Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, had to say this when she first saw the mighty peak:
“We the hill people have always worshiped the mountains…my overpowering emotion at this awe-inspiring spectacle was, therefore, devotional.”
This was when India scheduled the fourth expedition to Mount Everest in 1984. Bachendri Pal was one of the six women and eleven men who were selected. During their ascent, Bachendri’s team almost met a disaster when an avalanche buried its camp, and more than half the group abandoned the ascent because of injury or fatigue.
“I was sleeping in one of the tents with my teammates at Camp III at an altitude of 24,000 ft (7,315.2 m). On the night of 15–16 May 1984, at around 00:30 hours IST, I was jolted awake; something had hit me hard; I also heard a deafening sound and soon after I found myself being enveloped within a very cold mass of material”.
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“My heart stood still. It dawned on me that success was within reach. And at 1.07 pm on 23 May 1984, I stood on top of Everest, and I was the first Indian woman to have done so,” writes Bachendri Pal, recollecting her tryst in the book Everest: My Journey to the Top.
Smt. Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest appreciated the hard work #CISF puts in to protect & secure! Presented her autobiography “Everest – My Journey to the Top” book to CISF personnel @ IGI Airport, Delhi. pic.twitter.com/GmoN9gUc9Z
— CISF@India (@CISFHQrs) January 24, 2018
Here are some important facts about the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, Bachendri Pal:
1. She tried for a height of 13,123 feet during one of her school picnics; Bachendri Pal was only 12 years-old at that time.
2. She had also participated in the climbing event at Mt. Gangotri for 21,900 feet and Mt. Rudragaria for 19,091 feet.
3. Bachendri Pal was employed as a mountaineering instructor at National Adventure Foundation (NAF) before she was selected in the expedition to the Mount Everest.
4. She was also the first woman in her village to graduate.
5. She was selected to India’s fourth expedition called Everest ’84 in 1984 to climb Mount Everest.
6. The expedition had 6 women and 11 men.
7. She was the only woman in her group to continue the climb. She reached the summit on May 23 at 1:07 pm.
8. Bachendri Pal also led the women’s pre-Everest expedition in 1991 to Mt. Kamet for 25,445 feet and Mt. Abi-gamin for 24,130 feet.
9. The women’s 2nd pre-Everest expedition in 1992 to Mt. Mamostang Kangri for 24,686 feet and Tata’s Mt. Shivling expedition was also led by her.
10. Bachendri Pal had arrived with a group of mountaineers and carried out relief and rescue operations during the 2013 North India floods.
11. She was honored with the Padma Shri in 1994, and the Arjuna Award in 1986.
12. In the year 1990, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for her achievement as the first Indian woman mountaineer to climb Mount Everest.
13. She was also awarded the National Adventure Award by the Government of India in 1994.Click here for reuse options!
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