The first Indian woman to conquer Mount Everest, Bachendri Pal, will lead a team of women over 50-years of age on a five-month long expedition from Arunachal to Ladakh along the Himalayan range. The 10 member FIT@50+ Women’s Trans Himalayan Expedition’, is scheduled to start on 8th March 2022 from Arunachal Pradesh and will cover around -4,625 kilometers across about 37 mountain passes including the 17,320 feet Lamkhaga Pass. considered one of the toughest, said Pal, who will turn 67 when the expedition starts.

Organised by Tata Steel Adventure Foundation, the expedition which was to take off in May last year but had to be postponed due to the global pandemic, is slated to conclude in the Drass area of Ladakh in the first or second week of August. “The expedition will inspire and motivate women of all age groups to include fitness activities in their daily lives to stay healthy,” the legendary Indian mountaineer told PTI.

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The objective behind the expedition is to send out a message that life does not end at 50 and “we must enjoy it by keeping ourselves fit,” she said. Pal said it was an all women expedition, signifying women’s empowerment, and 8th March has been chosen for the kick-off as it’s the international women’s day. In the pandemic era, women’s health and fitness played a key role both in keeping families together and towards nation building, the mountaineer pointed out. The team members, drawn from across India, comprise three women Everest summiteers, retired professionals and homemakers. The team has recently undergone a week-long pre-expedition training at Uttarkashi, she said, adding that the team would be accompanied by two male supportive members for coordination and cooking purposes.

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