Have to ever set yourself audacious goals? Have you moved forward in the face of dire circumstances to prove something? You can learn this and more from Malavath Poorna, the youngest girl to scale Mt.Everest. She is a tribal girl from Telangana. At 13, many of her friend’s parents were already considering marrying off their daughters! She wanted to prove that “Girls can do anything“. So, when opportunity knocked on her door, she decided to grab it and no matter what.
Her Journey To The Summit
Bhongir Rock, Bhongir Rock Climbing School
This was her first ever exposure to climbing. She says she was more scared at Bhongir, 750-foot rock, than when she climbed Everest. As she puts it,
“It is most difficult to take the first step”.
However, with encouragement from her mentor, Pravin Kumar Sir, she did very well and was selected for the next level of training.
Darjeeling: Basic & Advanced Course
When she saw snow for the first time, she felt like she was in heaven. They scaled the Renock peak, 17,000ft in Darjeeling. She was among the 9 chosen for the next leg of training.
Winter expedition in Ladakh
The most important thing they learned on this expedition was how to acclimatize to the harsh cold( -30 to -35 degree centigrade) weather. Her endurance levels won her a place to the Everest expedition.
Trials at Everest
After an intense training for 3 months especially for their attempt at the world’s tallest peak, they reached the Everest base camp on April 14th, 2014. During the 52 day expedition, she threw up almost every day because her body did not take to the packaged food they ate. The news about 17 sherpas dying due to an avalanche on the Nepal side of the peak caused even her mentor to ask her to come back. The steep & arduous climb from advance base camp to camp 1 with 24 kgs of artificial oxygen left her exhausted but determined.
Have you seen the movie Everest? The bodies of people who die on their Everest climb continue to lie there, forever! In the last leg of the journey, she came across several corpses. It took all her mental determination and a reminder of her principle that she had “no reverse gear” to move on: the only way was forward and up! Her skill & will power resulted in her reaching the peak on May 24th, 2014 at an age of 13 years 11 months.
Her Journey Continues
Poorna aims to be an IPS and climb more mountains. She has also gone on to climb Mt.Kilminjaro. Recently, a movie based on her journey has been released by Rahul Bose. I haven’t watched it yet, but it looks promising. The producers have resisted the urge to cast a “fairer” girl in the role. Hope the movie has done justice to showcasing this girl’s resolve & strength.
Today’s question to my readers: What’s your Everest? Have you had the courage to take that first step yet?