Man who faked summiting Mount Everest to be awarded

Updated: 27 August, 2020 07:24 IST | Anusha Subramanian | Mumbai

Mountaineers upset that fraudster is to get prestigious Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award for Land Adventure; even his expedition team leader says Narender Singh never summited the mountain

(Left) Narender Singh without oxygen mask and a climber behind, and (right) with mask but no climber, pointing to a photoshop job
(Left) Narender Singh without oxygen mask and a climber behind, and (right) with mask but no climber, pointing to a photoshop job

Since the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awards were announced last week, mountaineers all over the country are up in arms about one of the recipients in the Land Adventure category. The man in question is Narender Singh of Haryana, who faked his summit of Mount Everest in 2016 by providing photo-shopped images. He claimed he climbed Everest on May 20, 2016. However, his team leader Naba Kumar Phukon of Assam has said that Singh did not summit Mt Everest in 2016. Another witness, a member of a rescue team that season, has said Singh was actually rescued.

Speaking from Assam, Naba recounted the conversation between him and Singh. "On the evening of May 19, 2016, Narender and I were at South Col (Camp 4). Narender complained to me that he did not have sufficient oxygen, I advised him to descend as without oxygen one cannot summit Everest. I then left and summited Everest on May 20 at 7:45 am. On my return I met climbers from Bengal police at South Col and asked them about Narender. They mentioned that they met him mid-way between Camp 2 and 3. I met him again on May 21 at Camp 2, he had developed frostbite. When I left for base camp he was still at camp 2. I reached Kathmandu on May 23, received my certificate and came home."

Dr Narender Singh Yadav was even congratulated on Twitter by Haryana CM Manoharlal Khattar on the award, which is part of the Arjuna Awards
Dr Narender Singh Yadav was even congratulated on Twitter by Haryana CM Manoharlal Khattar on the award, which is part of the Arjuna Awards

He added, "I got to know two days back that he is getting the Tenzing Norgay Award. I wondered on what basis and saw a report saying he summitted Everest. It is a total lie. I am 100% sure that he did not. It was just not possible, he did not have oxygen and had developed frostbite''.

Naba and Narender Singh were on the expedition with Nepali agency Seven Summits.

Another Everester, Ramesh Roy, who summited the same year on May 21, also said Narender Singh did not summit Everest. "I and three other mountaineers were resting in our tent at Summit Camp. Narender Singh was crying in the next tent and when we asked what happened he told us that he could not summit as he did not have enough oxygen and hence was returning. I met him again around May 26 in Kathmandu and he showed me his certificate. I was shocked. It will be a disaster if he is given the Tenzing Norgay National Award for Adventure."

Another witness, from Nepal, has also said that Singh has faked his summit. Lakhpa Sherpa, who was part of the rescue team on Everest in the May 2016 season said, "In 2016, Narender Singh was not able to summit Mt Everest. I was in the rescue team that season and we rescued him from Everest Balcony (8,400 mts). He was not able to go ahead of the balcony. I was shocked to see the summit certificate in his hands. It is the mistake of Nepal's operating company, so he should not be given such a prestigious award. There should be proper judgment during the distribution of such a paragon award, otherwise it will be disrespectful to many good Indian climbers."

In 2016, this writer had exposed the fake summit of Mount Everest by the husband-wife duo Dilip and Tarkeshwari Rathore, constables from Maharashtra Police (The HIMLAYAN CON) through this newspaper. After relentless reporting for 14 months the Nepal government and Department of Tourism of Nepal (in-charge of Mt Everest expeditions and giving certificates) cancelled their summit certificates. They were eventually expelled from the police service.

While working on this investigation, this writer had come across Singh's case but could not expose him in 2016 because of lack of photo evidence and no first-hand witness accounts.

The Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award has been given to stalwarts like Bachinderi Pal, ChandraprabhaAitwal, Wangchuk Sherpa, Premlata Agarwal, Brigadier Ashok Abbey and Palden Giachho, who in the 27 year history of the award have raised its prestige and been an inspiration and standard of achievement in the sport.

It is shocking to note on what basis Narender Singh is being given this award. Is giving basic details about climbs done in the last three years (2017, 2018 and 2019) enough? Is showing certificates and some local newspaper articles about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Elbarus enough to win the Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award?

Debabrata Mukherjee, an internationally certified mountain guide and the oldest Indian to summit Mt Everest at the age of 52 in 2014 said, "Faking climbing Everest seems to be a trend in India. Such a high honour cannot be given on climbing just Kilimanjaro and Elbarus. It has to be given based on merit and on overall climbing skill, new route and technical difficulty and partly on development of mountaineering in India. Before selecting, the credentials should be checked by IMF as this is the highest mountaineering award in the country."

Padmashree Premlata Agarawal, the first Indian woman to scale the seven highest continental peaks of the world and a recipient of the award in 2017 said, "An enquiry committee has to be put in place and they should investigate this person. In my opinion IMF should look into the matter".

I got to know two days back that he is getting the Tenzing Norgay Award. I wondered on what basis and saw a report saying he summited Everest. It is a total lie. I am 100% sure that he did not. It was just not possible, he did not have oxygen and had developed frostbite'
Naba Kumar Phukon, Singh's team leader

'In 2016, Narender Singh was not able to summit Mt Everest. I was in the rescue team that season and we rescued him from Everest Balcony (8,400 mts). He was not able to go ahead of the balcony. I was shocked to see the summit certificate in his hands'
Lakhpa Sherpa, rescue team member

8,848 mts
The height of Mount Everest

May 20
When in 2016 Narender Singh claimed to have summited the mountain

Aug 29
When the award will be given

Keep scrolling to read more news

Catch up on all the latest Mumbai news, crime news, current affairs, and a complete guide from food to things to do and events across Mumbai. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates.

Mid-Day is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@middayinfomedialtd) and stay updated with the latest news

First Published: 27 August, 2020 07:09 IST

Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.com

Subscribe
loading image
This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK