Looks like the aggressive promotion of destination Nepal during Nepal Tourism Year 2011 is bearing fruit. Business in Nepal’s tourism sector is booming. While there has been a significant increase in the number of tourist arrivals, popularity of the country’s trekking and climbing adventures (for which Nepal is truly known the world over) is soaring. According to the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, a total of 337 climbers from various countries have received permission to climb Mt. Everest this spring, as compared to 263 in spring 2011. A total of 32 expedition groups have received permit from the Nepalese government to climb Mt. Everest. These expeditions have made the government richer by Rs. 293.15 million (received as royalty from the expedition groups). Other 77 expeditions have received permits to climb other Nepalese peaks this spring.
Explore Himalaya is jointly organizing a spring expedition to Mount Everest ‘International Everest expedition 2011’ with Prestige Adventures. One of the expedition members is 25 year-old female climber Tine Mena from Arunachal Pradesh, a remote North- Eastern state in India. By scaling Mount Everest, she is all set to become the first female climber from the seven sister states of North-EastIndia to climb Mount Everest. Supporting her in her endeavor is Dr. K.R.Meetei , who will join the group as a support trek member till Everest Base Camp.
Explore Himalaya spoke with Ms. Tine Mena & Dr. K.R.Meetei on April 3, 2011, after their arrival in Kathmandu.
Tine Mena & Dr. Meetei
Excerpt from the interview: EH: What is your objective in climbing Mount Everest? Tine Mena: I want to climb Everest as it is the world’s highest peak. I also want to make a record with my climb. As no female climber from the seven North- Eastern states has ever scaled the mountain, I would like to be the first to do it. By climbing the peak I aim to raise awareness about climbing and adventure sports among youths in my state. Although I come from a mountainous region, people over there have no knowledge or exposure about climbing or adventure sports. I hope to popularize mountaineering as a sport in Arunachal.
EH; How did you prepare yourself for the Everest expedition? Tine Mena: I have been keeping myself fit by doing lots of physical exercises. I went for pre- Everest Expeditions –at Mount Kolahai (5425m) in Jammu & Kashmir and at Lama Wangden Peak (5868m) in Lachen, North Sikkim. I made it to the summit of both these peaks. I also nearly made it to the summit of Mount Shivling (6543m), a beautiful but technically very difficult and dangerous mountain in the Gangotri glacier.
EH: Dr. Meetei, how are you supporting Ms.Tine Mena in her endeavour? Dr. K.R. Meetei: I work as an In-charge of State Adventure Cell under the Directorate of Sports. I am responsible for all the government run adventure activities in the state. The State Adventure Cell helps and supports mountaineers and adventure lovers from the state in their endeavours. Last year we sponsored a male climber Tapi Marak’s Mount Everest climb. This year we selected Ms. Tine Mena. If she succeeds in climbing Mount Everest she will create history. She will be the first female Everester from the seven North-Eastern states.
EH: Why did you select her? Dr. K.R. Meetei: Miss Tine Mena comes from a poor family. She belongs to a very remote village of Arunachal Pradesh. Three or four years back we had an expedition to the Indo- China Border and Tena Mena went as a support member of the trekking expedition. In that expedition she showed her potential for climbing mountains. From there I chose her and sent her for further training at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling, one of the most elite mountaineering institutes in the world. She did a mountaineering course over there and received a gold medal in her first year. She went for advanced mountaineering course again and won a silver medal. After that she was selected to participate in an expedition under the Indian Mountaineering Expedition where she climbed Mount Shivling (6543m) in Garhwal region. She just missed the summit but she did very well in that expedition.
EH: How did you hear about Explore Himalaya? Dr. K.R. Meetei: Regarding Explore Himalaya I have known this travel agency from long time back. I had heard about this company and knew that it was one of the most reputed and well- known companies. I chose Explore Himalaya for this expedition as I believe we will be looked after quite well and our expedition will run smoothly.
EH: Do you have any plans for more adventures in Nepal? Dr. K.R. Meetei: I plan to bring more youths from my state for mountaineering and trekking adventures. I also want to come back and try aero- sports. Arunachal is a mountainous state with vast potential for adventure sports. But due to lack of awareness and exposure among the public and the concerned government bodies not much has been done to develop adventure sports. I hope sending youths for adventures in Nepal will give them the right exposure and help build awareness about the scope of adventure sports in the state.
This was a very special visit, though I would say a bit expensive and I am taking back excellent memories.