New Delhi, Mar 10 : After successfully conquering Mount Everest and skiing to the South Pole, the Indian Navy is now headed for the North Pole - aiming to achieve the unique distinction of becoming the first ever organisation in the world to conquer all the three poles.
'There's the North Pole and there's the South Pole, and the Everest being the highest point in the world is also considered a pole," team leader Commander Satyabrata Dam told reporters here Monday of the 10-member expedition's aim.
Wishing the team success in their endeavour, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said, "Adventure in Armed Forces is integral to our life. It helps in building team spirit and develop a good working culture."
The team will fly from here to Oslo 0n March 24 and from there to the Base Camp on April 1.
"We will begin skiing April 2 and plan to travel for eight to 10 hours every day. As the crow flies, the distance from the Base Camp to the North Pole is about 150 km but we will be covering considerably more because of the drifting ice," Dam said.
"If all goes well, we should be at the North Pole around April 10. From there, we will be transported by helicopter to the Base Camp and then to Oslo and hope to return home by April 24," he added.
Till now, only 23 persons have achieved the rare feat of visiting all three poles, and only 64 people in the world have visited one of the poles and Mt. Everest. Therefore, any organisation or nation in the world cannot rival the feat.
The Navy had already achieved the feat of conquering Mt. Everest under the leadership of Commander Satyabrata Dam on May 19, 2004. The Naval team successfully completed their ski traverse to the Geographic South Pole on December 28, 2006.
The success of the above two missions made the Navy team the first Indian Team to Ski Traverse to the Geographic South Pole, the first submariners in the World to reach the South Pole and first Indian Everest Summiteers to reach the South Pole.
This expedition would unfurl the flags of India and the Navy at the final frontier of adventure activity that challenges the human spirit of courage and survival.
The North Pole expedition team comprises of Commander Satyabrata Dam, Lt Avinash Khajuria, Surgeon Lt Ajay Sharma, MCERA 1 Raj Kumar, POMA Rakesh Kumar, POMA Vikas Kumar, LME R Pandey, SEA 1 B Singh, Sea 1 Manoj Vats, MA 1 Sonam Tamchos.
Commander Dam, Vikas Kumar and Rakesh Kumar were also part of the Navy team, which conquered Mt. Everest and the North Pole. Eight members of the North Pole team were also part of the South Pole expedition.
Surgeon Lt Ajay Sharma will become the only doctor in the world to go to both poles. The oldest member of the team is Commander Dam, who is 43, and the youngest member is Sonam Tamchos, who is yet to celebrate his 21st birthday.
Among the challenges the team will have to face are temperatures ranging between minus 30 to minus 35 degrees Celsius, and average wind speeds of 80 km an hour.
The team, which includes members from West Bengal, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, represents a microcosm of India.
The expedition would involve very little rest, reserves of determination, stamina, skill and team spirit. The team will take about 15 days, walking 10 to 12 hours a day.
To communicate with the rest of the world the team would be carrying an Iridium hand held satellite phone.