Chief Minister Pema Khandu today flagged-in the Mt Kangto Exploration Arunachal Team 2017 in a simple ceremony here at his offices on Friday along with Parliamentary Secretary Karya Bagang and Sports & Youth Affairs Secretary Dani Salu.
The team headed by Mt Everest conqueror Tapi Mra with members Tame Bagang, who has also scaled Mt Everest, mountaineers Tagit Sorang and Taru Hai went ahead of the ITBP team and identified a base camp at a height of 12500 ft on April 4th last. They halted overnight and returned the next day.
A joint expedition team of ITBP and Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) had established a base camp at 9920 ft on the banks of Pachuk river that flows down from the range in the Eastern Himalayas, along the Indo-China border on October 21 last year.
The Arunachal Team went up to the actual base of Mt Kangto and established a base camp where Pachuk is in its glacier form, thus becoming the first to reach nearest to the peak.
Mt Kangto, with an altitude of 7,042 metres, is the highest peak of Arunachal Pradesh. Covered in snow throughout the year, the virgin peak is the source of the Pachuk river, one of the main tributaries of the Kameng river in East Kameng district. Mt Kangto is yet to be scaled by humans.
Congratulating the team members, Khandu said this is the only second attempt to explore possibilities of opening up Mt Kangto for mountaineering activities and hailed the local youths for going a step ahead of the first exploration team and identifying a base camp.
“Mt Kangto, which is still unconquered, has been in the focus since years due to its difficult terrain and has been in the radar of enthusiastic mountaineers. You have done a marvellous job by identifying a base camp nearer the peak and now it is upon us to further the mission,” Khandu said.
He directed the department of Sports and Youth Affair to call a coordination meeting of all stakeholders including the first exploration team of ITBP and IMF and prepare a road map for further exploration to open up Mt Kango for mountaineering.
The Chief Minister observed that the exploration must also be viewed from the point of tourism possibilities as the area abounds in virgin flora and fauna including hot water springs as discovered by Mra and his teammates.
He also urged the department to keep in mind the necessity to construct a helipad nearer the mountain range for emergency use as well as transportation of tourists and mountaineers while framing any road map.
Khandu assured that the government will extend all possible help to the department to facilitate exploration of similar ranges and peaks in the state.
Karya Bagang, guest of honour of the ceremony, hailed the team members for taking up a profession that many wouldn’t even think of.
“We used to see mountaineering as an adventure sport in films and TV shows. It is really heartening to see today our own youths are actively into it,” she said.
She assured that personally she would cooperate and facilitate similar expeditions to Mt Kangto in the future as she belonged from the area.
Team leader Tapi Mra while giving details of the expedition sought support of the state government to local mountaineers who can open up adventure tourism in a large scale bringing revenue as well as employment opportunities to the indigenous people of the area.
The expedition, which was flagged off on 23rd March this year, was supported by the department of sports and youth affairs, sponsored by few officers on their individual capacities and coordinated by Taro Opey Foundation headed by its chairman Taro Chatung.
The Chief Minister felicitated the four team members, Taro Chautng and the sponsors during the ceremony.