Bachendri Pal

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Bachendri Pal

Born:  24 May 1954

  • She is an Indian mountaineer, who in 1984 became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  • She was awarded the third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan by Government of India in 2019.
  • In 1984, India had scheduled its fourth expedition, christened “Everest’84”, to Mount Everest.
  • She was selected as one of the members of the elite group of six Indian women and eleven men who were privileged to attempt ascent to the Mount Everest (Sagarmatha in Nepalese).
  • The news filled them with a sense of ecstasy and excitement.
  • The team was flown to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, in March 1984, and from there the team moved onwards.
  • Recalling her first glimpse of the Mount Everest, she once reminisced: “We the hill people have always worshipped the mountains…my overpowering emotion at this awe-inspiring spectacle was, therefore, devotional.”
  • The team commenced its ascent in May 1984.
  • Her team almost met disaster when an avalanche buried its camp, and more than half the group abandoned the ascent because of injury or fatigue.
  • She and the remainder of the team pressed on to reach the summit.
  • She recalls this accident: “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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