A first-of-its-kind event, the ‘Soul of Steel Himalayan Challenge’ was recently conducted in the forward areas of the Garhwal Himalayan region.
About Soul of Steel Himalayan Challenge:
- The challenge supported by the Indian Army in collaboration with Conquer Land Air Water (CLAW) Global was launched by defence minister on January 14 at Dehradun.
- The campaign was initiated on the 120th Raising Year of the 9 (Independent) Mountain Brigade.
- It was based on the lines of the ‘Ironman triathlon’, a long-distance triathlon held in Europe which tests an individual's physical capabilities.
- The initiative is aimed at enabling life skill training and youth development. It is also expected to boost global promotion of adventure tourism in Uttarakhand.
- It was a unique blend of specialised skills, including high altitude mountaineering, extreme cold survival, psychological and physical endurance.
- The challenge opened the domain of niche military skills to an average person, who wishes to challenge their physical and psychological limits.
- It attracted interest from 1,401 (including 94 women) highly skilled athletes, adventure sports enthusiasts and armed forces aspirants.
- These applicants were put through a gruelling two-stage screening process, of which only 23 (including two women) were finally chosen to undergo a 10-week extensive training in endurance, mountaineering, survival and rescue skills under a joint team of experts from the armed forces and CLAW Global.
- The participants were trained to operate beyond the assumed limits of their body, to discover the limitless realms of their mind, consciousness and spirit.
- In the final phase of the challenge, 18 ‘Soul of Steel’ warriors set out on a challenge to compete as teams of three along the rugged mountainous terrain of the Garhwals, at an altitude of 17,000 feet and covered a distance of 65 km through glaciers, ice walls, rock faces and snow-capped Himalayan peaks.
- The challenge tested their self-sustained mountain climbing, survival, navigation skills, psychological endurance and physical toughness.
Q1) What is the Ironman triathlon?
An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.9 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.2 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.2 km) run completed in that order, a total of 140.6 miles (226.3 km). It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.