Peak of adventure
Is it the thrill of
conquest or a desire to be on top of the world looking down on creation?
Whatever the reason, trying to scale the Everest brings out the best in
adventure seekers. Never before has the interest in Everest peaked to
the extent it did this summer.
Members of the Army Women Mountaineering Expedition to Mount Everest
four Iranian women became the first Muslim women to scale the Everest,
for a Nepalese couple it was another first—they became the only ones
to marry at such a height. Apa Sherpa, Mr Everest, was the one who made
it to the hallowed peak 15 times and before you stop counting, the women
from the Indian Army scored another first.
For the peaks of
achievement, there were also anxious moments for the family, when our
girl from Muktsar, Sukhi, uncharitably called ‘the worst climber’ by
an Australian was asked to come back as she was ill-equipped to take the
The Iranians, the first
Muslim women to conquer Everest, Farkhondeh Sadegh, a 36-year-old
graphic designer, and Loleh Keshavarz, 26, a dentist, added a new
chapter to the history of mountaineering when they climbed the 8,848 m
peak from the southern side through Nepal as part of the 21-member
Iranian 2005 Everest Expedition.
Nepalese girl Moni
Mulepati, 24, and her secret beau Pem Dorje Sherpa, 23, created a world
record when they married atop the Everest.
couples have been making periodic assaults on the peak, this is the
first time a pair ever said "I do" at the top of the world.
Moni is also the first non-Sherpa Nepalese girl to scale the peak.
Iranian women on their way to the peak
had kept the plan a secret in case they failed. They had even managed to
smuggle vermillion and garlands to the Everest, along with
The wedding created
ripples in conservative Nepalese society because they are from different
castes. Moni is from the caste of Newars, once the ruling elite, while
Sherpas are placed lower at the lower end of the caste hierarchy.
On their return, the
couple told the media that they were not only happy with the venue but
also the message it conveyed from the top of the worlsd — the mountain
knows no caste and neither does love.
It was another high when
the first women’s expedition from the Army made it to the peak. For
the family of Captain Ashwini and Captain Gopika Pawar, a part of the
Indian Army’s expedition, it was an extremely uplifting experience
when their daughters made it to the peak. Ashwini was accompanied by
Shipra Mazumdar, cadet Tshering Ladol and trainee dechin Lhamo. Active
members of the NCC during college, the Pawar sisters had excelled all
Viewed in perspective, Mt.
Everest is an illusion, according to Jamling Tenzing Norgay Sherpa,
climbing leader for the IMAX Everest film crew in the deadly
spring of 1996. Everest, known locally as Chomolungma, appears to be the
world’s ultimate mountain.
But for Jamling, Everest
is even more imposing as a great teacher that taught him respect and
Western mountain climbers
look at Everest and see a rock to conquer, Jamling has observed.
Sherpas, the indigenous
people who make any and all ascents of Everest possible, see Chomolungma
as their mother, into whose lap they want to crawl. — A.N.