Wed, 23 Oct 2019

India's youngest woman to climb Mt Everest had to climb over prejudice first

Posted on Monday, August 13, 2018

From hiding her passion to sneaking away from relative-Shivangi Pathak did everything to be the youngest Indian women to climb Mt Everest, reports Sheetal Banchariya

 

"She is going out for a month because of studies”, “She is going for an Army training”- these were some of the constant lies that Shivangi’s parents had to tell their relatives when she used to travel for months finishing her mountaineering training. All of 16, Shivangi Pathak, a resident of Hisar district of Haryana, is now the youngest Indian woman to climb the Mount Everest peak. 

Speaking about the social restrictions faced by Indian women, Shivangi says, “Girls have to prove themselves at every stage, only because of the regressive mindset. As a result, most of the girls do not even get a chance to experiment.”

Her passion for mountaineering took off with a bungee jump and soon Arunima Sinha, first Indian amputee to climb Mt. Everest became her inspiration and a role model.

 

It was in 2017, when Shivangi enrolled herself for a five-month long mountaineering course at Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir.  Later, she underwent specialised training at Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering, Darjeeling, and other trekking hubs in Leh Ladakh, Sonmarg and Sikkim.

As Pathak recalls her recent summit to Mt. Everest, she says, “On my last day, I had lost my walkie talkie and my family thought I was never returning home. One faces such uncertain situations in Mountaineering and still has to keep calm.”   

"I had to lose weight to be physically fit for climbing mountains, build stamina through trekking and survive in extreme climatic conditions. It has been a challenging journey but being able to host India’s flag at the top of Mt. Everest made me forget all my struggles,” she adds.

Pathak studied at Krishna Pranami School, Hisar, till class X but had to shift to Gomti Devi Vidya Mandir School as she needed extra support in studies. Haryana state board affiliated school supported her in academics and attendance as she was away from school for mountaineering.

She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Arts. “I have inclinations towards psychology and palmistry, I would opt for a course similar to my areas of interest,” said Pathak.

“Adventure trips help a person undergo physical, mental and emotional growth, which are not taught in any school or college. Soft skills like humility, emotional resilience and self-control that can best be learnt through practical experiences. It should be incorporated as a subject in schools,” she added.

After climbing Mt. Everest and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, now, she is planning to climb Mount Elbrus in the month of September 2018 and is determined to complete the ‘Seven Summit’ before she turns 18.

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