered pressure ridgesat an average of 50 – 60 each day, averaging around 1 – 2 mtrs inheight with few towering well over 3 mtrs. The team had to negotiatethese ridges as best as it could, sometimes even taking off the skiesand dragging the sleds through the ice debris. The water leads, whichwere frequent and coated with very thin ice, required more detouringand tricky traverses. The greatest adversary was the sea drift thatwas to the SE / SW direction at a phenomenal rate of average 1 knotand the maximum of 2.4 knot. This necessitated the team to coveralmost double the distance than what was anticipated.

 5.
    Finally on 09 April 2008 at 2016 hrs (IST) the team reached theexact geographic North Pole at North 90 deg. The precise top of theworld, where all the meridians converged and there was no furtherNorth to go. There was nothing to distinguish the spot from any otherthat the team had been skiing through. The sky was cloudy and snowflakes shimmered from the sky painted in bright gold as they reflectedthe sun rays. Due to the extreme hazards and freezing conditions, itwas often a matter of pure survival that spurred the team forward,rather than raw courage. The conditions were so hostile that a momentof carelessness or any minor injuries could lead to certain death.Despite the exceptionally high moral and enthusiasm of the team therewere moments when it was the collective courage of the team and teamwork that saved the day. Going forward was the only option and theteam battled every possible hazard of terrain and extreme Arcticconditions over prolonged duration, despite apprehensions andtouch-and-go situations. It called for the highest possible resolveand determination in the part of each member.

 6.    Throughout the journey, the sun remained low on the horizon, around20 deg above the horizon, therefore the sun provided absolutely nowarmth and it was cold as the surrounding ice. Everything inside thetent was frozen solid with ice inside the sleeping bag, clothing andthe shoes. North Pole being on the Arctic Ocean, the atmosphere isabsolutely frozen and very humid, which is the worst kind of coldcondition. The team unfurled the national flag and the naval ensign atthe North Pole and sang the national anthem. The team camped at theNorth Pole for the day. The next day the team played an impromptu trination cricket match of 5 over each with a team from UK and Australia,who were camped at the area. The Indian Navy team won by one run. Itis understood that this could be the first cricket match ever to havebeen played at the geographic North Pole.

 7.
    On its return leg, the team was picked up from the North Pole by aMI helicopter and flown back to the base camp, Barneo. From Barneo,the team returned to Longyearbyen on 11 April 08. The team finallyarrived back in India, Delhi on 24 Apr 08.  



Records Created
 8.    The North Pole expedition created the following records: - 
  (a)  
First organization in the world to complete 'three poles'challenge (climbing Everest and skiing to both the          geographic poles)
  (b)  First Indian team to ski to the North Pole
  (c)  First Indian team to ski to the North and South Poles
  (d)  First Indians to reach all the 'three poles' (Cdr Satyabrata Dam,POMA Rakesh and Vikas Kumar)
  (e)  Among the first Indians to complete the 'two poles' (Mr AjeetBajaj is the only other Indian to have earlier          completed the 'twopoles')
   (f)
  Surg Lt Ajay Sharma becomes the 'first doctor' in the world to skito both the geographic poles
   (g)
  MCERA I Raj Kumar becomes the 'first skydiver cum submariner' inthe world to ski to both the geographic          poles 

NORTH POLE SKI EXPEDITION TEAM

S No           Name                         Rank              P. No.                             Achievement
    1.          
  Satyabrata Dam           CDR              03313 B             Completes Mt Everest, North and South Poles
    2.           
Avinash Khajuria          LT Cdr          05149 A             Completes North and South Poles
    3.           
Ajay Sharma                SURG LT      75836 B                                  - do -
    4.           
Raj Kumar                   MCERA I   193267 W                                  - do -
    5.           
Rakesh Kumar             POMA        153418 B              Completes Mt Everest, North and South Poles
    6.           
Vikas Kumar                POMA       122944 W              Completes Mt Everest, North and South Poles
    7.           
Ramendra Pandey         LME          121734 W              North Pole
    8.           
Brijendra Singh             Sea I           131560 A               Completes North and South Poles
    9.           
Sonam Tamchos           MA I           139816 R                                    - do -
  10.           
Manoj Vats                  SEA I          133849 B                                    - do -

 

 
 

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