Colonel Kumar, 87, passed away on Thursday at the Army Research and Referral Hospital due to several age-related ailments.
“On the demise of Colonel Narendra Kumar popularly known to us as Bull Kumar, we convey our condolences to the bereaved family. A soldier whose grit, determination and yearning to scale the high mountain peaks led to discoveries that have helped the Army reach out to and occupy locations that have helped us in strengthening our defensive posture,” Gen Rawat said.
Gen Rawat also said that country’s strong posturing on the Saltoro Ridge and in other areas of Ladakh is a part of his adventurous travels.
“His name will forever remain etched in the rich history of our Army. Bull Kumar may have left us but we all know that bold and daring soldiers never die, they only fade away. May his soul rest in peace,” the CDS said.
Colonel Kumar carried out multiple expeditions in the Siachen glacier area in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Based mainly on his reconnaissance reports, the Indian Army went ahead with the mission to occupy the Siachen heights under the Operation Meghdoot.
One of the initial inputs about the Pakistani plans to annexe the Siachen glacier also came to be known by the Army through the iconic mountaineer who was commissioned from in the Kumaon Regiment in 1953.
He was the first Indian to climb Mount Nanda Devi. He climbed Mount Everest in 1965, Mount Blanc (highest peak in the Alps) and later Mount Kangchenjunga.
He climbed up all these peaks despite losing four toes due to frostbite in earlier expeditions. In 1981, as a member of the Antarctica Task Force, he played a stellar role.
He earned the nickname ‘Bull’ for relentlessly charging into everything he did.