On This Day, 1984 – Bachendri Pal Became the First Indian Woman to Scale Mount Everest: How Did She Achieve This Feat?
Bachendri Pal is a symbol of women's empowerment in India.
On this very date back in 1984, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to scale Mount Everest. Thus, she joined the ranks of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.
Bachendri became the face of women's empowerment in India. She inspired many women to never follow traditional restrictions, and do whatever it takes to live life on their own terms.
However, there were enormous challenges for her to achieve such a huge feat. Coming from a rural working-class family in a small village in Uttarakhand, she had to go through lots of struggles, and more. But as we know today, she overcame all odds that came along her way.
How Bachendri Pal Achieved Such Huge Feat
In 1984, Bachendri became a part of India's fourth expedition to Mount Everest.
She was in the forward team that set up its camp at 24,000ft on the night of May 15. At around 12.30 am, they encountered an avalanche, and their camp got crushed under snow.
As Bachendri later recalled in an interview, "At first I thought my oxygen cylinder, which was kept outside my camp, burst. Suddenly something very heavy fell on me and I was buried under it. It didn’t take me much time to realize what had happened. I was conscious and I had a feeling that I would die here."
More than half of the team had to return to the base camp due to injuries. Speaking about this, Bachendri said, "…when it was my turn to answer, I immediately said yes. I wasn’t feeling scared. There was a fresh determination in me. I was thinking if I survived the avalanche if I am still alive, it should be a signal for me to go ahead. My parents always used to say after every bad moment comes a good moment.
Thank god I took that decision because whatever I am today is all because of that decision."
She resumed her ascent with another team with Nepali Sherpa Ang Dorjee. She reached the summit of Mount Everest at around 1.00 pm on May 23.
"I stayed there for around 45 minutes. I placed a small Durga maa idol there and remembered my parents. I also called the team leader who congratulated me and said a lot of good things. I felt really, really good,” Bachendri recalled.