Green Boots

Green Boots

Green Boots is the name given to the dead body of an Indian climber on the North face route of Mount Everest. The body of the climber, presumably Tsewang Paljor, [cite news | first=Ed | last=Douglas | coauthors= | title=Over the Top | date=2006-09 | publisher=Outside Magazine online | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-19 | language = ] lay curled in a fetal position under an overhang, a victim of exposure in the storm that hit Everest on May 10, 1996. He came to be referred as Green Boots and is mentioned routinely in many contemporary accounts. The name derives from the fluorescent green Koflach boots he wore.

1996 Indo-Tibetan Border Police Everest Expedition

The Everest disaster of 1996 is well known in the mountaineering circles for the deaths of eight climbers on a single day, May 11, 1996. Thanks to Jon Krakauer's book "Into Thin Air" and the two movies based on it, the names of Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Yasuko Namba, Doug Hansen and Andy Harris are well known. What is not as well-known are the other three fatalities of the day, who were the climbers from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) expedition from India. The expedition was led by Commandant (equiv to Lt Col) Mohinder Singh, and is credited as being the first Indian ascent of Everest from the East side [cite book | last =Singh | first =Mohinder | authorlink = | coauthors = | title =Everest : The First Indian Ascent from North | publisher =Delhi, Indian Pub. | date = | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id =ISBN 81-7341-276-6 ] .

On May 10, 1996, Subedar Tsewang Samanla, Lance Naik (equiv to Lance Corporal) Dorje Morup, and Head Constable Tsewang Paljor got caught in the blizzard short of the summit. While three of the six-member team turned down, Samanla, Paljor and Morup decided to go for the summit [cite book | last =Krakauer | first =Jon | authorlink = | coauthors = | title =Into Thin Air | publisher =Anchor | date = | location = | pages =416 | url = | doi =| id =ISBN 03-8549-208-1 ] At around 6.00pm (3.45pm Nepal Time), the three climbers radioed to their expedition leader that they had arrived at the summit.

There is dispute whether the three actually reached the summit or not. Krakauer claims that the climbers were at 28,550 feet, roughly 500 feet short of the top most point. This is based on the interview given by a later Japanese team to the London Financial Express. Due to bad visibility and thick clouds which obscured the summit, the climbers believed they had reached the top. They left an offering of prayer flags, katas, and pitons. Here the leader Samanla decided to spend extra time for religious ceremonies and instructed the other two to move down.

There was no radio contact after that. Back at the camps below, anxious team members saw two headlamps moving slightly above the second step – at 8570 meters. None of the three managed to come back to high camp at 8320 meters.

Possible sightings by Japanese climbers

(All Times Beijing Time)
*06:15 Hiroshi Hanada and Eisuke Shigekawa (Fukuoka first attack party) departed Camp 6 (8,300 m). Three Sherpas had left in advance.
*08.45 Radio call to BC to report nearing the ridge. Just below the ridge they met two men coming down a fixed rope. On the ridge another man appeared before the first snowfield. They could not be identified because all were wearing goggles and oxygen masks under hoods. The Fukuoka party, having no knowledge of missing Indians, thought they were Taiwan party members.
*11:39 Radio call to BC to report passing the Second Step (8,600). They then saw two men at a distance of about 15 m from the ridge. Again, identification was impossible.
*15:07 Hanada, Shigekawa and three Sherpas reached the summit.
*15:30 Start descent. After passing the triangle snowfield they saw some unidentifiable object above the Second Step. Below the First Step, they saw one person on the fixed rope. Shigekawa stopped, therefore, and radioed BC. As he started moving again he met someone, who had possibly been on the fixed rope, standing nearby. They exchanged greeting, but he was still unable to identify him. Their oxygen was just enough to return to C6.
*16:00 (approx) An Indian party member told the Fukuoka ABC that three men were missing. The Fukuoka party attempted to dispatch three Sherpas from C6 to rescue the Indians but disappearing daylight prevented their departure. Their request to Indian party members at C6 to join a rescue was refused. Also their offer of a radio so that the Indian party could talk to their leader in ABC was declined.

The Indian expedition leaderFact|date=December 2007 told later, "The Japanese had initially pledged to help the search for the missing Indians. But hours later, they pressed on with their attempt to reach the summit, despite bad weather." [cite news | first= | last=Reuters | coauthors= | title=India probes Everest deaths, questions Japanese team | date= | publisher=Reuters | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-19 | language = ]

The Japanese team denied that they had ever encountered the dying climbers on the way up.cite news| first=Hiroo| last=Saso| title=Misunderstandings Beyond the North Ridge| date=2005-02-24 or earlier| publisher=International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation| url=| accessdate=2007-08-19| archiveurl=| |archivedate=2005-02-24] .

Captain Kohli, an official of the Indian Mountaineering Federation, who earlier had denounced the Japanese, later retracted his claim that the Japanese had reported meeting the Indians on May 10.

"The ITBP accepted the Fukuoka party statements that they neither abandoned nor refused to help the Indians." The ITBP's director general "commented that a misunderstanding arose from communication difficulties between Indian attack party members and their Base Camp."

Green Boots

It is not known as to when the term "Green Boots" came into Everest parlance, but it became lexicon down the years as all the expeditions from the north side encountered the body of the Indian Climber curled up in the limestone alcove cave. The cave is located at 27,890 feet, and is littered with spent oxygen bottles. The body is believed to be the body of Head Constable Paljor. Paljor was the only one found by the Japanese climbers, shortly above first step. The rock cave is in the same area.Fact|date=December 2007

David Sharp

When the British mountaineer David Sharp died during his solo attempt in 2006, he was found in a hypothermic situation in "Green Boots' Cave", by many of the other parties. David Sharp would ultimately die of extreme cold, and his body was left lying a few feet from 'Green Boots'.

A recent report from May 28, 2007 quotes Ian WoodallFact|date=November 2007, a South African mountaineer that the body of the Indian climber is now missing. After ten years of vigil on the top, it was either swept away by snow, or possibly recovered by another expedition sent to retrieve the body of David Sharp.


External links

* [ Photographs of the deceased Climbers in the ITBP Martyrs Gallery]
* [ Photo of Green Boots' cave] - The dead bodies have been 'whitened out'.
* [ of Green Boots]
* [ Photograph of Green Boots' body.] (Non-English site)
* [ Footage of Green Boots' Body] Shot starts around 45 second mark.

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